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Full Chest and Back Workout for Max Muscle (High Intensity)

Optimise your strength, physique and performance.

Check out this full chest and back workout for max muscle, designed by Jeff Cavaliere.

Full Chest and Back Workout for Max Muscle

“If you ever wondered what a full chest and back workout could look like if you traded in volume for intensity, this is it. Jeff Cavaliere takes you through a complete workout for chest and back that will help you to build max muscle in as little as 30 minutes.”

“This is an example of a low volume, high intensity workout for chest and back that was once popular and has since been eclipsed by high volume advocates. That said, when performed correctly, this may not only be a preferable way to train but the science may actually support it as a smarter way to train. This is particularly so when it comes to those that have underlying orthopedic issues that are exacerbated by high volume workouts.”

Full Chest and Back Workout for Max Muscle

“So this chest and back workout consists of just 2-3 exercises for chest and 2-3 exercises for back. The key is to first identify whether or not your chest and back are strong muscle groups for you or are lacking in development. There are two simple ways to determine this. First, you can simply look in the mirror. What does your chest look like? Is it in line with the rest of your development or do you think it’s a bit lagging? Second, what is your ability to contract the muscle to the point of discomfort. This is an indication of mind muscle control. When it is lacking, it is usually a sign that points to a difficulty in developing that muscle.”

chipper gymnastics workouts Pros and Cons of a Push Pull Legs Split How Many Exercises Do You Need to Maximise Muscle Growth Full Chest and Back Workout for Max MuscleSource: Photo courtesy of CrossFit Inc.

“If you lack good muscle development in either the chest or back, you are going to perform two sets of what is shown here called the mindful mass sets and only one set of the preexhaust compound exercise combo. If you have a good mind muscle connection with the muscle, you are going to flip that and perform two of the pre-exhaust compound exercise sets with only one of the mindful mass sets.”

Full Chest and Back Workout for Max Muscle

“For chest, we’re picking two exercises that are going to be performed in back to back superset fashion. For maximum effectiveness and chest gains you are going to want to almost eliminate any rest time between the two component exercises. In this case, I’m choosing dumbbell floor flies and immediately following it up with dumbbell bench press. The floor flies are done to preexhaust the chest. It is necessary that you take this to complete failure.”

Full Chest and Back Workout for Max Muscle

“As soon as the set is complete, rush over to the bench and perform the second half of the superset. Grab a dumbbell weight that allows you to fail within 6-8 reps if possible. If you are shy of this, simply adjust the weight the next set or in the next workout if you are only doing one set. Just be sure to take it to absolute failure.”

Full Chest and Back Workout for Max Muscle

“There is controversy around the need to take sets to failure or not in order to see muscle growth. Research shows that taking sets a couple reps shy of failure is almost as effective if not just as effective as taking it to failure. The problem is, many people do not know what actual failure looks like or feels like. They wind up coming up well short of failure when attempting to stop short. When using a very low volume workout approach, going to failure ensures you did it right without a detriment to your next workout if your workouts are structured appropriately.”

Full Chest and Back Workout for Max Muscle

“The next part of this chest and back workout is the back. Here I’m performing a straight arm pushdown into a lat pulldown. The same concept applies. Preexhaust the lats and then incorporate the biceps, brachialis, upper back and rhomboids into the lift to assist in driving them further to exhaustion. Follow this up with a mindful mass set of higher reps to absolute metabolic fatigue using the straight arm pushdowns once again.”

“Here is the chest and back workout:”

  • DB Floor Flies supersetted with DB Bench Press: 1-2 sets to failure
  • Crossovers to failure: 1-2 sets

Use weight that causes failure in the 6-10 rep range on both ends of the superset and 15-20 reps on the crossovers.

  • Cable Straight Arm Pushdowns supersetted with Lat Pulldowns: 1-2 sets to failure
  • Straight Arm Pushdowns to failure: 1-2 sets

Use weight that causes failure in the 6-10 rep range on both ends of the superset and 15-20 reps on the pushdowns.

Video – Full Chest and Back Workout for Max Muscle

Learn More – Full Chest and Back Workout for Max Muscle

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