Your chest and triceps are two major muscle groups that work together well, which means you can and should train them together. This chest and tricep dumbbell workout covers all the bases, and is the perfect workout for these muscle groups.
The question is, how to organize your training in the best possible way for optimal growth and strength gain?
Stick around because we’ll go over an effective chest and tricep dumbbell workout, exercise recommendations, safety tips, and more.
Why You Should Train Your Chest and Triceps Together
Training your chest and triceps is highly beneficial because the two muscles produce various movements. Most notably, the two muscles play a crucial role in pushing: push-ups, bench presses, etc.
For instance, the bench press primarily works the chest (pectoralis major), but it also involves the triceps, which produce elbow extension (straightening of the arms).
The push/pull/legs training split has grown in popularity precisely because it combines muscle groups that work together. A ‘push’ workout would be one where you train your upper body pushing muscles: the chest, triceps, and shoulders.
Chest and Tricep Dumbbell Workout
|Flat Dumbbell Press||2-3||6-12||Do those on a bench, step, or, worst case - the floor.|
|Flat Dumbbell Flyes||2-3||8-12||Same as above.|
|Incline Dumbbell Press||2-3||8-12||Do these at an incline angle of 30 to 45 degrees.|
|Incline Dumbbell Flyes||2-3||8-12||Same as the incline press.|
|Seated Dumbbell Extension||2-3||8-12||You can train one arm at a time or both simultaneously.|
|Tricep Kickback||2-3||8-12||Same as the previous exercise.|
|Dumbbell Skull Crushers||2-3||8-12||You can do these on a bench, step, or floor. Train one arm at a time if you struggle with technique or can't engage your triceps effectively.|
As you can see, this workout is demanding. If you’re relatively new to weight training, split the workout into two sessions – for example, do one on Monday and the other on Thursday. Another great weekly workout plan is a 3-day split workout.
More advanced people can do the workout as outlined and perform it once or twice weekly, depending on recoverability.
And even once weekly is more than enough to work both muscle groups.
Chest and Tricep Workout Recommendations and Tweaks
Performing exercises at an incline (e.g., incline bench press) shifts the emphasis to the upper chest. Be careful with the exact angle because going too steep forces your shoulders to work much more, taking the focus away from your chest. (1)
Speaking of that, you should train your shoulders alongside your chest and triceps because the muscle group contributes to ‘push’ exercises.
Good shoulder-specific exercises you can include in your push workouts include the overhead press, lateral raises, and front raises.
So as a general rule and to keep things simple (which is always best):
- Back / Lats
Getting to the Next Level
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As you can see, putting together an effective chest and tricep dumbbell workout is not that complex. There are some details to consider, but it doesn’t require much planning because these muscle groups enjoy working together.
Before wrapping up this post, it’s important to note that a good warm-up will always play a massive role in your results. Take your time to prepare your body with some low-intensity cardio, dynamic stretching, and warm-up sets. (2)
You can add specific warm-up activities for your shoulders, elbows, or wrists if these areas feel achy.
Dumbbells Setup for a Home Workout
To achieve a very effective home dumbbell workout, you really only need two sets of dumbbells (4 dumbbells total):
- One light set of dumbbells for smaller muscles (biceps, triceps, shoulders)
- One heavy set of dumbbells for larger muscles (back, chest, legs)
That way, with only two sets of dumbbells, you don’t have a full room packed with a rack of 20 dumbbells (unless of course you want that). And more importantly, it’s not necessary to achieve a really great workout.
The dumbbells you purchase are based on your experience and fitness level, as well as your general strength. Here are some basic guidelines:
Light: 5 or 8# Dumbbells
Heavy: 15 or 20# Dumbbells
Light: 10 or 15# Dumbbells
Heavy: 20 or 25# Dumbbells
Light: 15 or 20# Dumbbells
Heavy: 30 or 40# Dumbbells
If you’re not sure about the weights, take a visit to your local Walmart, Sports Authority, Dick’s Sporting Goods, or similar store and test them out.
A good test to check your light and heavy dumbbell, is to do some dumbbell side raises to gauge your light dumbbell, and bicep curls to gauge your heavy dumbbells. You want to have mild resistance for each one, but not overloaded.
- Zachwalinski, A. (2022, November 8). How to do the incline bench press for upper-body size and strength. Breaking Muscle. https://breakingmuscle.com/incline-bench-press/
- Elizabeth Quinn, M. S. (2020, March 13). Prevent injuries. Verywell Fit.