If your triceps are especially sore after a hard chest workout, chances are they're working harder than your pecs. One answer is to try and minimize their involvement by following a pre-exhaust workout.

With this technique, you isolate your pecs with a single-joint move in which the triceps aren't actively engaged, like a fly variation or cable cross-over. With your chest fatigued from the isolation exercises, you then perform your multijoint moves with your triceps fresh, meaning they'll be less likely to give out before your pecs.

This style of training is great for overcoming chest-growth plateaus. However, you'll still want to keep your reps on the higher end for single-joint movements so as to not overtax the joints.


  • Choose a weight that allows you to reach muscle failure by the target rep listed.
  • By flip-flopping the exercises, you'll be a little stronger on your flyes but a bit weaker on your presses, so adjust your weights accordingly.
Pre-Exhaust Chest Routine
Incline Dumbbell Flyes
3 sets, 10 reps (rest 60-90 sec.)
4 sets, 8,8,12,12 reps (rest 60-90 sec.)
Barbell Bench Press - Medium Grip
3 sets, 8-10 reps (rest 60-90 sec.)
Incline Dumbbell Press
3 sets, 10 reps (rest 60-90 sec.)
Smith Machine Decline Press
3 sets, 10-12 reps (rest 60-90 sec.)

About the Author

Bill Geiger

Bill Geiger

Bill Geiger, MA, has served as a senior content editor for Bodybuilding.com and group editorial director with MuscleMag and Reps magazines.

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Chest Chest Workout Hypertrophy Workout