8 Week Chest And Back Specialization Workout Routine

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

Build Muscle
Split
Beginner
8 weeks
4
45-60 minutes
Barbell, Bodyweight, Dumbbells, Machines
Male & Female
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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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43 Comments+ Post Comment

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

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?

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

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

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

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?

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

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

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

on workout one how long is your rest period

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

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?

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

Hi Steve,

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

Thanks,

Pardeep

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

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.

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

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!

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

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

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

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!

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

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

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

when I can take the fish oil?

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

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

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

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

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

bad back how should i mod. this work out

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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

Thanks.

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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?

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

Just starting this program.

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

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

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

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?

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Posted Wed, 12/18/2013 - 14:29
Tommy

I need clarification on the rest-pause sets. How much weight are we supposed to be using i.e. how many reps should the weight allow us to complete before we need to pause? Also, are we doing 6 separate sets that all should require us to utilize a rest-pause or should a rest-pause not be needed until the later sets?

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Posted Sun, 12/15/2013 - 15:35
Josue

hi I workout on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. can I do Monday chest back, Tuesday legs, Wednesday off, Thursdays back and chest and Fridays shoulders and arms and weekens off or have to be the way that is listed? thank you wait for your answer.

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Posted Sat, 12/14/2013 - 22:32
Paul

hey, could you explain how the second workout for back and chest works with all the rest-pauses?

thanks

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Posted Fri, 12/13/2013 - 17:55
Travis Bayala

what kind of stretches do you during this program everyday.

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Posted Fri, 12/13/2013 - 17:19
Travis Bayala

I am looking to get in shape tone lose weight and build some muscle. On the days that say off can I do a class at the gym like insanity or extreme effects. Can I do some running on the days off like on a treadmill or outside. I would like yo get in the best swhape possible for athletic events and just to be in good shape.

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Posted Wed, 12/11/2013 - 04:53
omar

Hi Steve ,,,
our weekend is different from yours , I mean the Gym here is closed on Thursday and Friday , could you please schedule the program to work with my days please ?

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Posted Thu, 12/12/2013 - 23:42
Jarrod

You could just start your training chest and back on Wednesday followed by the 2 day offs :D

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Posted Tue, 12/10/2013 - 07:42
Alex

Hey man this is just what i need, does this workout build strength, size or both ?

Steven's picture
Posted Tue, 12/10/2013 - 10:03
Steven

It is focused on size first, but builds both.

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Posted Mon, 12/09/2013 - 23:11
Jarrod

Hi Ive got a couple of questions.
First is the second chest workout all rest pause method or just the pullups.

Also you state that "Deadlifts are worked on Monday, allowing for plenty of recovery time before you squat on Friday". however according to your split Friday is off day ?

Steven's picture
Posted Tue, 12/10/2013 - 10:08
Steven

All rest-pause on that day. I fixed the article to clear up any confusion.

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Posted Mon, 12/09/2013 - 20:48
Robert

Good workout

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Posted Mon, 12/09/2013 - 19:00
Ray

Do you have a different workout for advanced or is it just a matter of adjusting the rep or weight?

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Posted Mon, 12/09/2013 - 16:52
Mike

Your "4" day split is actually a 5 day split!

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Posted Mon, 12/09/2013 - 16:42
Mohammed

Hi.
Thanks for the program. I wonder why this is listed for beginners, and if you are an advanced or hardcore muscle gainer; will this program be effective?

Steven's picture
Posted Mon, 12/09/2013 - 18:03
Steven

Yes.