Chest Training Part 3: Sets and Reps

In Part 3 in our series of articles about chest training, you’ll learn guidelines for sets and repetitions and which exercises to pick for your workout routine!

Sets and Reps
How many sets and repetitions do you need for chest training? Of course, it varies based on your specific workout goals, but here are some guides.
If weight loss & sculpt is your focus, then you will want to do two or three sets of each exercise, and keep your repetitions in the 10 to 12 range for best toning results. You could take your repetitions up to 15, but no more than that, because the idea is to tone and strengthen, not go for endurance.

If muscle size is your focus, then you are going to want to do multiple sets, such as four, five, six, seven, maybe even eight sets of the same exercise. This type of conditioning is for advanced exercisers whose goal is size! The repetition range for this type of cycle is going to be between six and 10. Of course, you would use cycles to keep the muscle growth responding and reduce the chance of overuse injuries.

An example of Cycles for Size would be
Cycle 1: six sets of six reps for four weeks
Cycle 2: six sets of eight reps for 2-4 weeks

Your goal would be to increase the weight lifted, in order to get stronger for the same amount of repetitions. These repetition ranges, are going to promote better muscle growth. These types of cycles can also be a consideration for people whose goal is to lose weight. Multiple sets can be effective for weight loss, with the repetition range of 10 to 12. No matter what your goal is, you always want to have quality in your workouts!

Which exercises?
All right, so what would you do for your chest workout? You would pick a pressing movement and a flye movement. Using the set and repetition guides outlined above, you would get to your workout! And that would pretty much be it. You don’t need to do a whole lot more. Quality over quantity, every workout!

If muscle size is your priority, then you will most likely want to do more chest presses, than the flyes. Remember, you had better be doing more sets of your back training than your chest training because your back is the larger muscle group of the two. This is very important to know if you want to have healthy shoulders and be able to train chest comfortably and consistently. We’ll discuss this in Part 4: Muscles and exercises that help support injury free chest training.

You can combine back and chest training in the same workout routine, since they are antagonistic muscle groups. Antagonistic muscle groups are opposing muscle groups and often work together to keep the body balanced and aligned. For back and chest training, these muscle groups are on opposite sides of your body and one is the pushing while the other one is the pulling. Working back and chest in the same workout, especially as supersets, are great for keeping your shoulders in the proper alignment. Each time you do the back movement after the chest movement or vice versa, you are pulling your shoulders back into the right position. This is just one way of muscle combining and there is an infinite number of ways to do your workouts!

Another example, would be a push only workout routine. In this type of workout routine, you would work all the pushing muscles, such as the chest, shoulders, and triceps in one workout. In this type of workout, you are not going to need to do much for your shoulders, because chest work does tend to be pretty heavy on the shoulders.

Sample Workout
In the below sample workout, two chest exercises are followed by an exercise for the rear shoulders to maintain healthy shoulders!