Intense Superset Chest & Biceps Workout With Joe Donnelly

M&S Team
Written By: M&S Team
April 4th, 2016
Updated: March 30th, 2021
Categories: Articles Training
Tags: Video
Looking to burn fat and build muscle, all while never stepping foot on the cardio deck? Try out Joe Donnelly's high intensity resistance training!

Have you ever dreamt of performing a cardio session that not only burned fat, but also built muscle?

AML athlete Joe Donnelly gives Muscle & Strength readers exactly what they've been hoping for with his high intensity resistance training circuit. 

His forty total set workout is no joke though. Broken up into two parts, Joe's chest and bicep intervals will leave you gasping for air. It's a measly price to pay for a shredded physique.  

Part I

Low Incline Dumbbell Press- Joe begins the first part of his workout with low incline dumbbell presses. Joe doesn't like to perform any of the dumbbell press variations on a completely flat bench. Begin with this exercise for 12-15 reps before moving on to the next lift of the circuit. 

Incline Dumbbell Flys- Joe provides us with solid advice by telling us to never bring our hands together at the top of this lift. He states that no benefit or extra tension is created by bringing the hands past the shoulder line.

In fact, doing so puts the AC joint in an uncomfortable and vulnerable position. Perform 8-10 reps of flys before progressing to the next stage of Joe's circuit.

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Related: 6 Crucial Exercises for Shoulder Stability

Incline Dumbbell Curl- Once completed with the dumbbell flys, move the bench to a 45 degree angle for incline dumbbell curls. Keeping your elbows back, this lift really hits the long head of the bicep. Joe mentions it is not enough to just lift the weight. It is important to think about each rep while contracting the biceps.

Perform 12-15 reps of incline dumbbell curls, then move on to the last exercise of the round.

Resistance Band Pushups- Wrap a resistance band over your shoulder and lock it with your thumbs. Perform as many pushups as you can stopping short of physical failure.

Perform each of these exercises one right after another when completing a round. Once completed, rest for 60 seconds between rounds. Perform 3 rounds of Part I if you're an intermediate lifter or 4-5 rounds if you're an advanced lifter. Once completed, move to Part II of the workout.

Don't choose heavy weight for these lifts, because by the second round you will be gassed and have to continuously drop in weight. Doing so defeats the purpose of the high intensity intervals.

Part II

At the beginning of Part II, Joe has a purple resistance band and lighter dumbbells. The resistance band will add a lot of tension at the top of reps, so it is important to go a little lighter in this round. 

Joe Donnelly intense superset

Resistance Band Incline Dumbbell Press- The first exercise of the second part of Joe's workout includes resistance band incline dumbbell presses. When performing these, it is important to hold at the top of the rep slightly to feel a deep muscle burn in the chest. Perform 10-12 reps before moving on to the next exercise in Part II.

Seated Dumbbell Curls- Moving right into the next exercise, Joe mentions the importance of stopping the weight at the thighs during the lift. This eliminates the bottom third of the rep where people tend to utilize their forearm and deltoid to move the weight. These curls are going to be much more difficult without your forearms and deltoids assisting with the motion.

Related: Joe Donnelly-Build Bigger Biceps With This Curl Variation

Perform 8-10 reps and move on to the next exercise.

Close Grip Lockout Press- Begin by dropping the bench down to a flat bench. Press up from the bench as if you were performing a pushup. Instead of pressing using the triceps, Joe grabs the outside of the bench and squeezes his chest together to pushup. It is not enough to simply press during this exercise, you really need to drive your hands together between the bench.

For an advance movement, at the top of the exercise Joe lifts one hand slightly. This creates a lot of tension for the side of the chest suppoting the body. Perform 8-10 reps of this exercise and move on to the final exercise of the circuit. 

Plyometric Pushups- The final exercise of Part II of the workout is plyometric pushups. These are performed until failure. Once you hit failure, drop to your knees, and continue to perform plyometric pushups to failure. After reaching failure again, perform pushups on your knees until you have completely exhausted the muscle. 

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If you are worried about what people may think about you doing pushups on your knees, don't be. Joe assures you that nobody is going to care; if anything they will be impressed by your work ethic.

Perfom 3 rounds of Part II (after completing the same number of rounds in part I) if you are an intermediate lifter or 4-5 rounds if you're an advanced lifter. Keep rest periods between rounds to 60-80 seconds.

A good time to complete the 8 exercises is 48-55 minutes. Anything longer than 55 total minutes means the rest periods are too long and you should drop the amount of weight you are doing. Keep the intensity high for a cardio session that will not only burn fat but build muscle.