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Workout Wednesday: Back to basics with chest and triceps

Learn all of the basic movements, muscle interactions and the correct form for classic chest and tricep exercises. Each move also comes with a modification.

DENVER — Being stuck in your house does not mean you can't complete a full-body workout.

As a certified personal trainer, I've redesigned all of my workouts for my clients and members to fit within a small room of their homes, using nearly 100% body weight, resistance bands and/or small hand weights.

Every day must start with a warm-up. I always encourage dynamic stretching, which is moving while you stretch. 

Use a double-pull for each of your lower body parts. For example, pull your knee to your chest twice, your ankles back twice and your feet toward your chest in a pigeon twice. That allows your muscles to activate and then elongate. A short jog in place or mock jump-rope is also encouraged. 

Today's workout is focused on chest and tricep movements. These muscle groups go together because they involve push levers in your upper body. It's important to group your lifting days according to push/pull to maximize your efforts and leave you feeling fresh for the next day, rather than too sore to lift a finger!

WORKOUT WEDNESDAY: Back to Basics Chest and Triceps

Posted by Arielle Orsuto on Wednesday, April 29, 2020

WEEKLY WORKOUT: (10 reps, three times through)


  • Chest press
    • Grab a heavy dumb bell, resistant band, or resistant tube. 
      • For dumb bells, begin on the ground with your arms in a "goal post," at right angles aligned with your chest. Push straight up to the top, keeping your wrists straight. Control back down to the ground.
      • For a tube, perform the same movement with your tube. To create more resistance, create a large loop on the ground and lay on top of it.
      • For bands, you'll have to work one arm at a time. Take one hand in a goal post, with the other stretching the band across your chest to create resistance. Perform same motion.
    • Chest Fly
      • Grab a slightly lighter dumb bell (i.e. if you were lifting 15, go down to 10). Flies involve a smaller part of your pectoral area, and are used to create more stability.
      • Lay down and with your hands extended directly over your chest line with dumb bells, and gently extend laterally toward the ground. Squeeze back to the top.
      • With a band and tube, stretch it away from your chest line to create the same motion
    • Wide push-up
      • Start in a standard push-up, and move your hands about two inches wider on each side. This will focus the attention more on your chest than your back, triceps, shoulders, and biceps.


  • Staggered push-ups
    • Take one hand in the wide push-up position and place the other hand by your rib cage. The wide hand will have an elbow extending out, while the other elbow extends back toward the rib cage. This works one pectoral muscle and one tricep. Switch hands to the other side after 10 reps, and repeat twice.


  • Tricep kickback
    • Start in an athletic stance (feet shoulder-width apart, chest tall, butt back, back flat), and bring your one dumb bell up by your rib cage. Using only your elbow, extend the weight back by your butt. Keep your elbow tight by your side and control it back.
    • Use the same movement for the band, but to keep the resistance, you'll need to hold the band with the other hand.
    • For the tube, hold the handle with the working hand and hold the tube with the other hand for resistance. Extend the handle out by your side
  • Single arm extensions/Salutes
    • Lay down on the mat and take one weight (or band) overhead. Start above that shoulder and extend to the opposite shoulder across your chest in a saluting fashion.
  • Tricep push-ups
    • Place both hands by the rib cage and perform a push-up. The elbows should be tight by your side and only extend back, never leaving the rib cage.

The most important part of every workout is the cooldown or stretch. Spend roughly 10 minutes on your stretch session, and no less than 15 seconds per stretch. 

Start from the bottom and work your way up, stretch your hamstrings, hip-flexors, glutes, hips, lower back and quads, before moving to your upper body. Then stretch your shoulders, triceps, back and finish with chest.

Drink plenty of water, especially after your stretch. Once your muscles have been stretched out, they need to be replenished with fluids.

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