Most men I knew who lift weights are interested in a bigger, stronger looking chest, and in developing bigger and stronger arms. Most men I know are also interested in doing a ton of bench pressing–sometimes to the exclusion of just about everything else–and lots of biceps curls. They also profess to want the most bang for their buck in the gym. If only there was a movement/exercise that would work the chest and the arms. Today I want to give you the secret that is not a secret and show you a movment that could conceivably be called the best chest and tricep routine if the goal was hypertrophy of the chest and arms–I mention triceps and not biceps as the primary focus for the arms here because the make up a huge part of the arm and no amount of bicep curling can balance out a lack of triceps muscles.
The close grip bench press
Since you’re probably bench pressing anyway, why not just move your arms in a bit closer and hit the triceps more? Personally, if I get any narrower than shoulder width I have some severe discomfort, but even at shoulder width I get a lot of work in the tricep area and I can’t handle as much weight because my chest is no longer quite as involved. Here’s an example of the close grip bench.
This is on a Smith machine but it is still very impressive that he is handling 370 pounds in this lift without involving his chest much. Very strong. Notice the hand position. Much closer than the typical bench press.
When size is my goal, I focus on simply getting stronger and the muscle comes without me worrying too much about rep and set schemes. If I am able to put more weight on the bar, do more reps in a set, or lift more total volume in a workout, I know I’m getting stronger in my lifts. If I’m getting stronger I’m getting bigger.
Don’t overthink the routine. If you are getting stronger, whatever you are doing is working. Have fun running your own tests and see what works and what does not. The best arm exercises are the ones that work. If you don’t get stronger because you hate doing this left, it may not be for you. That’s okay.
If you want bigger triceps and you want to work your chest as well, I highly recommend experimenting with the close grip bench press in your triceps workout routine and see how it treats you.