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If you’re looking to build strength and capacity, or just stuck in a rut and want to mix things up these 10 chest and tricep workouts are just the ticket.
No Equipment Chest and Tricep Workouts
No equipment? No problem. Give these a whirl
1. 3 x Max Effort Push Ups
Quick, but not easy. This is devastating on the chest and triceps. Do it when you’re short on time, as a finisher or when you don’t want to be able to use your arms for the rest of the day.
- Do as many push ups in one set without stopping as you can.
- Rest for 2 mins.
- Repeat until you’ve done 3 sets of push ups
2. EMOM (every minute on the minute) 15 Push ups x 10 mins
Great to build capacity and give you a nice pump. The rest in each minute makes this perfect to keep up the intensity. If you’ve already got guns increase the reps each minute. The goal is no failures though. If you can’t do 15, scale it down to a manageable number for you. Can't do push ups on your toes? Go off your knees.
- Set a running clock
- In the first minute do 15 push ups
- Rest for the remaining time in that minute
- At start of 2nd minute do another 15 push up
- Repeat until you’ve done 10 minutes
3. Death by Burpees
Exactly as horrible as it sounds.
Keep your abs tight, your back straight, and your elbows tucked in, in the push up component to use your chest and triceps more than your lower back.
Yes it’s easy at the start. But that changes quickly. Very quickly.
- Set a running clock
- In minute 1, do 1 burpee
- Add 1 burpee each minute until you can’t complete the number of reps in that round.
- So minute 2 you do 2 burpees, minute 3 you do 3 etc.
- Once you’ve failed rest 2 minutes
- Then start again, but at the last completed round, then subtract 1 burpee each round
For example if you get to 18 burpees completed in a minute, but fail on 19, rest 2 minutes, then start with 18, then go down to 17, 16 etc
4. 100 Burpees for time
This is going to hurt. Just short enough that you can squeeze it in when your pushed for time, but just long enough that you start questioning your life choices.
- Start a clock
- Do 100 burpees as fast as you can
- Stop the clock & have a lie down. You earned it.
Goal time: 7 mins or less
5. Handstand Push Ups
Ok, this one might seem a bit conceited or something, but it’s actually a similar movement to a strict press – only you don’t need a barbell. Just your body weight. Keep your elbows in, and it’ll work your triceps, shoulders and have your core shaking in no time. Start off by doing them against a wall. Kick your feet up and rest them on the wall behind your back. If you can’t do that yet, get on a box and put your hands on the ground – try to keep your body as vertical as possible. Can’t do that? Then just put your hands on the ground and keep your legs and knees straight – like a downward dog position, just try to get your body as vertical as possible (hello hamstrings).
These will be tough to start with, so start out with a EMOM, like 5 per minute for 5 minutes, and increase from there as you get use to the movement.
Equipment Chest and Tricep Workouts
Got equipment or can get to the gym? Then you can build out your chest and triceps with these workouts
6. 5 Rounds: Max Bench Press & Pull Ups
This is a Crossfit workout called “Lynne”. No don’t dismiss this because it’s from Crossfit, it’s a great test of capacity and will see you super setting bench press and pull ups till your arms drop off;
Goal: 120 reps or more
This workout is for max reps, so time isn’t that important here;
- Do as many bench press as you can at bodyweight
- Then do as many pull ups you can
- Repeat for 5 rounds
Note: the Crossfit workout allows kipping/butterfly pull ups. But if you want to do strict pull ups instead knock yourself out, you just won’t get as many reps.
7. Dips for Time
Dips are a really great way to get your chest and tricep involved. Use rings to increase the use of your core. You'll be surprised how much harder they are.
This workout is for time, so do it as fast as you can. Note down your time, try to beat it next time.
- Dips 21-19-17-15-13-11-9-7-5-3-1
- Run 200m between each set.
- so do 21 dips, run 200m, then 19 dips; 200m etc
Too easy? Add weight vest or use some rings instead of a bar. Still too easy? Do both. Go faster.
8. Strict Press: Barbell
Go heavy to do this right and you won’t be lifting your arms above your head for a few days.
You want to go heavy here and reduce the reps and increase the weight as you go. A simple 5/3/1 rep scheme done well will have you at close, but not to failure. Rest 2 minutes between sets
Keep your elbows in and your core tight – you’re working your shoulders and triceps not your lower back. No bananas here. A good Que here is to think “ribs down”.
9. Strict Press: Unilateral
Grab a Kettlebell or Dumbbell. Do 1 arm at time. Keep it strict and fight the urge to use your legs.
10 each arm x 3 rounds. Use a weight that gets you close to, but not at failure.
10. Iron Triathlon
Another Crossfit workout, this one will test you like nothing else. By the end of this you’ll have done 210 reps of each movement. That’s a lot.
If you’ve got a bee in your bonnet about Crossfit, then think of it as Bench Press with super sets of deadlift and squat cleans. 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
- So 2 bench press, 2 deadlift, 2 squat cleans
- 3 bench press, 3, deadlift, 3 squat cleans
Prescribed weights are heavy. Reduce as needed to get through all 20 rounds in about 1 hour.
There you have it 10 chest and tricep workouts that’ll build strength and capacity and never leave you bored.