Every Day I Lift is Chest Day…and Every Day at the Gym is Cardio Day

Arnold's bench press
Photo credit: Bodybuilding.com – Arnold’s bench press

In looking at the analytics for my various blog posts, I find the one most often viewed is Monday is Chest Day. I suppose that shouldn’t be a surprise. Most guys really like to see their pecs well-developed. It’s one part of our bodies that shows even when we’re wearing a shirt (as long as the shirt is reasonably tight fitted).

I wrote that about six months ago, and I guess it’s destined to be the biggest single magnet on my blogspot.

Not too long ago, I wrote a blog post called Every Day I Lift is Leg Day. Traditionally Leg Day isn’t particularly popular (not nearly as popular as chest day), mostly because it’s hard. There are guys and gals who will vigorously work out every other part of their bodies except their legs, and whenever they’re in shorts or a bathing suit, it shows.

Now, every time I lift, I squat, so there’s my major leg workout right there. I only deadlift one or two days a week depending on which rotation I’m in, but they also contribute to my legs. Anytime I lift when standing (which is most of the time these days), I’m working my legs and core to some degree just so I can keep my balance and maintain good form.

But could I say that every day I lift is chest day?


On days when I do barbell bench presses, the answer is an obvious “yes,” but on opposite days in the rotation, I do barbell close grip bench presses. That works primarily the triceps, hence using lighter weights.

As it turns out, the pecs do get something of a workout, although they’re not as directly targeted as when I do a standard bench press.

Anything else?

overhead press
Image credit: mybodybuildingguide.com

To a small degree, my overhead barbell presses work the very top of my pecs.

But that’s about it. Squats may hit my traps and some portions of my back in addition to my quads and glutes, but they do nothing for building a big chest. Same for deadlifts, although squats and deadlifts are the undisputed king and queen of barbell weightlifting and strength training.

One of the advantages of doing big, heavy, compound lifts using barbells and, except for bench presses, standing most of the time, is a lot of different muscle groups are engaged with each exercise.

So only marginally can I say that every day I lift is chest day. But then, every day I lift is just about anything day.

As far as outstanding areas of my body goes, in a t-shirt, you can definitely tell I work my chest (I’m no Arnold, but I get by). But in shorts, and particularly if my legs are flexed, you can tell I squat.

Tomorrow starts week 4 of my first 5 week round at mutant strength training with Workout B. Squats and deadlifts…I can’t wait (seriously).

Oh, last Thursday and Friday, I indulged in eating a little too well and shot back up a couple of pounds past 190, but as of this morning, I managed to sneak back down to 189.8 pounds (or a touch over 86.09 kg or 13.55 stone…remember, I’m about 75 inches or 190.5 cm tall).

The thing is, I didn’t do my usual Saturday ab and cardio session and I didn’t pick it up today either. Too much to do around the house, especially getting outdoor work done before the temperature got too hot.

Photo credit: Askmen.com

I know my doctor would say I need at least 120 minutes of cardio per week, but I wonder if it’s all that necessary, at least all of the time. Yes, we all use cardio as our primary calorie/fat burner, but what about the benefits of working the cardiac muscle? How much aerobic stimulation does it need (vs. anaerobic) to stay in good shape?

Here’s what the American Heart Association recommends (yeah, the thought just occurred to me, which is why this seems like two different blog posts strung together, although chest and heart are sort of a match):

At least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity at least 5 days per week for a total of 150


At least 25 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity at least 3 days per week for a total of 75 minutes; or a combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity


Moderate- to high-intensity muscle-strengthening activity at least 2 days per week for additional health benefits.

Well, I’ve been blowing off the first one, even on my best days, getting only 120 minutes of cardio per week max.

bench press
Photo credit: background-kid.com

On the other hand, even doing cardio two days per week, at 40 minutes per session, I do 80 minutes total a week, which slightly exceeds the second recommendation, which is OK as long as I’m also doing weight training.

As far as that recommendation goes, I do moderate to high-intensity muscle-strengthening activity 3 days a week and not just 2, so hopefully, that all adds up to adequate exercise for cardiac health.

So every day I lift is chest day, and every day I’m at the gym is cardio day.

Works for me.

When you go through hardships and decide not to give up, that is strength.

Arnold Schwarzenegger


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