Basic But Effective Chest and Back Workout

Simple is in. Minimalism is the new buzz word floating around and I for one have always been a fan before it was trendy. Most problems have simple answers (not easy, but simple). Your training should be no different. This basic but effective chest and back workout possesses that principle.

It’s not hard to see the complex, frustrating, and confusing machine the fitness industry has turned into. The industry is filled with snake oil ready to take your money and manipulate you into buying the latest gadget or “system” that guarantees will finally be the secret you’ve been seeking. No gimmicks here.

Building muscle hasn’t changed all that much over the decades. The old routines from the Golden Age still hold up to this day. Additionally, think back to when you made your best gains. It was when you performed a simple program and worked your butt off.


The chest and back program I’m currently doing

I’ve tried all kinds of training programs over my 30 years of training from rest/pause and heavy duty to super high volume and circuits. I always fall back to the basics. And for chest and back training it shouldn’t be complicated. I look at two factors for each area:

  1. Include an upper pec (incline bench) and mid pec (flat bench) movement. for chest.
  2. Include a vertical pull (pull up) and horizontal pull (row) for back.

Don’t take this routine lightly. Push these four basic movements to their max. Fight to add reps and weight each workout and stay the course. Don’t be tempted to add more exercises.


The Basic But Effective Back Workout

Incline bench barbell or incline Hammer press 4 x 10-15

Flat bench dumbbell press 4 x 10-15

Wide-grip pull up 4 x as many as possible

Bent-over barbell row 4 x 10-15

*Start with two sets of a warm up for the first movement (two sets of incline press for chest and two sets of pull downs warming up your back before pull ups). Rest one minute between sets.


Simple? Yes. Effective? Yes. Sexy? Well, to me – yes! It works. Simple as that.

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