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The Ultimate Chest and Bicep Workout to Feel the Pump

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chest and bicep workout, a man with chest and bicep muscles highlighted
Jonathan Valdez post Reviewer Jonathan Valdez post Reviewer
Verified by Jonathan Valdez
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Certified Personal Trainer, Certified Dietitian/Nutritionist in NYC, Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist

Best chest and bicep workout routine to build muscle and symmetry. Train chest and biceps the same day and see an actual muscle pump!

Table of Contents

Chest and bicep workouts are the cornerstone of any fitness regimen. The chest muscles play a critical role in pushing movements, and muscular biceps are more important than people realize, extending far beyond aesthetics. Training the biceps assists in many other lifts, and it is fundamental to building a solid and functional upper body.  

This article shares why you should consider training the chest and biceps on the same day, offering the best exercises to maximize muscle gain and strength, and organizing those exercises into the best chest and bicep workout. 

Why train the chest and biceps on the same day?

You can successfully train the chest and biceps simultaneously, and by doing so, you can work each muscle in a fresh and rested state. Rested muscles can lift heavier weights, leading to more muscle growth. Lifting heavy weights is also the pathway to building impressive strength. 

It’s important to note that training the chest and biceps in the same workout is both effective and safe. 

The chest is composed of four muscles: pec major, pec minor, serratus anterior, and subclavius. 

These muscles primarily function as pushing muscles. Exercises like push-ups, bench press variations (barbell or dumbbell), and dips are all excellent chest-building movements. 

The biceps‘ primary function is pulling and they consist of three muscles: biceps brachii, brachialis, and coracobrachialis. 

Curls, which involve flexing and extending at the elbow joint to lift the weight up and down, are king when it comes to building muscular and strong biceps. Chin-ups place a great emphasis on the biceps due to hand position and are also an effective bicep builder because of the range of motion, weight used, and the number of muscles worked. 

In the fitness industry, many people refer to a chest and bicep training day as a push-pull split.

The idea behind body part splits, such as a chest and biceps day, is that you can use the biceps muscles as a secondary muscle for back day. 

Working the chest and biceps in the same workout also allows for more exercise frequency for those muscles in a week.

Related article: Back and Bicep Workout for Muscle Gain

Target bigger compound lifts earlier in the workout

There has been growing interest in attacking bigger compound lifts for maximal strength earlier in the workout while leaving the back half to focus on building muscle size. 

With this approach, you’ll want to train a compound movement like the bench press on the front end of the training session, transitioning to push-up variations or dumbbell chest flys later.

The science behind this approach is rooted in common sense. The fresher you are, the more energy you can give to an exercise, leading to better results. 

Benefits of chest and bicep workouts

  • Train muscles in a fresh and rested state. 
  • Focus the workout on fewer exercises.
  • Increase efficiency during the workout. 
  • Blast through strength and muscle plateaus with specialization.

8 Exercises to build your chest and bicep workout

The following list of chest and bicep exercises is approachable for any fitness level. Some of these exercises require no equipment, just bodyweight, while others will need a set of dumbbells, a barbell, or an overhead bar. 

The amount of sets, reps, and rest is meant for building muscle, or hypertrophy. For simplicity, the weight amount should be about 67-85% of 1 rep maximum. [1]


a man is doing Push-Ups_chest and bicep workout

Push-ups are a time-tested upper body pushing exercise that works the triceps, pectoral muscles, and shoulders. 


  • Assume a high plank position with hands wider than the shoulders.
  • Make sure your abs and glutes are engaged to keep your body straight.
  • Start with arms straight and lower down until the chest touches the floor. 
  • Pause at the bottom and press to the top. 


3-6 sets of 6-12 reps, rest for 30-90 seconds

Pro Tips

  • Lower with control.
  • Space the hands outside the shoulders.
  • Leave two reps in the tank during work sets. 

Dumbbell Chest Fly

man performs dumbbell chest fly, chest and bicep workout

The dumbbell chest fly is an upper body exercise focused on building the pecs and shoulders. 


  • Lie down on a bench with arms straight and holding the dumbbells over the chest. 
  • Keeping a slight flex in the elbows, slowly separate the arms and lower the weight to the sides of the body. 
  • Stop when you feel a stretch in the chest/shoulder region, and lift the weight back to the top. 


3-6 sets of 6-12 reps, rest for 30-90 seconds

Pro Tips

  • Start with light weight to avoid excessive muscle soreness.
  • Slow down the lower tempo for max muscle gain. 

Incline Bench Press

man is doing Incline Bench Press_chest and bicep workout

The incline bench press changes body position and, therefore, the angle of the press. This exercise is fantastic for targeting the upper pectoral muscles. 


  • Adjust the bench to a 45-degree angle.
  • Bring the dumbbell to the thighs and up to the chest region. 
  • Press vertically until the arms are straight, pause, and lower back down. 


3-6 sets of 6-12 reps, rest for 30-90 seconds

Pro Tips

  • Use a light weight to acclimate to the angle of the press.
  • Lower down slowly until the dumbbells are at or below the armpits.


man is doing Dips in the gym, chest and bicep workout

Dips are a vertical upper body pressing exercise that delivers a potent training stimulus to the pectoralis minor, anterior deltoid, triceps, and rhomboids.


  • Place hands on parallel bars and straighten the arms while supporting the body weight. 
  • Slowly bend the elbows and lower your body until the elbows reach 90 degrees or below. 
  • Press back to the top until the elbows are straight. 


3-6 sets of 6-12 reps, rest for 30-90 seconds

Pro Tips

  • Use legs for assistance if needed. 
  • Dips work best using an extensive range of motion.

Relevant topic: What Muscles Do Dips Work Most? Chest Dips, Tricep Dips & Variations

Zottman Bicep Curls

man is performing Zottman Bicep Curls with dumbbells, chest and bicep workout

Zottman curls are a brilliant bicep exercise because they offer muscle building and injury mitigation at the same time. They train the biceps and forearms simultaneously and are an excellent grip builder. Increasing grip strength has many benefits and has long been correlated with longevity. [2]


  • From a standing position, curl the weight up until the elbow is flexed fully. 
  • Rotate the hand 180 degrees, and lower the weight back down with the hand facing the floor. 
  • Reverse the hand rotation at the bottom, and repeat the steps. 


3-6 sets of 6-12 reps, rest for 30-90 seconds

Pro Tips

  • Use a light weight. 
  • The lowering portion will be the weakest part of the lift. 
  • Lower the weight for a 5-second count.


man is doing Chin-ups_chest and bicep workout

Chin-ups are a unique exercise because they work many muscles and have fantastic functional carry-over to sports and everyday living. The muscles worked during chin-ups include the biceps brachii, brachialis, lats, teres major, posterior deltoid, and spinal stabilizers. 


  • With the palms of the hands turned toward your face (supinated), grab the overhead bar. 
  • From a dead hang, flex the elbows and pull upward until your chin is above the bar.
  • Lower down to a dead hang with control. 


3-6 sets of 6-12 reps, rest for 30-90 seconds

Pro Tips

  • Start with ¼ or ½ repetitions to build strength.
  • Progress to eccentric-only (just lowering) as slowly as possible.
  • Loop a resistance band around one knee for assistance during a full range of motion chin-up.

Standing Barbell Curl

man is doing Standing Barbell Curl_chest and bicep workout

Standing while curling creates a more functional exercise for real-world tasks. The two-arm barbell curl primarily works the biceps brachii muscles, with an ancillary stimulus directed to the brachialis and brachioradialis. 


  • Grip the barbell with your hands just outside the hips. 
  • Curl the barbell up to just below chin height.
  • Lower down with control. 


3-6 sets of 6-12 reps, rest for 30-90 seconds

Pro Tips

  • The barbell allows both arms to work simultaneously for greater control.
  • Lower down slowly to spend more time under tension.
  • Keep elbows stationary and tight to the side of the body. 
  • Avoid jostling while curling; keep the body calm.

Alternating Incline Dumbbell Curls

man is doing Alternating Incline Dumbbell Curl_chest and bicep workout

Alternating each side while performing curls can allow for more weight to be used. The incline body position targets the forearms and the biceps brachii more aggressively due to the more extensive range of motion created from the incline position. 


  • Sit on a bench with the backrest slightly angled, a dumbbell in each hand. 
  • One side at a time, curl the weight toward your face. 
  • Pause at the top, and slowly lower the weight back down. 


3-6 sets of 6-12 reps, rest for 30-90 seconds

Pro Tips

  • Exhale on the upward phase.
  • Inhale on the downward phase.
  • Grip the dumbbells aggressively to activate more arm musculature.

Related article: Killer Back Workouts With Cables

Chest and bicep workout examples

Here are two brutally effective and simple bicep and chest workouts worth trying. Notice the minimalist approach to the number of exercises selected for each workout, but don’t underestimate the training effect. These workouts pack a punch if you’ve chosen challenging weights and focused on maximizing each repetition (time under tension, control, range of motion, etc.). 

Take notice of the equipment needed for exercising the chest and biceps. Dumbbells are versatile fitness equipment that works exceptionally well for chest-building exercises, such as dumbbell chest flys. Dumbbells are also a prime choice for most bicep curl variations. Exercises like Zottman curls and incline curls require dumbbells for success. 

Chest and bicep workout #1

Set A

A1) Incline Dumbbell Bench Press – 3 sets x 8 reps

A2) Alternating Incline Dumbbell Curls – 3 sets x 6 reps

Rest: 30-90 seconds between each exercise

Set B

B1) Push-Ups – 3 sets x 10 reps

B2) Zottman Bicep Curls – 3 sets x 8 reps

Rest: 30-90 seconds between each exercise

Chest and bicep workout #2

Set A

A1) Dumbbell Chest Flys – 3 sets x 8 reps

A2) Push-Ups – 3 sets x max reps till failure

Rest: 30-90 seconds between each exercise

Set B

B1) Chin-Ups – 3 x 6 reps

B2) Standing Barbell Curl – 3 sets x max reps till failure

Rest: 30-90 seconds between each exercise

Use a workout planner app to receive personalized workouts that fit your age, fitness level, goals, and available equipment. 

Maximize your bicep and chest workout with the following tips

There are many ways to maximize your chest and bicep workout to build muscle and strength. Movement control (tension), progressive overload, and volume are critical for long-term progress.

Controlling the movements on the way up and down is key to building strength and control. The eccentric or lengthening phase is the downward portion of the movement and is critical for muscle hypertrophy. Spending adequate time under tension while lowering weight is excellent for building muscle. [3]

Concentric, or shortening of the muscle, although not as effective, is still important in a hypertrophy-oriented resistance program, and it shouldn’t be ignored.

The Progressive Overload Principle involves increasing the demands on the muscles for ongoing gains in muscle strength and size, and progressively adding weight to each exercise every so often is key to continuous improvement at the gym. Without progressive overload, the muscles will adapt and become efficient for the weight you’re working with, resulting in halted gains.  

Volume is one of the primary drivers of muscle growth. More volume equates to more muscle mass. Studies have shown a dose-response relationship between increasing volume (sets, reps, weight lifted in a session) and producing more significant gains in muscle hypertrophy. [4]

However, you should limit yourself to 3-6 sets of 6-12 reps and rest for 30-90 seconds. If you find yourself doing more reps in each set, increase the weight.

The keys to making muscle and strength gains include:

  • The Progressive Overload Principle
  • Focus on movement control (concentric and eccentric)
  • Increasing volume (how much work you do per session/week)

Final words

Building your chest and biceps in the same workout is not only possible; it might be the ideal way to maximize muscle gain and strength. Since the chest muscles are pushing muscles and the biceps are pulling muscles, you can arrange your exercises to train both of them effectively on the same day. By leveraging the list of sample exercises above while paying attention to training volume, controlled movements, and the basic principles of overload, you’re sure to see results!

Disclaimer This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!

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