Chest and biceps are amongst the favorite muscles to train for most people. However , lifters usually train the two muscle groups on separate days, with chest and triceps and back and biceps being the more common workout splits.
Chest plus biceps are often referred to as mirror muscles, meaning you can look at them directly in the mirror while training. Working both the reflection muscles in the same exercise can help achieve a better mind-muscle connection and muscle pumps.
With that said, training chest and bis effectively in the same workout is easier said than done. Your chest workouts need to target your upper , middle, and lower pecs , and biceps workouts need to hit the long and short heads with the brachioradialis to ensure overall development.
Your chest and biceps workout routines should include exercises to target the six smaller muscle groups or at least five groups in each training session.
Benefits of Training Chest and Biceps Together
Below are the benefits of training the two muscle groups in the same training session —
1 . Not Dependent Muscles
Chest exercises rely on your pecs , triceps , and shoulders . On the other hand, biceps movements do not need these muscle groups, meaning you can teach any of the two muscles first and won’t have to worry about muscle fatigue ruining the second half of your workout.
When you train chest and triceps or back and biceps within the same workout, the muscle mass you train later in the session suffers due to the onset of fatigue. Chest plus biceps exercises don’t interfere with one another and will let you use heavier weights and stimulate optimal muscle recruitment.
2 . Gives You Enough Time For Recovery
By coaching two muscle groups on the same day, you shorten your split and can use the saved time for recovery , which is especially great for people dealing with injuries.
If you train one muscle tissue a day, you’d have to work out every single day of the week to cover your entire body. A upper body and bis split provide you with an extra day, which allows you more leeway.
3. Builds Muscle Strength, Endurance, and Size
If you have been following a vanilla chest and biceps teaching regimen where you train the particular muscle groups on different days, you’re probably performing between 12-15 reps in every workout.
However , the exercise routines in this article have you doing 21-38 sets in every workout, almost doubling your workload. Sticking to these routines over a four to five-month period can improve your muscle mass, strength, plus endurance.
Studies suggest that the optimum training volume range for biceps brachii hypertrophy lies between 12-20 weekly sets when education each muscle group twice per week, without additional benefits of increasing training volume. [ 1 ]
Note: Make sure you’re backing up your instruction with proper rest and a balanced nutrition program to ensure you are growing and won’t hit a plateau.
Top 5 Best Upper body and Bicep Workout Routines
The ideal chest and bis workout should consist of compound and isolation lifts for optimal muscles fiber engagement. As per research, compound exercises help build muscle size and strength, and the latter help in improving conditioning. [ 2 ]
While your chest workout will include fly and pressing movement on three different angles — flat, incline, and decline, biceps exercise will require three different hand placements to work the brachii, brachialis, and brachioradialis.
Conventional dumbbell curls work the brachii, neutral (hammer) grip works the brachialis muscle, and reverse-grip movements emphasize the brachioradialis.
Without any further ado, here are the particular five best chest and bis workouts to take your upper body gains to the next level —
Old School Chest and Biceps Workout Routine
The first article on the list is pretty straightforward. It is so old school that you could picture Arnold doing it in the classic bodybuilding documentary Pumping Iron .
You don’t need to train at a fancy gym to be able to perform this workout. You could do it at a barebone gym.
Since chest plus biceps are not dependent on one another, you could start your workouts with either chest or biceps, depending on whichever you think is lagging.
Barrel Upper body and Machine Gun Exercise routine
After completing your own chest workout, rest for at least two to three minutes before beginning the triceps routine. According to research, you need at least two-minute rest intervals to maximize power gains and muscle growth. [ 3 ]
Furthermore, utilize the time between sets to stretch and pose. Visualization is one of the most effective yet underutilized techniques in bodybuilding. Keep your phone in your gym bag or leave it within the car. Scrolling through Instagram or posing for pictures between sets does nothing more than divert your attention.
While performing all the workouts mentioned in the article, make sure you follow a full range of motion for optimal muscle fiber recruitment. You’d be leaving gains on the table by restricting your ROM.
Machine-Only Chest and Biceps Workout Routine
If you are a beginner, the machine-only chest and bis exercising regimen is perfect for you. Machines and cables let you lift heavier without worrying about stabilizing the weight.
Many lifters are able to focus on their target muscle mass better while using machines than free weights. Your primary goal with this workout should be to achieve muscle-ripping pumps .
If you do not experience muscle tissue pumps during the machine-only exercise, you should drop the weight plus focus on lifting with the correct form. Additionally , you could increase the number of reps and reduce the rest duration between sets.
Superset Chest and Biceps Workout Routine
Let’s assume you do not have one and a half to two hours to spend in the gym every day doing the upper body and biceps workouts mentioned in this article.
The superset routine will help you hit your chest and bis from all angles while cutting your training time in half. You will be moving on to the second exercise in a superset without any rest. However , you are allowed a two-minute rest after completing each superset.
You can start the third exercise with the biceps movement if you do not feel a pump in your guns during the first two lifts. Furthermore, feel free to use additional resistance on the dips if the bodyweight version feels too easy.
The Mutant Chest and Biceps Workout Routine
- Hammer Strength Incline Chest Press — 3 x 8-12
- Decline Hammer Strength Chest Press — 3 x 8-12
- Incline Dumbbell Press w/ Pause at the Bottom — 3 by 8-12
- Seated Cable Fly — 3 x 8-12
- Single-Grip Wire Curl — 4 x 8-12
- 21s — 4 sets
- Machine Preacher Curl — 4 by 8-12
If the 1st four workouts feel as well basic, the 2021 NY Pro and 2021 Arnold Classic champ’s chest and biceps routine in prep for the 2022 Olympia , scheduled for Dec. 15-18 in Las Vegas, NV, ought to psyche you up.
Nick Walker mostly relies on machines in this workout with regard to optimal muscle recruitment whilst reducing the chances of an injury. “The Mutant” pauses and contracts the life out of his muscles with every rep.
“I prefer decline over flat, that’s just me. Supposedly rumor has it decline helps even hit the upper, ” says Walker before annihilating his pecs on the decline hammer strength machine.
Check Out: Nick Walker Chest and Biceps Workout
How To Make the Most of Your Chest and Biceps Fitness regimen
Here is how to get the best bang for your buck while training bis and chest —
Since chest and bis do not hinder one another during a workout, super-setting them is a great way of enhancing your training intensity while shortening your training sessions.
Additionally , you do not have to limit yourself to supersets, you could use other advanced training principles like dropsets, intraset stretching, blood flow restriction training, and negatives in order to annihilate your target muscle tissue.
Change Your Rep Tempo
Changing your repetition tempo can turn your workouts on their head. A rep tempo is a sequence of four numbers. 1-0-1-1 is arguably the most common rep tempo in bodybuilding. Feeling overwhelmed? Don’t worry. We have got you covered.
The first number is the eccentric portion (descent) of the workout, which is the load coming down (squatting down), while the second number is the pause at the bottom (holding the squat at the bottom).
The third number is the concentric portion (ascent) — weight moving up, and the fourth is the pause at the top. Remember — Tempo numbers are always written in the same order (E-P-C-P).
If you are using a conventional rep speed, like the one mentioned above, switching to an advanced tempo like 4-2-1-2, can put your muscles in uncharted territories, forcing them into growing.
Focus on Each Aspect of Your own Muscle
After a chest and bis workout, if you feel like you’ve not trained all the target muscle groups, do not hesitate to perform a couple more exercises to fill the gap, even if you have already done 25 sets. Your upper body and biceps can handle much more volume than you think.
Shock Your Muscles
You do not have to bind yourself to linear thinking during your exercises. You should always be thinking on your feet and figuring out ways of shocking your muscles into growing.
If you usually start your workout routines with compound movements, try beginning with isolation lifts instead. Are you tired of performing 4 sets of 12 reps in each exercise? Try doing 50 total repetitions in one go. When it comes to building muscle mass, conditioning, and symmetry, there is more than one way to skin a cat.
Although chest plus biceps workout routines are not the most popular, training the muscle groups together can provide the necessary shock and stimulation to kindle new muscle growth.
Utilize the five training regimens or design a workout of your own using the exercises mentioned in the article to torture your pecs and pythons into growing. Best of luck!
- Baz-Valle, Eneko, Balsalobre-Fernández, Carlos, Alix-Fages, Carlos plus Santos-Concejero, Jordan. “A Systematic Review of the Effects of Different Resistance Training Volumes on Muscle Hypertrophy” Journal of Human Kinetics, vol. 81, no . 1, 2022, pp. 199-210. https://doi.org/10.2478/hukin-2022-0017
- João Pedro Nunes, Jozo Grgic, Paolo M. Cunha, Alex S. Ribeiro, Brad J. Schoenfeld, Belmiro F. de Salles & Edilson S. Cyrino (2021) What influence does resistance physical exercise order have on muscular strength gains and muscles hypertrophy? A systematic review and meta-analysis, European Journal of Sport Science, 21: 2, 149-157, DOI: 10. 1080/17461391. 2020. 1733672
- Grgic, J., Schoenfeld, B. J., Skrepnik, M. et al. Effects of Rest Interval Duration in Resistance Training on Measures of Muscular Strength: A Systematic Review. Sports Med 48 , 137–151 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40279-017-0788-x