WORKOUT FRIDAY: Upper-Body Push

Avoid the swarms at the gym who all flock to the bench press station on Mondays because it’s “Chest Day” – you’re smarter than that. You have “upper-body push” day, and it’s today.

Focusing on the movement, rather than the muscle groups, helps do two things – it helps you develop functional strength, and it also gives you a chance to hone in on the supporting cast of pushing movements: Your triceps, deltoids and core.

This workout is designed to build strength and endurance of strength by combining several rep ranges. Remember to adjust the weight accordingly for each set – your last two reps should be difficult, but not at the failure point. You want to be able to feel safe executing this one alone.

Upper-Body Push

Bench Press: 10-rep warmup, 5×5

4 Trisets: 10 Weighted Push-Ups (use a weight plate or vest), :30 planks, modified diamond push-ups to failure

3 Supersets: Incline DB Bench Press x 8, Standing DB Overhead Press x 10

2 Trisets: Plyometric Push-Ups x 5, Isometric push-up position hold :15, triceps rope pushdown x 12

2 Supersets: Lateral DB Flys x 15; Rear Delt Flys (machine or DB) x 15

WORKOUT WEDNESDAY: Push-Pull Method

Training antagonistic (opposing) muscles groups has been touted for years as one of the more efficient, effective ways to work out. It provides great blood flow and “pump” to the target muscle groups, enhancing growth and recovery. One of the more unrecognized benefits is that it can be used to train functionally in an extremely effective manner.

To some degree, many antagonistic muscle groups work almost in unison, with one flexing or working while the other stretches or relaxes. Consider a bicep curl: As you lift the weight, the biceps get tight, obviously, and at the same time, the triceps get a break; switch up this movement, to, say, a triceps pushdown, and the biceps become elongated and nearly taken out of the equation, only returning to flexion at the very top of the triceps movement.

back, chest, push, pull, workout, exercise, trainingTo apply this to a big-muscle group, consider a push-pull workout, which targets the chest, shoulders and back functionally when done properly. Supersets are a great way to get through these workouts, as multiple muscle groups can mean prolonged exercise sessions. The chest, triceps, shoulders and core all benefit from pushing movements; pulling movements strengthen the biceps, core, back and parts of the shoulder as well.

3 Supersets: 12 DB Bench Press/12 Bent-Over DB Rows. If you’re feeling like you really want to move, you can use the exact same dumbbells for both movements, never setting them down.

3 Supersets: 12 Incline BB Bench Press/12 Wide-Grip Pull-Ups. If you can’t do 12 pull-ups, either use an assisted pull-up machine (if you can’t do even 6-8) or go to failure.

3 Supersets: 10 Plyometric Push-Ups/12 Medicine Ball Slams. If you don’t have access to medicine balls (or the gym doesn’t like you slamming them into the ground), you can sub in Wide-Grip Standing Cable Pushdowns.

3 Supersets: 10 DB Flys/10 Inverted Rows. Perform your inverted rows on a Smith machine by lowering the bar, then simply pull yourself up, belly up and body parallel to the ground.

Workout of the Week: High-Volume Chest Day

workout, chest, exercise, bench, dumbbell, barbell, muscle

Follow the workout below for a great chest pump, or download and print the .pdf!

workout, chest, exercise, bench, dumbbell, barbell, muscle

DB Bench Press: 4×12, drop each set for 6-8 more. Perform 12 reps, then lower the dumbbells to a weight you can get 6-8 more times.

Incline BB Bench Press: 14, 12, 10, 8 (increase weight). Progressively load the bar as you lower your reps with each barbell set. Your goal is to get each rep, but the last 2-3 of each set should be fairly tough.

Cable Flys or Pec Deck: 4×20, light weight and stretch. Stretch and contraction is the key here, so go light with the weight and use a full range of motion. Adjust the machine to allow your arms to go back about 15-20 degrees behind you, and concentrate on using the chest, not the arms, to bring the handles together in front of you.

Weighted Pushups: 4 sets to failure, drop-set each. Place a plate on your back and perform as many perfect, face-to-ground pushups as you can before your form fails. Once it does, remove the plate and repeat.