NOT your standard Upper body Day – Something Different for you!


We have another workout for you! Except this is a workout with a slight difference. We thought we would create an upper body day workout but use exercises and lifts that people might not normally choose. This means we have left out the most popular lifts and swap them out or moved some around. 

Why might you want to try this workout? Just to give something different a go! Change things up and try something fresh! Maybe you are starting to lose motivation and want a kick up the bum. Something like this could do the trick! As with all our workouts, the workout is below followed by a breakdown. Then we also have some extra tips after the breakdown! 


  • Incline Seated Cable Flies 3X15-20
  • Single Arm Dumbbell Row 3X8-10
  • Cable Lateral Raises 3X15-20
  • Dumbbell Piston Press 3X8-10
  • Single Arm Lat Pull Down 3X15-20
  • Standing Military Press 3X8-10
  • Rope Curls 4X12-15
    • Dips 4X8-10


As you can see we are hitting each muscle group with two exercises in this upper body day. One high rep exercise (15-20) and one lower rep exercise (8-10), covering all areas and allows you to hit each rep range. So let us go through the workout. The first exercise is Cable Flies, I love cable fly’s and will always prefer them over dumbbell fly’s as they are great for keeping the muscle under tension throughout the whole movement. Also, most people end their “chest” day with fly’s so they are already exhausted, so in this workout, we have put them first. When you’re nice and fresh! This means you will be able to go slightly heavier than you normally would! You are going to perform 3 sets at 15-20 reps. Nice and control reps, with a slight pause at the top!

The next exercise is Single-Arm Dumbbell Row! I have said previously in other blogs that this is one of my favourite back exercises! I prefer it over Barbell Row as you can use your other hand to stabilise you, and as you are only doing one side at a time it gives you the ability to focus on the squeeze and the connection. My advice when it comes to dumbbell single arm row is to make sure you got support and remember to “Aim for your pocket”. I see a lot of people pulling the dumbbell straight up, this is incorrect, you have to bring the dumbbell up AND back (Aiming to hit your trouser pocket) this is the natural path for the Lats. Perform 3 sets of 8-10 reps. Then move on to the next exercise.

The next exercise is a cable lateral raise! As with eh chest fly, the cable lateral raise is good because the tension will always be there and not drop off! These are a great shoulder exercise and work well in a high rep range as, due to gravity, you won’t be able to lift a huge amount. So for these reasons, we will bet performing 3 sets of 15-20. 

Upper Body Day Breakdown Continued

We are then moving back to the chest by performing a piston press. A variation on your standard press. If you haven’t tried piston press I recommend it. For me, I connect better with piston press than I do with standard dumbbell press. So perform 3 sets of 8-10 reps. Keep the weight under control and slow the reps down. 

Moving on to Single arm lat pull down. As with the row, we are doing a single arm pull down, For the same reason! You can focus on the squeeze and control more when performing single-arm exercises. Use whatever grip is most comfortable for you. I would highly advise you to use D-Handles, this will allow your wrist to find its natural position. Perform 3 sets of 15-20 reps. So a high rep exercise.

Time for the last shoulder exercise and this is going to be a standing Military/Barbell press. This is our heavier exercise for shoulders. This goes against a few of the points that we mentioned earlier about allowing your wrists to fall in a natural position. However, for a heavy lifting shoulder exercise that isn’t a dumbbell exercise, this is the perfect one. Perform 3 sets of 8-10 reps.

To finish off we are going to perform an arm superset. For biceps, we are going to do a Machine Rope Curl and for the triceps, we are going to perform Bodyweight Dips on a dip machine or dip station. Perform these back to back, so as soon as you finish the bicep exercise, you move straight onto the dips. with 4 sets on both exercises. For the Rope Curls, we are going to perform 12-15 reps and for the triceps, we are going to perform 8-10 reps.

After Each exercise take a 30-60 rest! You want to try to keep it under 45 seconds really to keep the intensity high! However, if you feel your performance laking take a longer rest!


  • Focus on form and speed, Slowing things down will benefit you so much more that trying to go as fast as possible or lifting as much as possible
  • If you find 8-10 reps easy for the dips, either increase the reps, or add more weight using a weighted belt.
  • Adjust the weights so that you are hitting the rep range. If it is to easy then increase the weight.


So there you go, a non-standard Upper Body Day workout you can try if you want to jazz things up!   We have already posted a fair few workouts, If you want to have a look at out just head over to this page and you will see all the workouts we have made. You can also just search for “workout” in the blog search bar. I am sure there is something there for everyone.

Remember if you want more workouts like this, then head over and give our workout Application a look. Our free app contains hundreds of workouts as well as many other features to help you in your fitness journey! We want to help you as much as we can! Any questions you might have let us know on our advice page!

Back to Blog

Sets and Rep founder blog image

Written by Kieran Blacker

Kieran is the CEO and Founder of Sets & Reps. He decided to make an application that helped people get a gym workout when not at the gym. He designed, Coded and built the application himself.