what to workout after chest day

What to Workout After Chest Day?

The gym community has designated Mondays as international chest day. That’s because getting fully developed and powerful chest muscles is a priority for every guy who picks up a weight. Hitting it first in their weekly workout schedule allows people to give it the priority it demands. But what comes next?

In this article, I’ll delve into the vital question of what muscle groups to work when for maximum muscle-building results.

What Muscles Should Be Trained Together?

As a beginner bodybuilder, you should train your whole body together three times per week on alternate days. You could also do an upper body workout one day, and a lower body workout the next.

After six months, though, you will want to advance to a five-day workout split training routine where you work different body parts on different days. Here are the main muscle groups of the body that you will be working the following:

  • Chest
  • Back
  • Shoulders
  • Biceps
  • Triceps
  • Quadriceps
  • Glutes
  • Hamstrings
  • Calves

Ideally, you should be working each body part every 5 days. That means that you will have to pair body parts together. The way that you pair your body parts really comes down to trial and error to see what works best for you.

There are, however, a couple of rules to keep in mind:

  1. Always work a primary muscle group (chest, back, quads, glutes) before a secondary muscle (triceps, biceps, shoulders, calves). Your hardest workouts will involve your larger muscles, so they must come first.
  2. Don’t stack so many body parts that your workout goes for more than 90 minutes.

Here is a 4-day split that many people find works well for them:

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MondayChest / Triceps
TuesdayBack / Biceps
WednesdayQuads / Glutes / Calves
ThursdayShoulders / Calves

On Friday, you go back to the Monday workout. So, even though you are training five times per week, this is not a five-day split; it is a four-day split.

The weekends are rest days and then you continue with the cycle on Monday, doing your Back and Biceps workout.

The reason that you will be training your shoulder muscles separately from major muscle groups is that you need to do separate exercises for each of the three deltoid heads.

Can I Train Triceps After Chest Day?

Yes, you can train triceps after chest day. Your chest workout will involve some triceps activation. That will warm up the triceps so that when you do your triceps exercises they are pumped with blood and ready to fire. 

What Muscles Should You Pair With Chest?

The muscles you end up pairing with your chest exercises should be a matter of experimentation. I suggest pairing chest and triceps for a month and then switching to chest and biceps exercises for a month and seeing which feels best for you and gives you the best results.

Do not pair your chest with another major muscle group, such as your back or quads, as you will be too fatigued after working the chest to do justice to the send body part.

How Many Times a Week Should I Work Out?

The number of times you work out each week depends on how much training experience you have. If you are a beginner with less than six months of training experience, you should train three times per week using a full-body program. Give yourself a day’s rest between each workout. 

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Intermediate level trainers (6 months to 2 years training), should train 4 times per week. I recommend following the training split outlined above but, instead of going back to the Monday workout on Friday, you take that day off, along with the weekend.

Another alternative for intermediate-level trainers is to use a two-day workout split where you do an upper body workout one day and the lower body (leg muscles) the next day. Then have a day of rest and then repeat the upper body and lower body workouts. You may choose to do some aerobic exercises on your off days. 

Advanced level trainers (2 years+ experience), should follow a four-day training split, where you train on a five-day workout cycle. You will be working every muscle group once every five days, with the actual workout day for each muscle group changing every week. This four-day split workout is the best to maximally stimulate a muscle group while also allowing for ideal recovery time.

A mistake that many guys make is to train their favorite muscles more than other muscles. This may involve doing an arm workout several times a week to get bigger biceps or hitting the pectoral muscles every day to try to bring up a chest weakness.

That is a big mistake. Your muscles need to be worked hard and then rested. If you break that rest period, you will be shooting yourself in the foot with poor muscle recovery. 

Final Thoughts

Working your chest muscles at the start of your workout week allows you to give your pecs priority. As far as muscle group selection, there is no concrete order that you must follow.

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Just remember that your minor muscle groups should always be done after a primary muscle (largest muscle first) and that your workouts should not be longer than 90 minutes.

Try the training split that I have outlined in this article. If it works for you, great. If not, change around the order to discover the most efficient workout split for you. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Should I Rest After Chest Day?

In order to provide your chest muscles with the ideal amount of time to recover and regrow following a workout, you should rest for four days before working it again. That means that if you are doing chest on Monday, you should work it again on Friday.  Planning your workout program around working each muscle group every five days is the best way to ensure full recovery and growth potential.

What To Do a Day After Working Out?

The day after working out should be a day of rest for the worked muscle group as much as possible. Your training will have caused micro-tears in the muscle fiber, resulting in fatigued muscles and muscle strain. To build the muscle back, rest is needed. You should also be taking in 20-30 grams of protein every 3 hours the day after your workout. This will supply your worked muscle group with the amino acids it needs to rebuild the damaged muscle tissue. 

Steve Theunissen

Steve Theunissen is a former gym owner and personal trainer based in Tauranga, New Zealand. He is the author of six hardcopy books and more than a hundred ebooks on the topics of bodybuilding, fitness, and fat loss.

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