Full Upper Body Workout | Stephanie Sanzo, aka StephFitMum

Learn how to build a strong upper body with this full workout from Primeval Labs athlete and powerlifter Stephanie Sanzo (StephFitMum).

Today’s workout focuses on the muscles that create the “V Taper” shape (shoulders and back).

Here’s the full workout!

Stephanie Sanzo Upper Body Workout

Before jumping into her workout, Stephanie begins with a thorough warm up for the entire upper body including:

  • Band Dislocations
  • Lateral raises
  • Rear delt raises
  • Straight-arm pulldowns
  • Face pulls
  • Cable Rear Delt Rows

The point with the warm up circuit is to increase blood flow to the muscles of the upper body, reinforce the mind-muscle connection, and prepare the joints, ligaments, and connective tissue for the heavy lifting ahead.

As such, you should be using a relatively light weight to perform the warm up exercises. Focus on controlled movements with good form.

Perform each exercise in the warm up circuit for 10-12 repetitions, and then rest for 1-2 minutes in between each circuit. Perform a total of 3 rounds of the warm up.

Once the warm up is complete, it’s time to get started with the real workout!




Cable External Rotation



Military Press



Wide Grip Pull Ups



EZ Bar Curl + Press



Sir Charles Raise



1-Arm Dumbbell Row



Stephanie Sanzo Upper Body Training Pointers

External Rotations

External rotations are important for shoulder health and they also get the shoulder complex ready for the heavy overhead pressing up next. By filling the rear delts with blood, you’re creating a more stable and secure base that will allow you to move heavier weights.

To perform the external rotation:

Place a cable pulley about waist-height and attach a single handle. Grasp the handle with your right hand so that your left side is closest to the machine.

Keep your right elbow tucked to your side and fixed at a 90° angle throughout the exercise. Pull cable attachment away from your body as far as possible by externally rotating shoulder. Pause for a second at the top before slowly returning to the starting position.

As you perform the movement, do not allow your elbows to flare or drift away from your torso.

Barbell Shoulder Press

Now that the shoulders are good and warmed up, it's time to tackle the heavy lifting portion of the workout.


Stephanie begins today's workout with the standing military press. When pressing overhead, make sure your shoulders and wrists stay in line, keeping everything tight in close to the body and in alignment.

This helps ensures there's no "energy leaks" in your kinetic chain, allowing you to press a maximal amount of weight safely. Deeping shoulders and wrists in line and keeping your arms in close to the body also helps reduce the risk of strain on the shoulder joint.


When pressing, try not to use too much leg drive. Remember, we're performing a strict overhead barbell press here, not a push press.

Wide Grip Pull Ups

Pull ups are an excellent upper body mass builder, that are great for targeting the lats as well as all of the other muscles of the upper back, including the rhomboids, teres major, infraspinatus, rear delts, traps, and of course...biceps!

As you pull yourself up, focus on pulling your shoulder blades down and back, driving your elbows into your back pockets and maintaining a long neck. This will help make sure you pulling with your lats and not overly relying on your arms and traps to do all of the work.

If you are not strong enough to perform bodyweight pull ups, you can use a pull up assist machine or wrap a resistance band around the chin up bar. You can also try working on inverted rows (Australian pull ups) to help develop the back strength necessary to perform full range-of-motion unassisted chin ups and pullups.

Sir Charles Raise

If you’re not familiar with this lateral raise variation, no need to stress.

We’ve discussed it previously in another Stephanie Sanzo Back & Shoulders Workout, but in case you need a refresher:

The Sir Charles lateral raise is similar to a normal dumbbell lateral raise whereby you raise your arms out to the side, hold for a second and then lower.

However, the “twist” with the Sir Charles lateral raise comes by first performing a hammer curl before proceeding into the lateral raise portion of the exercise.

To perform the Sir Charles Lateral Raise:

  • Hold a pair of dumbbells at your side using a neutral grip
  • Begin the exercise by flexing your elbows until your lower arm and upper arm form a 90 degree angle
  • Once your arms reach 90 degrees, pause and maintain this 90 degree angle as you raise your arms out to the side
  • Once your upper arms are parallel to the ground, hold this position while you extend the elbow to straighten the arm, all the while ensuring your upper arm remains parallel to the ground
  • Finally, with straight arms, slowly lower your arms, returning the dumbbells to your side

That’s one rep.

1-Arm Dumbbell Row

Another excellent mass building exercise for the back is the 1-arm dumbbell row.

As great as the exercise is for building muscle and strength in the upper back, many people perform the exercise improperly as they tend to pull the dumbbell up into their armpit. This turns the 1-arm row into an ultra-heavy hammer curl where you’re stressing the bicep, but not so much the lats and rhomboids.

To get the most of this exercise, make sure you are pulling along an arc where the dumbbell starts out in front of your shoulder, and as you pull you want to draw the dumbbell back to your hip.

Performing the dumbbell row in this manner increases activation of the lats and helps you avoid turning the exercise into a glorified hammer curl.

Intracell 7 Black -- Supreme Intra Workout Training Fuel

It’s no surprise that one of Stephanie’s favorite supplements to help fuel her intense training sessions is Primeval Labs Intracell 7 Black.

Each serving of Intracell 7 Black supplies a full spectrum of essential amino acids (EAAs) along with 20 grams of fast-digesting carbohydrates to support energy production, performance, and muscle growth.

Intracell 7 Black also contains ingredients that support increased blood flow and nutrient delivery as well as hydration.

Available in three delicious flavors, Intracell 7 Black mixes seamlessly and digests easily to help you maintain a high level of performance even during the most intense workouts.