For the Beginner Series today, it’s a chest and triceps workout. Dave’s favorite lifting day is the chest and triceps workout, and my least favorite – perhaps because its one of my weaker points! I hope everyone is enjoying the beginner series so far and even if it’s moves you already know, hopefully it’s a reminder and motivation for you to keep going!
This week we are moving forward with the series and getting away from the resistance bands and onto dumbbells. If you’re following the series and haven’t read our Ultimate Home Gym post, please check it out. It’s loaded with great equipment tips that’ll help you create your very own personal gym in the comfort of your own home. Today’s workout will be featuring the step bench, dumbbells, and the barbell. We’re getting into the big time people!
If you read over today’s chest and triceps workout and feel like this is over your head right now please feel free to revisit Beginner Series – Chest and Back Day with the resistance bands and keep working on that! It’ll come when you’re ready and when you’re ready the dumbbells and this workout will be waiting for you!
Like any piece of workout equipment, the dumbbells have pros and cons to them. They are nice because they allow you more freedom and movement so the sometimes ‘awkwardness’ of the resistance band goes away. Dave like’s the dumbbells because he’s always afraid the band is going to snap back at him.
Please note that if you’ve had any type of injury where your doctor has said no free weights, please consult with your doctor first before attempting this chest and triceps workout. Otherwise let’s get going!
Chest and Triceps Workout
Dumbbell Bench Press – 3 x 12
Incline Dumbbell Bench Press – 3 x 12
Dumbbell Flies – 3 x 12
Incline Push-up – 3 x 12
Decline Push-up – 3 x 12
Close Grip Bench Press – 3 x 12
Bent Over Tricep Extensions – 3 x 12
Lying Tricep Extensions – 3 x 12
Tricep Dips – 3 x 12
Standing Tricep Extensions – 3 x 12
Dumbbell Bench Press
Start lying on the bench, with your abs engaged and your back pushed down into the bench, roll the shoulders up and back. Keep feet planted on the floor to help steady your weight. Hold the dumbbells just over your chest (at your bra line), so arms are almost at 90 degree angle, shoulders are pulled back and elbows parallel with your back (they shouldn’t go lower than where the bench starts). Slowly and with control, push the weights to the sky, squeezing the chest muscles together. Slow and controlled, lower back to the starting position.
Incline Dumbbell Bench Press
Take one riser out from the bottom of the bench and add it to the top, so that the bench has a slight incline. perform the same movement as flat bench press (you might have to decrease your weight a bit here). Really work to keep your core engaged and focus on each movement. You should be pushing up and squeezing your chest muscles together. Don’t rush this move, it’s building a strong foundation.
Dumbbell Chest Flies
Return the bench to flat, or you can perform this on the incline as well Holding the dumbbells above your chest (at the bra line) arms straight but elbows are not locked. Push the lower back down against the bench and engage the abs. Slowly open your arms out wide to each side of you (about 45 degrees). Don’t allow your elbows to drop down any further than where your back meets the bench. Engage the core and slowly bring the hands back to starting position, squeezing your chest muscles as you bring the arms back together.
Start on your knees, facing the bench. Hand are wider than shoulders, arms slightly bent, and abs are engaged. You may want to place a mat under the knees for support. Lower yourself to the bench until arms reach 90 degrees. Keep the neck neutral as you push yourself back up, keeping the core engaged the entire exercise. You can do exercise on your feet or knees.
Place your feet or knees on the step or a study chair and arms a bit wider than shoulder length apart. Engage the core, and lower down into pushup position by slowly lowering your chest and bending arms to 90 degree angle. Slowly push yourself back up to starting position.
Close Grip Bench Press
Whether you are using dumbbells or a barbell for this exercise keep your weight or grip close to your body as you perform this movement. Arms start straight out in front of the body, palms facing eachother. Slowly lower the elbows close to the body, so your elbow grazes the side of your body. The elbow will stop right at your waist. To visualize this, imagine you are holding a clutch purse under your arm as you are lowering the weights down. You would be able to keep the purse tight against your body at the bottom of this move. Keep the back pushed into the bench and abs engaged. Once arms reach 90 degrees, push straight up so the weight goes over your chest, hands facing eachother.
Bent Over Tricep Extensions
Holding the weight in one hand, bend over with your back straight, abs engaged, booty out, and legs bent. You may want to rest one arm or hand against the bent leg opposite the arm you are working (see below). Bend the arm holding the weight to 90 degrees, holding the weight at the side. Slowly straighten out the arm, kicking the weight back (you may not get your arm 100% straight). Hold 1 count then lower back to starting position.
Lying Tricep Extensions
Lay down flat on your bench, abs engaged, feet planed on the floor. Extend the weight above your your head, hands facing each other and elbows just slightly bent. Keeping the wrist and shoulders exactly where they were, only bend at the elbow so the weight drops down just behind your head – not on your head! Engage the core and push the weight back to starting position. Keep your elbows tight and at shoulder length, don’t allow them to flare.
Dips are one of my favorite moves for triceps. I used a step bench here but you can also use a sturdy chair (however, be aware that the chair might lean forward as you perform this move, I’d add something heavy to the back side of the chair for safety). To perform the dip, start with your butt on the seat and hands directly next to your hips. Lift the off the bench and move the hips forward slightly so that your back will almost graze the bench as you lower down. Engage the core and bend the elbows so they go straight behind you and stay glued to the side of your body – no flaring out like a chicken! Lower until arms are at 90 degrees or parallel with your shoulders. Since I used a step I couldn’t get that low. Make sure to keep your back as close to the step (or chair) as possible and keep your elbows pointed back so they don’t flare out. If this is to easy, feel free to add a little weight to it like I did with a plate in the picture.
Standing Tricep Extensions
Stand tall, abs engaged, holding a dumbbell or barbell plate over your head (hands facing each other). Slowly bend your elbows so dumbbell/plate goes behind your head. Make sure to keep your biceps held in tight against your head, elbows will want to flare out, don’t let them! Slowly push back to starting position. I often perform this exercise with my legs staggered so that I can stand on the front foot flat on the floor but the back foot I’m up on the ball of my foot (see below). This is what is comfortable for me, if you don’t like it feel free to stand with feet hip distance apart.
If you enjoyed this chest and triceps workout make sure to check out the other Beginner Series Workouts!
What about you?
- Do you have a favorite workout for Triceps or Chest?