The 4-Week Dumbbell Workout Plan Part 1: Chest And Back

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The 4-Week Dumbbell Workout Plan Part 1: Chest And Back

Add size to your arms, chest and shoulders with these four full dumbbell workouts for each body part.

Have you ever wanted to build a new body with wider shoulders, a broad chest, big biceps and triceps, and a well-defined set of abs? Well, you’re in luck because this guide to adding lean muscle mass fast, we will help you to build a strong, impressive physique in just four weeks.

In short, follow this plan faithfully and in less than a month you’ll be well on the way to transforming your body. Follow the workouts in order, all you need is a pair of dumbbells and follow the instructions.

The Plan and theory behind your four-week muscle plan:

1. Body Part Splits

This four-week plan includes four workouts a week. Each of the four hits a different body part:

  • Workout 1 each week targets your chest and back.
  • With workout 2 your arms are targeted (biceps and triceps).
  • Using workout 3 your legs and abs.
  • Workout 4 your shoulders.

The body-part workouts have been selected to help you add muscle mass and transform your torso as quickly as possible.

The first three workouts each week hit two different muscle groups, so that while one body part is working, the other recovers, allowing you to keep the intensity level high and lift the heaviest weight possible with good form to stimulate the maximum amount of muscle growth.

2. Workout Structure

All four weekly sessions comprise six exercises divided into three supersets, labelled 1A and 1B, 2A and 2B, and 3A and 3B. In a superset you pair two exercises and perform them back to back, only resting after doing all the reps of the second move. Once all the sets and reps of the first superset are completed, you move on to the second superset and so on.

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This approach is fantastic for building muscle faster because supersets maximise both the intensity and the quality of your sets. And the harder you can push your muscles in the gym, the more damage gets done to muscle tissue, which is then rebuilt bigger and stronger when you recover.

3. Workout Variables

The only way to keep making fast progress when you’re aiming to add lean muscle mass is to follow a progressive training plan that keeps challenging your body in new ways each week. That’s the key to keeping your muscles out of their comfort zone and working as hard as possible so your body has no choice but to keep building back your damaged muscle fibres bigger and stronger.

At the top of each exercise breakdown for the first week are details about each move, including sets, rest, tempo and rest (for weeks two, three and four this information is listed in tables). Tempo 2010 = 2sec to lower, 0sec pause at the bottom, 1sec to lift, 0sec pause at the top.

It is imperative you stick exactly to these workout variables because this plan has been designed to provide a progressively challenging workout so you can add the maximum amount of muscle tissue in four weeks.

For example, in week one you’ll do four sets of ten reps per move, which increases to four sets of 12 in week two. In weeks three and four you’ll do five sets of ten and 12 reps respectively, so every week is harder than the previous week. What’s more, in weeks three and four the tempo (the time it takes to do the lifting and lowering for each rep) changes to make the exercises more challenging, so your target muscles experience more time under tension and workload.

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Workout 1: Chest And Back (Week 1)

1A Floor press

Sets 4 Reps 10 Rest 0sec Tempo 2010

How To:

  • Lie flat on the floor, holding a dumbbell in each hand above your chest with straight arms.
  • Lower the weights towards your chest, then press them back up powerfully to return to the start.

Why: Lying on the floor puts you in a stable position so you can attempt to go quite heavy with this move. The range of motion is shorter than a bench press, so focus on contracting the chest muscles being targeted.

1B Hammer bent-over row

Sets 4 Reps 10 Rest 60sec Tempo 2010

How to:

  • Hold a dumbbell in each hand with palms facing each other.
  • Bend forward, hingeing at the hips, then row the weights up to your sides, leading with your elbows.
  • Lower the weights back to the start under control.

Why: This move hits the major muscles of your upper back, while your lower back gets worked to keep your torso upright. Using a hammer grip also hits your forearms and improves grip strength.

2A Dumbbell press-up

Sets 4 Reps 10 Rest 0sec Tempo 2010

How to:

  • Get into position with your feet together and hands holding dumbbells shoulder-width apart.
  • Brace your core so your body is straight from head to heels.
  • Bend your elbows to lower your chest, then press back up powerfully.

Why: You might think press-ups are easy, but they are still a useful chest-building move – especially when you factor in the instability of the weights to work your chest, as well as your core, harder.

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2B Reverse flye

Sets 4 Reps 10 Rest 60sec Tempo 2010

How to:

  • Bend forwards from the hips with a light dumbbell in each hand, palms facing.
  • Keeping a slight bend in your elbows, raise the weights out to shoulder height, then lower them back to the start.

Why: This move looks a lot harder than it is, and it works wonders for your upper back and rear shoulders. Start with light weights and master the movement pattern to maximise muscle gain and minimise the risk of injury.

3A Wide dumbbell press-up

Sets 4 Reps 10 Rest 0sec Tempo 2010

How to:

  • Get into position with your feet together and hands holding dumbbells wide apart.
  • Brace your core so your body is straight from head to heels. Bend your elbows to lower your chest, then press back up powerfully.

Why: Placing your hands in a wider position reduces the involvement of your triceps and shoulders, so your chest has to do more of the hard work to lift and lower your torso.

3B Renegade row

Sets 4 Reps 10 each side Rest 60sec Tempo 2010

How to:

  • Get into position with your feet together and hands holding dumbbells shoulder-width apart.
  • Brace your core so your body is straight from head to heels.
  • Row the weight up, leading with your elbow.
  • Alternate arms.

Why: It works your upper back one side at a time so you can fully engage each of the muscles, as well as recruiting your core and shoulder joints to keep your body stable.

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