There’s a specific reason why I combined my chest and back workout this morning. Although I love the push-pull concept, I don’t have a long drawn-out scientific reason why I did this type of workout today. It’s actually quite simple.
I combined my chest and back workout this morning due to skipping yesterday’s workout. Skipped a day in the gym?? Well, there’s a good reason for that.
We celebrated my wife’s 41st birthday this weekend. Her birthday was actually on Sunday but we both took Monday off (my birthday is right around the corner, which I’ll be 41 as well – May 19th, so remember that!) Monday is typically back day and Tuesdays are for chest.
Push-Pull Workout (Pull >Push)
Although I’m using the push-pull concept for my chest and back workout, it’s actually the reverse. I trained back first followed by chest. Back is a much larger muscle group that chest. So it made sense to put more effort into training back.
Though it’s rare that I train chest and back within the same workout, I actually got a lot out of this morning’s workout. In the past, I’ve alternated chest and back exercises. But this time I did my entire back workout first. My volume was obviously a bit less for each body part. I’ll go through each workout below.
I sort of had my back workout mapped out in my head before I got to the gym. I’ve been starting out my back workout with dumbbell pullovers, so I kept that in place. At some point I’ll write more about this specific exercise; I feel it’s vital to training back.
- Dumbbell Pullovers
- 4 sets x 10-12 reps
- Lat Pulldowns
- 4 sets x 8-12 reps
- Rows (plate-loaded)
- 5 sets x 8-12, 20 eps
- Hammer Strength High Rows
- 5 sets x 8-12, 20 reps
You’ll see ’20 reps’ at the end of those last two exercises. This is something I do from time to time; end the exercise with a 20-rep set. I don’t know if 20 is a magical number but it’s a great way to end an exercise to that that extra pump.
The plate-loaded rows is an exercise you’ll see me do for most back workouts. This is a substitute for regular barbell rows (bent over rows). If you’ve been following me for a while, you know I have some lower back issues. I love free weights but sometimes free-weight barbell rows take a toll on my lower back. The plate-loaded rows have been the next-best exercise for me.
After training back I moved on to my chest workout. I had planned to do 4 exercises but ended up doing only 3. I’ll admit, training chest after back is tough and it’s certainly not ideal. I had toyed with the idea of just giving chest a break this week. Of course I decided against that, so here’s what I did for my chest workout.
- Decline Bench Press
- 4 sets x 8-12 reps
- Hammer Strength Chest Press
- 4 sets x 8-12 reps
- Incline Dumbbell Flyes
- 3 sets x 12 reps
My overall training volume for chest was a lot lower than usual. This was to be expected after training back. I started with an exercise I normally don’t start with; decline bench press. At this point, I was pretty beat. Rather than do another free-weight pressing exercise for chest I went to the Hammer Strength Chest Press machine. This machine allows you to get a great stretch and contraction at the peak of the rep.
I ended with a few sets of incline dumbbell flyes. This gave me that good stretch at the end as well as a nice pump. With this, I had hit all angles of my chest: decline, flat, and incline.
Push-Pull: Ideal Workout?
This ended up being a solid workout. Again, training chest and back together isn’t ideal. At least not for me. But every now and then I decide to do something a little different and that’s usually due to certain circumstances. In this case, her birthday weekend, which was well-worth taking a day off to spend with my wife. You have to treasure those moments and the people most important to you. That should go without saying.
Where as training chest and back together isn’t something I do often, it’s worth trying if you want to switch things up. The reason I don’t prefer it on a regular basis is because I like to train both back and chest heavy. If you training them on the same day, one of those muscle groups are going to suffer in regards to strength and intensity. We’re human, and our bodies can only take so much.
This is why I chose to train back before chest. I wanted my back to get the most training volume since it’s the largest muscle of the two. This doesn’t necessarily mean I slacked on the chest exercises. But as you can see, I did less overall sets and reps for chest than what I normally do.
Upper Body Pump – Chest and Back
I do like the way my body felt after this workout. I had a balanced pump, if that makes sense. Or we could call it a well-rounded pump. I felt like my entire upper body was blown up! Training chest and back together makes you feel extra thick and extra wide.
Come to think of it, this is similar to the typical leg workout. For legs you generally train quads and hamstrings, right? That’s not much different than training chest and back together. You could say the same for arms; biceps and triceps.
Chest and Back Workout Stretching
I’ll end on stretching. This is something I have slacked on over the years but I’m starting to be consistent with it now. I’ve actually seen more muscle growth over the past few months since I’ve been stretching more. I stretch the most after the entire workout but also some between sets. In today’s case, I stretch my back really good after finishing my back workout, and the same for chest after my last chest exercise.
Train with Passion,
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