This back and chest specialization workout is performed 2 days per week and combines a day of heavy compound movements along with a second rest-pause day.
Workout Summary

Workout Description

This is a 2 day per week back and chest specialization workout that is designed to help you bring up your upper body. Here is a sample schedule:

  • Monday - Back and Chest Workout #1
  • Thursday - Back and Chest Workout #2

This type of program works best within the framework of a 4 day split. You will want to add in a leg training day, as well as a shoulder and arm day. This is one possible 4 day split option:

  • Monday - Back and Chest
  • Tuesday - Off
  • Wednesday - Off
  • Thursday - Back and Chest
  • Friday - Legs
  • Saturday - Shoulders and Arms
  • Sunday - Off

Thursday's chest workout will focus more on machines and isolation work, and will be less tricep and heavy pressing intense. This should allow you to train shoulders and triceps 2 days later on Saturday without issue.

Depending on how intense you train arms on Saturday, you may have some lingering arm soreness during your next chest workout. That's ok. Keep pushing on, trying to improve.

Deadlifts are worked on Monday, allowing for plenty of recovery time before you squat on Friday.

A note on food intake

I recommend increasing your food intake by +500 to +750 calories per day while running this specialization program. The extra calories will help with recovery and growth. If you still feel hungry after this point, eat more. Listen to your body. If it wants more calories, eat.

How long to run this program

8 weeks is about the maximum length of time I would run any specialization program. If you feel great at this point, and are making quality progress, it would be ok to run it for an additional 4 weeks.

It you start to feel beat up at any point, take a light/deload week.

Chest Press

Back and Chest Specialization Workout

Workout #1 - This workout will focus on deadlifts and heavy rowing along with barbell/dumbbell chest work.

Workout #2 - This workout will focus on pull ups and rest-pause cable rowing along with rest-paused isolation and machine chest work.

For the rest-pause sets, rest only 30 seconds between sets.

Workout Notes

  • Deadlifts - Use the same weight for each set. Perform 3 reps for the first and second set, and do as many as possible on the third set. Stop the third set before your form starts to break down. The point is to progress, not to injure yourself. If you can perform more than 6 reps on your third set, add 5 pounds to the bar the next time you deadlift.
  • Bench Press - Use the same weight for each set. 5 reps for the first and second set, and do as many as possible on the third set. Stop the third set before you reach failure. If you can perform more than 7 reps on your third set, add 5 pounds to the bar the next time you bench press.
  • AMAP Sets - AMAP equals as many as possible.

Add weight to the other exercises when you can.

Back and Chest
Workout #1
Exercise Sets Reps
Deadlifts 3 3
Bench Press 3 5
Pendlay Rows 3 8-10
Incline Dumbbell Bench Press 3 8-10
One Arm Dumbbell Rows 2 20-25
Dips 3 AMAP
Barbell Shrugs 3 12-15
Back and Chest
Workout #2
Exercise Sets Reps
Pull Ups or Inverted Rows (Rest-Pause) 6 AMAP
Machine Chest Press (Rest-Pause) 6 8-12
Lat Pull Downs (Rest-Pause) 6 8-12
Dumbbell Flye or Pec Dec (Rest-Pause) 6 8-12
Dumbbell Shrugs (Rest-Pause) 6 10
Legs
Quads, Hammies and Calves
Exercise Sets Reps
Squats 4 6-12
Hack Squat or Dumbbell Lunges 3 8-12
Leg Extensions or Leg Press 3 12-15
Stiff Leg Deadlift 3 8-10
Leg Curls 4 12-15
Seated Calf Raise 4 12-20
Shoulders and Arms
Shoulders, Biceps and Triceps
Exercise Sets Reps
Seated Overhead Press 4 8-12
Upright Row or Seated Dumbbell Press 3 8-12
Side Lateral Raise Superset with Bent Over Reverse Flye 3 10-15
Dumbbell Curl 3 8-12
Skullcrushers 3 8-12
EZ Bar Preacher Curl 3 10-12
Cable Tricep Extensions 3 10-12

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66 Comments
Mark
Posted on: Sun, 06/23/2024 - 03:40

Been doing this workout for 10 weeks, and the results have been great. Going to take a break from this one and find another plan for 8-10 weeks to keep the gains coming, but I will be saving this and coming back. Great workout and recommend as it definitely improved my chest, back and shoulders. Tip I did as want more biceps/ Tricep pump was just to add a little of this at low weight high volume at the end of a session if I had time on the days I was doing the plan. Thank you and look forward to doing this again

Justin
Posted on: Thu, 12/14/2023 - 22:41

Aside from Workout #2 with the pause/rest between sets, what is the recommended rest period between sets and exercises for the other days?

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Roger
Posted on: Thu, 12/28/2023 - 20:43

Around 60 seconds rest would be best.

Fred
Posted on: Sun, 09/17/2023 - 21:32

How can I make this adjust this workout plan for more intensity for a 6 days a week or is that not going to help?

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Roger
Posted on: Wed, 09/27/2023 - 13:34

Hi, Fred. It wouldn't help, really. The plan as written can give you the best potential for results. Thanks for reading M&S!

Kyle Card
Posted on: Thu, 03/03/2022 - 22:07

How would I preform the rest pause workout want to make sure k have it down right please email if you could love these workouts Thankyou !

Kylescard@gmail.com

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Roger
Posted on: Fri, 03/11/2022 - 21:33

Don't have time for individual emails, Kyle. But I can answer it here. For the rest-pause, perform as many reps as you can with proper form. When you reach failure, rest for 30 seconds max and go again until you reach failure a second time.

Alex
Posted on: Sat, 03/27/2021 - 17:59

For the Raise/Fly superset on Saturday, is that 10-12 of each each exercise or for both exercises together?

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Abigail
Posted on: Mon, 03/29/2021 - 10:25

Hey Alex - 10-12 for each exercise.

Tài
Posted on: Sun, 11/29/2020 - 06:49

Is alternating chest and back(3 set of chest first and 3 set of back after 3 set of chest) exercise or superset them?

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Abigail
Posted on: Mon, 11/30/2020 - 10:26

Hey Tài - you'll follow the exercises in the order they're written.

Ahin
Posted on: Mon, 08/10/2020 - 04:27

Hi great workout, can i do this workout while losing weight, being in carolic deficit?

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Yoshi
Posted on: Mon, 08/10/2020 - 08:09

Hey Ahin

You can, of course, give this one a try. Just know that your energy levels may be down a bit due to your caloric deficit.

If, after you try this for a few weeks, you feel it's a bit much then I recommend the following workout for cutting weight and maintaining muscle.
https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/8-week-hiet-training

Ale
Posted on: Sun, 08/18/2019 - 17:30

Just want to make sure that I do the rest-pause sets right

I do one set and then after 30sec another set
and i do this till i have a total of 6 sets right?
so the only change is that I have a very short rest period
right?

Greg
Posted on: Sun, 03/15/2020 - 12:46

That's right.

don
Posted on: Wed, 04/11/2018 - 02:09

i sooo love this routine... the chest/back heavy then chest/back volume is my favorite... made me sore for days and i love it... now im on my 10th week. going for 12 weeks on this. made me feel sad that i have to change my routine soon. ive been searching for similar program (the chest/back chest/back split) but i cant find any... though, its already on my 8th week that ive understand the program fully, and perform the exercises correctly... can i continue doing this for up to 20th week? or should i really move on with another program... please help me find the next program suitable.... thanks a lot in advance.

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JoshEngland
Posted on: Wed, 04/11/2018 - 09:26

Hi Don,

Definitely! Feel free to run this program for as long as you're seeing results and are enjoying the program.

Hope this helps!

Eli
Posted on: Sun, 02/03/2019 - 00:09

even though it was awhile back, do you remember seeing visible differences in your build after 8 weeks?

Mattia
Posted on: Wed, 04/27/2022 - 16:07

Did you see any results? Did you gain some muscle mass?

emil
Posted on: Thu, 03/22/2018 - 11:35

good program but i have some questions. should i do this if im not beginner but intermediate lifter with lacking chest and back muscle.
If so what exact changes can be done to the program? (reps sets or exercises?)

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JoshEngland
Posted on: Thu, 03/22/2018 - 12:22

Hi Emil,

You can perform this program as an intermediate lifter. No changes necessary.

Hope this helps!

josue
Posted on: Sun, 02/14/2016 - 01:27

i workout from Tuesday to Friday everyweek, can I do chest/back workout #1 Tuesday, arms and shoulder Wednesday, legs thrusdays and chest/back workout # 2 on Friday?

Leo
Posted on: Wed, 11/19/2014 - 06:50

With the rest pause, are you dropping the weight each set so you can achieve the 8 to 12 reps over the 6 sets? Or moving to a rep goal like bulldozer training

Leo
Posted on: Wed, 11/19/2014 - 06:42

Hi Steve,
With the rest pause, are you dropping the weight each set so you can achieve the 8 to 12 reps on every set? Or are you moving to a rep goal with the same weight like dozer training?

Ryan Allison
Posted on: Sun, 11/09/2014 - 20:15

What if where im working out at doesnt have the Machine Chest Press. Can i substitute something else for it?

Chris
Posted on: Sun, 10/26/2014 - 15:56

on workout one how long is your rest period

Angelika
Posted on: Wed, 10/22/2014 - 22:58

Hi I found your workout with a google search.

I am just starting it...week one!

I am Vegan..and use no processed foods at all....I am curious how this workout will work for me.

I am starting slow as I am just getting back to weights after a 3-4 month gap.

I will keep you posted if you are curious as to my results?

Pardeep Kanozia
Posted on: Tue, 10/21/2014 - 05:53

Hi Steve,

Could you please suggest me for the best Pre-workout and BCAA?

Thanks,

Pardeep

mike stevens
Posted on: Mon, 08/04/2014 - 00:02

Why didn't you make it possible for people(me) to be able to print out the program, or better yet, you could tell me how do that. Or let me guess, it's copyright protected.

Greg
Posted on: Sun, 03/15/2020 - 12:51

Dude, it's free. Stop being lazy and bitching about a free program and write the shit down. Holy shit man.

Fritz
Posted on: Thu, 08/06/2020 - 21:08

At the top it literally says download pdf workout.

Ygor
Posted on: Thu, 07/03/2014 - 10:51

Hey, Steve. Great workout, been doing for two weeks and i am feeling great.

I have two questions: 1) is that one arm dumbbel row really supposed to be 2 sets of 20-25 reps? (On the heavy rowing day). It happens that i cant put pretty much weight, i am doing with 30 pounds dumbbels and kinda want to rip my arms and back off after i finnish (thats good, but my question is because you call it "heavy rowing day")

2) can i swith the pec deck or db flye of the 2nd chest day to cable crossovers or cable crossover 21s? My gym changed to a mew pec deck that i dont like. And i dont feel a good sternal action when doing dumbbell flyes

Thx, see you!

Paul
Posted on: Tue, 05/27/2014 - 12:54

Mate hard work but good I'm 121kg fat 190 cm how much cardio should I do per day ... Thank

Bryan
Posted on: Fri, 05/23/2014 - 00:03

Hi Steve,

Upon completing this program, how do we proceed to the next program all while keeping these gains?

Given that this is a specialisation program, the volume allocated to the chest and back is higher than that of a normal workout. I've done high volume chest and back specialisation programs and made really good gains/

However, when I switch back to my normal routine, due to the sudden drop in volume (I think), the gains/size made are lost. My chest and lats shrink and this difference is very very noticeable.

How do we prevent this from happening? By gradually reducing the volume?

Thanks!

Joe
Posted on: Thu, 05/22/2014 - 11:45

I've never done deadlifts in my life, how should I figure out how much weight to use?

Kevin
Posted on: Mon, 04/14/2014 - 20:13

when I can take the fish oil?

Kenny
Posted on: Mon, 03/31/2014 - 10:12

Hey Mr. Shaw.

Just wanted to take the opportunity to thank you for the workout routine, it's been a great 12 weeks journey. I've gained almost 14kg body mass, and my overall strength has increased massively.
I even got a girl at my gym to start the program, she has lifted weighs for 6 months, and was amazed by the strength she got only two weeks in. I was joining her the first two weeks too show her how to do the different workouts, now she has taken her friend under her wing to join her. I also throw in the Workout To Increase Ab Size routine on Wednesday and Sunday. I've eaten about 23kg rice, xxxkg beef, chicken, fish etc. and alot of salat.

I've got this app on my phone with the whole program, and it counts down 30-60sek between each rep, it's kinda like you are there yelling at me. C'mon, FU**ING WORK FOR IT!! And that's motivating.

I've started 23. Des, then had one rest week, and last week was a deload week. But now I'm kinda stuck, so I was wondering if you could help me with another weight program, including abs, cardio and diets? What would be good for me?

Best regards, Kenny from Norway

rihan
Posted on: Tue, 03/11/2014 - 04:09

helloooo sir..
...........i need the supliments of why proteen...can i get ths supliments in india....if i pls tell me the address

lee wil
Posted on: Sat, 03/01/2014 - 17:59

bad back how should i mod. this work out

lee wil
Posted on: Sat, 03/01/2014 - 17:58

how can I modif. the workout for a bad lower back wrapped in still cage

John
Posted on: Mon, 02/17/2014 - 15:24

I can only make it to the gym 3 times a week,would it work to combine legs,shoulder and arms?
thanks I really like this and want to do the program.

London
Posted on: Mon, 01/20/2014 - 04:32

Rest pause is 6 sets of 8-12 reps with 30 second rests in between I'd go 75% - 80 % of 1RM

Tommy
Posted on: Sat, 01/25/2014 - 22:55

Thanks.

Tommy
Posted on: Wed, 01/15/2014 - 21:34

It's an interesting program but I've been waiting for nearly a month to get clarification about the rest puase sets. Other posters have had the same question to no avail. I guess we're just not going to get an answer.

Eddie
Posted on: Tue, 01/14/2014 - 11:10

Probably a dumb question but is workout one done on Monday and workout two done on Thursday?

Paul
Posted on: Tue, 01/14/2014 - 08:21

No bullshit workout no mirrors no crap I like it thank u very much mate p..oz

Z
Posted on: Mon, 01/13/2014 - 18:30

Question on workout # 2 - Is it 6 sets of between 10-12 reps (60-72 reps) or 6 sets to get between 10-12 reps? Question on workout #1 - is 30 seconds of rest between sets enough time?

Phatan
Posted on: Thu, 01/09/2014 - 13:58

Just starting this program.

Andy
Posted on: Fri, 12/27/2013 - 07:29

Hi Steve great articles, the problem I have is I am obsessed with training and have and do write program's constantly do you have follow ups to these program's also, with the pull ups in this program are these with or without additional weight and also the pendlay rows I believe these are the true horizontal rows with stop/start from the bottom elbows close to body. Please help

Sam
Posted on: Thu, 12/19/2013 - 16:52

Can these be supersetted or should I do all six sets of a specific exercise before moving on? Or do I do all six in a row, six times?