Training Chest and Back


Question: I need a routine to help me grow a little larger through my chest and back. I currently do some bench presses, push-ups, incline dumbbell presses and sometimes the flye machine. Usually I do 10 reps per set. For back I do Pulldowns, machine rows and sometimes dumbbell rows for 10 reps or so per set. I train chest once a week. What else should I do?

Answer: Yours is a solid starter routine which you should use for the first month you trained. The whole concept of training each muscle group once a week came about as a theory based on Arthur Jones’ one-set-to-failure training principle popularized by the Mentzer brothers in the late 70’s. It was the polar opposite of how Arnold ( no last name needed) trained and became even more popular with the success of Dorian Yates in the 90’s. The problem with it filtering down to the masses is the intensity portion of the equation for fast results got lost in translation. Intensity has to happen in the gym during training in order for recuperation to be necessary. It is the key to growth and changing you physique.

Give this a try. You have 2 density days of training. If your gym availability is only three days a week then stick to the order you are using.

Density Days:

  • Begin with Incline Dumbbell Presses doing sets of 10/8/6/4/4 but on the second set of 4 reps you will decrease the weight by 25 to 30% and do another 4 to 6 reps.
  • Alternate sets of that exercise with Barbell Rows. Those you will do with 10/8/8/8 reps per set. Maintains good pace between the two exercises stopping only to sip water or actually catch your breath.
  • The next pair you can do are Dips and Pulldowns. You’re warm but need to establish motor movement so do a moderate set of 6 reps for each. Add weight to your dips with dumbbells or chains and do three heavy sets of eight reps.
  • You’ll do 8 reps per set if Pulldowns as well.
  • You can do Dumbbell Flyes and Deadlifts together. Flyes are 3 sets of 8 reps while the Deads are 6/5/5.
  • Finish your combos with a Machine Press and with Machine Rows like the Hammer series. Do 3 sets of each for 6-8 reps per set.

Volume Training Days:

  • Set up supersets like Low-incline Flyes for 3 sets of 8 reps and Vertical Bench Presses for 3 sets of 8 reps as well. Do a set of Flyes followed immediately by a set of Presses. Rest and repeat.
  • You can then do Crossovers and Incline Dumbbell Presses the same way.
  • Your finisher would be Flat bench Flyes and Dips. The same 3 sets of 8 reps.
  • For back you would do Low Pulley Rows followed by Pulldowns doing 3 sets of 8 reps.
  • You next pair is Dumbbell Pullovers and Reverse Grip Pulldowns for three sets of 8 reps.
  • Finally you will finish with Double Dumbbell Rows and close grip Pulldowns for 3 sets if 8.

Alternating between these two routines for a few weeks can help fill out your frame.

God bless and keep training,