A Chest and Triceps Exercise for Basic Dimension and Power

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

Coaching your chest and triceps collectively presents 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 technique consists in a particular sequencing of workout routines 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 recreation to the following degree.

Chest and Triceps Exercise

Tips on how 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 charge, enhancing blood movement to the muscle mass, and lubricating the joints. This ensures not solely optimum muscle engagement and adaptability but additionally considerably reduces the chance of accidents. (1)

That is very true for periods involving the shoulder joint (chest, shoulders, or “pushing” exercises) as it’s the most versatile, but additionally comparatively fragile, within the physique. With out this preparatory part, muscle mass stay stiff, making them extra inclined to strains or pulls, and joints will 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, guaranteeing that each the physique and thoughts are in sync. Thus, skipping the warm-up not solely jeopardizes bodily well being but additionally 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 lengthen your arms out to the edges to offer stress. Maintain 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 permit. Then carry the band again to the preliminary place. Carry out 10 repetitions earlier than transferring on the following train.
  2. Band Pull-Aside: Stand absolutely upright and start along with your palms 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 assist like a power rack in order that it’s above head-height. Seize the band with each palms, brace your core, and bend barely ahead. Whereas retaining your elbows glued to your ribs, lengthen 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 whole circuit one or two extra occasions for a radical warm-up.

The Tried and True Chest and Triceps Exercise

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

The chest and triceps exercise will be embody 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 an alternative 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 on your chest. Discard the everyday “barbell train first” strategy many lifters use and, as an alternative, take a extra for a joint-friendly strategy. The decline place, in addition to utilizing dumbbells, will assist you to really feel and activate your chest muscle mass higher. (3)(4) This manner, you’ll cut back the chance of damage and also you’ll have the ability to recruit your chest higher within the subsequent workout routines.

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. All the time carry out a couple of warm-up units beforehand, as it’s the first train of the session and your shoulder joints nonetheless want gradual preparation. 

  • Tips on how to do it: Lay down on the decline bench with a pair of dumbbells in your palms. Relying in your particular person set-up, safe your toes 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 along with your palms dealing with ahead, utilizing management till the edges of the dumbbells are virtually 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 permit for a extra pure and joint-friendly movement, making it a perfect train to begin a session.
  • The slight decline will increase the recruitment of the chest in comparison with the triceps and shoulders, enhancing your mind-muscle connection and muscle progress.
  • The slight decline focuses on the sternal portion of the pectoralis (decrease chest) which is usually 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” part with an enormous barbell motion. It will allow you to use a ton of weight to advertise hypertrophy by mechanical stress. 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 in the course of the concentric part (while you push the burden up) so as to enhance power and recruit as many sort II fibers as doable — these are the largest muscle fibers, those we’re after to optimize progress.

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 an alternative of a steep incline. One thing like 15 to 30-degrees will higher recruit the chest as an alternative 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.

  • Tips on how 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 onerous 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 onerous 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 notably helpful for these trying to improve the definition and measurement of their higher chest.
  • The slight incline place might cut 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 helpful not only for athletes but additionally 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 might bounce cash off your chest? If not, you quickly is perhaps. We’re aiming for that within the “pump” part by driving numerous vitamins, metabolites, and blood into the muscle mass to stimulate sarcoplasmic hypertrophy. This could enhance the amount of the muscle cells and probably set off much more progress. For an awesome pump impact, you need an train which might be comparatively secure to go to failure so you’ll be able to actually push your self, whereas additionally concentrating on your chest as a lot as doable.

The machine chest press is an ideal match because it develops the chest as an entire, 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 progress. (6) Intention for a really onerous set of 15 repetitions, then look ahead to 20 seconds, and do as many reps as you’ll be able to with the identical weight. Then do it once more twice! It should largely possible be just a few reps the final time.

  • Tips on how to do it: Discover your favourite chest press machine and get in securely. Set the bench top so your palms are round mid-chest degree within the beginning place. Load the machine, puff your chest and squeeze your shoulder blades, and lengthen your arms by pushing by 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, cut back the burden and carry out extra reps to failure. Relaxation briefly, cut back the burden and proceed. Relaxation briefly once more, and repeat one ultimate time.
  • Relaxation Time: Relaxation 20 to 30 seconds for every rest-pause.

Advantages of the Machine Chest Press

  • One of many fundamental benefits of utilizing machines is security. For these lifting heavy or working as much as (or past) muscle fatigue, machines cut 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 mass, permitting you to totally really feel and focus in your chest.
  • The remainder-pause technique successfully will increase time beneath stress and metabolic stress, each of that are essential elements for muscle progress.

Pec-Deck Machine

Rounding off the chest, the pec-deck (or machine chest flye) presents the stretch you didn’t know you wanted however gained’t neglect anytime quickly. Now that our muscle mass are actually warmed up, we are able to safely use workout routines emphasizing the stretch with out damage. The stretch is just not solely nice to enhance mobility, but additionally is linked to extra muscle progress. (7)

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

  • Tips on how to do it: Sit on the machine and set the seat top in order that your arms are at shoulder-level or barely decrease. Squeeze your shoulder blades collectively and brace your core. Convey your arms collectively in entrance of you and flex your chest as onerous as doable on every repetition. Reverse the movement with management so far as doable whereas nonetheless having the ability to hold stress 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 mass 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 firstly part of the motion, which might 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, guaranteeing that the muscle mass are labored by a particular and constant arc. This may be notably helpful for reinforcing correct motion patterns and guaranteeing balanced improvement 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 carry probably the most weight throughout your chest workout routines, 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 traditional triceps pushdown with a rope attachment, a really joint-friendly train. Persist with isolation workout routines to easily end off your triceps as a result of they had been already stimulated rather a lot in the course of the chest-focused a part of the session. 

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

  • Tips on how 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 might 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 by accident hit your self under the belt whereas performing the train. Brace your core and lengthen your arms down whereas ensuring that solely your forearms are transferring. Within the backside place, squeeze your triceps as onerous 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, guaranteeing optimum triceps engagement in comparison with different triceps workout routines.
  • The managed motion of the pushdown, particularly when finished utilizing cables and a rope, locations much less stress on the elbow joint in comparison with free-weight triceps workout routines. This may be advantageous for these with elbow points or trying to forestall pressure.
  • The rope permits customers to unfold the ends aside on the backside of the motion, offering an extra contraction or “squeeze” within the triceps. This could additional improve muscle activation and hypertrophy potential.

Mendacity Triceps Extension

We’re saving the very best 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 unbelievable power and hypertrophy. However this train will be onerous on the joints and we need to hold egos in examine to keep away from any damage. This train can be referred to as the “skull crusher,” so doing it on the finish of a session signifies that your joints will higher tolerate the stress, and also you gained’t have the ability to use as a lot weight due to the cumulative fatigue.

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

  • Tips on how 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 workout routines. Heavier hundreds can produce larger mechanical stress on the muscle fibers, a essential issue for muscle progress.
  • The mendacity triceps extension is especially efficient at concentrating on the lengthy head of the triceps, which is the biggest of the three triceps heads.
  • This train has a pronounced eccentric (muscle-lengthening or reducing) part. Eccentric actions have been related to larger muscle injury, which is usually a stimulus for muscle restore and progress.

Muscle mass Educated Through the Exercise

If you’re performing a chest and triceps exercise, you’ll use numerous workout routines to focus on these muscle mass, guaranteeing complete improvement. Compound actions like bench presses interact a number of muscle teams, whereas isolation workout routines like triceps pushdowns or chest flies focus extra particularly on one group.

Pectoralis Main

That is the biggest 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).

Workouts finished on an horizontal airplane work the pectoralis as entire, whereas incline variations goal the higher chest, and decline workout routines work extra the decrease chest.

Triceps Brachii

Positioned on the again of the higher arm, it has three heads. The lengthy head is the biggest and runs alongside the again of the arm. It performs a job in extending the arm and adducting it (transferring it towards the physique). The lateral head is situated on the outer aspect 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 big diploma. This overlap is one cause why many coaching packages usually pair chest with shoulders or permit enough relaxation between chest and shoulder exercises to make sure the anterior deltoids get well 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 superbly 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 workout routines, mixed with methods like iso-holds and rest-pauses, ensures every muscle fiber is recruited for max achieve. 

In order you energy by 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 ground 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 grow to be 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 in the course of 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 Overview of Superior Resistance Coaching Strategies 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 Power, 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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