Thighs. Wings. And soon, tail feathers. It should be clear by now that we’re having some fun with our November workouts and gearing them toward delicious turkey parts that can be developed on our own human physiques. Next up: Your chest!
As you’re burning extra calories to prevent the holiday slide, it’s a great time to focus on building muscle. Compound movements like push-ups, pull-ups, and rows are king when it comes to building chest muscle. These movements should usually be at the beginning of a workout, followed by isolation exercises like flies, curls, or core exercises. Focus on improving your compound exercises for maximum results. (Think about the 80/20 rule: 80% of your results will come from 20% of your efforts. Compound is the key here.)
Also consider frequency. Most muscle groups are fully recovered and ready to be trained again after 48-72 hours. The old-school method of training chest every Monday and only Monday are actually a bit inefficient; you could definitely benefit from training muscle groups more often. But enough talking, it’s time to work out! Let’s burn that chest.
The primary goal of the warm-up is to get your blood flowing, raise core body temperature, mobilize joints, and elevate your heart rate a bit. All of these things minimize the risk of injury, increase workout performance, and maximize the results from training. But avoid wearing yourself out! There’s a lot more coming.
Wall Slides (15 reps, 2 sets)
Stand back against a wall, and as you move your arms above your head, maintain contact between your elbows and the wall throughout the entire movement.
Battle Rope Slams (30-second intervals, 4 sets)
Whether slamming the ropes, creating a wave, or any other classic movement, they’re a great way to warm up your muscles. If you don’t have access to ropes, you can do arm circles to get the same general effect.
Plank Walk-Ups (10 reps, 2 sets)
Get in push-up position with your palms on the ground, then move one arm down at a time to plank position, with your forearms resting on the ground, then move back up one at a time. And repeat!
Muscle-Building Chest Workout
Note: Rest 30-45 seconds between sets.
Hand Release Push-Up (12 reps, 3 sets)
Start by laying on your stomach, ready to get up into push-up position. After you engage and push up, your main focus should be lowering your body to the floor. Be sure your chest touches the ground before your hips or legs. Then lay flat, lift your hands, and start again.
Dumbbell Incline Bench Press (8 reps, 4 sets)
As it sounds, the bench should be raised so your head is higher than your hips. Don’t let pride get in the way and go too heavy too soon. Focus on proper form, especially with dumbbells, and add weight when ready.
Single Arm Cable Row (12 reps, 3 sets)
Try mixing in at least one pulling exercise like this into your chest workouts. People often overwork pushing movements and underwork pulling movements, which could lead to poor posture and shoulder injuries. Remember to keep your legs slightly bent and torso stationary, as you pull the pulley forward.
Single Arm Cable Fly (15 reps, 2 sets)
When pulling the cable with one arm, it will start at your side, with your arm extended, then cross your chest. Focus on keeping your shoulders squared and core activated during this exercise.
Bench Dips (15 reps, 2 sets)
Sit on a bench, with your palms down, at your side. Then lift your butt and extend your legs, to get in position. Be sure to keep your torso close to the bench as you lower and raise it, to avoid shoulder discomfort. You can elevate your feet on a bench to increase the difficulty if need be. Another option for more advanced lifters would be a traditional dip on parallel bars or a dip station.
Dumbbell Lateral Raise (10 reps, 3 sets)
With a dumbbell in each hand, keep your arms straight as your raise them outward. Pinch your shoulder blades, and avoid going too far above shoulder height with the dumbbells, keeping the tension on the muscles of the shoulder throughout the entire movement.
High-Intensity Chest Finisher
10 Push-Ups (6 rounds of EMOM: Every minute on the minute!)
Set a timer for 6 minutes and perform 10 push-ups at the beginning of each minute. The remaining time in each minute will be your rest period. For example: If you finish 10 push-ups in 15 seconds, rest for 45 seconds until the start of minute two.