4-Week Fierce Chest and Back Workout For Muscle Growth

Chest and back workout

The chest and back are two of the most important muscle groups to focus on in your entire upper body workout routine. By targeting these two areas, you’ll not only see gains in strength and size, but you’ll also improve your posture and reduce your risk of injury. Here is a fierce chest and back workout that you can start using today to see results.

Fierce 4-Week Chest and Back Workout For Muscle Growth

This 4 week’s chest and back workout program will consist of free weights, body weight, and machines.

For the top set of each compound exercise, you will work up to a 6-10 rep maximum. The warmup and back-off sets will be 50% and 70% of the top set weight. Linked here is a great rep max calculator you can use to get an estimate of your maxes. Below is a video explaining how to set this up.

Here are some things to keep in mind throughout the duration of this program:

  1. Warm up properly before each workout (warm up your shoulders using resistance bands and walk for 5-10 minutes on a treadmill).
  2. Be sure to track your compound exercises each week to help achieve progressive overload, leading to more muscle growth.
  3. Perform each exercise slowly and controlled. Focus on lifting the weights with the muscles and limiting momentum.
  4. After each workout, properly cool down by doing static and dynamic stretches.
  5. If you’re short on time feel free to superset two exercises simultaneously each week.

Week 1

Weeks 1 and 3 will be focused on the upper chest and lower lats. They will start with back exercises and end with chest exercises.

Accessories:

  1. Supinated Grip Lat Pulldowns – 3 sets of 10-15
  2. Pushups – 3 sets of 10-15

Compounds:

Remember to track your weight and reps for these two back and chest exercises.

  1. Bentover Dumbbell Row (%’s based off 6-10 rep max)
    • Warmup Sets: 50%x10-12, 70%x8-10
    • Top Set: 100%x6-10
    • Back Off Sets: 70%x8-10, 50%x10-12
  2. Incline Barbell Bench Press (%’s based off 6-10 rep max)
    • Warmup Sets: 50%x10-12, 70%x8-10
    • Top Set: 100%x6-10
    • Back Off Sets: 70%x8-10, 50%x10-12

Accessories:

  1. Dumbbell Pullover – 2 sets of 10-12
  2. Incline Dumbbell Fly – 2 sets of 8-10

Week 2

Weeks 2 and 4 will be focused on the mid/lower chest and building the upper back muscles and thickness. These weeks will begin with chest exercises and end with a back movement.

Accessories:

  1. Pec Deck – 3 sets of 10-15
  2. Overhand Grip Lat Pulldown – 3 sets of 10-15

Compounds:

Remember to track your weight and reps for these two back and chest exercises.

  1. Chest Press or Barbell Flat Bench Press (%’s based off 6-10 rep max)
    • Warmup Sets: 50%x10-12, 70%x8-10
    • Top Set: 100%x6-10
    • Back Off Sets: 70%x8-10, 50%x10-12
  2. Barbell Deadlift or Barbell Bent Over Row (%’s based off 6-10 rep max)
    • Warmup Sets: 50%x10-12, 70%x8-10
    • Top Set: 100%x6-10
    • Back Off Sets: 70%x8-10, 50%x10-12

Accessories:

  1. Superset Exercises
    • Dips and Overhand Grip Pullups – 2 sets of each until failure

Week 3

Accessories:

  1. Supinated Grip Lat Pulldowns – 4 sets of 15, 12, 10, 8
  2. Pushups – 3 sets of 10-15

Compounds:

Look back to your top set weight and reps for both of these exercises in week 1. This week’s goal is to either increase by one rep using the same weights or add 5 lbs and do the same amount of reps as you did before.

  1. Dumbbell Bent Over Row (%’s based off 6-10 rep max)
    • Warmup Sets: 50%x10-12, 70%x8-10
    • Top Set: 100%x6-10
    • Back Off Sets: 70%x8-10, 50%x10-12
  2. Incline Barbell Bench (%’s based off 6-10 rep max)
    • Warmup Sets: 50%x10-12, 70%x8-10
    • Top Set: 100%x6-10
    • Back Off Sets: 70%x8-10, 50%x10-12

Accessories:

  1. Cable Rope Pullover – 2 sets of 15
  2. Incline Dumbbell Bench – 3 sets of 12, 10, 8

Week 4

Accessories:

  1. Pec Deck – 3 sets of 10-15 reps
  2. Overhanded Grip Lat Pulldown – 3 sets of 10-15 reps

Compounds:

Look back to your top set weight and reps for both of these exercises from week 2. This week’s goal is to either increase by one rep using the same weights or add 5 lbs and do the same amount of reps as you did before.

  1. Chest Press or Bench Press (%’s based off 6-10 rep max)
    • Warmup Sets: 50%x10-12, 70%x8-10
    • Top Set: 100%x6-10
    • Back Off Sets: 70%x8-10, 50%x10-12
  2. Barbell Deadlift or Barbell Bent Over Row (%’s based off 6-10 rep max)
    • Warmup Sets: 50%x10-12, 70%x8-10
    • Top Set: 100%x6-10
    • Back Off Sets: 70%x8-10, 50%x10-12

Accessories:

  1. Superset exercises
    • High To Low Cable Fly and Dumbell Pullover – 2 sets of 10-15 reps each

How To Perform Each Exercise Correctly

Supinated Grip Lat Pulldowns

  1. Adjust the height of the seat to your size and sit it on the lat pulldown machine with your legs secured.
  2. Grip the bar with your palms facing you.
  3. Pull the bar down to your collarbone, keeping your back straight.
  4. Pause and slowly return to the starting position.

Tip:

  • Focus on pulling the cable in a straight line through your elbows to limit bicep engagement.

Pushups

  1. Take a high plank position by placing your hands on the floor shoulder-width apart.
  2. Extend your legs behind you, feet hip-width apart, and plant your toes on the floor.
  3. Bend your elbows and lower yourself toward the floor, while keeping your core tight and back straight.
  4. Stop when your chest is an inch from the floor, then press back up to the starting position.
  5. Repeat the movement for the desired number of reps.

If you’re new to pushups, start with modified versions that allow you to build up strength and master proper form before moving on to the standard version of the exercise. For example, you can place your knees on the floor instead of keeping your legs extended behind you. As you get stronger, gradually work your way up to performing full pushups with good form.

Bentover Dumbbell Row

  1. Position yourself facing the weight bench, with your feet at a staggered stance and your knees bent.
  2. Hold a dumbbell with your left arm, stagger back with the same foot, and lean forward so that your torso is almost parallel to the floor.
  3. Place your right hand on the bench for support.
  4. Slowly lift the dumbbell to the side of your torso, maintaining a slight bend in your elbow.
  5. Pause at the top of the lift, and then lower the dumbbell back to the starting position.
  6. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions, and then switch sides and repeat with the right arm. 

Tip:

  • Focus on pulling with your elbows and lats.

Incline Barbell Bench

  1. Position a barbell on a rack that is set to the desired incline bench press height.
  2. Lie back on an adjustable bench at an incline angle, with your feet flat on the floor.
  3. Grasp the bar with an overhanded grip that is slightly wider than shoulder width.
  4. Bring the bar to your chest, and then tuck your elbows in so that they are close to your sides.
  5. Press the bar up until your arms are straight, and then lower it back down.
  6. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

Tip:

  • To limit shoulder engagement, bring the bar down a few inches above your chest instead of touching it.

Dumbbell Lat Pullover

  1. Lie on your back on a bench with a single dumbbell held in both hands, palms facing upwards and towards your feet.
  2. Hold your arms extended above your chest.
  3. Lower the weight back behind your head until your lats are fully stretched, then slowly raise it back to the starting point.

Incline Dumbbell Fly

  1. Lie on an incline bench and hold a pair of dumbbells with your palms facing each other.
  2. Slowly lift the weights above your chest, maintaining the same spacing between your hands.
  3. Flare your arms out to the sides and slightly upward as you lower the weights back to the starting position. Maintain control of the dumbbells throughout the movement.
  4. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

Tip:

  • You can also perform this with a twist by starting with the dumbbells as you would do for a normal dumbbell press. Then at the top of the movement twist them inwards so that your palms are facing each other.

Pec Deck

  1. Sit on the pec deck machine with your back tight against the pad and shoulders retracted.
  2. Adjust the handles to a comfortable starting position that allows for a good range of motion to fully work and stretch your chest.
  3. Push the handles together as you exhale, and hold for a second before releasing.
  4. Inhale as you release the handles back to the starting position.
  5. Repeat for the desired number of reps.

Overhand Grip Lat Pulldown

  1. Sit down at a lat pulldown machine and adjust the height of the seat so that your knees are bent at a 90-degree angle and your feet are flat on the floor.
  2. Grasp the bar with a grip that is slightly wider than shoulder-width.
  3. Position your body so that you are facing the weight stack and your back is straight. This will be your starting position.
  4. As you exhale, slowly pull the bar down to your chest while keeping your upper arm close to your sides and your elbows flared out.
  5. Continue to pull the bar down until it is above your upper chest. At this point, squeeze your lats and hold the contraction for a second before slowly returning the bar to the starting position as you breathe in.
  6. Repeat the movement for the specified amount of repetitions.

Tips:

  • When performing the lat pulldown, it is important to keep your back straight and your upper arms close to your sides.
  • You should also focus on squeezing your lats at the bottom of the movement.
  • If you find that your back rounds or your arms move away from your sides, then you are using too much weight.

Chest Press

  1. Adjust the seat height to ensure that it is comfortable.
  2. Position your hands on the handles, keeping the elbows slightly bent.
  3. Keep your back tight against the pad and chest up. Press the handles forward until your chest is fully engaged.
  4. Pause and slowly return to the starting position.
  5. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

Flat Barbell Bench Presses

  1. Lie on your back on a bench with your feet flat on the ground.
  2. Hold a barbell with an overhanded grip that is wider than shoulder-width apart.
  3. Position the barbell above your chest with your arms straight.
  4. Slowly lower the barbell to your chest.
  5. Pause for a moment and then press the barbell back up to the starting position.
  6. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

Tips:

  • Keep your shoulders retracted throughout the entire movement
  • Use a wide enough grip so that your chest muscles are being contracted more than the triceps.

Barbell Deadlift

The barbell deadlift is a compound exercise that targets multiple muscles, including the glutes, hamstrings, quads, lower back, and traps. This exercise can be performed with a heavy weight for low reps to build strength, or with a lighter weight for higher reps to build muscle endurance.

When performing the barbell deadlift, it is important to maintain good form throughout the entire movement.

  1. Start by placing the barbell on the floor in front of you and stand with your feet hip-width apart.
  2. Bend at your hips and knees, and reach down to grasp the bar with your preferred grip, your hands shoulder-width apart.
  3. Next, engage your core muscles and brace your back to lift the barbell off the floor.
  4. Keep your arms straight and legs locked as you raise the weight to stand. The barbell should remain close to your legs throughout the movement.
  5. Once you reach standing, lower the barbell back down to the floor by bending at your hips and knees.
  6. Keep your back straight and core engaged as you lower the weight. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

Tip:

  • Try not to hinge forward at the top of the rep.

Barbell Bent Over Row

  1. Position a barbell on the floor and stand in front of it, with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Bend at your hips and waist to grasp the barbell with a pronated grip, your hands shoulder-width apart.
  3. Keeping your back flat, pull the barbell up to your chest, leading with your elbows.
  4. Lower the barbell back to the starting position and repeat for reps. Remember to keep your core engaged and back flat throughout the movement.
  5. You can also perform this exercise with a supinated (palms facing up) grip, which will target your biceps and lower lats more. Experiment with both grips to see which one works best for you.

Dips

  1. Step up to a raised surface, like a bench or box, with your feet together.
  2. Place your hands on the surface directly in front of you, shoulder-width apart.
  3. Slowly lower your body toward the floor, bending your elbows as you go.
  4. Keep your back close to the surface and your elbows close to your body as you lower yourself.
  5. Once your elbows are at a 90-degree angle, pause and then press back up to the starting position.
  6. Repeat for the desired number of reps.

If you’re doing an at-home chest workout try securely spacing apart two chairs to use as dip handles. You can also perform an assisted version by placing your feet on the ground behind you, similar to an upright pushup position.

Overhanded Grip Pullups

  1. Grasp the pullup bar with an overhanded grip, your hands shoulder-width apart.
  2. Hang from the bar with your arms straight, and pull your chest up to the bar.
  3. Pause, then slowly lower yourself back to the starting position.
  4. Repeat for the desired number of reps.

If you’re new to pull-ups, start with an assisted pullup machine or have a spotter help you with the exercise.

As you get stronger, try doing negative reps, which involve jumping up to the top of the pullup position and then slowly lowering yourself back down.

Cable Rope Pullover

  1. Start by setting a cable pully to the top position and attaching a rope or straight bar.
  2. Grab the rope with both hands and step backward.
  3. Bend your knees and keep your feet flat on the floor.
  4. Pull your shoulder blades together and lean your upper body forward.
  5. Pull the rope towards your stomach using your elbows and back muscles.
  6. Hold it here for a few seconds then reverse the motion and return to the starting position.
  7. Allow your lats to get a good stretch during the eccentric phase of the movement.

Incline Dumbbell Press

  1. Lie on an incline bench with a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing forward.
  2. Bring the weights to your chest, with your elbows bent and your upper arm parallel to the floor.
  3. Push the weights upward until your arms are straightened.
  4. Slowly lower the weights back to your chest and repeat.

The incline dumbbell bench press is a great exercise for targeting your chest. By performing this exercise with a dumbbell in each hand, you will also work your stabilizer muscles, resulting in a well-rounded chest workout. Be sure to keep your form strict and avoid swinging the weights, as this can lead to injury.

High To Low Cable Fly

  1. Position a cable pulley at the height you need, and attach D-handles to each side.
  2. Standing in front of the pulley, grasp the handles with your palms facing each other.
  3. Step forward a few feet and tighten the handles towards your chest, maintaining a slight bend in your elbows.
  4. From here, lower the handles in a controlled manner until your arms are extended out in front of you at waist level and squeeze your chest together.
  5. From the bottom position, reverse the motion and return to the starting position.
  6. Repeat for desired reps.

Chest and Back Workout Muscle Group Targets

The primary muscles worked with this program are the latissimus dorsi, rhomboids, trapezius, erector spinae, and chest. Secondary muscles include the biceps, triceps, shoulders, and abdominals. Some lower body muscles will also be worked if you choose to do deadlifts.

Latissimus Dorsi (Lat)

The Lat is one of the largest muscles in the body and it’s located in the back. This muscle helps you to move your arms and shoulders, and it also plays a role in stabilizing your spine. The lat is responsible for a number of different motions, including rowing, pulling your arm down and back, and rotating your arm inward.

When the lats are well developed, they give your back a wide and muscular appearance.

Erector Spinae

The erector spinae is a muscle group located in the back. It is responsible for extending and rotating the spine. The erector spinae is made up of three columns: the iliocostalis, longissimus, and spinalis. They work together to stabilize the spine and keep it upright.

The erector spinae is powerful and essential for everyday activities such as walking, sitting, and standing. This group is also important for more strenuous activities such as lifting, carrying, and running. Strong erector spinae muscles help to protect the spine from injury.

Rhomboids

The rhomboids are a group of muscles in the back. They are responsible for shoulder blade movement and are located between the shoulder blades and the spine.

They are often considered to be one, but there are actually two muscles in this group: the rhomboid major and the rhomboid minor. Both parts originate from the cervical spine (neck) and attach to the scapula (shoulder blade).

They work to stabilize the shoulder blades and are important in maintaining good posture. They also work together with the trapezius to move the shoulder blades.

The rhomboids can be tight and weak from sitting at a desk all day or from hunching over a computer. Strengthening the rhomboids can help to improve posture and relieve pain in the upper back and shoulders.

Trapezius Muscle

The trapezius muscles are a group of four muscles that span from the base of the skull to the middle of the back. They are responsible for moving the shoulder blades and stabilizing the spine. The muscles are triangular in shape, with the base of the triangle located at the top of the neck and the point at the middle of the back.

These muscles are divided into three sections: the upper, middle, and lower trapezius. The upper trapezius is the largest of the three sections and is responsible for the elevation of the shoulder blades. The middle trapezius is responsible for retraction of the shoulder blades, while the lower trapezius is responsible for the depression of the shoulder blades.

The traps are innervated by the spinal accessory nerve. They are considered to be part of the back musculature, as it inserts into the thoracic spine. The trapezius is one of the largest and most powerful muscles in the upper body. It is used extensively in everyday activities, such as reaching for objects, lifting, and carrying.

It is susceptible to injury due to its location and function. The most common injuries involve the upper trapezius, which can be strained due to repetitive overhead motions or sudden trauma. The middle and lower trapezius muscles are also susceptible to injury, but this is less common.

Chest Muscles

The chest muscles are the pectoralis minor and major muscles. The pectoralis major is a large, fan-shaped muscle that covers the front of the chest. The pectoralis minor is a small, triangular muscle that lies underneath the pectoralis major. These muscles help you move your arms and shoulders.

The major has two parts: the clavicular head and the sternocostal head. The clavicular head is the upper part of the muscle that attaches to the collarbone. The sternocostal head is the lower part that attaches to the breastbone.

The minor also has two parts: the medial head and the lateral head. The medial head attaches to the ribs, and the lateral head attaches to the shoulder blade.

Training chest is important for a variety of activities, such as lifting weights, pushing, and pulling. Strong chest muscles can help improve your posture and decrease your risk of injuries.

Biceps

The biceps are two-headed muscles located on the front of the upper arm. They are responsible for bending the elbow and rotating the forearm. The biceps are one of the most visible muscles in the human body and are often used as a gauge of muscularity.

Triceps

The triceps are three-headed muscles located on the back of your upper arm. They are responsible for extending your elbow and helping to lift weights. The triceps can be worked using a variety of exercises, including bench presses, dips, and skull crushers.

Shoulders

Your shoulder muscles are responsible for a wide variety of motions, including lifting your arm up and out to the side and bringing it backward. There are three main points in your shoulder: the deltoid, the trapezius, and the rotator cuff.

The Benefits of Targeting These two Areas in The Same Workout

One of the benefits of doing chest and back workouts together is that you can save time. You can also work more muscles simultaneously and get more out of your workout. Chest and back exercises also tend to complement each other because a chest exercise is considered a pushing movement and a back exercise is a pulling movement.

So by alternating between chest and back exercises one body part will get rest while the other is being worked. Ultimately allowing you to take shorter breaks in between exercises. This leads to quicker workouts and bigger pumps so you can achieve a better overall upper body workout.

Try This Chest and Back Workout Program!

When it comes to chest and back workouts, there are many different exercises you can do. In this article, we’ve shared a few of our favorites, but feel free to experiment until you find the ones that work best for you. Remember to focus on proper form and technique, especially when starting out. With a little practice, you’ll be on your way to a strong and muscular chest and back in no time! Thanks for reading.

Eric Decremer
Eric Decremer

Eric is an ISSA Certified Personal Trainer and competes in the USPA Powerlifting Association. Feel free to contact him anytime at edecremer@wildnswole.com!

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