The #1 Best Chest And Tricep Workout For Insane Muscle Mass

June 07, 2020 12 min read

In today's article, we're going to be taking you through the best chest and tricep workout for developing muscle mass and strength.

To help you progress as efficiently as possible, we've combined the most optimal exercises for activating these muscle groups.

We're also showing you how to perform each exercise and tell you how many sets and repetitions you should aim for.

Whether you're completely new to training or have years of lifting experience under your belt, we've got you covered in this article.

Continue reading as we show you everything you need to know about effectively training your chest and triceps.

Why you should train chest and triceps together

We often get asked why it's advised to train chest and triceps together. It's something bodybuilders have been doing for decades, and there's a reason why they are following this routine.

That's because when performing most chest exercises, such as, for example, the bench press, you also activate your triceps in that movement.

You start the workout with your chest exercises, and once those are finished, you move on to the triceps exercises. Your triceps will be fatigued after completing the chest movements, meaning you won't have to do much more to finish them off.

Of course, it's not a must to train these body parts together. Plenty of people choose to do chest with biceps, as they prefer doing so. We're just showing you what we believe is the most effective routine.

Chest and triceps anatomy explained

In the workout we're about to show you, we're going to focus solely on the chest and triceps. But before we dive into the routine, we're going over the anatomy of these muscle groups.

By showing you the various parts of these muscle groups, you'll better understand what exercise activates which group.

First, let's check out the anatomy of the chest and then move on to the triceps.

Chest Muscle Anatomy

The chest is the centerpiece of your physique, and in this article, we'll be focusing on targeting this specific muscle group.

It can be split up into the pectoralis major, pectoralis minor, and the serratus anterior. Let's go over these muscles and show you where they are located.

Pectoralis Major

The Pectoralis major makes up the largest part of your chest. This part of the chest is fan-shaped. The pectoralis major can be found on both sides of the chest.

It reaches from your armpit to the collarbone and all the way down to your lower chest area. Both sides connect at the sternum.

Pectoralis Minor

Underneath the pectoralis major, you have the pectoralis minor. It is also located in the upper chest area. It's a smaller and thinner muscle that is found around the ribs.

Serratus Anterior

The serratus Anterior is a thin muscle located in the rib cage. It covers eight or nine of the upper ribs and is responsible for the movement of your scapula.

Triceps Muscle Anatomy

Next up is the triceps. The triceps are located on the upper back of your arms and are responsible for extending your elbow joints.

This muscle group makes up for most of your arms, as they are larger than the biceps.

The triceps consist of three different heads: the long head, lateral head, and medial head. Let's go over each part individually.

Long Head

The long head is the largest part of the triceps muscle. It runs down the back of your arm. It's essential to do at least one exercise during your workout that targets the long head, as it makes up for a large part of the muscle group.

Lateral Head

Next, we have the Lateral head. This part of your triceps is found on the outer side of your arm. The lateral head is often called the ''horse shoe'' part of the triceps.

Medial Head

Last but not least, we have the medial head. You'll find the medial head at the back of the upper arm. The medial head is found the opposite of the long head.

The 4 Best Chest Exercises For Muscle Growth

The exercises we're about to show you are going to target your chest muscle from every angle, meaning you will develop a well-balanced chest.

It involves compound movements, as well as isolation movements. By combining these types of movements, you'll be able to stimulate the muscles optimally.

We're going to start the chest and triceps workout with four exercises to target the chest, followed by three exercises for the triceps.

The reason we're hitting chest first is that it's a larger muscle group, meaning you're going to need more energy as it will be heavier to train.

Get ready as we take you through the best chest exercises for putting on muscle mass!

1. Barbell Bench Press

Bench-Press
Sets Repetitions

3 - 4

6 - 8

We find that the best and most effective exercise for targeting the chest is the bench press. We start our workout with this compound movement, as it will activate most muscle fibers in the chest.

When doing the bench press, you'll want to go as heavy as you can while remaining good form. But, make sure to warm up properly with several sets with a low weight.

How to perform the bench press:

  1. Lay down on a flat bench, create a slight arch in your lower back but keep your hips on the bench.
  2. Grab the barbell with a shoulder-width grip and squeeze your shoulder blades together.
  3. Now unrack the barbell and extend your arms so that the barbell is positioned above your chest.
  4. Lower the barbell all the way down so that it's about an inch from hitting your chest.
  5. Now push the barbell up while ensuring your elbows stay tucked in and repeat the process.

As with any exercise, it's very important to nail down your form on the bench press. Don't increase the weight until you are 100% sure that your form is correct.

Some people don't like doing the bench press, even though it's a good exercise. If you're one of those people, consider switching it out for dumbbell presses.

2. Incline Dumbell Press

incline-dumbbell-press
Sets Repetitions

3 - 4

8 - 12

Once you've finished your sets of bench presses, we're moving on to the incline dumbbell press. This is the second press movement of the workout

This exercise is another favorite of ours, as the incline angle helps you target the upper part of the chest. Growing your upper pecs will help your chest look bigger and more aesthetic.

How to perform the incline dumbbell press:

  1. Position your bench at a 15 to 30-degree angle and grab your dumbbells.
  2. Get seated on the bench and lean back with the dumbbells above your chest, palms facing forward.
  3. Keep your core tight while squeezing your shoulder blades together.
  4. Press the dumbbells up by fully extending your arms; make sure elbows are tucked in and not flared out.
  5. Once the dumbbells are at the top of the movement, slowly lower them back down to the starting position.

Make sure that you are completing the entire range of motion. That means lowering the dumbbells all the way down a few inches from touching your chest. You're activating as many muscle fibers in the chest as possible by doing this.

With this exercise, we will aim for a few more repetitions than our first exercise. Try to go for between 8 to 12 repetitions - if you're able to do more than 12, increase the weight.

If you don't like doing incline dumbbell presses, you can switch them out for an incline bench press. We prefer dumbbells as your pecs will work individually, meaning you won't be able to compensate for your weaker side.

3. Cable Crossover

Middle-Cable-Fly
Sets Repetitions

3 - 4

12 - 15

Now that we've completed both pressing movements, we're going to do cable crossovers. This is one of our favorites, as it's excellent for getting a good chest pump.

Cable crossovers are an excellent movement for isolating the chest, and it really helps you get that mind to muscle connection because you're able to squeeze the pecs together.

With this exercise, it's not about pushing a lot of weight. Aim for at least 12 repetitions and perform your reps slow and controlled.

How to perform cable crossovers:

  1. Position the cable handles all the way up, so they are above your head.
  2. Grab one cable handle in each hand, take a step forward, and put one foot ahead of the other.
  3. You should now feel a stretch as the weight will come out of the stack.
  4. Now bring the cable handles together down in front of you, squeeze your chest, and make sure your arms are slightly bent.
  5. Bring the cables together, have them nearly touch for maximum contraction, and repeat the process.

As we said earlier, don't go too heavy on cable crossovers. It's about stimulating your pecs properly, so make sure your form is on point and that you're feeling the muscles work.

Emphasize the negative part of this movement, and you'll feel the burn. If you don't have this piece of equipment, it's possible to switch out this exercise for dumbbell flyes or machine flyes.

Above you will find a video that will tell you everything you need to know about how to perform cable crossovers correctly.

4. Chest Dips

Chest-Dips
Sets Repetitions

3 - 4

8 - 12

Last but not least, we're going to be performing dips. Dips are an excellent bodyweight exercise that we consider a must-have in your chest and triceps workout routine.

What we like about dips is that it targets the lower chest, but it also works the triceps a lot. It's a win-win exercise, and it's a great way of finishing your chest and starting the triceps.

But as with any exercise, it's crucial to perform dips correctly. You want to activate the right muscle groups, so having good form is important.

How to perform dips:

  1. Jump up on the parallel dip bars and extend your arms.
  2. Proceed by lowering your body while leaning slightly forward.
  3. Go down until your arms are parallel to the floor, and make sure your elbows stay close to your body.
  4. Straighten your arms and push your body back up to the starting position.

During dips, it's important to lean slightly forward when doing them. This is going to help activate the chest muscles even more.

If you can easily reach 12 repetitions on dips, we recommend adding extra weight to make it more challenging. If you can't do dips yet, check if your gym has a dip machine that'll help make the movement easier.

Now get ready as we move on to the triceps exercises!

The 3 Best Triceps Exercises For Muscle Growth

You've finished your four chest exercises, and there's already a good amount of blood flowing to and through your triceps.

They'll already be slightly fatigued, but now it's time to train them directly with three key exercises. We're going to be hitting all three of the triceps heads with these movements, so let's check out the first exercise.

1. Tricep Pushdown

Tricep-Pushdown
Sets Repetitions

3

8 - 12

We're starting with triceps pushdowns, an exercise many of you will be familiar with. It's an excellent movement that'll help you develop that big horseshoe triceps.

For this exercise, we're going to be doing 3 sets. Use a challenging weight that you can do for between 8 to 12 reps. If you're unable to reach that number of repetitions, the weight is too heavy, and you need to go lighter.

How to perform triceps pushdown:

  1. Get positioned in front of the cable machine with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Grab the cable attachment with an overhand grip and keep your elbows tucked into the sides.
  3. Fully extend your elbows and push the attachment down, activating your triceps muscles.
  4. Pause at the bottom of the movement and slowly return to the starting position.

During the movement, make sure to keep a straight posture and not let your elbows flare out. Keep them tucked in. Otherwise, you're going to compensate with other muscle groups, which is not what you want.

By now, you'll really feel your triceps working. Let's continue with the second exercise for this muscle group.

2. Lying triceps extension

Lying-triceps-extensions
Sets Repetitions

3

8 - 12

Next up, we have the lying triceps extension, which many of you will know as skull crushers. It's a heavy movement that activates the whole triceps, meaning you'll be hitting all three heads.

We like performing the lying triceps extension with an EZ bar, but it can also be done with a straight barbell or dumbbells, whichever has your preference.

How to perform lying triceps extensions:

  1. Grab the EZ bar with an overhand grip and lay down on a flat bench.
  2. Extend your arms so that the EZ bar is now positioned above your chest.
  3. Lower the bar to the point where it nearly touches your forehead, but make sure that your elbows stay in place.
  4. Once it almost touches your forehead, extend your arms back up to your starting position and repeat.

As we've said with some other exercises, pay close attention to your elbows - they have to stay in place otherwise, your not optimally hitting the triceps.

3. Dumbbell Triceps Kickback

Sets Repetitions

3

12 - 15

The last exercise we have is the triceps kickback. This exercise is performed with dumbbells, and you do it one arm at a time. By doing so, you're really able to focus on the muscle you're training.

We like this movement because they only engage the triceps when performed correctly - no other muscles. That makes it an excellent finisher to this workout.

How to perform triceps kickback:

  1. Grab a dumbbell in one hand and make sure your palm is facing inwards.
  2. Bend your knees and lean forward while keeping your back straight.
  3. Now make sure to keep your upper arm close to your body.
  4. Proceed to straighten your elbow while ensuring your upper arm does not move, so only the forearms will be moving.
  5. Once your arm is fully extended, hold it for a few seconds and then return to the starting position.

With this exercise, it may take you some time to nail down the form. Don't worry if you don't manage to do it correctly right off the bat, it's a challenging exercise.

During this exercise, you must keep your upper arms still because you'll start to cheat your way up if you don't.

Make sure your form is perfect before increasing the weight. Aim for between 12 to 15 repetitions.

Beginner Chest and Tricep Workout Routine

If you've only recently started working out, it's essential that you start following a good workout routine as soon as possible.

Following a routine can do wonders for your progress, and that's why we've put together the best beginner chest and tricep workout routine for you.

This routine consists of 5 exercises, 3 for the chest and 2 for the triceps. It may not seem as much, but it's more than enough if you are just starting. Check out our beginner routine below! 

Exercise Sets Repetition

Bench press

4

6 - 8

Incline dumbbell press

3

10 - 12

Cable crossover

3

12 - 15

Triceps pushdown

3

8 - 12

Lying triceps extension

3

8 - 12

If you perform all these exercises with the correct form and a challenging weight, you will absolutely feel it once you're finished.

Also, make sure to warm up properly before starting this routine. This will help prevent injuries, so make sure to do a few warm-up sets of the first exercise you will be doing.

You can watch the beginner chest and tricep workout video below. Pay good attention to the exercise form to understand the exercises better.

Advanced Chest and Tricep Workout Routine

If you're an advanced lifter looking for a new and more challenging routine, allow us to introduce to you our high-volume routine.

The advanced chest and triceps workout routine combines all the optimal exercises you need to target these muscle groups.

This advanced routine consists of 7 exercises, 4 for the chest and 3 for the triceps. There's a lot of volume, but it is a great routine that won't disappoint.

Exercise Sets Repetition

Bench press

4

6 - 8

Incline dumbbell press

3

10 - 12

Cable crossover

3

12 - 15

Dips

4

8 - 12

Triceps pushdown

4

8 - 12

Lying triceps extension

3

8 - 12

Triceps kickback

3

12 - 15

If you want to try something different to shock your chest and triceps, follow the above routine for at least four weeks.

You'll want to apply progressive overload, meaning you either increase the amount of weight or repetitions every session.

Frequently Asked Questions

We've compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions we get on this topic - check them out below.

What's the best way to warm up for my chest and triceps workout?

Warming up before your chest and triceps workout is important. The best way to do so is by starting out with some cardio, such as the cross-trainer for 5 to 10 minutes.

After that, do several warm up sets with your first exercise. For example, do two sets of 15 to 20 repetitions, slow and controlled. This helps get blood to the muscles and prevents injuries from happening.

How long should my chest and triceps workout take?

Your chest and triceps workout should usually take between 60 to 90 minutes, depending on volume and intensity. Limit your rest between sets to 30 to 90 seconds to keep your intensity high.

How often per week should I train chest and triceps?

If you've only recently started working out, you should train your chest and triceps just once per week. If you're an advanced lifter who wants to bring up these muscle parts more, you can consider training them twice a week.

What do I train after I've hit chest and triceps?

Once you have done your chest and triceps session for the week, we recommend doing one day with the back and biceps and another one with legs and shoulders. Here's what your week would look like:

  • Monday: Chest and triceps
  • Tuesday: Rest
  • Wednesday: Back and biceps
  • Thursday: Rest
  • Friday: Legs and shoulders
  • Saturday: Rest
  • Sunday: Rest

The above would be a perfect week routine for a beginner. Advanced lifters can also do the above or look into a push pull legs split.

Why aren't my chest and triceps muscles growing?

You've been training hard and following a routine for weeks but aren't seeing the desired results. That's because, most likely, your nutrition isn't on point, and you aren't providing your muscles with the nutrients it needs.

Find out your daily maintenance calories and increase that by 300 to 500 calories to lean bulk. Make sure about 30% of your calories are protein. Make sure to read our article on how much protein you need per day to build muscle.


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