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Chest and Back Strength Workout

This chest and back workout focuses on strength with classic, straightforward exercises targeting the largest upper body muscles:  the chest and back.  Each superset includes an exercise for the chest, followed by an exercise for the back.  You'll alternate each exercise, with short rests in between, for a total of 1-3 sets depending on the time you have and your fitness level.  Choose heavy weights for these exercises, enough that you can ONLY complete the assigned number of reps.  You can complete this workout in about 30-60 minutes, depending on how many sets you do.  This workout is great for both intermediate and advanced exercisers and works in a split routine with this Biceps and Triceps Workout and this Legs and Shoulders Workout

See your doctor before trying this workout if you have any injuries, illnesses or other conditions.

Equipment Needed
Various weighted dumbbells, a barbell, a step or incline bench, and an exercise ball.

How To

  • Warm up for 5-10 minutes with light cardio or lighter versions of the exercises below
  • Perform the exercises in superset one after the other with short rests in between
  • Complete 1 set of each superset for a shorter workout, or 2-3 sets for a more challenging workout  
  • Use enough weight or resistance so that you can ONLY complete the desired number of reps
  • Between each set of exercises, rest for 30-60 seconds 

Warm up with as many pushups as you can do in one minute.
Superset 1
Barbell Bench Press

Lie on a bench or stop and hold a heavy barbell with hands wider than shoulders.  Begin with the weight over the chest and bend the elbows, lowering the bar until it's hovering just over the chest.  Press the weight up without locking the elbows and repeat for 12 reps.
Barbell Row

Hold a heavy barbell in front of the thighs, hands shoulder-width apart and bend forward to about 45 degrees, abs in and back flat.  Squeeze the back to pull the barbell up towards the belly button.  Lower and repeat for 12 reps.
Repeat Superset 1 for a total of 3 sets
Superset 2
Incline Chest Press
Incline Chest Press
Lie down on an incline bench or step (as shown) and begin with heavy dumbbells in each hand straight up over the chest, palms facing out. Bend the elbows and lower the arms down until the elbows are just below the chest. Press the weights back up without locking the elbows and repeat for 12 reps.
One-Armed Row

Place left foot on a step and support the body with the left hand as you hold a heavy weight in the right hand, hanging the weight down towards the floor. Squeeze the back to pull the elbow up in a rowing motion until it is level with the torso. Lower down and repeat for 12, then switch sides.
Repeat Superset 2 for a total of 3 sets
Superset 3
Dumbbell Chest Fly with Rotation
  Lie on a bench and hold weights over the chest with the palms facing each other. Keeping the elbows slightly bent, lower the arms out to the sides until they're level with the chest. Squeeze chest to bring the arms up, rotating the weights so that the pinkies face each other.  Repeat for 12 reps.
 sspullover1.jpg (15867 bytes) sspullover2.jpg (11836 bytes)
Lie on a bench or ball (as shown), holding a heavy dumbbell straight up overhead.  Lower the weight behind your head, arms slightly bent, until you're level with the bench.  Squeeze your back to pull the weight back up and repeat for 12 reps.
Repeat Superset 3 for a total of 3 sets
Superset 4
Walking Pushups
Prisoner Squat JumpsPrisoner Squat Jumps
Begin in a pushup position with the left hand on a paper plate or band. Perform a pushup and, as you press up, walk the hands to the left until the right hand is on the paper plate. Continue pushups, alternating walking the hands to either side for a total of 12 reps (one rep includes walking to the right and left).
Back Extensions

Lie face down on a mat and place the hands behind the head.  Contract the abs and keep them contracted throughout the exercise.  Squeeze the back to lift the chest a few inches off the floor.  Lower and repeat for 16 reps.
Repeat Superset 4 for a total of 3 sets
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