The Best Combination Chest and Leg Workouts

The Best Combination Chest and Leg Workouts
The Best Combination Chest and Leg Workouts (Image: Nikolas_jkd/iStock/GettyImages)

Combine your chest and leg workouts together to save yourself some time without sacrificing a workout for either part of your body. They're two of the most difficult regions of your body to train because the exercises tend to be very tiring.

However, pairing chest and leg workouts — when designed appropriately — can be smart. Chest exercises won't tire your legs and vice versa.

Split Workouts

Typically you break up weightlifting workouts by body part. The advantage to breaking them up this way is that you focus on a specific muscle group, hit it hard in one workout, and let it recover while you move to another group the next workout.

Leg workouts are usually done alone because the leg muscles are so large and powerful. The toughest leg exercises, like the deadlift, can be enough for a whole session. Adding a chest workout to your leg workout is taxing, which is why you can't do too many exercises for either body part if you work them on the same day.

Three exercises for each body part is plenty to stimulate muscle growth and give you a tough workout. The advantage to combining your leg and chest workouts is that it saves you time. Luckily, most leg exercises don't work the same muscles that chest exercises do, so they won't interfere with each other as your workout progresses.

Bodybuilding Chest and Leg Workout

This combination of chest and leg exercises focuses on building both muscle size and strength. You'll use exercise pairs in this workout, where you group two exercises together and perform them back-to-back. Each pair will have one chest and one leg exercise so that one muscle group can rest while the other works.

For each pair you'll do the exercises back-to-back, rest for 90 seconds, and then repeat for three sets of each exercise. After that you'll rest for two to three minutes before moving on to the next pair of exercises.

1. Push-Up and Walking Lunge

This pair acts as a warm-up for your shoulders and hips.

  • Push-Up: Perform three sets of 10 push-ups, either with your legs straight or knees bent and on the ground.
  • Walking Lunges: Hold light dumbbells, anywhere from 5 to 30 pounds, in each hand. Lunge forward eight steps on each leg, then turn around and repeat in the opposite direction. When you lunge, lower your back knee so it's just an inch above the ground.
Bench press workout
The bench press is one of the best chest exercises you can do. (Image: LuckyBusiness/iStock/GettyImages)

2. Bench Press and Deadlift

These barbell exercises are among the best for building strength in your upper and lower body, respectively.

  • Bench Press: Do three sets of 12 reps for the bench press. This is one of the best chest-building exercises that you can do, so load on the weight to make every set challenging.
  • Deadlift: This is a very taxing leg exercise that builds up your glutes and hamstrings. It's a strong movement for your body and you can lift a lot of weight relative to other exercises. It's stressful to your body to lift that much weight, which is why you should avoid doing too many reps. Do three sets of five repetitions for this exercise.

3. Dumbbell Fly and Split Squats

These movements are more isolated and focus on the chest and quadriceps muscles specifically.

  • Dumbbell Fly: Isolate your chest muscles with this dumbbell exercise. To do a fly you're bringing your arms across your chest, which is the main action of the pectoralis major, the biggest chest muscle. Do three sets of 12 reps. Be careful not to use too much weight because it can irritate your shoulders.
  • Split Squats: This exercise is a stationary lunge in which you have one foot forward and one foot back and drop your back knee down towards the ground. Hold a dumbbell in each hand to up the resistance. Most of the weight should be on your front leg. Do three sets of 10 reps.

CrossFit Chest and Back Workout

This workout is fast-paced and, even though the resistance is light, the high number of reps will give your muscles plenty of work to do. Complete the circuit as fast as possible, doing all four exercises in order, only resting when you need to. Repeat the circuit four times and record the amount of time it takes you to complete. Rest a minute between visits to the whole circuit.

  • 30 push-ups: For the push-ups, either do them with your legs straight or knees bent on the ground.
  • 20 front squats with a 115-pound barbell: Hold the barbell on the tops of your shoulders with your elbows pointing straight forward. Grip the barbell with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width. Squat down until your thighs are parallel to the ground, then stand up.
  • 20 push presses with a 115-pound barbell: Hold a barbell at shoulder-height with your hands just outside of your shoulders. Squat down and then stand up quickly. As you stand up, press the barbell overhead until your elbows are locked out and you're standing up straight.
  • 30 sit-ups: Perform 30 sit-ups as fast as possible.
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