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Training the Chest and Triceps – Not just for Men

Training the Chest and Triceps – Not just for Men

by Shaun Campbell

The chest has for years been one of the most popular body parts to train for guys. Men in the gym are always trying to develop their chests to the fullest and engage in endless chest exercises. Given the choice, what man wouldn’t opt for an impressive muscular chest?

But chest development is not just for men. A toned, muscular chest is a true indicator of a fit and strong woman. Many women neglect this area, after all the majority of the chest muscles are covered. Strong chest muscles, however, not only balance your overall strength but give you a toned upper chest that others will envy. So don’t neglect the chest another day!

Now I am going to give you a simple description of the chest muscles function. The chest muscles extend the arms out from the torso, as in a bench press. Their other function is to bring the arms from a wide position towards the center of the body, in a ‘hugging’ motion.

When training the chest muscles you can’t help but to involve the triceps. The triceps main function is to extend, or straighten, the arm at the elbow. If you are like many women and looking to tone up the backs of your arms, then you should know training the triceps is the first step to leaner more toned arms. And for those of you who are looking at building ’26 inch pythons’ like the Hulkster, the triceps muscles account for 60% of the size of your upper arm. You heard it right. So if you want huge guns you better train the triceps with heavy weights and with high intensity.

I have put together a few workouts using exercises I feel would be effective in achieving all your goals whether you are new to training, looking to tone, or seeking mounds of muscle. Stick to these workouts and you will get the results you are after.

Always warm-up

    Warm-up the muscles prior to working out with a few light sets of the movement you will be performing. This will help in avoiding injuries by preparing the muscle for the work that will be placed upon it.

Make sure to breathe

    Exhale on the exertion phase of the movement. With chest exercises exhale when you are pushing the resistance away from your body or bringing your arms together in front of your body, and inhale as you are returning, or lowering, the resistance to the starting point. With triceps exercises exhale when you are extending the arm and inhale as you are returning the weight to the starting point.

Set

    A number of successive repetitions performed without resting.

Repetitions or Reps

    The amount of times you complete a movement or exercise.

Repetition Speed

    Performing the movement in a slow and controlled fashion for safety and effectiveness. I would suggest that the lifting movement (exertion phase) be 1-2 seconds and the lowering movement (return to start) be 3-4 seconds.

Beginner Workout (new to weight training)

Chest
Dumbbell Flat Bench Press 2-3 x 10-15  (i.e. 2 to 3 sets of 10 to 15 repetitions)
Dumbbell Flys                          2-3 x 10-15
Triceps
One Arm Overhead Dumbbell Extension 2-3 x 10-15

Notes: I choose to use dumbbells only for this routine to make it convenient and safe for you and to also challenge your coordination and stability muscles. Make sure to focus on the correct technique and not the amount of weight you are using until you feel comfortable with the movements. Complete this workout 1 or 2 times a week with at least 48-72 hours between workouts. Rest approximately 1 minute between sets. Entire workout should take around 20 minutes.

Intermediate Workout (weight training for about a year)

Chest
Dumbbell Incline Bench Press 3 x 12,10,8 (pyramid*)
Dumbbell Flat Bench Press 3 x 8-10
Dumbbell Flys or Machine Flys 3 x 12-15
Triceps
Triceps Pushdown 4 x 15,12,10,8 (pyramid*)

Notes: Complete this workout 1 or 2 times a week with at least 48-72 hours between workouts. Rest approximately 1-2 minutes between sets. Entire workout should take around 30-45 minutes

*With the Pyramid system you add weight, or resistance, to the next set. Begin with the lightest weight and work up to the heaviest.

The next workout is for those of you who are ready to take it to the next level. Make sure you qualify. Have you been training for over a year? Are you prepared to work hard? Do you want your shirts to fit tight? If you answer yes to all three give this workout a go.

Advanced Workout (weight training over a year and want to add some extra mass)

Chest
Barbell Incline Bench Press 4 x 12,10,8,6 (pyramid*)
Dumbbell Flat Bench Press 3 x 10,8,6 (pyramid*)
Dumbbell Flys 3 x 8-10
Machine Flys 3 x 12-15
Triceps
Barbell Lying Triceps Extension 3 x 12,10,8 (pyramid*)
Triceps Pushdown 3 x 12-15

Notes: For safety make sure to have a spotter on the barbell incline bench press. Especially when taking the set to failure. A spotter is used to assist you in getting the weight up if needed. Complete this workout once a week. Rest approximately 2 minutes between sets. Entire workout should take around 45 minutes to 1 hour.

*With the Pyramid system you add weight, or resistance, to the next set. Begin with the lightest weight and work up to the heaviest.

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