Run the Rack & Back: Chest and Triceps Destroyer

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Look, I love having a plan just as much as the next guy. Hitting the gym with a defined purpose is a good thing. Most of the time.

But there are times when I need a change. After running the same program for 6 to 12 weeks, my mind gets stale and I need an outlet for my growing rage.

Enter run the rack training. On those training days when I wake up filled with energy, feeling like I am 18 again, I enjoy attacking the iron using this style of training. It’s straightforward, and a no-nonsense ball-buster.

Here’s how it works…

You’ll start out this chest workout with a dumbbell bench press variation. This variation can be:

  • Flat bench dumbbell bench press
  • Incline bench dumbbell bench press
  • Decline bench dumbbell bench press
  • Alternating dumbbell bench press *

* Note: The alternating dumbbell bench press is performed while holding both dumbbells at the same time. You simply press one side up, then the other. Repeat this alternating process until you reach the desired number of reps per set. Easy!

dumbbell-bench-press

Continue working your way back down in dumbbells for at least 8 back-off supersets.

Choose a weight that is about 30% of your 5RM (5 rep dumbbell max). So if you are able to perform 5 reps using 100 pound dumbbells, start with 30 pound dumbbells. I know this sounds light, but trust me: this workout gets brutal rather quickly.

Using this 30% weight, perform 5 reps. After resting, move up in dumbbell weight by 5 lbs and perform another 5 reps. Continue this pattern of resting and moving up in weight until you reach a top weight that no longer allows you to perform 5 reps.

Rest periods between sets should remain natural. Start the next set when you feel physically and mentally ready to go. You will need to rest slightly longer between sets as the dumbbells get heavier and heavier. That’s ok. Do what you need to do so you can keep moving up in weight.

Running the Rack Back

At this point it’s time to run the rack back. You will work your way back down the dumbbell rack in 5 pound increments, but with a difference…each dumbbell chest press will be supersetted with a triceps exercise variation.

run-rack-womanHere are some triceps movements I recommend:

  • Lying triceps extensions
  • Rope cable triceps extensions
  • Standing/seated two arm overhead dumbbell extensions
  • Lying triceps extension and skullcrusher combo

After performing your chest-focused dumbbell exercise, you will immediately perform one of the exercises listed above. Stick to about 8-10 rep sets for this triceps movement.

If you decide to go with the lying triceps extension and skullcrusher combo, perform 8 reps of each. Grab an EZ bar, knock out your lying triceps extension reps and then bring the bar to your chest and quickly pound out 8 close grip bench reps.

As you are running the rack back down, make sure to keep the rest periods between supersets natural. Rest until you feel ready to go again, but no longer. This is an intense workout, and if you start resting 5 minutes in between each set this training session will last 2 hours.

Continue working your way back down in dumbbells for at least 8 back-off supersets. After that point you can keep dropping in weight if you have the energy and feel the sets are still beneficial and don’t feel too light. You can also bump the back-off sets to 8 reps per set if 5 reps starts to feel too light.

Optional Exercises

After this superset session of devastation, you have the option to perform some isolation work for chest and triceps is you so desire. I would often move on to cable crossovers for 3 to 5 sets just as a cool down. Again, this extra work is completely optional.

Chest and Triceps Workout
Run the Rack and Back
Exercise Sets Reps
Dumbbell Bench Press Variation  Varies  5
After working up to a 5 rep max, superset:
1) Dumbbell Bench Press Variation  8+  5-8
2) Triceps Exercise  8+  8-10
Optional:
Chest Isolation Exercise 3-5 8-12
Triceps Isolation Exercise 3-5 8-12
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Name: Steve Shaw

Bio: I don’t believe in magic training systems or rep ranges. My philosophy is simple: remain consistent, use the best possible exercises, focus upon progression and enter the gym looking to maximize each set. When you maximize each set, you maximize progress. Easy, obvious, insanely effective.