WORKOUTS

Muscle-Building 12-Week Workout: Week 1

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DAY 3: STRENGTH AND FORM - PUSH EXERCISES FOR CHEST AND TRICEPS

WARMUP
Superset Exercise Muscles Weight (Goal) Set 1 Reps (Goal) Set 1 Reps (Actual) Set 2 Reps (Goal) Set 2 Reps (Actual) Set 3 Reps (Goal) Set 3 Reps (Actual) Set 4 Reps (Goal) Set 4 Reps (Actual)
Begin Superset
S Cable Side Rotators Shoulders (rotator cuffs) Light 15 each arm 15 each arm N/A N/A N/A N/A
S Tube Pull Ups and Downs Shoulders (rotator cuffs), Lats, Triceps Light 15 15 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Alternating T Push-ups Chest N/A 12 to 15 12 to 15 12 to 15 12 to 15
WORKOUT
Begin Superset
S Dumbbell Fly to Press Chest, Triceps, Shoulders 65% - 75% Max 12 to 15 12 to 15 12 to 15 N/A N/A
S Push-ups Chest, Triceps N/A 15 15 15 N/A N/A
Begin Superset
S Dumbbell Press Chest 65 - 75% Max 15 12 10 10
S One-Arm Hold Push-ups Chest, Triceps N/A 15 15 12 12
Smith Machine Press Chest, Triceps 65 - 75% Max 15 12 10 10
Begin Superset
S Incline Dumbbell Flys Chest (upper) 65 - 75% Max 12 10 10 N/A N/A
S POP Push-ups Chest, Triceps N/A 10 10 10 N/A N/A
Gravitron Dips (Chest Focused) Chest, Triceps 65 - 75% Max Max out Max out Max out Max out
Begin Superset
S Cable Triceps Bar Press-Downs Triceps 65 - 75% 20 16 12 10
S Triceps Bench Dips Triceps 65 - 75% Max out Max out Max out Max out
Begin Superset
S Cable Triceps Bar Pull-Downs Triceps 65 - 75% 20 18 16 16
S Close-Grip Push-ups Triceps, Chest, Shoulders (front deltoids) N/A 15 15 15 15
Triceps Single-Arm Kickbacks Triceps 65 - 75% Max 15 12 12 N/A N/A
CARDIO TRAINING
Exercise Time Overview
Elliptical 30 Minutes Do 30 minutes light on the elliptical machine. Get your heart rate up to a moderate level.
EXERCISE DESCRIPTIONS IN BRIEF
Exercise Overview
Cable Side Rotators Stand erect next to a cable system machine with the cable set at stomach level and your body facing perpendicular to the machine. Attach a single-handed grip to the end of the cable. Roll a towel in the armpit of the arm farthest away from the cable system machine, and then grasp the single-handed grip in the hand of that arm. Hold your elbow at a right angle to your body with your arm flat across your stomach. Next, with your elbow held at a right angle and your arm flat against your stomach, slowly move your hand from your stomach towards the outside of your body. Use your upper arm as the pivot point and be sure to keep your forearm at a right angle to your body. Keep your wrist flat throughout the movement. Move your forearm as far out as you can go without compromising your form. Reverse the motion, and slowly bring the your hand back across stomach. After you have completed a set, switch sides and repeat with your other arm.
Tube Pull Up and Downs Take one handle of a resistance tube in each hand, with the center point of the tube attached to a fixed point slightly below your waist height. Only attach the tube to something that will not move when you pull on it—the leg of an incline bench bolted to the floor, for instance. Stand facing the point of attachment and extend your arms directly forward, with your palms down. Step back until there is significant tension through the tube. Next, lower your arms down and back until they are slightly behind you, with your palms now facing back. You should keep your arms straight throughout this motion. Bring your arms back to the starting position following the same trajectory, and—again keeping your arms straight—raise your arms upward until they are directly overhead. Lower your arms back to the starting position to complete one repetition.
Alternating T Push-ups Position yourself face down on the floor with your arms straight and your hands and toes supporting your body. Your body should be in a straight line from head to toe and your arms slightly more than shoulder-width apart. Lower down into a classic push-up, then press up from the floor. As you press up from the floor, rock up onto your left hand and bring your right hand off the floor. Your feet should turn so that your are supported on the outside of your left foot and inside of your right foot. Bring your right hand up above your head so that your body is in a T position. As soon as you achieve the T position, reverse direction and bring your right hand back to the floor, go right down into your next push-up, and then go back up into the T position on your other side with your left hand up in the air.
Dumbbell Fly to Press Lie on a flat bench with your feet on the floor and dumbbells held in each hand above you, with your elbows slightly bent and your palms facing inward with an easy open-hand grip. Keep the dumbbells approximately shoulder-width apart; the dumbbells should never touch each other in the fly portion of this exercise. Next, open your chest and, keeping your arms held in the same position with elbows slightly bent, lower the dumbbells down into a fly. Go deep but not too deep—do not allow the dumbbells to go below the level of your back or you'll risk shoulder injury. Next, reverse and bring the dumbbells back up together to the starting position. Do 12 to 15 fly repetitions, then switch to the dumbbell press. After you finish your last fly, turn the dumbbells so that your hands are facing down towards your feet and the dumbbells are angled slightly in with an easy, open-hand grip. Lower the dumbbells down and out to your sides of your chest until they are parallel to chest level. When you have reached the bottom of the press movement, reverse direction, press up and bring the dumbbells all the way together, squeezing your chest as you reach the top.
Push-ups Position yourself on the floor in a prone position (face down) with your legs together and extended straight behind you and your arms slightly more than shoulder-width apart. Support yourself on your toes and your hands, with your palms down on the ground. Your arms should be straight but without locked elbows. Your spine should be neutral with no arch. Slowly bend your arms and descend toward the floor. Keep your neck in line with your spine throughout the movement; do not jut your chin out towards the floor at the bottom of the movement. Stop when your elbows are at a 90-degree angle. Reverse position and push back up to the starting position. Do not lock your elbows at the top of the movement.
Dumbbell Press Lie on your back on a flat bench with a dumbbell in each hand. Both your head and your hips should be on the bench, with your feet flat and light on the floor. Extend both arms straight toward the ceiling with palms facing your feet. Your hands should be shoulder-width apart. Bend both elbows as you lower the weights down toward the floor. Keep your chest high; try to isolate your pectorals rather than using your shoulder muscles. The dumbbells should remain in a vertical line above your elbows throughout this movement. Continue to pull your elbows down until they are level with your back. Hold briefly and reverse direction, pressing the dumbbells back toward the ceiling as you straighten your elbows. As you return to the starting position, keep the flexion in your chest without allowing your shoulders to pop up; do not let the weights touch at the top of your motion.
One-Arm Hold Push-ups Position yourself on the floor in a prone position (face down) with your legs together and extended straight behind you and your arms slightly more than shoulder-width apart. Support yourself on your toes and your hands, with your palms down on the ground. Your arms should be straight but without locked elbows. Your spine should be neutral with no arch. Slowly bend your arms and descend toward the floor. Keep your neck in line with your spine throughout the movement; do not jut your chin out towards the floor at the bottom of the movement. Stop when your elbows are at a 90-degree angle. Reverse position and push back up to the starting position. At the top of the push-up, raise your left arm up so that it is parallel to your side and hold for a slow count of three seconds. After you have counted to three, immediately descend into your next rep. Alternate arms at the top of each push-up.
Smith Machine Press Lie on your back on a flat bench with the barbell on the Smith machine rack over your upper body. The barbell should be at a level corresponding to the distance from your elbow to your hand when your elbows are bent at right angles at your sides. Take the barbell in an easy, open-handed grip with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-distance apart and your palms facing toward your feet. Next, with the barbell still on the rack, contract your shoulder blades together and downward to raise your chest toward the bar. Engage your abdominals by pulling them in toward your spine to create a muscular "weight belt". You will use this technique to keep your back flat throughout the exercise—do not, at any time, permit your back to arch. Lift the bar off the rack and, keeping it steady, bend and lower your elbows to the side until they are at the level of your back. The bar should not touch or bounce off of your chest at any point. Keeping your head and neck in line with your spine and your back flat on the bench by engaging your abs, slowly press the bar directly toward the ceiling. At the top of the motion, your chest should be fully flexed.
Incline Dumbbell Flys Set a bench at an approximately 20- to 25-degree angle. Lie back on the bench with your feet on the floor and dumbbells held in each hand above you, with your elbows slightly bent and your palms facing inward with an easy open-hand grip. Keep your shoulders retracted and your chest up high. Next, open your chest and, keeping your arms held in the same position with elbows slightly bent, lower the dumbbells down into a fly. Go deep but not too deep—do not allow the dumbbells to go below the level of your back or you'll risk shoulder injury. When you have reached the bottom of the fly motion, reverse and bring the dumbbells back up together to the starting position. Do not allow the dumbbells to touch—stop when the dumbbells are almost touching, then reverse and lower the dumbbells into your next fly.
POP Push-ups Stand behind a flat bench that is firmly bolted to the floor. Important: Do not do this exercise using a moveable piece of furniture. Place your hands flat on the bench about shoulder-width apart and walk your feet back behind you until you achieve an elevated plank position, with your weight on your toes and hands, your back flat, and your shoulders directly over your hands. Do a standard push-up, bending your elbows to lower your chest to the bench while keeping your back flat and a straight line from the top of your head to your feet. Lower down until your elbows are at a 90-degree angle. From the bottom of the push-up, push up with fast and explosive power so that your hands momentarily come entirely off the bench at the top of the push-up. When your hands land back in the starting position, immediately descend into the next push-up. As you push up and descend, engage your core so that your hips never dip below level with your back.
Gravitron Dips (Chest Focused) Set the weight setting, and then step up on the platform of the Gravitron machine. Set the Gravitron dip handles in the wide setting. Grasp the handles in each hand and step off the platform onto the foot bar. Lean your upper body over significantly until you can feel your chest supporting a lot of your weight; for this exercise you want a lot of the burden on your chest muscles. Push up with your chest and straighten your arms with your triceps until you are as high as you can go while maintaining the leaned-over position. Your arms will not straighten fully, keeping your pectoral muscles engaged. Next, slowly lower your body down into the dip. Be sure to continue to lean forward as you descend. Lower yourself down until your body is parallel to your arms. When you have reached the bottom of the movement, reverse the motion and push yourself up again until you are back at the starting position.
Cable Triceps Bar Press-Downs Attach a bent tricep bar to the upper connection of a cable machine. Stand in front of the cable machine with your legs in a slight scissor position so that one leg is stepped slightly forward and the other leg is stepped slightly back. Hold the bar up at chest level in both hands with your palms down and your pinkies are on the outside bend of the bar. Your elbows should be bent and held in at your sides. Press the bar down toward your thighs, keeping your elbows in as you descend. At the bottom of the movement, reverse position and bring the bar back up to starting position. At the top of the movement, your elbows should come up just past a 90-degree angle.
Triceps Bench Dips Place two flat benches parallel to each other, leaving approximately the length of your outstretched legs in between them. When estimating the distance between the benches, try to leave just enough room so that you can dip down and engage your triceps without hitting your back on the bench. Sit on the edge of one bench and face the other bench, with your hands at your sides on the bench you're sitting on and your fingers facing the other bench. Scoot your butt forward and place your feet on the opposite bench, with your legs slightly bent. Engage your arms and lift yourself off the bench so that you are being held up by your hands on one bench and the heels of your feet on the other bench. Drop your body down to perform a triceps dip, making sure to keep your hips as close as possible to the bench your hands are resting on. Keep your elbows in throughout the movement. When you reach the bottom of the dip, reverse the motion and push your body back up to starting position.
Cable Triceps Bar Pull-Downs Attach a bent bar to the upper connection of a cable machine. Stand in front of the cable machine with your legs in a slight scissor position so that one leg is stepped slightly forward and the other leg is stepped slightly back. Hold the bar up at chest level in both hands with your palms up, positioned so that your pinkies are resting in each bend of the bar. Your elbows should be bent and held in at your sides. Next, use your triceps to pull the bar down toward your thighs. Keep the top half of your arms steady, elbows in close to your body, and wrists stable as you descend to concentrate the work in the triceps. When your arms are fully extended and the bar is down in front of your thighs, reverse motion and bring the bar back up to starting position.
Close-Grip Push-ups Position yourself on the floor in a prone position (face down) with your legs together and extended straight behind you, your elbows in close to your body, and your hands directly underneath your shoulders. Support yourself on your toes and your hands, with your palms down on the ground. Your arms should be straight but without locked elbows. Your spine should be neutral with no arch. Slowly bend your arms and descend toward the floor. Keep your neck in line with your spine throughout the movement; do not jut your chin out towards the floor at the bottom of the movement. Stop when your elbows are at a 90-degree angle. Reverse position and push back up to the starting position. Do not lock your elbows at the top of the movement. Without pausing at the top, immediately descend into your next rep.
Triceps Single-Arm Kickbacks Stand with your legs hip-width apart and staggered so that your right leg is slightly in front of you and your left leg is slightly behind you. Holding a dumbbell in your left hand, with your elbow bent high above your back and your hand facing in toward your waist, lean your upper body forward slightly and rest your right hand on your right thigh for support and balance. Your back should be flat, your neck in line with your spine, and your knees slightly bent. Keeping your left elbow high above the line of your back, extend your elbow so that you straighten your arm. Your hand should remain in the same orientation throughout the movement, with palm facing inward. From the extended position, bend your elbow again to return to the starting position. Do a full set of kickbacks with your left arm, and then switch arms and legs and do another set of kickbacks with your right arm.

EXERCISE IMAGES

Photo Credit: Nicolas Smith