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The Best Combination Chest and Leg Workouts

author image Bobby R. Goldsmith
Bobby R. Goldsmith is a writer and editor with over 12 years of experience in journalism, marketing and academics. His work has been published by the Santa Fe Writers Project, "DASH Literary Journal," the "Inland Valley Daily Bulletin" and WiseGEEK.
The Best Combination Chest and Leg Workouts
A buff man is bench pressing. Photo Credit Ibrakovic/iStock/Getty Images

Intermediate and advanced strength training lends itself to split routines, through which you may combine exercises for specific muscle groups in each workout rather than performing a repetitive full-body regimen. Splitting up your routine lets you group either complementary or opposing muscle groups into each workout so that you can focus more sets and repetitions on those muscles during each exercise. Include a mix of isolation and compound exercises for a workout of both chest and legs and make it the best with a progressive set structure.

Scheduling Matters

Set up your workout schedule so that you can combine your leg and chest exercises into the same sessions. To prevent overtraining, also schedule exercises for the deltoids and triceps on your chest and leg days, because your deltoids and triceps play an assisting role in many chest exercises. Aim for two sessions that work the same muscle groups each week. Work out your chest and legs on Days 1 and 3, work out your biceps, back and abs on Days 2 and 4, with a rest day between Days 2 and 3, and two rest days in between Day 4 of one week and Day 1 of the next week.

Weights and Measures

Optimize the workout of your chest and arms with a progressive set and repetition arrangement. This will establish progressive overload for the target muscles, encouraging you to lift more in each successive workout while diminishing the onset of performance plateaus. Strength training coach Tudor Bompa recommends using one of several variations of the pyramid set structure. The standard pyramid is useful for beginners to adapt to progressive sets. Begin an exercise, such as the bench press, with about 80 percent of your one-rep max weight loaded onto the barbell. Perform eight reps, increase the weight to 85 percent, perform six reps, increase to 90 percent and do four reps, increase to 95 percent and do two reps. Decrease the weight to 90 percent and do four reps, reduce the weight again to 85 percent and do six reps, then reduce the weight a final time to 80 percent and do eight reps. Rest between 90 seconds and two minutes.

Close to the Chest

Bench presses provide a full workout for your pectorals when you perform sets on the flat, incline and decline bench. Use all variations of the bench as a centerpiece for your chest workouts. Using a pyramid set structure, begin with a set of flat presses, then perform one set each of both incline and decline presses. Follow up with two traditional sets of dumbbell chest flyes and two traditional sets of standing cable draws. For maximum hypertrophic effect, do between six and 12 reps per set for each of those two exercises. Hypertrophy is the process of building increased volume and mass in your muscle tissue.

Get a Leg Up

You must target several muscle groups -- including the quadriceps, the hamstrings, the calves and the glutes -- to adequately work out your legs. Several exercises target all of those muscle groups simultaneously. Begin with a pyramid set of squats using a full-bend motion, then perform a pyramid set of standard deadlifts using an overhand grip. Follow your deadlifts with two traditional two sets of weighted calf raises and two traditional sets of weighted walking lunges, using dumbbells or kettlebells for each exercise.

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