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Want to get your beach muscles in shape? If you want to build size, power, capacity these 10 chest and back workouts are perfect for you;
1. 5 Rounds: Max Bench Press & Pull Ups
Yes this is a crossfit workout “Lynne”, but it’s also a super set of bench press and pull ups. Do this push, pull combo regularly and you’ll get a nice big back and front;
This workout is for max reps,
- Do as many bench press as you can at body weight
- Then do as many strict pull ups you can
- Repeat for 5 rounds
2. Bench Press Drop Sets
If you want to put on size, drop sets are perfect for you. They build large muscle mass, but a word of caution they don’t give as much power and capacity as other modalities (you don’t see athletes using drop sets to build strength and power – they want a leaner (smaller) muscle so they don’t get too heavy & bulky). But if you want size, drop sets are a must for you.
- Pick a weight you can do about 15 reps unbroken with. Do as many as you can until failure
- Then drop the weight by 10lbs and do as many reps as you can until failure
- Repeat until you’ve got an empty bar can’t do any more.
3. Strict Pull Ups (Weighted)
The wider you go, the wider you grow. Get your arms nice and wide here. It should go without saying but you want over hand on the bar, to use your lats, and ticeps. If you use under-hand (i.e chin up) then you’ll be using your biceps more.
If you’re just starting out skip the added weight. If you’ve already got a decent amount of pull ups, throw on a weight vest or go junk yard with some chains, alternatively put a dumbbell, kettlebell or med ball between your feet or hang it off a belt.
This program, by an unknown Russian can be adapted to any starting level but here we’ll use the 3RM starting point. If you can do more than 3 strict pull ups, add enough weight so that you can only do 3. It’s a 4 week program, that trains 6 days a week, and using your max reps as a starting point and drops 1 rep from each subsequent set for a total of 5 sets.
Here’s what it looks like;
Day 1 3, 2, 1, 1
Day 2 3, 2, 1, 1
Day 3 3, 2, 2, 1
Day 4 3, 3, 2, 1
Day 5 4, 3, 2, 1
Day 6 Off
Day 7 4, 3, 2, 1, 1
Day 8 4, 3, 2, 2, 1
Day 9 4, 3, 3, 2, 1
Day 10 4, 4, 3, 2, 1
Day 11 5, 4, 3, 2, 1
Day 12 Off
Day 13 5, 4, 3, 2, 1
Day 14 5, 4, 3, 2, 2
Day 15 5, 4, 3, 3, 2
Day 16 5, 4, 4, 3, 2
Day 17 5, 5, 4, 3, 2
Day 18 Off
Day 19 6, 5, 4, 3, 2
Day 20 6, 5, 4, 3, 3
Day 21 6, 5, 4, 4, 3
Day 22 6, 5, 5, 4, 3
Day 23 6, 6, 5, 4, 3
Day 24 Off
Day 25 7, 6, 5, 4, 3
Day 26 7, 6, 5, 4, 4
Day 27 7, 6, 5, 5, 4
Day 28 7, 6, 6, 5, 4
4. Pausing Snatch Grip Deadlifts
Yes it’s a mouthful, but it’ll also make your back full (sorry).
Get in a deadlift position, shins nice and straight and big gorilla back, now move your hands out. Way out. Like an Olympic lifter does in the snatch. Deadlift that sucker to just under your knees, then hold it there of 5 seconds, then continue up to full extension. Then lower it just below the knee and then hold it there for another 5 seconds. The key is to keep your back locked in. Great for building a nice position, and different way to build muscle.
Do a 5 x 5 at a challenging weight. It should be challenging, but goal is no failed reps.
5. Barbell Rows and Strict Press
Work this as a super set, the pull, push motion is going to get you working under fatigue straight up. Make sure to keep your back locked in, in the row, a good cue is to imagine you’re a big silverback gorilla (not that much of a stretch is it?). Think of how their back is when their walking about on their knuckles. You want to be like that.
Do the rows, then straight into the strict press. Keep your core locked on in the press, no bananas please.
6. Iron Triathlon
Yes it’s another crossfit workout, but with 210 reps each of deadlifts, squat cleans, and bench press, this is going to be one of the toughest chest and back workouts you’ve ever attempted. Clear your schedule because this bad boy takes at least an hour or work.
If you don’t know how to squat clean, sub in a front squat (from the rack).
Bench Press @ bodyweight
Deadlift @ 1.5 x bodyweight
Squat Clean @ 0.75 x bodyweight
- Do 1 Bench Press, then 1 deadlift, then 1 squat clean
- Then add 1 rep to each movement until you get to 20
Prescribed weights are heavy. Reduce as needed to get through all 20 rounds in about 1 hour.
7. Tempo Front Squat
Yes, front squats work your back. But only if you keep you back upright. You’re not bowing, you’re sitting down. Look at the way Olympic lifters squat, not the way power lifters squat. Keep you abs tight, and the bar up high sitting on your shoulders.
Tempo: 3 seconds down, 3 seconds at the bottom of the squat, 3 seconds up, 3 seconds at the top.
Do 3 sets of 5 reps at a challenging weight, goal is no failed reps.
8. Deadlifts & Hand Release Push Ups
Deadlifts are great, we all know that, lock your lats in, get all silverback with your back and push your feet through the floor. The drop and give me some hand release push ups. These suckers ensure you don’t bounce off the floor and use muscle flexion for the eccentric phase (the up part).
Rep scheme 21 Deadlifts, 42 HRPU, 15 deadlift, 30 HRPU, 9 Deadlift, 18 HRPU
Deadlift should be heavy enough that you need to split up the 21’s into 2 sets (but no more than 3).
9. Kettlebell Swings (American)
Want to be carved out of stone? Then you need to be using Kettlebells. These get nasty real quick. American swings go right up over your head, Russian only go to chest height. Each serve their purpose, but for this one, let’s go right up to full extension. The key to Kettlebell swings is to understand the momentum of getting the bell up isn't your back, its hip extension, squeeze your ass together as you extend your hips and pop the bell. It should feel a little weightless then guide it up over your head.
Do 20 reps every minute for 10 minutes
10. Sled drag and Zercher Carry
Sleds are a killer. They don’t isolate any one muscle group (that’s a good thing) so give your whole body a good talking too.
Load up a sled, then grab a dumbbell, kettlebell, weight plate, a big rock whatever is heavy and carry it in front of you. Hug it, cradle it, just keep it in front, and try to keep your back nice and strong.
Then pull that sled whilst you carry this heavy ass baby.
120 yards x 6 rounds
Use a weight that you can get to the end of 120 yards without having to stop.