A Chest and Triceps Exercise for Basic Dimension and Energy

Amongst skilled lifters, heading into the gymnasium for a targeted chest and triceps exercise stands as a testomony to critical dedication. From powerlifters aiming for his or her subsequent bench press PR to bodybuilders striving for a near-perfect physique, these classes are elementary within the lifting world. It’s not simply in regards to the aesthetics; it’s about strength, resilience, and dedication.

Coaching your chest and triceps collectively provides a balanced strategy, maximizing each push mechanics and muscle engagement. Whether or not you’re a seasoned athlete or somebody simply beginning out, there’s at all times room to refine method, push boundaries, and see real progress.

Credit score: Prostock-studio / Shutterstock

This exercise makes use of an strategy impressed by the “Mountain Canine” — legendary bodybuilding coach John Meadows. This methodology consists in a selected sequencing of workouts thought out to maximise the mind-muscle connection, construct the muscular pump, and protect longevity within the gymnasium. Time to dive in and elevate your chest and triceps sport to the following stage.

Chest and Triceps Exercise

The way to Heat-up for a Higher Chest and Triceps Exercise

Warming up earlier than diving into an intense chest and triceps exercise isn’t only a suggestion — it’s a vital step. A correct warm-up primes the physique, steadily rising the center fee, enhancing blood movement to the muscle tissues, and lubricating the joints. This ensures not solely optimum muscle engagement and suppleness but in addition considerably reduces the chance of accidents. (1)

That is very true for classes involving the shoulder joint (chest, shoulders, or “pushing” exercises) as it’s the most versatile, but in addition comparatively fragile, within the physique. With out this preparatory section, muscle tissues stay stiff, making them extra vulnerable to strains or pulls, and joints might be caught off guard, resulting in pointless stress and even long-term injury.

Warming up has psychological advantages, as nicely. It gives a transition interval, permitting you to mentally put together and give attention to the upcoming exercise. This psychological shift from relaxation to exercise is essential for optimum efficiency, making certain that each the physique and thoughts are in sync. Thus, skipping the warm-up not solely jeopardizes bodily well being but in addition diminishes the general high quality and effectiveness of the exercise. (2)

  1. Band Over-and-Again: Maintain a lightweight resistance band at shoulder-height with an overhand grip and your elbows straight. Barely hinge ahead so that you just don’t “cheat” the train by arching your again. Stay in that place, squeeze your shoulder blades collectively, and prolong your arms out to the edges to supply pressure. Hold your arms straight the entire time and transfer the band from in entrance of you, up and overhead, and behind your again so far as consolation and mobility enable. Then convey the band again to the preliminary place. Carry out 10 repetitions earlier than shifting on the following train.
  2. Band Pull-Aside: Stand absolutely upright and start together with your arms collectively in entrance of you at chest-height. Stretch the band by pulling the band aside and squeezing your shoulder blades collectively till your arms are prolonged to kind a T-shape out to the edges. Repeat for 12 to fifteen repetitions and transfer on to the final train.
  3. Band Triceps Extension: Loop the band round a steady overhead help like a power rack in order that it’s above head-height. Seize the band with each arms, brace your core, and bend barely ahead. Whereas preserving your elbows glued to your ribs, prolong your forearms down, then flex your higher arms to stretch your triceps earlier than extending them once more. Repeat for 30 to 50 reps. Repeat this complete circuit one or two extra instances for a radical warm-up.

The Tried and True Chest and Triceps Exercise

This exercise consists of six workouts — 4 chest exercises and two triceps exercises —  organized in a selected method to reap essentially the most advantages. You possibly can carry out it a few times per week, relying on whether or not you discover these physique elements to be a “weak level” or not.

The chest and triceps exercise might be embrace in both a standard body part-focused workout split or as a “pushing exercise” in a push/pull/leg plan, with a second push day specializing in the shoulders as a substitute of the chest.

Chest and Triceps Exercise Abstract

  • Slight Decline Dumbbell Bench Press — 4 x 8
  • Slight Incline Barbell Bench Press — 3 x 6-8
  • Machine Chest Press — 1 x 15 with triple rest-pause
  • Pec-Deck — 2 x 12-15 with iso-holds
  • Rope Pushdown — 2 x 12-15
  • Mendacity Triceps Extension — 3 x 8-12

Slight Decline Dumbbell Bench Press

First, we launch with the decline dumbbell bench press. It’s all about activation — consider the train as espresso to your chest. Discard the everyday “barbell train first” strategy many lifters use and, as a substitute, take a extra for a joint-friendly strategy. The decline place, in addition to utilizing dumbbells, will provide help to really feel and activate your chest muscle tissues higher. (3)(4) This fashion, you’ll scale back the chance of harm and also you’ll be capable to recruit your chest higher within the subsequent workouts.

The satan’s within the element and, for a greater chest recruitment and luxury, we need to use slight angles or we threat shifting the load away from the pecs and onto the shoulders or triceps. So don’t get loopy with the decline and use a roughly 10-degree angle — or place a single 25 or 45-pound weight plate beneath the foot-end of a flat bench. At all times carry out just a few warm-up units beforehand, as it’s the first train of the session and your shoulder joints nonetheless want gradual preparation. 

  • The way to do it: Lay down on the decline bench with a pair of dumbbells in your arms. Relying in your particular person set-up, safe your ft beneath the pad, on a step, or on the plate you place beneath the bench for elevation. Barely arch your higher again, squeeze your shoulder blades, and press the burden up whereas exhaling, ensuring you retain your elbows and wrists aligned with out flaring them or tilting them backward. Decrease the burden together with your palms dealing with ahead, utilizing management till the edges of the dumbbells are nearly touching your chest. Press again to the beginning place.
  • Units and Reps: 4 x 8
  • Relaxation Time: Relaxation 90 to 120 seconds between units.

Advantages of the Slight Decline Dumbbell Bench Press

  • The dumbbells enable for a extra pure and joint-friendly movement, making it a super train to start out a session.
  • The slight decline will increase the recruitment of the chest in comparison with the triceps and shoulders, bettering your mind-muscle connection and muscle development.
  • The slight decline focuses on the sternal portion of the pectoralis (decrease chest) which could be a profit in case your physique is lagging on this space.

Slight Incline Barbell Bench Press

Subsequent up is the incline barbell bench press for these craving energy and oomph. After the “activation” train, it’s time for the “explosive” section with an enormous barbell motion. This can allow you to use a ton of weight to advertise hypertrophy via mechanical pressure. It’s nonetheless early within the session, so you must have a great deal of power left.

That is referred to as the “explosive” train as a result of we need to transfer the barbell as quick as doable through the concentric section (once you push the burden up) in an effort to enhance power and recruit as many kind II fibers as doable — these are the largest muscle fibers, those we’re after to optimize development.

The slight incline bench press is a wonderful pièce de résistance, because the incline will give attention to the higher chest, a physique half many lifters are poor in. As soon as once more, intention for a slight angle as a substitute of a steep incline. One thing like 15 to 30-degrees will higher recruit the chest as a substitute of the anterior deltoids. (5) Intention for heavy units of six the primary week, then attempt to do 7, then 8 reps with the identical weight the next weeks earlier than rising it.

  • The way to do it: Arrange an adjustable bench to a 15 to 30-degree angle and lay on it. Squeeze your shoulder blades collectively so that they lay flat on the bench. Unrack the barbell, utilizing a grip round 1.5-times your shoulder-width. Squeeze the bar exhausting and decrease it with management towards your clavicles or higher chest. Cease a pair inches earlier than touching it, in case your shoulders are problematic, and press the burden up as exhausting and quick as you’ll be able to whereas exhaling.
  • Units and Reps: 3 x 6-8
  • Relaxation Time: Relaxation two to a few minutes between units.

Advantages of the Slight Incline Barbell Bench Press

  • An incline angle, even a slight one, prompts the clavicular head (higher half) of the pectoralis main more than a flat bench. This makes it significantly helpful for these seeking to improve the definition and dimension of their higher chest.
  • The slight incline place could scale back the quantity of stress on the anterior deltoid and the rotator cuff, as in comparison with a flat bench press. This probably minimizes the chance of shoulder accidents, particularly for these with pre-existing shoulder circumstances.
  • The slight incline angle may need extra carryover to on a regular basis actions and sports activities that require pushing or throwing at an upward angle. This practical power is beneficial not only for athletes but in addition in each day life situations.

Machine Chest Press

Now we use a chest press machine to chase that coveted pump. Ever been so pumped you felt like you possibly can bounce cash off your chest? If not, you quickly could be. We’re aiming for that within the “pump” section by driving numerous vitamins, metabolites, and blood into the muscle tissues to stimulate sarcoplasmic hypertrophy. This may enhance the quantity of the muscle cells and probably set off much more development. For an incredible pump impact, you need an train which will probably be comparatively secure to go to failure so you’ll be able to actually push your self, whereas additionally focusing on your chest as a lot as doable.

The machine chest press is an ideal match because it develops the chest as a complete, rounding out the earlier angle-focused pummeling. A top quality machine doesn’t necessitate stability or high-level method, so the motion is safer. Finish with the high-intensity rest-pause method to push your self out of your consolation zone and stimulate most muscle development. (6) Intention for a really exhausting set of 15 repetitions, then anticipate 20 seconds, and do as many reps as you’ll be able to with the identical weight. Then do it once more twice! It’s going to principally doubtless be only some reps the final time.

  • The way to do it: Discover your favourite chest press machine and get in securely. Set the bench peak so your arms are round mid-chest stage within the beginning place. Load the machine, puff your chest and squeeze your shoulder blades, and prolong your arms by pushing via the handles till they’re straight. Reverse the movement with management, whereas nonetheless remaining braced.
  • Units and Reps: 1 x 15 with triple rest-pause — carry out 15 reps to muscular failure, relaxation briefly, scale back the burden and carry out extra reps to failure. Relaxation briefly, scale back the burden and proceed. Relaxation briefly once more, and repeat one closing time.
  • Relaxation Time: Relaxation 20 to 30 seconds for every rest-pause.

Advantages of the Machine Chest Press

  • One of many foremost benefits of utilizing machines is security. For these lifting heavy or working as much as (or past) muscle fatigue, machines scale back the chance of dropping weights or failing mid-rep.
  • The machine chest press can present focused stimulation with out the interference of stabilizing muscle tissues, permitting you to totally really feel and focus in your chest.
  • The remainder-pause methodology successfully will increase time beneath pressure and metabolic stress, each of that are vital components for muscle development.

Pec-Deck Machine

Rounding off the chest, the pec-deck (or machine chest flye) provides the stretch you didn’t know you wanted however gained’t overlook anytime quickly. Now that our muscle tissues are actually warmed up, we will safely use workouts emphasizing the stretch with out harm. The stretch just isn’t solely nice to enhance mobility, but in addition is linked to extra muscle development. (7)

You can use cable crossovers as a substitute, however the pec-deck machine has the advantage of nullifying the stability and bracing wanted with the intention to solely focus in your muscle tissues. It’s an excellent train to isolate your chest and deep dive into the stretch with a minimal set-up effort and time. Do exhausting units of 15 repetitions and, after the ultimate rep, pause within the stretch place for 15 seconds to maintain stimulating the muscle past failure.

  • The way to do it: Sit on the machine and set the seat peak in order that your arms are at shoulder-level or barely decrease. Squeeze your shoulder blades collectively and brace your core. Carry your arms collectively in entrance of you and flex your chest as exhausting as doable on every repetition. Reverse the movement with management so far as doable whereas nonetheless having the ability to preserve pressure in your chest and repeat for the specified quantity of repetitions. On the final repetition, maintain the stretch place for 15 seconds.
  • Units and Reps: 2 x 12-15 utilizing a 15-second iso-hold on the finish of every set.
  • Relaxation Time: Relaxation 90 seconds between units.

Advantages of the Pec-Deck Machine

  • The pec-deck isolates the pectoral muscle tissues successfully, permitting for a concentrated exercise on the chest with out help from the shoulders or triceps.
  • The pec-deck permits for a deep stretch originally section of the motion, which may steadily enhance vary of movement within the shoulder joint and probably promote muscle hypertrophy. 
  • The mounted path of the machine ensures a constant vary of movement, making certain that the muscle tissues are labored via a selected and constant arc. This may be significantly useful for reinforcing correct motion patterns and making certain balanced growth on either side of the physique.

Rope Pushdown

Now it’s time to hammer your triceps. Doing them final ensures you’ll be able to raise essentially the most weight throughout your chest workouts, and that your delicate elbow joints are utterly prepared for the pummeling forward. In the identical spirit, we’re going to make use of the basic triceps pushdown with a rope attachment, a really joint-friendly train. Follow isolation workouts to easily end off your triceps as a result of they have been already stimulated quite a bit through the chest-focused a part of the session. 

This train is an ideal match to start out the triceps section because the rope permits for a clean and pure movement, enhancing mind-muscle connection with out placing extreme stress on the elbows. 

  • The way to do it: Stand in entrance of a pulley station and set it as excessive as doable. Connect a rope to it. In case you’re a long-limbed lifter, you possibly can even connect two ropes for an elevated vary of movement, grabbing one with every hand. Barely bend your knees and hinge ahead so that you just don’t unintentionally hit your self under the belt whereas performing the train. Brace your core and prolong your arms down whereas ensuring that solely your forearms are shifting. Within the backside place, squeeze your triceps as exhausting as you’ll be able to for a second. Slowly flex again your arms to stretch your triceps and repeat for the specified quantity of reps.
  • Units and Reps: 2 x 12-15
  • Relaxation Time: Relaxation 60 to 90 seconds between units.

Advantages of the Rope Pushdown

  • Utilizing a rope attachment permits for larger vary of movement than a straight bar, making certain optimum triceps engagement in comparison with different triceps workouts.
  • The managed motion of the pushdown, particularly when performed utilizing cables and a rope, locations much less stress on the elbow joint in comparison with free-weight triceps workouts. This may be advantageous for these with elbow points or seeking to forestall pressure.
  • The rope permits customers to unfold the ends aside on the backside of the motion, offering a further contraction or “squeeze” within the triceps. This may additional improve muscle activation and hypertrophy potential.

Mendacity Triceps Extension

We’re saving the perfect for final, because the mendacity triceps extension is a meat and potatoes motion in triceps coaching. You should use a ton of weight, thus selling unimaginable power and hypertrophy. However this train might be exhausting on the joints and we need to preserve egos in verify to keep away from any harm. This train can also be referred to as the “skull crusher,” so doing it on the finish of a session implies that your joints will higher tolerate the stress, and also you gained’t be capable to use as a lot weight due to the cumulative fatigue.

In any case, this train stays the king of triceps isolation workouts, so don’t suppose for a minute that it gained’t make your arms stretch your sleeves. If in case you have dangerous wrists, be at liberty to make use of the EZ bar, as this squiggly factor might be simpler on the joints.

  • The way to do it: Seize a barbell with a pronated (palm down) grip, shoulder-width or barely nearer, and lay down on a flat bench. Lengthen your arms towards the ceiling and brace your core. From there, bend your arms and have the barbell cease an inch earlier than it touches your brow — transfer solely your forearms, not your higher arms or shoulders — then press the burden up forcefully.
  • Units and Reps: 3 x 8-12
  • Relaxation Time: Relaxation 60 to 90 seconds between units.

Advantages of the Mendacity Triceps Extension

  • One of many main advantages of this train is the power to make use of comparatively heavy weights in comparison with another triceps isolation workouts. Heavier masses can produce larger mechanical pressure on the muscle fibers, a vital issue for muscle development.
  • The mendacity triceps extension is especially efficient at focusing on the lengthy head of the triceps, which is the most important of the three triceps heads.
  • This train has a pronounced eccentric (muscle-lengthening or reducing) section. Eccentric actions have been related to larger muscle injury, which could be a stimulus for muscle restore and development.

Muscle tissues Educated Through the Exercise

Whenever you’re performing a chest and triceps exercise, you’ll use varied workouts to focus on these muscle tissues, making certain complete growth. Compound actions like bench presses have interaction a number of muscle teams, whereas isolation workouts like triceps pushdowns or chest flies focus extra particularly on one group.

Pectoralis Main

That is the most important muscle within the chest, nicely, the one we merely name “the chest.” The clavicular head (higher chest) originates from the clavicle and helps in flexing the humerus (as in lifting the arm in entrance of you). The sternal head (decrease/mid-chest) originates from the sternum and aids in adducting and rotating the humerus (as in flapping the arm down and inward).

Workout routines performed on an horizontal aircraft work the pectoralis as complete, whereas incline variations goal the higher chest, and decline workouts work extra the decrease chest.

Triceps Brachii

Situated on the again of the higher arm, it has three heads. The lengthy head is the most important and runs alongside the again of the arm. It performs a task in extending the arm and adducting it (shifting it towards the physique). The lateral head is situated on the outer facet of the arm, giving the triceps its horseshoe form. Lastly, the medial head is deeper and runs beneath the lengthy and lateral heads. It assists in extending the forearm.


Whereas the pectorals and triceps are the first focus, the anterior deltoid (entrance shoulder) is unavoidably activated and labored to a major diploma. This overlap is one purpose why many coaching applications usually pair chest with shoulders or enable sufficient relaxation between chest and shoulder exercises to make sure the anterior deltoids recuperate correctly. The center and posterior deltoids are additionally recruited to an extent particularly on incline actions or as stabilizer. 

Unlocking Higher Physique Excellence

There’s an artwork and science to efficient coaching and this exercise fantastically melds each. By prioritizing joint well being and muscle activation, we’re not simply lifting weights; we’re sculpting an higher physique masterpiece. The considerate association of workouts, mixed with strategies like iso-holds and rest-pauses, ensures every muscle fiber is recruited for max acquire. 

In order you energy via every rep, do not forget that it’s extra than simply movement — it’s purposeful progress. Whether or not you’re a seasoned gym-goer or stepping onto the exercise flooring for the primary time, this chest and triceps routine guarantees outcomes that talk for themselves. Give it your all and watch as power, definition, and confidence develop into your exercise rewards.


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  5. Rodríguez-Ridao, D.; Antequera-Vique, J.A.; Martín-Fuentes, I.; Muyor, J.M. Impact of 5 Bench Inclinations on the Electromyographic Exercise of the Pectoralis Main, Anterior Deltoid, and Triceps Brachii through the Bench Press Train. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Well being 2020, 17, 7339. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17197339 
  6. Krzysztofik M, Wilk M, Wojdała G, Gołaś A. Maximizing Muscle Hypertrophy: A Systematic Evaluation of Superior Resistance Coaching Methods and Strategies. Int J Environ Res Public Well being. 2019 Dec 4;16(24):4897. doi: 10.3390/ijerph16244897. PMID: 31817252; PMCID: PMC6950543.
  7. Warneke Okay, Brinkmann A, Hillebrecht M, Schiemann S. Affect of Lengthy-Lasting Static Stretching on Maximal Energy, Muscle Thickness and Flexibility. Entrance Physiol. 2022 Could 25;13:878955. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2022.878955. PMID: 35694390; PMCID: PMC9174468.

Featured Picture: MDV Edwards / Shutterstock

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