Chest And Triceps Workout: The Best Chest And Triceps Workout To Build Huge Gains

Training your chest and triceps together is one of the most common weightlifting training splits. The reason why you train chest and triceps together, is that all chest exercises, isolated or compound lifts, will stimulate your triceps as a secondary or tertiary muscle group. Training them together, is therefore more effective to build more muscle and strength. Training for strength and muscle mass, comes through progressive overload, workout volume, and most importantly, consistency. We’re going to discuss the best chest and triceps exercises, to help you build a solid chest and triceps workout for more muscle and strength.

Chest And Triceps Workout

Your chest is the pinnacle of a well-defined physique. Like any other muscle group, there are a ton of different exercises you can utilize on your chest day training split to increase your strength and build more muscle. The question is, which exercises should you choose? Stimulating each section of your chest, will help define and build a well-rounded balanced physique.

Your triceps account for nearly 60% of the muscle mass in your upper arms, which makes it an integral muscle group in your training program. A study published by the American Council on Exercise (ACE) identified the best triceps exercises, by investigating which exercises stimulated the most muscle activity through electromyographic EMG electrodes. According to their study, they were able to rank the eight most common triceps exercises, according to muscle activation. While muscle activation matters to stimulate muscle hypertrophy, it’s not the only thing that determines best muscle building exercises. For example, although overhead triceps extensions are the fifth most effective triceps exercise in muscle activation, they can cause more physical stress on your joints.

When you’re lifting it's best to include different types of weights and movements, such as dumbbells and barbell movements with varied rep volume, intensity, rest intervals, and tempo. By utilizing the same exercises at the same tempo and intensity, overtime your body can become complacent and plateau. If you’re a newbie and you’re just getting started in the gym, utilize the same training split for 6-8 weeks. This will provide a solid foundation to build more strength and get comfortable with the movements.

Chest And Triceps Anatomy

Before we get into the details of the chest and triceps training workout, we are going to discuss the anatomy of the chest and triceps. Having a basic understanding of these muscles work, will help incorporate a better mind-muscle connection to achieve better results and gains.

Triceps Muscles

The Triceps Brachii is a large thick muscle located on the posterior (back) part of your upper arm between the elbow and shoulder directly below your bicep. Your triceps contain three different heads (short, medial, and long). Your triceps assist in elbow extension (straightening your arm at the elbow) and shoulder extension [R].

The long head originates from the infraglenoid tubercle of the scapula, while both the lateral head and the medial head both originate from the humerus. The three heads converge into a single tendon, which attaches to the proximal portion of the olecranon process (the bony prominence of the elbow) located on the upper portion of the ulna [R].

Chest Muscles

Your chest consists of four major muscle groups the pectoralis major, pectoralis minor, serratus anterior, and subclavius. The pectoral muscles connect the upper extremities to the anterior (front) and lateral (side) walls. These muscles are responsible for a wide range of functions, including flexion, adduction, and internal rotation of the humerus, stabilization of the scapula, as well as elevating and depressing the bones of the thorax [R].

5 Best Chest Exercises

1. Dumbbell Bench Press

Dumbbells are one of the best training implements in the gym to stack on more gains on your chest day. Dumbbell movements require more core stability, balance, and core activation as opposed to just using a barbell or chest machine. Dumbbell bench press is one of the best compound chest exercises, working multiple muscles groups, and joints all in one fluid motion, for bigger gains and better performance.
  • Lie flat on a bench and set your dumbbells on your knees. Kick up one dumbbell at a time, keeping them close to your body as you lay back. Plant your feet firmly into the ground, lay back and push up. Make sure your feet are placed proximal in towards your body, while keeping them flat on the floor. This will provide a good base for more driving power when it comes to heavy loads and finishing your set.
  • Back position is equally as crucial as your feet placement. Squeeze your shoulder blades by pinching them together and driving them into the bench and slightly arch your back.
  • Make sure your palms are rotated completely under the dumbbells. As you descend, follow your bend your elbows at a parallel 90 degrees, then push back up bringing the dumbbells together, while still keeping a slight bend in your elbows, not locking out. drive your feet into the floor, tightening your glutes, and pushing under the bar with one fluid motion, and extending the elbows again not locking out.
  • 2. Incline Dumbbell Bench Press

    If you’re not including the incline dumbbell bench press in your chest day split, then you’re potentially missing out on some huge gains. Dumbbell movements require more core stability, balance, and core activation as opposed to just using a barbell or chest machine. Incline dumbbell bench press is one of the best compound chest exercises, to build more muscle and strength in chest, shoulders, and triceps.
  • Lie flat on an incline bench and set your dumbbells on your knees. Kick up one dumbbell at a time, keeping them close to your body as you lay back. Plant your feet firmly into the ground, lay back and push up. Make sure your feet are placed proximal in towards your body, while keeping them flat on the floor. This will provide a good base for more driving power when it comes to heavy loads and finishing your set.
  • Back position is equally as crucial as your feet placement. Squeeze your shoulder blades by pinching them together and driving them into the bench and slightly arch your back.
  • Make sure your palms are rotated completely under the dumbbells. As you descend, follow your bend your elbows at a parallel 90 degrees, then push back up bringing the dumbbells together, while still keeping a slight bend in your elbows, not locking out. drive your feet into the floor, tightening your glutes, and pushing under the bar with one fluid motion, and extending the elbows again not locking out.
  • 3. Incline Dumbbell Fly

    The incline dumbbell chest fly is a variation of the dumbbell chest fly, used to isolate the chest muscles. Isolated movements are typically used by bodybuilders, to build a better, more well-rounded physique, more muscle and increased strength. incline dumbbell chest fly is a great accessory movement, to build more muscle and strength assisting in bigger lifts such as the barbell bench press. The incline dumbbell chest fly also activates secondary muscles groups such as your shoulders and triceps. The incline provides more emphases on the upper chest and provides variety for your chest day split.
  • Grab your dumbbells with a neutral grip, palms facing in. Position the dumbbells in the crest of your hips and lay back.
  • Lie back on the incline bench, keeping the weights close to your chest, with your feet firmly placed into the ground.
  • Push the dumbbells away from your body and press them above you.
  • Slightly retract your shoulder blades by pinching them together, unlocking your elbows and slowly lowering the dumbbells laterally while maintaining the angel at your elbow.
  • Once the dumbbells are in line with your chest on each side, reverse the movement, squeezing your pecs together, until you reach the top with the dumbbells back at the starting position.
  • 4. Decline Bench Press 

    Bench press is a compound movement that involves the pectoralis major, deltoids, triceps, and the upper arms. Barbell bench can develop and build more strength and size, and also improve balance in movements amongst athletes. The decline bench press, simply takes the conventional bench press, and angles downward 15 degrees, it to isolate and activate the lower chest.Set the angle on an adjustable bench to 15 degrees, or sit at a decline bench press. With your hands positioned just outside your shoulders on the bar, lie on the bench with your head lower than your hips. Brace your legs to stop yourself sliding off the bench.
  • Lift the barbell, push and hold it over your shoulders. Turn your wrists, so your palms are facing away from you. Pull your shoulders down and back to stabilize and protect your shoulder joints.
  • Bend your arms and lower the bar, just beneath your nipple line down to the outside of your chest. Keep your wrists straight and your elbows directly below your hands. Lower the bar to your chest or as far as your flexibility, and shoulder joints allow.
  • Press the bar back up, stopping just short of locking out your elbows.
  • Repeat for the prescribed number of reps.
  • 5. Decline Dumbbell Bench Press

    Just like the decline barbell bench, the decline dumbbell bench press, is a key functional and compound strength movement, that can greatly increase your chest strength, and build stronger core stability, since the dumbbells are independent of on another, recruiting and activating your core muscles.

  • Set the angle on an adjustable bench to 15 degrees. With a dumbbell in each hand, lie on the bench with your head lower than your hips
  • Tuck your feet firmly between the pads, with each dumbbell on your knees. Lie back on the bench and bring the dumbbells back to your chest and push up as you lay down.
  • Squeeze your shoulder blades by pinching them together and driving them into the bench and slightly arch your back.
  • Make sure your palms are rotated completely under the dumbbells, squeezing them tight.
  • As you descend, follow your bend your elbows at a parallel 90 degrees, then push back up bringing the dumbbells together, while still keeping a slight bend in your elbows, not locking out.
  • Lower the weights and repeat for the prescribed number of reps.
  • 4 Best Triceps Exercises

    1. Diamond/Narrow Push Up

    Diamond pushups are a more advanced variation of the traditional pushup, which isolates your triceps, by placing your hands together, in the shape of a triangle or diamond. Your base is less stable, when your hands are in a narrow position, which isolates your triceps for more effective activation.

    A study published in the Journal Of Strength And Conditioning, compared three different pushup variations using electromyographic EMG to investigate muscle stimulation and activity of the chest and triceps. Of the three variations (wide, shoulder width, and narrow) EMG activity was greater in both muscle groups from the narrow pushup [R].

    How To Do Diamond Push-up

  • Position your hands directly under your chest making a diamond or triangle shape with your hands.
  • Straighten the legs into a plank position.
  • Make sure your back is flat and your core is engaged
  • Descend your chest until your chin or chest touches the ground. If you can't go that low, go as low as you can—then work to build enough strength to lower all the way down over time.
  • Your elbows should stay in close proximity to your sides.
  • Press back to start, keeping your core activated and repeat.
  • 2. Triceps Dips

    Triceps dips are an extremely effective arm exercise, which targets all three heads of the triceps, as well as the lower chest. More advanced than other exercises, triceps dips are performed with bodyweight and can be done without any equipment. All you really need is a sturdy chair, bench, or plyo-box

    How To Do a Triceps Dip

  • Sit on a chair or bench with your hands just outside of the hips and the knees bent or the legs extended straight out in front of you.
  • Lift up onto the palms, keeping the hips and trunk very close to the chair or bench, bend the elbows, lowering down until they're at about 90 degrees.
  • Keep the elbows pointing behind you, the shoulders down and the abs engaged.
  • Push back to start and repeat.
  • 3. Triceps Kickbacks 

    Triceps kickbacks were ranked second narrowly beating out triceps dips, amongst a total of eight different variations, with significant activation of all three heads [R].

    Triceps kickbacks are best performed with dumbbells. Making sure you have proper form, is paramount to ensure effectiveness, activation, and engagement of the muscles.

    How To Do a Triceps Kickback

  • Hold a dumbbell in each hand, with your palms facing toward each other.
  • With your knees bent slightly, bring your torso near parallel to the floor and hinge at the hips.
  • Engage your core, and bring your forearms to 90 degrees, then extend your arm(s) behind you, while keeping your elbow stationary near your side and contract your triceps.
  • Lower the forearm down to about 90 degrees and repeat
  • 4. Triceps Rope/Band Extension

    There’s nothing like a traditional set of ropes or bands to help build the iconic horseshoe on the back of your arms. The triceps rope extension is extremely effective because it activates all three heads of your triceps. Based on the EMG study conducted by ACE, the triceps rope pushdown elicits around 74% activation. While this predominately works the triceps, it also stimulates and recruits the rear deltoids.

    How To Do a Triceps Rope/band Extension

  • Grab a set of ropes and connect it to the cable machine
  • Set the cable to the highest height.
  • Hold onto the rope near the knotted ends and begin with your elbows bent at 90 degrees. Pull the ropes down, with a slight bend at the waist, and knees also slightly bent.
  • Pull down the rope and push each side away from each other, turning the ends out slightly to activate your triceps.
  • Raise back up slightly above your forearms parallel to the floor and repeat.
  • If you don’t have access to a gym, or cable machine, you can use resistance bands. Attach it to the top of a doorway and tie a loose knot in the band halfway down.

    Chest And Triceps Workout Sets And Reps

    The number of sets and reps you perform really depends on your goal. Building strength, compared to building a lean physique, is going to be different than bulking or just maintaining good health. With any training program, utilizing a linear progression (increasing weight with each set) and increasing the load overtime as your body adapts will help you progress and continue to build and transcend training thresholds. 

    Rest intervals, or the time between your sets is another factor to consider, when determining your goals. Cutting body fat and getting lean, will require a higher number of reps, and shorter rest periods between sets, keeping your maximal heart rate in a steady fat burning state. Longer rest intervals, are associated with building more mass and strength, as opposed to shorter rest periods, giving your body more time to rest and recover, producing greater power to lift heavier loads, for a smaller number of reps.

    For this specific program, volume is key factor in building more muscle mass. Therefore, you want to aim for 4-5 sets, of 15,12,10,10,8 reps, to build significant strength and mass.

    Best Supplements For Chest And Triceps Day Workout

    Like any training day split, getting the nutrients you need to power your performance is crucial to help build the muscle and strength you want. Certain supplements can help biological processes such as muscle protein synthesis, initiating the muscle building process, reducing muscle mass breakdown, inhibiting lactic acid buildup, and improving the recovery process, to get you back in the gym day after day, training at maximum capacity. 

    The supplements we recommend, for anyone looking to optimize their training performance, are the following

    PRE workout - For increases in strength, endurance capacity, and workout volume. 

    INTRA workout - Better workout hydration and essential amino acids, to help reduce muscle mass breakdown and improve muscle growth.

    POST workout - Carbohydrates and protein to help imitate glycogen replenishment, muscle protein synthesis, to build more muscle mass and reduce exercise induced muscle soreness

    Kre-Alkalyn - pH corrected creatine, which helps improve power output. endurance, and strength. 

    Greens+Reds - Key micronutrients and nitrate rich antioxidants, to help improve blood flow, exercise performance, and overall health and wellness.

    ZMT - Natural testosterone booster and sleep aid, to improve strength, muscle mass, and initiate quality sleep, improving performance on all levels. 

    Chest And Triceps Workout: Takeaway

    By training your chest and triceps together on the same day, you'll essentially create more workout efficiency, since your chest utilizes your triceps as a secondary muscle in nearly all chest exercises. By increasing time under tension and volume of your chest and triceps under isolation you will add more muscle size and strength.


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    SWOLVERINE IS AN ENDURANCE ATHLETE AND ACTIVE LIFESTYLE BRAND. MADE FOR THE ELITE ATHLETE, AND THE STRONG-WILLED OUR PRODUCTS WERE DESIGNED TO FUEL YOUR ATHLETIC PERFORMANCE. WE PERFORM WHEN YOU PERFORM. 

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    Walter Hinchman

    Walter Hinchman is the Founder and CEO of Swolverine. He is a NESTA and ACE certified trainer and holds a Masters Degree in Business and in Finance and Economics.

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