Chest and Back Workout Routines (with PDF)

Typically, gym-goers tend to dedicate each day to a different muscle group. But the better option is to train two or more muscle groups in a single session.

Research states hitting a muscle group twice a week will yield superior results for any athlete working out at the gym.

Keeping that in mind, the most common approach is to pair a larger muscle group with a smaller one. For example, you can try legs and triceps or chest and biceps together on the same day.

But have you ever considered pushing the chest and back workout on the same day? While such a workout plan sounds challenging, many have been following it religiously.

And they are getting good results. So, we’ve come up with the perfect back and chest workout routine for mass and strength gains.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to hitting the gym. People with varying levels of experience and strength should not follow the same workout plan. As such, we’ve developed routines tailored to meet the needs of different kinds of people at the gym.

Chest and Back Workout

Chest and Back Workout for Beginners

The workout routine for beginners is designed to be simple but effective. It consists of basic exercises with easy movements and minimal risk of injuries. At the same time, the routine can optimize your strength and mass gains effectively.

It consists of exercises like horizontal chest presses and incline presses. The former is good for activating the sternocostal head of the chest [2]. The latter is better for activating the upper-most part of the pec major [3]. So, performing these exercises together is good for your overall growth.

Similarly, there are some growth-oriented exercises for the back as well. Lat pull-downs, for example, train the latissimus dorsi, which is really good for muscle gains [4].

The exercises consist of a basic routine – simple sets with plenty of time to rest in between.

Chest and Back Workout for Beginners

  • Barbell bench press: 3 sets x 10-12 reps
  • Incline bench press: 3 sets x 10-12 reps
  • Machine chest press: 3 sets x 10-12 reps
  • Wide-grip lat pulldown: 3 sets x 10-12 reps
  • Cable row: 3 sets x 10-12 reps
  • Chest supported row machine: 3 sets x 10-12 reps

Chest and Back Workout Routine for Mass & Strength

This is a standard chest-back workout plan designed for people with some experience at the gym. If you are an intermediate or an advanced lifter, this workout routine should be well-suited to your goals and capabilities.

Compared to the beginner’s plan, this routine is more advanced because of the increase in training volume and intensity. More effective and complicated exercises have been added to provide beneficial results.

For example, parallel bar chest dips are known to be effective for activating your pectoralis major, pectoralis minor, triceps brachii, and lower trapezius. Other accessory muscles like the latissimus dorsi, serratus anterior, and posterior rotator cuff are also activated as stabilizers [5].

The inclusion of exercises like deadlifts also ensures that all the regions within the targeted muscle group are activated, ensuring balanced muscle growth in the entire chest-back region.

To increase training intensity, AMRAP (as many repetitions as possible) sets have been added. This will also ensure that you improve your muscular endurance while getting strength gains.

Chest and Back Workout Routine for Mass & Strength

  • Wide grip pull-ups: 1 AMRAP set
  • Parallel bar chest dips: 1 AMRAP set
  • Deadlift: 5 sets x 5 reps
  • Barbell bench press: 5 sets x 5 reps
  • Barbell row: 3 sets x 10-12 reps
  • Incline dumbbell bench press: 3 sets x 10-12 reps
  • Cable row: 3 sets x 10-12 reps
  • Decline bench press: 3 sets x 10-12 reps
  • Straight arm pulldown: 3 sets x 10-12 reps
  • Cable crossover: 3 sets x 10-12 reps

Chest and Back Superset Workout Routine

The best thing about training chest and back in the same session is that you can make effective use of your time at the gym by including supersets in your workout routine.

That’s because when you hit these two muscle groups together, you are essentially using the agonist-antagonist supersets. These are basically training splits where you activate the contrasting muscle groups while exercising without taking any breaks.

A good chest and back workout that incorporates such supersets can help you achieve your fitness goals in a short span. That’s because this routine is less likely to impair your performance at the gym compared to supersets that essentially target the same types of muscle groups [6].

Chest and Back Superset Workout Routine

  • Push-ups: 3 AMRAP sets
  • Pull-ups: 3 AMRAP sets
  • Incline barbell bench press supersetted with barbell row: 3 sets x 10-12 reps
  • Barbell bench press supersetted with wide grip lat pulldown: 3 sets x 10-12 reps
  • Decline bench press supersetted with cable row: 3 sets x 10-12 reps
  • Incline dumbbell fly supersetted with dumbbell row: 3 sets x 10-12 reps

Is It Good to Train Chest and Back Together?

Yes, training the chest and back muscles together can prove to be very effective. Many people do it because it guarantees good gains, as they will be training two major muscle groups together.

Working them out together promotes efficient utilization of your time at the gym. It also facilitates balanced muscle development while building your upper-body strength.

Since muscular strength and mass begin to shrink by the age of 35, it’s important to find effective ways to build and retain muscle mass, especially in the upper body portion [7].

Devising a well-rounded chest-back training split can be a good start. Exercises like bench presses and rows work in tandem to contribute to a well-rounded physique and minimize the risk of muscle imbalance or injury threats.

Why Do People Train Chest and Back Together?

People train the chest and back muscles together because they form an agonist and antagonist pair. While the chest is primarily focused on pushing movements, back exercises are more about facilitating the pulling movements.

As such, these muscles are opposing or antagonistic. They work in opposition to each other while performing different exercises. There are several benefits to this – like improved muscle recovery or reduced risk of overtraining.

The major benefit, however, is effective strength and muscle gains. Because both of them are major muscle groups, you are essentially enjoying a grueling workout session to get a better physique.

The rapid switch between pushing and pulling exercises will mean that your muscles are not exhausted as soon as they would when two similar major muscle groups are paired together.

So, your muscular strength, endurance, and mass will improve effectively.

Should I Train Chest or Back First?

Ideally, you should train the smaller muscle group after you are finished working out the larger ones. But since both the chest and back qualify as major muscle groups, you should train the muscles which feel weaker to you.

That’s because if you train the stronger muscles first, you won’t have the energy to effectively engage the weaker ones. This can create a large muscular imbalance in the long run.

If you don’t have any significant weaknesses in your chest and back, it’s better to mix the routine up. You don’t have to perform certain exercises first. In fact, it can be beneficial if you perform a back exercise after finishing up with your chest exercise.

For example, you could move on to the rowing machine after finishing your bench press sets. That’s because they involve the use of opposing muscle groups. So, working out in rotation can help one muscle group rest while you work out the other one.

Chest and Back Workout PDF

Chest and Back Workout Routines

In this article, we’ve covered the entire topic of how chest-back workouts can work. While not strictly conventional, training these two major muscle groups together can be a game-changer for anyone, whether you are a beginner or an advanced lifter.

For the most efficient results, follow our routine. You can download the entire workout plan in PDF format from here. The file is downloadable and printable, allowing you to carry it with you to the gym.

Following this routine is pretty beneficial, even in terms of muscle recovery. You will get the optimal rest of 48 hours before you have to work out your chest and back muscles again in the succeeding session [7].

Don’t miss:

Chest and Tricep Workout Routines
Back and Bicep Workout Routines
Chest and Shoulder Workout Routines
Two Body Parts a Day Workout Routine

Final Words

Many people don’t even consider the possibility of training their back and chest muscles together. But if done right, it can be pretty effective in terms of strength and mass gains.

This training split is particularly good for building upper-body strength efficiently.


  1. Effects of resistance training frequency on measures of muscle hypertrophy: a systematic review and meta-analysis
  2. Moment arms of the muscles crossing the anatomical shoulder
  3. Non-uniform excitation of pectoralis major induced by changes in bench press inclination leads to uneven variations in the cross-sectional area measured by panoramic ultrasonography
  4. Muscle hypertrophy response to range of motion in strength training: a novel approach to understanding the findings
  5. Bench, bar, and ring dips: do kinematics and muscle activity differ?
  6. How can strength training build healthier bodies as we age?
  7. 7 tips for a safe and successful strength training program