Many people have this question in mind that is it a good option to train shoulder and chest together. Both these are major muscle groups, so will there be any problem to train both these muscles together. In this article, you will get all the answers!
So let’s answer this question, Should you train shoulder and chest together? The answer is YES, YOU CAN. There is no harm in training these body parts but you need to keep some things into consideration before training.
Before going through the reasons of why you can train these muscles together, it is important to know the functions of shoulder and chest muscles.
Functions of Shoulder and Chest Muscles
The Pectoralis major’s main function is flexion, adduction, and internal rotation of the humerus, whereas the pectoralis minor helps to create a downward rotation of the scapula and is also used for pushing the shoulder blades down ( scapular depression).
On the other hand, the shoulder has three heads- front, lateral and rear delts when we look at the shoulders. Out of these heads, front and lateral heads are responsible for pushing movements like overhead press, arnold press, push press, etc. however, rear delt is responsible for pulling exercises like upright rows and bent over flys. So when you do back exercises, your rear delts are also engaged.
So overall, both shouldr and chest is used for pushing movements. Also both are one of the major upper body muscle groups.
Why Should You Train Shoulder and Chest Together
Both shoulder and chest are responsible for pushing movements. So when you are training your shoulders, some part of your chest is also engaged. For example when you do shoulder dumbbell press, the upper pec muscles are also engaged.
Since you are training both these pushing exercises together, it is easy to design a program that helps you in recovery. For example if you have trained shoulder and chest on monday, the next day you can do legs and then back and arms on the other day. This way your muscles are getting enough time to recover from the previous workout.
Many people follow the same workout program for several months and after some time, their body does not show results. This happens because you are training the same way for months. To avoid this plateau, you should change your workout program after every 6-12 weeks depending upon your fitness level.
One of the common workout splits is chest- triceps, back-biceps, and shoulder-legs. Apart from that, you also have an upper-lower body split which works great for beginners. So if you are following these splits for several months, then you should consider changing it. You should always try to add some variations by changing the sequence, reps, intensity or workout splits so that your body doesn’t hit a plateau.
Both Are Major Upper Body Muscle Groups
If you are a beginner or at an intermediate level, then training your chest and shoulder together is a very good option. Beginners can perform chest and shoulder together with some back exerises, overall covering the major muscle groups of the upper body. On the next day, they can do lower body exercise which makes it a very effective upper-lower body workout split for beginners.
If you are working your shoulder and chest together, then your triceps will also assist during the exercise therefore you don’t have to train it separately if you are a beginner. But people who have already been working out for a while and are at an intermediate stage can train triceps separately, especially if they have weak trcieps.
Types of Chest and Shoulder Training Split
There are two main ways to train your chest and back on the same day-
Training one body part first and then the other one
Here, you will train either the chest or shoulder completely at first and then train the other body part. You can train in this way if you have enough time for the workout because it will take some time to complete the whole workout.
For example, let’s say you are training your chest at the beginning, then you will do 3-4 chest exercises first, finish the chest workout and then jump over to the shoulder exercises.
Training both chest and shoulder alternatively
This is another great way to design your workout program. Here, you will complete one exercise of the chest and then the shoulder and vice versa. This way you are giving enough recovery time to each muscle.
For example, doing 1 set of bench press and then super setting with lateral raises is a good example of this kind of workout. Supersets are good for creating a metabolic demand which is good for muscle building.
You can also complete the whole 3 sets of bench press first and then shoulder press. This is good for those who lift heavy weights and need some rest in between each set to recover.
Mixing both these types
This is another good option! You can start with some heavy compound movements like military press or bench presses at the beginning. Train both muscles individually for building more strength and then end with some supersets like lateral raise and dumbbell flys. This will allow you to focus on both strength and muscle hypertrophy.
Key Things to Consider
Design Your Program Wisely
When you design your workout program, make sure that you are not training your arms or triceps the next day after your shoulder and chest work. This is because your tricpes will be engaged a lot during both chest and shoulder workout and you need to give at least 48 hours of rest before training the same muscle again. You need to give enough rest to the muscles so that it is fully recovered for the next workout.
For example, let’s say if you train your shoulder and chest on Monday, then on the next day, you can either train your legs or back,and try to avoid training triceps. This way, you are giving enough time to your muscles to get recovered.
Many people try to do more and eventually overtrain to a level where they start feeling fatigued and weak. This usually happens when the intensity, volume, and frequency are high. When you train these muscles together, then there is a chance of overtraining.
So make sure that if you have done military press and other shoulder press exercises already, you don’t need to do too many chest exercises. 3-4 chest exercises are enough, or you might end up overtraining.
Also, 6-8 exercises are enough if you are at an intermediate level. Mostly, training for 4-5 days a week is recommended. So knowing your current fitness level is essential before designing a workout program.
It is not a bad option to train chest and shoulder together. You can train both these muscles together since both are major upper body muscles and are used for pushing movements.
You can train any of the muscle groups, but you need to keep in mind that you design and sequence the workout program correctly to get the best results.
It is very important to know the current level of fitness before selecting and designing a workout program. So makoe sure you know exactly at what level you are at and what are the exercises that can help you to get stronger and help you in reaching your goals.
Also, you should make sure that your fitness program is in line with your goals and fitness level. Otherwise, you won’t get the results you are looking for. It is always recommended that you seek a fitness professional before starting any workout program.
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Roshan Pillai is an ACSM Certified Personal Trainer with more than 6 years of experience in lifting weights and guiding people to get fit. He has worked as a personal trainer in gyms and is the owner and editor of fitnessproworkout.com. He is passionate about fitness and helping people to get in shape.