At certain points throughout your training, you may have times where you need to train the same body part two days in a row. If you’re doing upper body workouts on two consecutive days, you might be wondering if you can safely train the chest two days in a row.
So, can you train chest two days in a row? You can train the chest two days in a row, but you need to choose your exercises carefully and avoid training at a high intensity on both days. Beginners should avoid training the chest on back-to-back days, and it should only be done temporarily if you’re trying to overcome a weakness in your strength or appearance.
In this article, I’ll dive into some research regarding whether or not you can train the chest two days in a row. I’ll also discuss the reasons why you may want to train the chest two days in a row, the reasons why you shouldn’t train the chest two days in a row, and the pros and cons of doing so.
At the end, I’ll provide a sample workout routine for training the chest two days in a row.
Training Chest 2 Days In A Row: What Does The Science Say?
In a study conducted by researchers in Brazil, 23 men with strength training experience were divided into two groups — a low-frequency training group and a high-frequency training group.
The high-frequency training group performed a total body resistance training routine five days per week, meaning at least two of those sessions were done on consecutive days. The low-frequency training group did a muscle group split and trained each muscle group once per week.
The exercises and the total number of sets and reps performed between the two groups were exactly the same, just spread out differently. The bench press was one of the movements tested in the study.
The high-frequency training group increased strength and muscle mass at the same rate as the low-frequency training group, suggesting that you don’t need several days of recovery in between training the same muscle group in order to see results.
Similarly, researchers from Singapore found no significant differences in strength or muscle mass in subjects who trained the same muscle groups on consecutive days.
This suggests that how much rest you get over a 7-day period may be more important than how far apart you space out each of your workouts.
Reasons To Train Chest 2 Days in A Row
Below are four reasons why you should consider training the chest two days in a row.
1. Your Schedule Only Allows You To Work Out on Consecutive Days
We all have families, friends, work or school, and personal obligations outside of the gym. If you’re in a busy period at work, can’t get a babysitter to watch your kids on certain days, or travel frequently, there will be times when you can only get to the gym two days a week, and those two days may fall on back-to-back days.
In these cases, it’s perfectly acceptable to train the chest two days in a row as long you’re not pushing yourself too hard on both days.
2. You’ve Done a High-Volume or High-Frequency Program Before
If you’ve followed a high-volume or high-frequency training split before, your body should be used to training the same muscle groups multiple days per week. You’ll have an easier time transitioning to a routine where you work out your chest two days in a row.
3. Your Nutrition and Recovery Are Already On-Point
Training the chest two days in a row will require you to manage your fatigue properly through a combination of eating the right amount of calories, sleeping well, and doing mobility work regularly.
Being on top of your nutrition and recovery will make it easier for you to train the same muscle group on consecutive days because you’ll feel energized and prepared for both of your workouts.
4. Your Chest Is a Weak Point in Your Physique or Bench Press Strength
Practicing something more frequently is one of the best ways to overcome a weakness. Whether you’re a bodybuilder who needs to increase muscle mass in your chest or a powerlifter whose bench press is weak off the chest due to weak pecs, training the chest more often can help you overcome the areas that are lagging behind.
If you can only train the chest two days in a row in order to accommodate the rest of your training, you can do so while you’re working on overcoming your weaknesses.
Wondering what other exercises you can do to increase your bench press strength? Check out 17 Exercises To Improve Bench Press Strength (That Actually Work).
Want to get advice on programming, technique, or competing? Speak with one of our coaches.
Reasons Not To Train Chest 2 Days In A Row
1. You’re Extremely Sore or Tired From Your Last Workout
While there are some benefits to working out when you’re sore, you shouldn’t force yourself to work out two days in a row if you’re so sore that you can hardly move. You may not be able to perform your lifts safely or efficiently, which can do more harm than good.
Likewise, if your energy levels are very low, you’ll have trouble concentrating and focusing on your workout, which can also lead to injuries.
2. You’re a Beginner
It’s a well-known fact that new lifters have an easier time recovering from each workout. However, that doesn’t mean that newbies should train the chest two days in a row.
Especially in the very beginning stages, you’ll get sore from training muscles that you haven’t used frequently before. Trying to force yourself to push through the pain can not only cause you to lose your motivation to train but can encourage an unhealthy mindset towards working out.
3. You Train for CrossFit or Olympic Weightlifting
Even though a common complaint in CrossFit is that the chest doesn’t get worked enough, CrossFitters don’t necessarily need to train the chest too frequently.
It does help in movements like ring dips and ring muscle-ups, which involve the pecs, or in workouts like Linda that feature bench presses. But doing too many exercises that isolate the chest can also impact your recovery and performance in WODs that include a lot of other upper body movements.
Similarly, if you’re an Olympic weightlifter, too much chest training can negatively impact the shoulder mobility you need for snatches and jerks.
Related Article: Can You Train Triceps 2 Days In A Row? (Pros & Cons)
Pros & Cons of Working Out Your Chest 2 Days In A Row
Now that you know the reasons why you should or shouldn’t train your chest two days in a row, let’s review the pros and cons of training the same muscle group on consecutive days.
1. It Can Help Alleviate Muscle Soreness
The soreness you feel in your muscles after a workout is usually due to delayed onset muscle soreness, or DOMs. As long as the soreness isn’t unbearable and the pain you feel is due to an injury, you can do some light chest training the day after a heavy workout to help relieve the soreness.
2. You Can Maintain Your Workout Routine Even During Busy Times
At certain times throughout the year, your schedule may only allow you to train on back-to-back days, but you may not want to be limited by only training each muscle group once per week.
In these situations, training your chest two days in a row will allow you to keep up with your routine instead of having to lower your training frequency for each muscle group.
3. It Delays Protein Synthesis
Protein synthesis, the process through which your muscles’ cells produce more protein so they can grow larger, remains elevated for 24 hours after working out.
Training the chest two days in a row extends the window of protein synthesis, giving your muscles more opportunities to grow.
1. You Can’t Train to Failure
If you’re training the chest two days in a row, you can’t train to failure each time you work out.
Training to failure increases cortisol levels and suppresses IGF-1, a hormone that promotes the growth of bones and tissues in the body. If you’re constantly training at a high intensity, you can actually inhibit muscle growth.
2. It Shouldn’t Be Done for a Long Period of Time
Training your chest two days in a row isn’t a long-term training solution. Doing so for too long can lead to overtraining, which can increase your risk of injuries and decrease your motivation to work out.
If you’re working on overcoming a weakness, I recommend training the chest on consecutive days for one or two training blocks only. You should then split up your chest training so you have one or two rest days in between each workout.
3. Your Performance May Decrease Initially
Training the chest two days in a row may initially result in a decrease in performance. Your body will be adapting to a new routine, and it will take a couple of weeks for it to adjust.
Once your body gets acclimated to the new routine, you’ll be better able to handle the demands of training the chest two days in a row. But until then, you may feel more fatigued than usual during your second workout.
Tips on How To Structure Your Back-To-Back Chest Workouts
If you need or want to train the chest two days in a row, there are several tips you should follow to ensure you’re structuring your workouts properly.
1. Don’t Train at the Same Intensity on Both Days
When you’re training the chest on back-to-back days, you shouldn’t train at a high intensity on both days. One of your training days should be done with moderate or heavy weights while the other day should be done with lighter weights.
By structuring your workouts this way, you’ll be able to make the most out of both training days and work the chest muscles effectively with each training session. You’ll also reduce your risk of injury by not pushing yourself too much if you haven’t fully recovered from the previous training session.
2. Use Different Movements
Including a variety of movements in your routine will allow you to work out different areas of the chest, which will prevent you from overusing one particular area when you’re training the chest two days in a row.
Examples of chest exercises that work the four main muscles of the chest — the pectoralis major, pectoralis minor, serratus anterior, and subclavius — include:
- Flat and incline barbell bench presses
- Flat and incline dumbbell bench presses
- Single-arm dumbbell bench presses
- Decline bench presses
- Cable fly
- Incline bench dumbbell fly
- Dumbbell pullovers
For a list of standing exercises you can do to target the chest, check out 12 Standing Chest Exercises: Cables, Dumbbells, & Bodyweight.
3. Train With More Time Under Tension
Spending more time under tension is not only a good way to build strength and hypertrophy when lifting lighter weights but is also a good way to add variety to your routine. This can be beneficial when you’re working out on consecutive days so you don’t get bored from doing the same exercises over and over again.
An example of a way you can incorporate tempo work for the chest is to do bench presses with a 5-second descent. You can also hold the bar at your chest for 3 to 5 seconds, which can help you reinforce proper technique if you tend to bounce the bar off your chest when doing multiple reps.
It’s important to note that pause work and tempo work can be challenging even though you’re using lighter weights. If you’re going to incorporate it into a back-to-back chest training routine, I recommend doing it on your first training day while your muscles are well-rested.
Sample 2 Day In A Row Chest Program
Below are sample chest workouts that you can do two days in a row. The first day is a strength workout where the weights are heavier and the reps are lower while the second day is a hypertrophy day where the weights are lower and the reps are higher.
Chest Workout Day One
- Flat barbell bench press – 4 x 3 @ 80% of your 1RM
- Incline dumbbell bench press – 3 x 6
- Weighted dips – 3 x 6
- Pullovers – 3 x 8
Chest Workout Day Two
- Inclince barbell bench press – 4 x 8-10 @ 60-65% of your bench press 1RM
- Incline dumbbell fly – 4 x 8-10
- Cable crossovers – 4 x 10-12
- Pushups – 4 AMRAP sets (as many reps as possible)
Wondering what other exercises you can do on chest day? Check out What Else Can I Do On Chest Day? (4 Examples).
Other Chest Training Resources
- Blood Flow Restriction Training for Chest (Complete Guide)
- 12 Dumbbell Chest Exercises Without A Bench (With Pictures)
- Is Bench Press Good Enough For Chest? (Expert Opinion)
- How Do Powerlifters Train Chest? (3 Powerlifting Chest Workouts)
- How Many Times Per Week Should You Bench Press?
Anyone who’s trying to increase muscle mass or improve weaknesses in the bench press can train the chest two days in a row. It’s also perfectly fine to do so if your schedule will only allow you to work out on back-to-back days.
Training the chest two days in a row should only be done by experienced lifters who are already used to training the same muscle group more than once per week or at a high frequency. I also don’t recommend it for CrossFitters or Olympic weightlifters as too much chest training can impact your recovery and inhibit the shoulder mobility you need for snatches and jerks.
About The Author
Amanda Dvorak is a freelance writer and powerlifting enthusiast. Amanda played softball for 12 years and discovered her passion for fitness when she was in college. It wasn’t until she started CrossFit in 2015 that she became interested in powerlifting and realized how much she loves lifting heavy weights. In addition to powerlifting, Amanda also enjoys running and cycling.