Many men (and an increasing number of women) are following bodybuilder-style split programs. Where you combine two or muscle groups that compliment each other into one session. Quads, glutes, and hamstrings. Shoulders, arms, and abs. Chest and back. There are many advantages to doing so.
Training complimentary muscle groups means that with a little planning you can hit each muscle more regularly than you would following a single-muscle split (i.e. chest day, back day, arm day). They also allow you to train each muscle more thoroughly than you would following a full-body workout. This type of training mainly benefits bodybuilding programs, while other splits (push/pull or upper/lower) benefit strength programs.
In this article we will look to create the ideal chest and back workout. This is intended to be used as part of a larger muscle split program. So, you would train chest and back (this workout) on Mondays, legs on Wednesday, arms and shoulders on Friday. Or however your program is set up.
In other words, don’t just repeat this session over and over while neglecting your legs, shoulders, and arms!
Chest & Back Workout
We’re going to give you two different chest and back sessions (our generosity knows no bounds). If you are following a five or six day per week training session, you’ll probably hit this twice. If you are only training three or four times per week, then you can just alternate between each session. They are designed to complement each other.
This program is based around building size (hypertrophy) so we are using a mix of high and medium rep ranges. A strength-based program would look quite different and would focus more on low rep sets with heavier weights.
If you are a beginner, you should see both strength and size gains from this program. The best of both worlds! Because we are training primarily for size, you’ll want to keep your rest between sets down to around 60-90 seconds. But you can go as high as 3 minutes for some of the tougher exercises!
Because this program can be used by both new lifters and experienced lifters, we’re going to have to include exercises that may not suit everyone. For example, if we right pull ups then new lifters won’t be able to follow it. But if we wrote “assisted pull up machine” more experienced lifters would find it too easy. So, you’re going to have to be a bit creative. We’ll write the easier version (in this case “assisted pull ups”) but if you can do proper pull ups then do that. Same thing goes with assisted dips, vs bodyweight dips, vs weighted dips. Pick the exercise that suits your capabilities.
Right! Let’s get started.
Rookies vs Experienced Lifters
If you are struggling to perform certain exercises, then here are a few alternatives:
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