Wondering why your shoulders are left feeling sore following a chest day? Does this have you asking, “can I do chest after shoulder day?”
Let’s discuss what you should take into consideration.
Can I Do Chest After Shoulder Day?
Since the chest and shoulders work together, they should be trained 48 hours apart. If you wish to train them together, you can have one day when you prioritize chest and the other shoulders.
Shoulders and Chest Work Together
The chest and shoulder muscles both work together to perform many movements in the gym. The bench press, dumbbell press, and chest machine press all use the help of the anterior delts.
Note that only the anterior or front delts are what play a role in chest movements. The lateral and rear delt muscles are not activated as they are located on the side and back of the shoulder.
You can minimize shoulder use in a chest movement by retracting your scapula. Do so by squeezing the shoulder blades back and down, which takes your anterior delts out of the movement.
This allows your chest to do most of the work and prevents shoulder injuries. This should be done on any chest exercise.
Should you retract your scapula on shoulder exercises? You don’t have to worry about scapula retraction when performing shoulder exercises because you want them to be doing the work.
Let’s take a look at how the chest and shoulders work together to perform the bench press. Benching is thought to be a chest exercise.
The anterior delts are also involved as a primary mover. The anterior delts role is shoulder flexion or bringing the arms overhead from the front.
They are activated the most during the mid-range portion of the bench press, where the chest is at the bottom and the triceps at the top of the movement.
Note that the shoulders are activated to a higher degree during the incline bench press. The higher the incline, the more the shoulders work and the less the chest works.
Now that we know how much the shoulders play a role in chest exercises, it may not be best to train them together. Many people do push days when they train the chest, triceps, and shoulders together.
Whichever body part you are doing later in the workout will suffer. For example if you start by training your chest, you are working your shoulders as secondary muscles.
Now when you go to hit your shoulders at the end of your workout, they will already be fatigued which means you can’t go as hard. This can potentially cause you to miss out on shoulder gains.
How Far Apart To Train Chest and Shoulders?
You should wait 48 hours after training a muscle group before training it again. This will give it enough time to recover and rebuild properly.
Proper nutrition, hydration, and rest is required for the best recovery. Adequate protein ensures that your muscles can rebuild bigger and stronger.
Carbohydrates will provide you with energy to get through tough workouts. Staying hydrated allows nutrients to be transported to the muscles and helps with better contractions and pumps.
At least 7 hours of sleep a night is required for your muscles to recover properly. Growth hormone release and protein synthesis occur while the body is asleep.
Now that we know chest and shoulders are both worked together, it is best to space them out 48 hours apart. This will allow you to have the most strength output and muscle breakdown.
If you train chest on Monday, then you can train shoulders on Wednesday. Add this information into your current split and adjust accordingly.
If you still prefer to train chest and shoulders on the same day, this can still be done. The main part is to make sure that you are hitting each muscle group twice per week for maximum muscle growth.
On your first day training chest and shoulders, you can prioritize chest training. Start by training your chest first and overload it. Then on your second day prioritize shoulders by training them with more intensity.
This ensures that they are still both being trained properly.
What Is The Best Workout Split?
There is no best workout split. You should do whatever works best for you. This also depends on how many days per week you can train and how long you’ve been training.
Beginner lifters can grow more muscle by training less as their muscles aren’t used to training. This is referred to as newbie gains.
As long as you are training each muscle group twice a week, you will be gaining the most amount of muscle possible. You also need to be progressively overloading. That is increasing the weight, reps, sets, or intensity gradually each workout. This ensures that you do not plateau.
We’ll discuss some common training splits and you can decide which would fit best into your routine.
An upper and lower body split is where you have two upper body training days, two lower body, and two rest days. You would typically do two exercises for each body part.
For example, on Monday for upper body day you could do two chest, two tricep, two bicep, and two back exercises. Tuesday you do lower body followed by a rest day and then repeat.
This allows you to train each muscle group twice per week and get two rests day which is suggested for optimum muscle recovery.
A slightly more advanced split is push/pull/legs where you are working out for six days and resting for one.
Push refers to the pushing muscles which are the chest, triceps, and shoulders. The muscles that do pulling movements are the back and biceps.
The reason for this is that these muscles are already working together anyways so why not completely train them all? We already discussed how the chest and shoulders both work together for most chest exercises. The triceps also play a role, so all them can be trained together.
A four-day split is meant to have fewer muscles trained per day so that you can increase volume and intensity. Two body parts are trained in each session with 3 days of rest.
This means that you are only training each muscle group once a week, which is not optimal for muscle growth.
Leave any questions or comments below and I’ll get back to you!