10 Best Chest and Back Workouts For Building Muscle and Strength

10. CHEST: Bench Press

Advertisement

Advertisement

Starting Position:

Lie on a bench or mat, making sure that your lower back presses against the bench. To do this, pull your abdominal muscles in toward your spine. Hold a weighted barbell with arms extended over your chest. Slowly lower the weight to your chest.

The Exercise:

Exhale and, keeping your arms shoulder-width apart, extend your arms over your chest in two counts. Inhale and take two counts to slowly lower the weight close to your chest. Repeat for the number of repetitions / sets indicated in your strength-training workout program.

9. CHEST: Incline Press

Starting Position:

Sit on an inclined bench. Make sure your shoulders are down and pulled back and your head is in line with your spine. Hold a weight in each hand at chest level.

The Exercise:

Exhale, and take two counts to press the weights upward as you extend your arms. Inhale and take two counts to bend your arms and bring the weights back down toward your chest. You have the option of touching the weights together on the exhale phase of this exercise. Repeat for the number of repetitions / sets indicated in your strength-training workout program.

8. CHEST: Dumbbell Press

Starting Position:

Lie on a bench or mat, making sure that your lower back presses against the bench. To do this, pull your abdominal muscles in toward your spine. Hold a dumbbell in each hand with arms extended over your chest. Slowly lower the weights to your chest.

The Exercise:

Exhale and, keeping your arms shoulder-width apart, extend your arms over your chest in two counts. Inhale and take two counts to slowly lower the weights lose to your chest. Repeat the number of repetitions / sets indicated in your strength-training workout program.

7. CHEST: Fly

Starting Position:

Lie on a bench or mat, making sure that your lower back presses against the bench. To do this, pull your abdominal muscles in toward your spine. Hold a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing each other, elbows bent to form an arch. Lower the weights to your chest.

The Exercise:

Exhale, and take two counts to bring your arms together over your chest in an arc-like movement. Inhale and take two counts to slowly lower the weights, bringing your arms out to your sides. Repeat for the number of repetitions / sets indicated in your strength-training workout program.

6. CHEST: Pullover

Starting Position:

Lie on a bench or mat, making sure that your lower back presses against the bench. To do this, pull your abdominal muscles in toward your spine. Hold on weight in both hands. Keep your elbows bent and lower the weight behind your head.

The Exercise:

Exhale, and take two counts to lift the weight, pulling it across your chest. Inhale and take counts to slowly lower the weight, bringing the dumbbell back to the starting position behind your head. Repeat for the number of repetitions / sets indicated in your strength training workout program.

Make sure you keep your elbows bent for this exercise to reduce strain on your shoulders and to maximize the work done by your chest muscles.

5. CHEST: Lying Dumbbell Press

Starting Position:

Lie on the floor with a weight in each hand and your elbows bent at a 90-degree angle.

The Exercise:

Exhale, and take two counts to extend your arms. Inhale, and take two counts to bend your arms and return to the starting position. Repeat for the number of repetitions / sets indicated in your strength-training workout program.

Make sure that your shoulders remain stationary throughout the exercise. The only movement is in the elbows.

4. BACK: One-Arm Row

Starting Position:

Place your right knee and left hand on a bench for support. Bend over from the waist, keeping your back straight. Hold a dumbbell in your right hand, palm facing in, arm extended.

The Exercise:

Exhale, and take two counts as you bend at the elbow and lift the weight, keeping your elbow close to your body at all times. Inhale and take two counts to lower to the extended position. Repeat for the number of repetitions / sets indicated in your strength-training workout program. Switch sides.

The more parallel you bring your upper body to the floor, the more you target the back muscles. To maintain a flat back, pull your belly button up toward your spine and hold it there.

3. BACK: Bent-Over Row

Starting Position:

Stand with your knees slightly bent. Bend over from the waist, keeping your back flat. Hold a weight in each hand.

The Exercise:

Exhale, and take two counts as you bend at the elbow and lift the weight, keeping your elbow close to your body at all times. Inhale and take two counts to lower to the extended position. Repeat for the number of repetitions / sets indicated in your strength-training workout program.

Avoid twisting your body when you perform the row. Your hips should stay squared.

2. BACK: Cable Row

Starting Position:

Select the desired weight with the weight pin. Sit on the cable row, keeping your back straight, abs in, and head in line with your spine. Grab onto the cable handle.

The Exercise:

Exhale, and take two counts as you bend your arms and pull the handle in toward your chest, bringing your elbows behind your back. Inhale, and take two counts to extend your arms. Repeat for the number of repetitions / sets indicated in your strength-training workout program.

Limit the amount of movement in your upper body; focus only on bending and extending your arms and deeply contracting the muscles in your back.

1. BACK: Pull Down

Starting Position:

Sit facing the pull-down bar. Place your hands on the bar, shoulder-width apart.

The Exercise:

Exhale, and take two counts to lower the bar, pulling it down to your chest. Inhale, and take two counts to return the bar to the up position. Repeat for the number of repetitions / sets indicated in your strength-training workout program.