Wanting some info to jumpstart your chest and tricep workout? Look no further. We have the ultimate chest and tricep workout to get you the results you crave. Enjoy!
Looking for that pump in your chest?
How about horseshoe-shaped triceps?
Everyone looking to pack on some upper body muscle is searching for these, but many fail.
Probably a combo of not hitting the muscles from all different angles, not lifting enough weight or sticking to just a one-rep scheme and not mixing it up to hit your chest and tri workout.
A typical strength training split may combine the chest and triceps muscle groups into one workout. This works well because while these two muscles are located on opposite sides of the body – chest in the anterior portion and triceps in the posterior region – they work together. For example, any time you bench press, the chest muscles, or pectorals, are the primary movers while the triceps are the synergists or the muscles that assist the primary mover to complete the motion.
To reach your full muscular potential, you must incorporate compound movements, shock the muscles from different directions and introduce some varying rep schemes to break through plateaus.
Your Ultimate Chest And Tricep Workout
The Bench Press
One of the ultimate strength training exercises is the bench press. Whether you are at a powerlifting meet, the NFL combine looking at a rob gronkowski workout or just looking for a beginner workout, there is always a bench press station and it is one of the top upper body exercises you can perform.
The bench press is a compound exercise, hitting the pectorals, as well as the triceps, anterior deltoid, and your core region.
Compound exercises are important to your routine because they are the most efficient and best way to build muscle. When performing a compound movement such as the bench press, your body reacts to the stress placed on it, releasing the hormones, testosterone, and human growth hormone, into your system. These two hormones help stimulate the growth of muscles and burn fat.
You can research a massive chest workout as well for an extra pump.
Start your workout split with the bench press. Compound lifts should be performed at the beginning of each training session because they require the most energy. For every movement, form should be mastered before moving up to heavier loads. Not only does this increase efficiency and performance, but, more importantly, injury risk decreases.
The bench press can be performed using a barbell or dumbbells. Let’s start with the barbell. Start lying supine on the bench under the bar. Grab the bar with an overhand grip and hands equal-width apart. Try to find the middle between a wide grip, which compromises the range of motion, and a narrow grip, one that places more emphasis on the triceps region.
Dismount the bar from the rack and lower it to your chest with your elbows going out. Your elbows should not go to 90-degree angles, however, as that places excess stress on the shoulders. Instead aim to tuck them in and have them at a 45-degree angle. After the bar reaches your chest, press back up extending your arms.
Don’t have a spotter or feel like you have imbalances?
Try using dumbbells, making sure both sides have to go through a full range of motion. If you have too heavy of a weight, just drop them. Start your workout with a flat bench press and aim for 3 sets of 4 to 8 reps. Master the flat bench before incorporating the incline and decline bench press. Those are progressions that can be made to mix up your routine.
Not everyone has a gym membership or you may be traveling a lot for work. That’s fine because you can target your chest with push-ups. Requiring little space and just your body, the push-up hits the same muscles as the bench press and places an even stronger emphasis on your core region because you are in a prone position and do not have the bench for stabilization.
If you looking for an extra challenge you can always attempt the 100 pushups workout.
The key to a perfect push-up is keeping your body in a plank position. Start in a prone position with the body in a straight line from your head to your heels. Your hands should be slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Start the movement by lowering your entire body, bending your elbows until they reach 90 degrees. Then push your body back up until your arms are extended. Like the bench press, try to tuck your elbows into a 45-degree angle to keep shoulder injury risk low.
Need something more challenging?
Try decline push-ups with your feet on a bench or Spiderman push-ups(a push-up variation) where you bring one knee to the same side elbow at the bottom of the movement.
Need a regression?
That’s fine too. Start either on your knees or by performing a standing push-up on the Smith Machine. If first starting the exercise, aim for three sets of 10 to 12 reps of perfect push-ups. Once that becomes too easy, try to get 25 reps without any rest and then 50 reps. A great body weight exercises for any place, push-ups are good to do on their own or a great way to finish a workout with a burnout.
While you’ve targeted your chest with the bench press and push-ups, now is the time to hit it from a different angle. Chest flyes are a perfect way to do that.
Using a pair of dumbbells, lie in a supine position on the bench and bring the dumbbells above your chest with your palms facing one another. With a slight bend in your elbows, lower the dumbbells to your sides until you feel a full chest stretch. Keep the movement smooth and under control so you do not place excess stress on the pectoral region.
Once you have reached a full stretch at the bottom of the movement, bring the dumbbells back to the starting position squeezing your pectorals at the top of the movement. Try to complete three sets of 10 to 12 reps with a lighter weight before moving on to a heavier weight.
Another great chest movement is the dumbbell pullover. Working in a different direction than both the press and flye, the pullover places a strong emphasis on your core region.
Only needing one dumbbell, lie supine on a bench and cup the dumbbell with both of your hands. With your arms fully extended and the dumbbell over your chest, pull it back over your head, feeling a full chest and abs stretch. When you have reached the full stretch, bring the dumbbell back to the starting position. Try for three sets of 10 to 12 reps on the pullover.
Isolating Your Triceps
To isolate your triceps, it all comes down to one basic movement: Bending and extending the arms with a narrow grip. Using ropes, dumbbells, barbells or bodyweight, here are a few exercises to implement into your routine.
Instead of opting for the more taxing narrow-grip bench press, try some skull crushers. There is no need for a narrow-grip press because you have already completed a regular bench press. Skullcrushers, or lying triceps extensions, are performed using a smaller barbell, a curl bar or a pair of dumbbells.
Start in a supine position on the bench.
Use a narrow overhand grip on the bar or a neutral grip (palms facing one another) if you are using dumbbells. Keeping your arms lined up with the outside of your body, press the weight up so that your arms are fully extended and elbows are in line with your shoulders. Start the initial movement by bending your elbows and lowering the bar back toward your forehead until your elbows reach a 90-degree angle. Press it back up to the starting position, making sure you keep your elbows from flaring out.
Triceps Rope Pushdowns
Barbells and dumbbells are checked off the list.
How about using cables?
The triceps rope pushdown is a very popular exercise. Set up pulley so when you grab the rope attachment, you are standing with your elbows at 90 degrees.
Facing the rope, keep your elbows narrow so they are hugging your sides. Push the rope down until your arms are fully extended. To get deeper into the triceps, push out with your wrists at the bottom so they finish with your palms facing the floor.
You’ve used barbells, dumbbells, and cables. Now there’s no access to equipment. That’s fine because you can use your body weight for dips.
Using a chair or bench, place your palms on the edge of it and arms fully extended. Keeping the bottom close to the bench or chair, lower your body until your elbows reach 90 degrees before pushing back up to the starting position.
Where do your feet go?
Depending on the strength of your triceps, this can vary. For beginners, keep your feet on the floor and knees bent to 90 degrees. A step up would be extending your legs so they are completely straight.
Want more of a challenge?
Place your feet on a bench or box so they are elevated. Want the ultimate challenge?
With your feet on a box or bench, place a weight on your legs.
Don’t Forget Alternate Approaches
Dumbbells, barbells, and your own bodyweight are great ways to train. However, there are other tools you can use to target your chest. Many gyms have a cable system that can be particularly useful for performing chest flyes. Think of the chest region in three different layers: Top, middle and bottom.
Adjusting the cables to different heights allows us to target those different areas. To hit the top of the pectorals on the chest fly, set up the cables about shoulder height. To target the middle, set them up around the chest line. To target the lower region, set the cable height to mid-abdomen and utilize an underhand grip.
Don’t have a cable system?
Try using resistance bands. These are a great piece of equipment for a home gym or if you’re on the road. Stick to three sets of 10 to 12 reps or superset these movements, performing each without any rest in between.
Chances are strong that if you have completed all of these chest exercises I’ve laid out, your body is going to be pretty taxed and your triceps are certainly going to be feeling it. As a synergist for most chest movements, the triceps do not need a ton of work. There is always some room at the end of your workout for some isolation time, though.
Including These Into Your Chest And Tricep Workout
There are many ways to implement these exercises into your routine. First, if you are a beginner, opt for straight sets of these exercises and master the form. Take about one minute of rest in between each set to give yourself some time to energize for the next set.
Want a bigger challenge or just don’t have a whole lot of time?
Try implementing super setting or tri-sets. For example, after completing the bench press, superset chest flyes, and pullovers by not resting between each set. This will help raise your metabolism and burn more calories while receiving the strength benefits.
For the three triceps movements, implement a tri-set. This is super setting but with just three exercises.
Only have your bodyweight?
Superset push-ups and bench dips and perform 10 sets of 10 reps. This will leave your upper body feeling the effects well after your workout.
There you have it. This is the ultimate chest workout and tricep Workout. Whether you are a beginner, intermediate or preparing for a powerlifting meet, these movements all have a place in your workout. Try implementing some of these strategies to not only increase your strength and numbers on the bench press or number of push-ups you can perform but also to create lean muscle.
Try this routine once per week in the beginning before adding a second session at the end of the week. Make sure there is rest time between each workout to ensure proper recovery. Lift heavy, lift hard and lift smart.
By Adam Clark, CPT