Chest and Shoulder Workout for Mass and Strength

Are you ready to take your upper body workout to a new level? Then you must train your chest and shoulders in the same workout.

Why is a chest and shoulders workout important? The duo of chest and shoulder workout increases your muscle strength and endurance in the upper body.

The chest and shoulder is a muscle pairing as old as the bench press itself, and for good reason. While the chest muscles serve as the primary movers during pressing movements, the shoulders act as crucial synergistic companions, working in harmony to maximize your performance.

We’ve taken this workout a step further by using giant sets to build lean muscle in your shoulders and chest.

This blog has detailed descriptions of the following topic:

Know Your Chest, Shoulder Muscles

The chest and shoulder muscles are integral components of the upper body, contributing to strength, stability, and aesthetics.

Understanding these muscles and their functions can help you design targeted workouts and achieve optimal results. Let’s delve into each of these muscle groups:

Chest Muscles

The chest muscles, or pectoralis major and minor, are located in the front of the upper body. It consists of two main portions:

  • The upper chest is referred to as the clavicular head because of its attachment to the clavicle.
  • The lower chest is referred to as the sternocostal head because of their attachment to the ribs.

They are responsible for various movements involving the arms, such as pushing and hugging motions.

Shoulder Anatomy

The shoulder muscles, specifically the deltoids, are responsible for the overall shape and stability of the shoulders. It consists of three separate sections or heads.

Shoulder Anatomy

Benefits Of Training Chest and Shoulder Together

Training the chest, shoulders together in the same workout offers several advantages that contribute to a well-rounded upper body development. The reasons for training those muscle groups together are very logical.

During a compound workout, many targeted muscles work together with other Synergistic and stabilizer muscles to function. The target of one muscle may not fully engage the other supportive muscles, but they may be in use to some degree. So, if a workout targets one specific muscle group, the groups that work along with that muscle are also getting some work.

When doing a bench press, one of the target muscles is in the chest. However, there are other muscles working in this motion, such as the shoulders and the muscles in the triceps.

1. Muscular Synergy

The chest, shoulders, and triceps work in synergy during many compound exercises, especially pushing movements.

When doing a bench press, one of the target muscles is in the chest. However, there are other muscles working in this motion, such as the triceps and the muscles in the shoulders.

2. Balanced Upper Body Development

Training them together can help you build muscles in a proportional way and prevent muscle imbalances. This balanced growth not only makes you look better, but it also helps you stand up straight and make your upper body stronger.

3. Time Efficiency

Combining chest and shoulder exercises into a single workout saves time because you can train multiple muscle groups at once. This can be particularly beneficial if you have a busy schedule or limited time for training.

4. Increased Training Frequency

It allows for higher training frequency. Since these muscle groups are frequently used in various upper body movements, targeting them together will enable you to train them more frequently throughout the week.

Note: It’s important to let you know that we are strong believers in first training your chest before your shoulder during your workout routine. This is because your chest muscle will need your full energy and is most likely the heavies to train and gain in terms of muscle.

How To Do Chest Shoulder Workout

To structure an effective chest shoulder workout to increase mass and strength, the number of reps and sets will vary based on your fitness level, weekly workout frequency, and strength training goals.

For strength gains, do 4 to 6 sets of 1 to 6 reps each exercise with a weight that is at least 85% of your one-repetition maximum (1RM) The fewer reps you perform, the closer to 100% of your 1RM you should strive for.

If your goal is hypertrophy (muscle growth), perform three sets of each exercise, using loads that are 70 to 85% of your 1RM for 8 to 12 reps.

When training for endurance, it is usually recommended to use higher reps (15 to 20 repetitions) and moderate loads, with a weight that is at least 50 to 70% of your 1RM.

12 Best Chest And Shoulder Workouts for Beginner to advanced

Below is a list of a few of the best chest and shoulder workouts for building up a strong and healthy body and muscle.

1. Barbell Bench Press

The Bench Press, one of the best chest muscle-building exercises. This exercise should be the center of all your barbell chest workouts.

The flat barbell press, also known as the bench press, is a popular compound exercise that targets the chest, triceps, and shoulders.

The Flat barbell chest press is the fundamental exercise for the upper body and should be a part of any best chest exercises regime. That’s why, for overall chest development, the barbell chest press always remains on the top of the list.

Barbell Bench Press Variations

How To Do

  1. Lie flat on a bench with your feet on the ground and your eyes directly underneath the barbell.
  2. Grab the barbell with a grip that is slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
  3. Lift the barbell off the rack and lower it towards your chest in a controlled manner.
  4. Press the barbell back up towards the starting position, until your arms are nearly locked out.
  5. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.
Know More: Barbell Chest Exercises for Bigger and Stronger Pecs

2. Decline Bench Press

The decline bench press is an effective flat bench alternative that will change the angle and tension placed on the chest; increasing the likelihood of new stimulus to the working muscle and therefore an increased probability of muscle growth in size and strength. You can add this chest exercise with shoulder exercise to your workout to train both muscles at the same time.

The decline press exercise is much better than the flat bench press for building your lower chest muscles, which gives your chest a fuller, denser, more attractive look.

To do the decline bench press, you’ll need a specialized decline bench that puts the back pad at about a 15-30 degree angle. 

Decline Press

How To Do

  1. Lie on a decline bench and secure your legs at the end.
  2. Lift the bar from the rack using a shoulder-width overhand grip on the bar. Hold it over yourself with your arms locked.
  3. Bring the bar down slowly until you feel the bar on your chest. Pause slightly at this point.
  4. Move the bar back up to the starting position as you exhale. Use your chest muscles to push the bar. Hold for a second and then bring the bar down slowly again.


  • Get help from a spotter as you take the barbell off the rack.
  • Perform them before triceps in any workout.
  • Keep a controlled motion and avoid jerky movements

3. Incline Bench Press

The Incline bench press is a compound upper-body exercise, meaning that multiple joints and muscles contribute to the movement.

It is a variation of the bench press and an exercise used to build the muscles of the chest. The shoulders and triceps will be indirectly involved as well.

Incline bench press exercise focuses on the upper chest more and therefore helps build massive upper pecs. It is the best exercise to develop muscle mass in the upper and middle pectoral region.

Incline Bench Press

How To Do

  1. Lie back on an incline bench. Make sure the bench is adjusted to between 30-45 degrees on an incline.
  2. Lift the bar from the rack using a shoulder-width overhand grip on the bar. Hold it over yourself with your arms locked.
  3. Bring the bar down slowly until you feel the bar on your chest. Pause slightly at this point.
  4. Raise your arms until they are nearly locked out. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.


  • Do not bounce the bar off of your chest. Lower the bar with control.
  • Set a bench at about 30-45 degrees inclined. Do not go more upright as the stress shifts more to the shoulders rather than the chest area.
  • Do not lower the bar to the neck. Bring the bar to the upper part of your chest on the descent.

4. Cable Crossover

Cable Fly aka Cable Crossover fly exercises helps to build massive Pectorals. Crossover provides constant tension in helping build massive pecs.

It also helps to develop and define the Inner and lower chest muscles. Cable provides constant resistance and helps develop the lower and the central chest muscles by providing the much-needed stress in the lower and the inner pecs.

Cable Crossovers

How To Do

  1. In a standing position, grab and hold the handles of overhead pulleys on both sides.
  2. Bend slightly forwards and extend your arms, feeling a good stretch in your chest muscles.
  3. Now flex your arms with elbows slightly bent and get a good chest contraction.
  4. Unlike chest flies, you can cross over the center to get full Pec contraction.


  • Breathe in on the relaxation phase and breathe out when contracting, keeping your head up at all times.
  • Squeeze your chest at the end of the movement.

5. Dumbbell Fly

The dumbbell fly is an isolation exercise that is usually performed after big compound lifts like the bench press and incline press.

It is considered to be the perfect finishing move and a great way to focus on your chest after many pressing exercises

The chest fly doesn’t require much equipment to perform. You can do dumbbell flyes while lying on the floor if you don’t have a bench.

Different Fly Exercises To Develop Your Chest

How To Do 

  1. Lie on the flat bench with your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Lift your arms straight up from your shoulders and the dumbbells directly over your upper chest.
  3. Slowly lower your arms out to your sides until your wrists come to about shoulder level or slightly above
  4. Bring your arms back toward the midline of your body, focusing on using your pec muscles to draw them back together.

6. Push-Ups

Push-Ups are a popular bodyweight exercise that works multiple muscle groups, making it a good workout for strengthening the upper body. While push-ups primarily target the chest muscles, they also engage several other muscles, including the shoulders, triceps, and core.

Push-Ups can be a real challenge if done in various forms.

There are many ways to do push ups, including different foot positions and body angles. The most common ones are:

Push Ups

How To Do

  1. Lay face down on the ground with your legs straight, and arms supporting your upper body.
  2. Keep your knees off the ground.
  3. Raise yourself off the ground straightening your elbows and your arms. But keep your elbows close to your body.
  4. Raise until your elbows are locked, and pause for a moment at the top of the movement.
  5. Now, lower your body under slow sustained motion, feeling the motion all the way down until your chest is very close to the ground.


  • Exhale while you exert.
  • For more variations, you do incline push-ups, decline ups.

7. Overhead Press

The Shoulder Press Exercise is the best exercise for building shoulder muscle mass and strength. It remains the grand-daddy of all shoulder exercises to build big, round shoulder muscles.

Seated shoulder press has been the favorite shoulder exercise with bodybuilders as it builds muscle fast and is a power move.

Note: Dumbbell Pres is also good for training the shoulder muscles. Research has shown that using dumbbells makes your muscles work harder, even if you can’t lift as much weight as compared to barbell press

There are several variations of the barbell press for shoulder development.

  • Dumbbell shoulder press (single-arm, alternating)
  • Standing military press
  • Smith machine shoulder press
  • Machine shoulder press
Barbell Shoulder Press

How To Do 

  1. Sit on the bench with your feet flat on the floor and a slight bend in your knees.
  2. Grab the barbell with an overhand grip slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
  3. Hold it at shoulder level, just above your upper chest, with your elbows bent and pointing forward.
  4. Press the barbell upward by extending your arms. As you push, focus on keeping the barbell balanced and moving in a straight line directly above your head.
  5. Pause for a moment and squeeze your shoulder muscles.
  6. Slowly lower the barbell back to the starting position.


  • Perform a warm-up with 50% weight for 1-2 sets.
  • Always perform the Shoulder Exercises before you perform triceps.

9. Machine Presses

Shoulder Machine Press is an excellent exercise to build the front deltoid and the side deltoid muscles.

Machine Presses have advantages over free weight presses. Machines provide better stability and safety and also offer a choice of handgrips. A neutral grip (palms facing together) targets the anterior deltoid better than a pronated grip (palms forward).  

This exercise demands a very strict movement as the bar is fixed to the rack and also allows the weights to go much lower, providing a good stretch to front deltoid muscles.  

Machine Press

How To Do

  1. Grasp the bar on the shoulder machine at shoulder levels.
  2. Now press the bar overhead until your arms are nearly locked out.
  3. Lower the bar back to the starting position under controlled motion.


  • Exhale while you exert
  • Keep motion-controlled.

10. Lateral Raise

Lateral Raise is the best exercise to build side deltoids. To build the middle head of the deltoid muscle, make lateral raises a regular part of your shoulder workout. It’s a must-do exercise.

Lateral Raise

How To Do

  1. Hold a dumbbell in each hand and bring the weights together in front of you. The palms should be facing each other.
  2. Now bend your elbows and raise the dumbbells to your sides.
  3. Lift them to a point slightly higher than your shoulders.
  4. Now lower the dumbbells in a controlled manner back to the starting position.


  • Don’t just swing your arms. Keep motion-controlled throughout the exercise.
  • Perform a warm-up with 50% weight for 1-2 sets.
  • Always use weights that you can handle comfortably.

11. Dumbbell Front Raise

Dumbbell front raise is an excellent exercise to isolate the anterior deltoid Muscle. This exercise helps to build muscle mass in the front head of deltoids.

Front dumbbell shoulder raises exercises can be done standing as well as seated with a pair of dumbbells. This exercise is done in an alternating movement as well.

This exercise can work well with a medium to light weight for higher reps.

It’s a challenging exercise to do with heavy weights, so focus on growing the muscles rather than maxing out on a heavy load.

How To Do

  1. Stand holding a pair of dumbbells across the front of your thighs.
  2. Your feet are shoulder-width apart, and your knees are slightly bent.
  3. Raise one dumbbell (say right hand) in front, until it reaches just above shoulder level.
  4. Now lower the weight (of the right hand) while raising the left in front of you.
  5. Perform this exercise in this alternating manner.


  • Pause for a moment at the top before lowering the dumbbell back to the starting position.
  • Keep a controlled motion and avoid jerky movements.
  • Avoid arching of the lower back.

12. Rear Delt Fly

The dumbbell rear delt fly is a simple yet effective exercise that increases deltoid muscle definition and strength.

The rear delt dumbbell fly targets your upper back muscles and shoulder muscles, particularly the rear deltoids, (backside of your shoulders). It is one of the best to isolate and work specifically on For complete shoulder muscle development.

Lateral Bent over row

How To Do

  1. Hold a dumbbell in each hand with a neutral grip (palms facing each other).
  2. Bend forward at the hips while keeping your back straight.
  3. Your torso should be almost parallel to the floor.
  4. Keep your elbows slightly bent, and raise both arms out to the sides until the dumbbells are level with the height of your shoulders.
  5. Your body should resemble the letter ‘T’ at the top of the movement.
  6. Then slowly lower the dumbbells to the starting position.

Sets And Reps For Chest and Shoulder Muscles

Of course, the number of sets and reps will be determined based on your fitness journey, but here is a great starting point:


According to the latest scientific evidence, 12–20 weekly sets per muscle group may optimize muscle growth.

  • Beginners: ~10 sets per week.
  • Intermediate: ~15 sets per week.
  • Advanced: ~20 sets per week.

When a certain amount of volume stops being effective and your progress stalls, you can add sets to increase volume and use that as a driver of renewed progress. 

Of course, the number of sets and reps will be determined based on your fitness journey, but here is a great starting point:


The best rep ranges and loads to work with.

  • For muscle endurance: Aim for 15-20+ reps, with a moderate amount of resistance.
  • For muscle strength: 6-10 reps, with a heavier amount of resistance.
  • For muscle hypertrophy (increased muscle size): Aim for 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps, with a moderate to heavy amount of resistance.

It is always best to start with a lower number of reps and sets, and then gradually increase as your strength improves

Design Your Chest and Shoulder Workout Split

Finding the right place for the chest and shoulder workout in your training split can greatly enhance your weight training routine. Find out how this combination works well with different workout schedules.

4-Day Split

Alternative Push/Pull/Legs Split

Customize Based on Your Schedule

Tailor your training split to accommodate your availability and preferences:

  • Train four consecutive days, followed by a rest day
  • Train two consecutive days, followed by a rest day
  • Opt for Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday workouts, with weekends off

Unleash Your Creativity

The integration possibilities are endless—let your imagination guide you:

  • Experiment with different combinations and variations
  • Personalize your training split to suit your goals and time constraints

Chest and Shoulder Workout Routine

Beginner Chest and Shoulder Workout Routine

ExerciseSetsRepsRest Time
Push-ups410-1260-90 sec
Dumbbell Bench Press410-1260-90 sec
Dumbbell Shoulder Press310-1260-90 sec
Dumbbell Flyes38-1060-90 sec
Lateral Raises38-1060-90 sec

Intermediate Chest and Shoulder Workout Routine

ExerciseSetsRepsRest Time
Barbell Bench Press48-10
Incline Dumbbell Press48-1060-90 sec
Arnold Press48-1060-90 sec
Cable Flyes410-1260-90 sec
Seated Dumbbell Lateral Raises410-1260-90 sec

Advanced Chest and Shoulder Workout Routine

ExerciseSetsRepsRest Time
Incline Barbell Bench Press46-860 sec
Dumbbell Pullover46-860 sec
Military Press46-860 sec
Dips48-1060 sec
Standing Barbell Front Raises48-1060 sec

Chest Shoulder Duo Workout Routine

Workout Plan #1

  1. Push-Ups: 4 sets of 8-15 reps.
  2. Pike Push-Ups: 4 sets of 8-15 reps.
  3. Bench Press: 4 sets of 8-12 reps.
  4. Barbell Overhead Press: 4 sets of 8-12 reps.
  5. Decline Bench Press: 3 sets of 8-10 reps.
  6. Lateral Raise: 3 sets of 8-10 reps.

Workout Plan #2

  1. Incline Bench Press: 4 sets of 8-12 reps.
  2. Barbell Overhead Press : 3 sets of 6-8 reps.
  3. Bench Press: 3 sets of 8-12 reps.
  4. Machine Presses : 3 sets of 6-8 reps.
  5. Dumbbell Fly: 3 sets of 10-15 reps.
  6. Rear Delts Fly: 3 sets of 8-12 reps.

Chest and Shoulder Superset Workout

The best superset is that you can simply and effectively implement it in your workout. Try this workout routine, which involves doing two different exercises without rest in between.

Superset 1

  1. Dumbbell Bench Press: 3 sets of 8-10 reps (Immediately followed by)
  2. Dumbbell Shoulder Press: 3 sets of 8-10 reps

Superset 2

  1. Incline Dumbbell Fly: 3 sets of 10-12 reps
  2. Lateral Raises: 3 sets of 10-12 reps

Superset 3

  1. Push-ups: 3 sets to failure
  2. Front Raise: 3 sets of 10-12 reps

Superset 4

  1. Cable Chest Fly: 3 sets of 10-12 reps
  2. Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press: 3 sets of 8-10 reps

Superset 5

  1. Decline Push-ups: 3 sets to failure
  2. Bent-Over Dumbbell Rear Delt Flyes: 3 sets of 10-12 reps

Note: Rest for 60-90 seconds between supersets. Adjust weights according to your fitness level and ensure proper form for each exercise.

Frequently Asked Question

Can you train the chest and shoulder together?

Yes, you can train chest and shoulder together in your workout regime. It’s actually preferred by many fitness gurus and bodybuilders to train them together, since you are already working the shoulder when doing chest.

How Many Sets and Reps Should I Do?

For just about every exercise of the chest or shoulder, 3–4 work sets (the real work you do, not warm-up sets) is a good choice. But rep ranges fluctuate. You can go as low as 5 reps on heavy presses, and up to 15–30 reps for accessory work.

Should I do shoulders on chest day?

Yes, it’s normal to do shoulder exercises on chest day because the two muscles are connected. Combining them in a single workout can be an efficient way to target the upper body.


You now have a comprehensive understanding of the chest and shoulder muscles, and, more importantly, you have two muscle-building workouts designed for serious gains.

This chest and shoulder workout is great for beginners, but it’s also excellent for experienced gym-goers.

I hope you liked our chest and shoulder workout.


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  • Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(19), 7339. Effect of Five Bench Inclinations on the Electromyographic Activity of the Pectoralis Major, Anterior Deltoid, and Triceps Brachii during the Bench Press Exercise.
  • J Hum Kinet. 2020 Oct; 75: 5–14. Different Shoulder Exercises Affect the Activation of Deltoid Portions in Resistance-Trained Individuals.
  • Int J Exerc Sci. 2020 Aug 1;13(6):859-872. Effects of Horizontal and Incline Bench Press on Neuromuscular Adaptations in Untrained Young Men.

Best Chest and Shoulder Workout for Mass and Strength

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