If you’re tired of going to the gym and feeling confused and lost for a few minutes, then settling on trusting machines like the butterfly, this is the right place for you. Doing sedentary exercises on machines will not build muscle and get you the rock hard upper chest you’re working for. You need a repertoire of solid, effective exercises to get you through your chest and tricep workout so you can start seeing results fast.
Why are the chest and tricep such a popular and crucial muscle group to target? Let’s face it, having a big chest looks really good! Combined with a back workout that makes your shoulders wider, your upper body will look fantastic. It’s not just for looks or weight loss though. Having a built upper chest is practical for lifting heavy objects, physical jobs, and just for feeling capable and fit overall.
Before you get started with your new life-changing body workout routine, you need to understand your body and its anatomy so you know exactly what you’re doing to make these changes. The most important thing is to have a well-rounded knowledge of your muscle groups so you can end up with symmetrical muscles in the end. In the beginning, you may not feel a big difference if you prefer working one muscle group and focus on that instead of the other.
While it’s true that everyone has a different body, the general anatomy of the muscles is basically the same. Since no area of your body is isolated, you need to build them all equally so that there are no inconsistencies or chances of injury later on, due to some muscles being drastically weaker than the others.
Your chest is made up of two muscles, the pectoralis major and the pectoralis minor.
Don’t even think about starting an intense workout without warming up first. You’ll regret it later when you have unbelievable soreness or even a pulled muscle or tendon.
But that's not all...
Tennis Elbow happens when you try to do too many reps of a weight that is not right for you. Sometimes people start with weights that are much too heavy. If you don’t have a strong grip at first, you need to strengthen that as you strengthen your other muscles to keep everything at a good pace. Others keep using a weight that is too light and they do too many reps. The point is not to do an endless amount of reps but to gradually increase the weight in a reasonable and healthy way.
If you're not careful you can sustain serious injuries.
If you don’t want to worry about symptoms or injuries, the best plan of action is to budget adequate time for your pre-workout. Aim for 10 minutes of warm up time. You can even do it while you’re waiting for a bench or equipment. Here are the best techniques to keep your shoulders and arms limber.
Do These Workouts for a Stronger and Wider Chest:
This primarily works the pec major, the upper part of the chest. It gets the anterior deltoid, the front of part of your shoulder. The great thing about the dumbbell bench press is it also works your triceps at the same time.
Lie back on your incline bench with a dumbbell in each hand. Raise both hands over your shoulders in the air with your palms facing away from you. This is the starting move. Then lower the weight so your arms are bent at a 45-degree angle at the elbow. Don’t try to do this exercise too quickly. It should be slow, and you should be exhaling through it. The slower you go, the more you get out of the move. Do three sets of as many reps as you can do with the weight you have. When you find that the weight is to easy, increase it and continue this way in your routine.
For a variation, try the barbell chest press, which is done in the same way, but with the barbell above your head. Your palms will face away from with a shoulder-width grip.
What is the difference between barbells and dumbbells? Dumbbells are great for isolating specific muscles since you can vary your movements more freely than with a barbell. A barbell is a good compound muscle-building tool because it often targets groups rather than specific muscles. If you’re just starting out, a barbell is a good way to build even, symmetrical strengths all over your body. If you find that a certain area of the body is weak, dumbbells can be a good solution to work a small area that is lagging behind.
Stand with your legs shoulder-width apart. It’s best to start this move with your Barbell on a rack in front of you. You can pick it up and start with a firm grip and your palms facing away from you. Have your arms bent so they hold the barbell directly in front of your chest. Then push the barbell up over your head so your arms are fully extended. For a variation, you can also do a seated press. For either version, you can also opt for dumbbells.
This move works both the pecs major and minor, the latissimus dorsi, your triceps, and your core. It’s one of the greatest exercises you can do and you should be doing this muscle-building exercise at least once a week. To do it, just use one dumbbell. You can do the exercise standing or lie on your back.
For both options, hold the weight with both hands and your palms facing each other. Lift the weight above your head with your arms fully extended. Lower the weight behind your head with an arc. When you feel your arms extended and your chest stretched out, hold the position for a second. Raise your arms back up through the arc they came down with, back up to an extended position above your head.
This question gets a lot of debate. Does it really make a big difference if you choose to incline the bench or keep it flat? While the difference is small, we all know small differences can have big consequences and changes. When you do a workout on a bench with an incline (between 15 and 45 degrees), you put more effort into your shoulders and upper pecs. It puts less stress on your rotator cuff, which is one spot that is easily prone to injuries.
Some people dislike the incline bench though because it works your upper pecs and focuses on that rather than working the whole muscle throughout. You should also take note that an incline works your shoulders, so if you’re planning on doing a shoulder workout later in the week, you should opt for a leg day after your chest day to break up the stress on your shoulders.
This is the more advanced exercise to do after your weightless bench dip. For this one, place a bench in front of you a bench behind you. Place your legs up on the second bench, then your arms on the one behind you. Dip down slowly. Don’t let your torso shift forward since that will place the emphasis on your pecs and deltoids. For a variation, you can place the benches parallel to one another with your body in the middle and one arm on each side and your feet on the floor. This can increase the resistance and keep your torso in the position it should be. Another great one to try is the dumbbell push press.
If you have one, use a V-Bar attachment or EZ bar for this exercise. Grab both sides of the bar with your palms facing down. Bend your torso slightly forward, but keep the back straight. Keep your upper arms close to your body and your lower arms pointing up to grab the bar. Pull the bar down until it reaches your thighs. Return to the original position, keeping the arms close to the body the whole time. You should feel the burn in your triceps. If you feel it in your back or lower arms, adjust until you feel it in the right spot.
You can follow the instructions for the incline barbell bench press used for the chest workout. To target the triceps, grip the bar with your hands as close together as possible, without dropping the weight or distorting your movement in an unnatural form. This movement is ideal during your workout because you can easily move from the barbell bench press to this variation and you will save time and crush more muscle groups.
Lie back on a flat bench with your feet planted firmly on the ground, your butt in a squeeze position against the bench and your torso straight against the bench. Don’t stick your ribs up or flared while you are doing the exercise. Just think about keeping everything (including your shoulders) against the bench as if your life depends on it.
Grab the barbell with a firm grip, and your palms facing away from you. Your starting position will have the Weight high above your head at a 90-degree angle. Lower the weight down toward your head by bending your elbows. Bring it down all the way until it is just one inch above your skull - hence, the name “Skullcrusher.” You can vary this with dumbbells, an EZ bar, cables or an inclined bench.
Now you have eight base workouts to get you going on the ultimate chest and triceps workout. Start out with easy weights to get a good form and then work your way up as you gain strength and muscle memory from the exercises. You can experiment with the variations we’ve listed here as well.
Try working some of the moves into a superset: going from one exercise to the next with just one set of high reps each at a fast pace. You will work in some cardio and enjoy the extra challenge and change up your regimen.
If you stick these base eight moves, you will get a wide and muscular chest and arms in no time. You will get to know your body, your workout routine, and you will establish a comfortable and repeatable process that will give you the gains you’re working so hard for.