Gerry Delray from Cocoa Beach, FL, sent us his chest and back workout to critique. See it below, and then see our suggestions to make it better and safer.

Gerry’s Old Workout: C+

Exercise Sets Reps
Bench Press 5 5
Incline Dumbbell Press 4 10
Dip 3 15
Cable Crossover 3 15
Pullup 2 15
Dumbbell Row 4 10
Close-Grip Pulldown 3 15
Back Extension 3 15


Our Advice

You’re making a classic mistake that guys who want big chests fall prey to—you’re doing much more pushing than pulling. Count up all the reps in your workout and you’ll see that you’ve got 155 that bring your arms in front of your body —internal rotation — and only 40 that bring them behind your body—external rotation.

The two movement patterns don’t need to be perfectly balanced, but they must be closer than this and it doesn’t matter that you’re doing an even number of exercises for the chest and back—the presses, crossovers, and dips all internally rotate your upper arms, and only the rows counteract that movement. too much internal rotation gone unchecked will cause tight pecs and shoulders and, ultimately, shoulder injury and bad posture.

The Bottom Line

You need to do more rowing movements to balance the strength in your chest, upper back, and shoulders. this may mean cut- ting some exercises from your routine in favor of other ones. if you want to continue doing all these lifts, try working some of them into a different upper-body workout. a good strategy for ensuring that your pushing and pulling work is balanced is to alternate sets of these exercises.

You’ll get a massive pump in your upper body, and you’ll never forget to follow a press with a row. Also, the back extension isn’t the best choice of exercise on this day. it does work your lower back, but it also hits the glutes and hamstrings, making it more appropriate for a lower-body day.

Gerry’s New Workout

Exercise Sets Reps
Bench Press 5 5
Bentover Row 5 5
 Incline Dumbbell Press 4 10
One Arm Dumbbell Row 4 10
Dip 3 15
Face Pull As many as possible 45

Let Us Revamp Your Routine

Want to be featured online and in our next issue? Email your name, location (state, city), and program (reps, sets, duration) to!