If you have a busy schedule, a quick back and chest workout can help you stay or get back in shape without having to spend hours exercising. For fast results, personal trainer and fitness consultant Lisa Sutton recommends a circuit workout for women including back and chest exercises to increase strength, build lean muscle mass and burn body fat. Before training, consider health concerns and injuries, and consult with a health care provider to determine if a strength-training circuit workout is right for you.
A time-efficient circuit workout for your back and chest involves performing exercises for each body part in quick succession with minimal rest between each set. Since circuit workouts combine strength-training with metabolism-boosting cardiovascular benefits, you can attain fitness goals faster by simultaneously firming muscles and burning body fat during each workout session. Keep in mind that weight increments, repetitions and sets should be compatible with your fitness level and personal fitness goals.
Where you’re going to train and your current fitness are factors to consider when planning a circuit workout and deciding which back and chest exercises to do. If you’re training at a gym, you can use free weights available in various increments or machines with adjustable weight-stacks. If you’re working out at home, you can use portable fitness equipment such as dumbbells, resistance bands and stability balls.
Your circuit workout should include two or three exercises for your back. Easy to moderate exercises recommended by the American Council on Exercise include seated rows, lat pulldowns, shoulder shrugs and stability ball walkouts. Advanced exercises include pullups, bent-over rows, barbell push presses and torso rotations.
Your circuit workout should also include two or three exercises for your chest. Easy to moderate exercises recommended by the American Council on Exercise include incline bench presses, bent-knee pushups, seated cable presses and dumbbell flyes. Advanced exercises include medicine-ball pushups, pushups with single leg raises and cable crossovers.
How to Circuit Train
To perform a fast circuit workout for your back and chest, alternate between performing chosen exercises, moving quickly between sets to elevate your heart rate and maximize fat-burning benefits. For example, you could do one set of rows and one set of lat pull-downs, followed by one set of dumbbell flyes and one set of incline bench presses. After completing one circuit cycle, decide if you feel energetic enough to complete one or two more cycles.
Building a strong back and chest can make daily functional movements easier and promote better posture. Fast circuit workouts are especially beneficial for women with busy lifestyles who want to improve their health and fitness and experience stress-relieving benefits of exercise.
Personal trainer and fitness model Jen Jewell suggests routinely changing back and chest exercises to avoid hitting progress plateaus and to keep workouts fresh, motivating and progressive. To allow for adequate muscle recovery, train your chest and back two to three times per week, but not on consecutive days.
Bari Auerbach writes a fitness column and has won trophies in fitness shows. Since graduating from Florida International University in 1984 with a degree in communications, she has written for national clients; interviewed dignitaries and celebrities for magazines; and has covered topics including business, politics, fashion and food.