Discover the Time-Saving, Result-Boosting Power of Chest and Biceps Workouts – Try These 9 Routines for Better Gains

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Julien Raby

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Did you know that combining chest and bicep exercises can dramatically enhance your upper body development?

This article unveils the surprising benefits of this unconventional pairing, debunking the myth that opposing muscle groups should be trained separately. Not only does this approach save time, but it also maximizes muscle growth and efficiency.

chest bicep workouts
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Whether you’re a beginner or an advanced athlete, our tailored exercises and programming tips will elevate your fitness journey. 

Should You Train Chest and Biceps on the Same Day?

Chest and biceps
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Absolutely! There’s a common misconception that you should train opposing muscle groups on different days. However, pairing chest and biceps workouts is not only possible but also beneficial. It’s a strategy embraced by many athletes to optimize their training.

Benefits of Training Chest and Biceps Together

Synergy in Muscle Building: When you train chest and biceps together, you’re tapping into a powerful synergy. The chest exercises, predominantly push movements, get an excellent complement from the bicep exercises, which are primarily pull movements. This balance fosters overall upper body development, ensuring muscle groups are worked uniformly, leading to a more harmonious physique.

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Efficiency in Workouts: Combining these two muscle groups can lead to a more efficient workout. You can effectively target both areas in one session, saving time and energy. This efficiency is particularly beneficial for those with busy schedules, striving to achieve their fitness goals amidst a hectic life.

Increased Blood Flow and Pump: Training chest and biceps together maximizes blood flow to the upper body. This enhanced circulation leads to a better ‘pump’ – that satisfying feeling of fullness and strength in the muscles during and after a workout. An increased pump not only feels great but also aids in muscle growth and repair.

Understanding the Anatomy of Chest & Bicep Muscles

Chest & Bicep Muscle Anatomy
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Chest Muscles: At the core of upper body strength, the chest muscles, primarily the pectoralis major and minor, are pivotal. The pectoralis major, a thick, fan-shaped muscle, spans across the chest and is responsible for movements like pressing and lifting. The smaller pectoralis minor lies beneath, playing a crucial role in stabilizing the shoulder blade.

Bicep Muscles: The biceps, comprising the long and short heads, are more than just show muscles. They’re key players in arm flexion and rotation. The long head, originating from the shoulder blade, and the short head, starting from the shoulder blade’s front, converge to form a single muscle belly attached to the forearm.

Chest and Bicep Workouts by Experience Levels

For Beginners

  1. Flat Bench Dumbbell Press: 3 sets of 10-12 reps. A foundational exercise for building chest strength.
  2. Incline Dumbbell Curl: 3 sets of 10-12 reps. Targets the biceps, especially the long head.
  3. Machine Chest Press: 3 sets of 10-12 reps. Great for beginners to maintain form and focus on the chest.
  4. Cable Bicep Curl: 3 sets of 10-12 reps. Provides constant tension for maximum bicep engagement.

For Intermediate Lifters

  1. Barbell Bench Press: 4 sets of 8-10 reps. Increases chest mass and strength.
  2. Hammer Curl: 4 sets of 8-10 reps. Works on the biceps and forearms.
  3. Incline Bench Cable Fly: 4 sets of 8-10 reps. Targets the upper chest and stretches the pecs.
  4. Concentration Curl: 4 sets of 8-10 reps. Isolates the biceps for peak development.

Advanced Workout

  1. Decline Dumbbell Bench Press: 4 sets of 6-8 reps. Focuses on the lower part of the chest.
  2. Preacher Curl: 4 sets of 6-8 reps. Isolates biceps and minimizes momentum.
  3. Weighted Dip: 4 sets of 6-8 reps. Engages the lower chest and triceps.
  4. Zottman Curl: 4 sets of 6-8 reps. Combines standard and reverse curls for comprehensive bicep and forearm development.

For Experienced Athletes

This session is designed for advanced lifters looking for a challenging workout.

  1. Superset: Barbell Bench Press and Barbell Curl: Perform 5 sets of 5 reps on the bench press immediately followed by 5 sets of 5 reps on the barbell curl. This combination targets the chest and biceps intensely, allowing for muscle fatigue and growth.
  1. Giant Set:
    • Incline Dumbbell Press: 4 sets of 8 reps, targeting the upper chest.
    • Standing Cable Fly: 4 sets of 8 reps, focusing on chest definition and stretch.
    • Decline Push-Up: 4 sets of max reps, enhancing lower chest development and endurance.
    • Eccentric Bicep Curls: 4 sets of 8 reps with a slow lowering phase, emphasizing bicep muscle tear and growth.
  2. Dropset Finisher:
    • Machine Chest Press: Start with the heaviest weight you can manage for 8 reps, then drop the weight and continue to failure. Repeat for 3 drops.
    • Cable Hammer Curls: Similar to chest press, begin with the heaviest weight for 8 reps, then reduce the weight and go to failure for 3 drops.

Chest and Bicep Workouts by Type

Old School Chest and Biceps Routine

  1. Bench Press: 4 sets of 8-10 reps.
  2. Incline Dumbbell Press: 3 sets of 10-12 reps.
  3. Barbell Curl: 3 sets of 10-12 reps.
  4. Dumbbell Flyes: 3 sets of 12-15 reps.
  5. Concentration Curls: 3 sets of 12 reps per arm.

This routine is a nod to the classic, time-tested exercises that have been building impressive physiques for decades. It focuses on fundamental movements that promote overall chest and bicep development.

Barrel Chest and Machine Gun Workout 

  1. Decline Bench Press: 4 sets of 8 reps.
  2. Preacher Curl Machine: 3 sets of 10 reps.
  3. Cable Flyes: 4 sets of 12 reps.
  4. Hammer Curl: 3 sets of 10 reps.
  5. Push-Ups: 3 sets to failure.

A perfect blend of targeted machine work and free weights, this routine aims to create a barrel chest and sculpted arms, enhancing muscle mass and symmetry.

Machine-Only Workout 

  1. Machine Chest Press: 4 sets of 10 reps.
  2. Machine Bicep Curl: 4 sets of 10 reps.
  3. Pec Deck: 3 sets of 12 reps.
  4. Cable Bicep Curl: 3 sets of 12 reps.

Ideal for those who prefer machine workouts for controlled movements and stability, this routine is great for beginners or those focusing on isolation and form.

Superset Workout

  1. Bench Press Superset with Barbell Curl: 4 sets of 8 reps each.
  2. Incline Dumbbell Press Superset with Incline Hammer Curl: 4 sets of 10 reps each.

This high-intensity superset routine is designed for conditioning and endurance. It keeps the heart rate up and maximizes muscle fatigue for effective results.

The Mutant Chest and Biceps Workout Routine

  1. Dumbbell Pullover: 4 sets of 10 reps. A unique exercise that works both the chest and lats, contributing to a wider, mutant-like upper body.
  2. EZ-Bar Curl with Dropset: Start with a heavy set of 8 reps, then drop the weight and continue to failure for 3 drops.
  3. Weighted Chest Dip: 4 sets of 8-10 reps. Focuses on the lower chest and adds mass for a more mutant-like appearance.
  4. Zottman Curl: 4 sets of 10 reps. Works the entire bicep and forearm, perfect for building mutant-sized arms.

The Mutant Chest and Biceps Workout is for those who dare to push beyond their limits. It’s not just about building muscle; it’s about transforming your physique into something extraordinary.

Programming Tips for Chest & Bicep Workouts

Chest Tips
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Change Up Your Grip

Altering your grip during exercises can significantly impact muscle engagement. For instance, a wider grip on the bench press emphasizes the outer chest, while a narrower grip focuses on the inner chest. Similarly, varying your grip on bicep curls can target different parts of the muscle.

Take Advantage of Less Fatigue

Organize your workout to capitalize on muscle endurance. Start with compound movements like bench presses that require more energy and engage multiple muscle groups. As you progress through the workout, shift to isolation exercises like bicep curls and cable flies. This strategy allows you to maximize your performance on the more demanding exercises while still effectively targeting specific muscles when they’re less fatigued.

How to Warm Up Before a Chest and Bicep Workout

Warming up is crucial for priming your muscles and preventing injury. Start with 5-10 minutes of light cardio to increase your heart rate and blood flow. Follow this with dynamic stretches focusing on the chest, biceps, and shoulders. Arm circles, shoulder shrugs, and chest openers are excellent choices. Incorporate activation exercises like push-ups or light dumbbell curls to engage the muscles you’ll be working.

How to Continue Progressing Your Chest & Bicep Workout

Increase Resistance Gradually: As your strength improves, gradually increase the weight you lift. This constant challenge promotes muscle growth and strength gains.

Vary Your Exercises: Switching up your exercises every few weeks keeps the muscles guessing and avoids plateaus. Experiment with different variations of presses and curls to target your muscles from various angles.

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  • Tested for purity and safety
  • Creatine has no known side effects
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Focus on Form and Technique: Quality trumps quantity. Pay attention to your form to ensure you’re targeting the right muscles effectively. Sometimes, slowing down the movement can intensify the workout and lead to better results.

Incorporate Supersets and Dropsets: Supersets (performing two exercises back-to-back with no rest) and dropsets (reducing the weight and continuing the set until failure) can intensify your workouts and push your muscles harder.

Tips and Techniques to Maximize Your Workout 

Controlled Movements: Focus on controlled, deliberate movements, especially during the eccentric (lowering) phase of an exercise. This increases muscle tension and can lead to greater strength and size gains.

Mind-Muscle Connection: Actively think about the muscle you’re working on during each exercise. This mental focus can enhance muscle engagement and effectiveness of the workout.

Rest and Recovery: Muscles grow during rest periods, not just during workouts. Ensure you’re getting enough sleep and giving your muscles time to recover between workouts.

Nutrition and Hydration: Fuel your body with the right nutrients and stay hydrated. A balanced diet rich in protein, healthy fats, and carbohydrates, along with adequate water intake, supports muscle growth and recovery.

Consistency is Key: Regular, consistent workouts are essential for progress. Stick to your routine, and be patient; results will come with time and dedication.

Drawbacks of Chest & Bicep Workouts

You May Overtrain Your Arms

There’s a potential risk of overtraining your arms, particularly the biceps, when frequently combining them with chest workouts. It’s important to monitor your body’s response and allow sufficient rest and recovery.

May Affect Training Larger Muscle Groups

Focusing too much on chest and biceps might lead to neglecting other larger muscle groups like legs or back. Balance is key in a fitness regimen to ensure overall body development and prevent muscular imbalances.

Can Limit Your Split

Committing to a chest and bicep workout routine might limit the flexibility of your training split. If you’re training multiple days in a row, it may be challenging to fit in other muscle groups without overworking certain areas.

7 Staple Exercises For Chest & Biceps Workouts

Bench Press

Muscles Worked in the Bench Press: The bench press primarily targets the pectoralis major, with significant engagement of the triceps and anterior deltoids. It’s a foundational exercise for building upper body strength.

How to Bench Press with Proper Form:

  1. Lie flat on the bench with your eyes under the bar.
  2. Plant your feet firmly on the ground.
  3. Grip the bar slightly wider than shoulder-width.
  4. Unrack the bar, lowering it to the mid-chest.
  5. Push the bar back up to the starting position, focusing on engaging your chest muscles.

Dumbbell Incline Press

Muscles Worked in Incline Dumbbell Press: Targets the upper chest (pectoralis major), while also working the shoulders and triceps. It’s excellent for achieving a balanced chest development.

How to Incline Dumbbell Press:

  1. Set the bench to a 30-45 degree incline.
  2. Hold a dumbbell in each hand at shoulder height.
  3. Press the weights up until your arms are fully extended.
  4. Lower the dumbbells back down slowly, maintaining control.

Standing Cable Chest Fly

Muscles Worked in Standing Cable Chest Flyes: Primarily targets the pectoralis major while also engaging the shoulders and biceps. It’s great for defining and sculpting the chest muscles.

How to Do Standing Cable Chest Flyes:

  1. Stand in the center of a cable machine with handles attached to the high pulley.
  2. Hold the handles with your palms facing down.
  3. With a slight bend in your elbows, bring the handles together in front of your chest.
  4. Slowly return to the starting position, controlling the weight.

Push-Up

Muscles Worked in Push-Ups: Engages the chest, triceps, and shoulders. Push-ups are a versatile bodyweight exercise that strengthens and tones the upper body.

How to Do Push-Ups:

  1. Place your hands on the ground, slightly wider than shoulder-width.
  2. Extend your legs back, balancing on your toes.
  3. Lower your body until your chest nearly touches the ground.
  4. Push back up to the starting position, maintaining a straight line from head to heels.

Barbell Curl

Muscles Worked in Barbell Curls: Primarily targets the biceps brachii, with engagement of the brachialis and brachioradialis. It’s a staple exercise for building bicep size and strength.

How to Do Barbell Curl:

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding a barbell with an underhand grip.
  2. Keep your elbows close to your torso.
  3. Curl the bar towards your chest, keeping your upper arms stationary.
  4. 4. Squeeze the biceps at the top of the movement.
  5. Lower the bar back down with control.

Hammer Curl

Muscles Worked in Hammer Curls: Targets the biceps brachii and brachialis, and also works the brachioradialis. This exercise is great for overall arm thickness and forearm development.

How to Do Hammer Curl:

  1. Hold a dumbbell in each hand with a neutral grip (palms facing each other).
  2. Keep your upper arms stationary as you curl the weights towards your shoulders.
  3. Contract your biceps at the top of the movement.
  4. Slowly lower the weights back to the starting position.

Incline Dumbbell Curl

Muscles Worked in the Incline Dumbbell Curls: Primarily targets the biceps, particularly the long head. The incline position increases the range of motion, enhancing muscle activation.

How to Do Incline Dumbbell Curls:

  1. Sit on an incline bench set at 45-60 degrees.
  2. Hold a dumbbell in each hand, arms fully extended.
  3. Curl the weights towards your shoulders, keeping your elbows back.
  4. Lower the dumbbells slowly back to the starting position.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Train Chest and Biceps Together?

Yes, you can train chest and biceps together. This combination is efficient and effective, allowing you to work on two major muscle groups in one session. It’s a popular approach in many fitness routines, especially for those looking to maximize their time in the gym.

Are Chest and Biceps a Good Combo?

Chest and biceps are indeed a good combination. This pairing allows for a balanced workout that targets both push and pull muscle groups. Training them together can lead to significant gains in upper body strength and aesthetics.

Is It Better to Train the Biceps with the Chest or Back?

Whether to train biceps with chest or back depends on your personal goals and workout routine. Pairing biceps with back is common as they are both pull muscles, but training biceps with chest is equally effective. It ultimately comes down to preference and how your body responds.

Can I Superset Chest & Bicep Workouts?

Absolutely! Supersetting chest and bicep workouts can be highly efficient and can increase the intensity of your workout. By alternating between a chest exercise and a bicep exercise with minimal rest, you can keep your heart rate up and achieve a more effective workout in less time.

References

  • https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/17461391.2020.1733672
  • https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/17461391.2017.1340524
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7927075/
  • https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34769755/
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6303131/

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About

Julien Raby is the owner of BoxLife. He owns a bachelor in literature and a certificate in marketing from Concordia. He's Crossfit Level 1 certified and has been involved in Crossfit since 2010. In 2023 he finally made it to Crossfit Open Quarterfinals for the first time. LinkedIn Instagram Facebook

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