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The Complete Chest and Shoulder Workout Guide for All Levels

chest and shoulder workout

What are the most common things people want when they start their gym subscription? That’d be two things. Defined chest and shoulder, and abs. Most people back away after a while because, let’s be honest, you need to put in the effort to get the result. Most people want instant results and then quit when they don’t get that.

One way to stick with the routine is to start with the exercise that suits your skill level. If you go for intermediate-level exercises right off the bat, chances are you’ll quit after a while, and your dream of a defined body will remain a dream.

It goes for all sorts of exercise, especially chest and shoulder workouts. The key is to start at your level and improve gradually. But what exactly should you go for if you want to work your chest and shoulders?

That’s what we’re here to help you with. Here is a guide to all levels of chest and shoulder workouts (bodyweight included). Stick with the routine, and you’ll notice your improvements in a surprisingly short time.

Chest and Shoulder Workout Guide for All Levels


Everyone knows how important a proper warm-up is. You start light; your body wakes up and gets time to adjust to the workload that’s about to come it’s way. An excellent warm-up option for everyone is working with resistance bands.

If you’re a beginner, start with a band that has light resistance. You can pick the resistance level if you’ve been working out for a while now. Make sure you choose something for which you don’t have to use your full strength. That’d defeat the purpose of a warm-up.

Get your resistance band and do some external shoulder rotations with it. It will help warm up the rotator cuff group of your shoulder joint. It will also wake pretty much all of your upper body muscles, including the pectoral ones.

Chest and Shoulder Workout: Beginner 

After you warm up, you can do any of these exercises for your chest and shoulders. These are lighter exercises suited for beginners so you won’t go too far from your skill level.

Barbell Bench Press

The barbell might have caught you off guard but rest assured, this is a beginner workout. At least as long as you use lighter weights for it. Barbell bench press engages lats, glutes, core, chest, and triceps muscles, so this works almost your whole upper body.

How to Do It

Lay down on a flat bench. Grab the bar shoulder around shoulder width. Position your body, so your eyes are directly under the bar. Keep your feet planted and prepare to engage your core. Grab the barbell shoulder-width apart. Take it off the rack and hold it right above your chest. Keep your arms fully extended.

Lower the (slowly) for around four seconds and push it back up. Lightly squeeze your shoulder blades when you’re doing it. It will make your movements stronger with time.


A very basic exercise, but it works wonders for the chest and shoulders, especially if you’re a beginner. Push-ups engage your upper body muscles, core, and glutes, so you’re practically getting a three-in-one workout with this,

How to Do It

Start with getting on all fours. Extend your legs and place your hands directly under your shoulder. So your hands would be shoulder-width apart. Line up your legs, bend your elbows and bring your body as close to the floor as possible. Push your body back up and continue.

Chest and Shoulder Workout: Intermediate

You can add more weight to your beginner-level workouts or switch to one of these intermediate ones.

Inclined bench press

The inclined bench press is like the regular one, but it engages more muscles and requires more strength. You can add more weight to your barbell or go with the regular weight. Either way, try to pick more weights than a beginner-level gym-goer.

How to Do It

Your gym most probably will have an inclined bench press machine. If they don’t, you can prop your flat bench up a little and work with that. Get the inclined bench to a 30 degrees angle and lay down on it. Lift the weights to your shoulder height and ensure your palms face forward as you press them away. Squeeze your chest before returning to the start position and ensure the return is slow.

Cable Crossover

Cable crossover is fantastic for your lower and inner chest muscles. It also engages some of your arm muscles, which is a plus. If you want to take it up a notch, you can add tension to the cables, but the traditional way works well too.

How to Do It

Stand in the middle of the two cable stations. Set your pulleys midway through the racks. Attach a D-handle to the cables and take a step forward. It will add tension to the cables. Start with slightly bent elbows, and alternate between squeezing your chest muscles and flexing them when you bring your hand in front of your chest.

Chest and Shoulder Workout: Pro

Most of the shoulder and chest workout routines you see on the internet are pro-level. There are a lot of options, so you can pick easily. But here’s a friendly warning: they all take a lot of work.

Incline Dumbbell Flye

It is a good exercise if you want to work pretty much all the muscles of your upper body. It engages your chest and shoulder muscles, making it an ideal workout option for your upper body routine.

How to do it

Set your bench to a 30-45 degrees angle. Lay down and take a dumbbell in each hand. Turn your wrists and make your palms face each other. Bring the weights to your chest. Keep your elbows slightly bent and push the weights away like you’re going in for a hug. Press them away until you feel a slight stretch in your chest muscle. Then bring them back to the starting position.


No matter what level you are at, a chest and shoulder workout takes a lot of patience. You’ll have to stick to the routine and slowly go for the harder ones. Make sure you’re consulting your trainer before you start an exercise so you have the correct form and don’t get injured.

You can also read: Are Cable Face Pulls the Best Exercise Ever?

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Hello, I am the founder of Health and Stamina and a full-time health and fitness blogger. Bringing you the most talked-about health and fitness issues from reliable sources. 

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