Last updated on November 3rd, 2022 at 05:01 pm
I’ve heard a number of lifters ask this very question, “Can I Do Chest and Legs on the Same Day?”
I guess you’re either looking to mix things up a little in the gym or simply trying to find the best combination of exercises in the time you have available.
There are certain muscle groups that seem ideal to train together.
However, can you add chest and legs to the list of perfect training partners?
Here’s what I think about pumping up your pecs and wheels in the same workout.
Can I Do Chest and Legs on the Same Day?
You can do chest and legs on the same day, although I wouldn’t recommend it. These are two of the biggest muscle groups and training either one will impact your Central Nervous System. Therefore, if your main goal is maximum muscle growth then you would be better off training chest and legs in separate workouts. However, if you don’t have much time to train, or are limited to a certain number of days per week, there are better options for training multiple muscle groups on the same day.
1. It’s Not the Best Combination
Training chest and legs on the same day probably isn’t the best combination.
I’d say that the chest, legs, and back are the major muscle groups in the body.
They are followed very closely by the shoulders, and then the arms and core.
So realistically, if you’re going to train two of the major muscle groups together you’re not going to get the best out of both.
Then again, this does depend on your overall training goals, but I’ll cover this in more detail in a moment.
The legs are typically viewed as the hardest muscle group to train.
This is because the legs are made up of the largest muscles in the human body.
Therefore, you’ll generally be exerting the most energy to train legs.
In fact, I’m sure there are many people who will claim that if you’re training chest and legs on the same day then your leg workout must suck.
Basically, the vast majority of lifters will give legs a completely separate day of their own.
Not only is training legs extremely hard on the body, but your Central Nervous System takes quite a hit as well.
I guess you could say the same for training chest as well, but not to such a huge extent.
Now, I’m not saying that you can’t train these two muscle groups on the same day.
However, it’s likely that you’ll have to dial down the intensity of your workout a notch or two.
2. What Are Your Training Goals?
Whether you do chest and legs on the same day will very much depend on your overall training goals.
As an example, if your main goal is to build muscle mass then I don’t think you should be training chest and legs in the same workout.
I’m definitely not a fan of the “bro-split”, whereby you train a different body part each day.
Personally, for muscle mass, I like to hit each body part twice a week.
In fact, my ideal scenario would use a 5-day split as follows:
- Upper Body
- Lower Body
Therefore, you would be hitting your chest on push day and upper body day.
And of course, your legs get trained on leg day and lower body day.
Plus, you can see that I have kept them completely separate from each other.
With that being said, if your main training goal is strength then you may settle into a more powerlifter-type routine.
You may typically hit the “Big 3” (bench press, squat and deadlift) just three times a week, perhaps on a Monday, Wednesday, Friday.
Obviously, your body and Central Nervous System will get quite a going over, but you’ll only be training 3 days a week.
Therefore, you have ample rest in-between.
Plus, you’re realistically only hitting your chest and legs with one individual exercise.
Then again, you may wish to hit each body part three times a week, but prefer a full-body workout.
So, this time you include exercises for your lats, shoulders, core, and arms.
However, once more, you’ll probably only be hitting chest and legs with one exercise each workout.
So, if your aim is to only use one exercise per body part then you can probably get away with training both chest and legs on the same day with some decent intensity.
However, if you want to hit both body parts with more exercises then there are better combinations.
The Importance of Setting Fitness Goals
3. Keep it Simple
I guess this should make sense after what I’ve just said above.
If you really have to (or want to) train chest and legs on the same day then be wary of your overall intensity.
Basically, keep the workout fairly simple.
This could be a case of “heavy” for one body part and “light” for the other.
Then again, it could mean that you perform “easier” exercises in the hypertrophy rep range.
So, a few examples of this could be:
- Barbell Back Squat 5×5
- Dumbbell Chest Press 3×12
- Romanian Deadlift 3×8
- Weighted Dips 4×6
- Barbell Bench Press 5×5
- Front Squat 3×10
- Incline Dumbbell Flyes 3×10
- Lying Hamstring Curl 4×12
- Bulgarian Split Squat 3×8
- Incline Dumbbell Chest Press 3×8
- Swiss Ball Hamstring Curl 3×15
- Decline Push Ups 3×15
So, as you can see you’re never really going all out on both exercises in any individual workout.
But, to be honest, if you hit each exercise properly, two working exercises is more than enough .
4. How Much Time Do You Have Per Workout?
I would hazard a guess that time plays a big role in wanting to train chest and legs on the same day.
I totally get that, it’s not like most of us have all the time in the world to train as and when we choose.
In fact, the vast majority of us have to fit our training in around our busy schedules.
Perhaps, you have the ability to train most days, but you literally have to be in-and-out of the gym.
To be honest, if you can get a good 30-45 minutes in the gym, this is more than enough.
I will actually say some of my best workouts are typically when I’m short of time.
Basically, you get in, know what you have to do, get through it, and get out.
I’ll usually leave with a great pump and feeling fantastic.
All the workouts I’ve mentioned above can quite easily fit into this timeframe.
I will still say that there are better combinations, and even the push, pull, legs, upper, lower, split can be done in 30-45 minutes.
However, I leave the choice up to you.
How Long Should My Workout Be?
5. How Many Days a Week Can You Train?
Sticking with the theme of “time”, how many days a week you have available to train will have an impact.
I’ve already covered various 3-day weekly workouts which will typically see you train chest and legs on the same day.
As I’ve mentioned, this may not be ideal for muscle-building, but then again that depends on how much time you have available for each workout.
You can definitely get a decent full-body workout done in 50-60 minutes, and hit every single muscle group.
However, let’s say that you only have two days a week to train.
You basically have the option of two full-body workouts or an upper body and lower body split.
Then again, one of the most popular training schedules would involve 4 days a week.
This actually opens up numerous options to you.
Once more, you could train upper and lower body twice a week.
Then again, you could have a more bodybuilding type split, e.g. chest and triceps, back and biceps, shoulders and core, legs.
In fact, you could play around somewhat with the above variations, but I still wouldn’t generally put chest and legs together on the same day.
So, as you can see, it’s perfectly feasible to do chest and legs on the same day, although I wouldn’t specifically recommend it.
In truth, it all comes down to your overall training goals, plus the time you have available to you.
The only time I would suggest you train chest and legs together is if you’re doing a powerlifting-type or full-body workout.
Basically, if you’re training 3 days a week or less then you probably don’t have much choice.
However, if you’re training 4 days a week or more then it will work out much better to train your legs and chest on separate days.
If you’re looking to train slightly harder I have recently discussed whether doing push/pull/legs 6 days a week is too much.
Hi, I’m Partha, owner and founder of My Bodyweight Exercises. I am a Level 3 Personal Trainer and Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist through the Register of Exercise Professionals, United Kingdom. I have been a regular gym-goer since 2000 and coaching clients since 2012. My aim is to help you achieve your body composition goals.