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How to get a body like Michael B Jordan: Chest and triceps workout

Michael B Jordan

Michael B Jordan is proof that to look athletic, you need to be athletic.

Most people would struggle to get in fighting shape, but Michael B Jordan has made it a lifestyle through smart training and nutrition. The American grew as a supporting actor and eventually got his opportunity to play lead roles in award-winning films including Creed and Black Panther. Portraying boxer Adonis Johnson in the 2015 hit Creed, Jordan built an upper-body even the very best heavyweight boxers would be proud of.

Jordan looked equally as impeccable in Blockbuster Black Panther, playing Killmonger. The popular comic book superhero has been a Marvel fan favourite for a number of years, and Jordan certainly made the role his own. More recently, Jordan teamed up with legendary actor and producer Denzel Washington, starring in heartfelt drama A Journal for Jordan. The 2021 hit is based on the true story of First Sgt Charles Monroe King, a soldier killed in action in Baghdad.

Whether hero or villain, Michael’s chest and triceps are a big reason why his body is so aspirational for many men. So, add this plan to your workout toolbox for a pec-popping, jaw-dropping Adonis physique.

The Michael B Jordan workout

How to perform the exercises

This guide is aimed at trainees with a good knowledge of the exercises and how to train safely and effectively.

To start your life-changing body transformation today, visit any one of our gyms around the world or begin your online training program.

45-degree incline barbell bench press

The set-up

  • Position your feet shoulder-width apart, under or behind your knees and flat on the floor.
  • Lie back on the bench with your eyes directly under the barbell.
  • Place your hands on the barbell with an overhand grip, roughly 1.5 times shoulder-width apart.
  • Point your chest up towards the ceiling and pinch your shoulder blades back together.
  • Your head, shoulders and glutes should be touching the bench, and there will be a small gap between your lower back and the bench.
  • Pull the barbell forwards off the hooks and into the start position directly above your shoulders.
  • Pause to let the barbell settle then fine-tune your set up before starting the set.

The movement

  • From the start position, control the barbell down towards the upper half of your chest.
  • Throughout the downward movement, your upper arms should be at an angle of 45-60o to your torso.
  • You have reached the end of your range of motion when you cannot lower your elbows any further below shoulder height without your chest collapsing and shoulders rotating inwards.
  • Pause for a moment before pressing the barbell upwards to return to the start position.
  • Repeat for the desired number of reps.
  • On the last rep, fully extend your arms before moving the barbell back towards the hooks.

Trainer tips

  • Start with a grip roughly 1.5 times shoulder-width apart and test out positions one to two inches either side to see what feels most comfortable.
  • Do not place your feet on top of the bench. Keep them flat on the floor.
  • Grip the barbell with your entire hand. Do not use a thumb-less grip as this increases the risk of losing control of the barbell.
  • Pressing the barbell directly upwards off the hooks can pull your shoulder blades forwards and into an unstable position. To stop this from happening, pull the barbell forwards off the hooks instead, which is much easier with the help of a training partner.

Flat dumbbell bench press

The set-up

  • Pick up the dumbbells using a neutral grip and sit on the bench with them resting on your thighs, close to your hip crease.
  • Position your feet shoulder-width apart, under or behind your knees and flat on the floor.
  • Lie back, using your thighs to help get the dumbbells into position level with your chest.
  • Hold the dumbbells directly above your elbows, with your upper arms at an angle of 45-60 degrees to your torso.
  • Point your chest up towards the ceiling and pinch your shoulder blades back together.
  • Your head, shoulders and glutes should be touching the bench, and there will be a small gap between your lower back and the bench.
  • This is the start and finish position for each rep.

The movement

  • Press both dumbbells directly upwards until you have fully extended your arms overhead.
  • Reverse the motion, under control, to return to the start position.
  • You have reached the end of your range of motion when you cannot lower your elbows any further below shoulder height without your chest collapsing and shoulders rotating inwards.
  • Pause for a moment before repeating for the desired number of reps.
  • On the last rep, lower the dumbbells to the start position, tuck your elbows in and sit
    forwards using your legs to help generate momentum. Alternatively, your training partner can help by taking one dumbbell from you at a time.

Trainer tips

  • Be very careful when manoeuvring the dumbbells in and out of position. Getting set up to dumbbell press can be an awkward process with heavy weights, which is why we typically stick to using more moderate weights and higher reps on this exercise.
  • The dumbbells should not clang together at the top position.
  • A common mistake is for your shoulders to become loose and shrug upwards at the top of the movement. This reduces stability and shifts tension away from your chest and onto your shoulders and triceps. Focus on pushing yourself away from the dumbbells, instead of pressing them away from you.

Seated cable fly

The set-up

  • Position a bench around one to two metres front of a cable stack. Adjust the cables to shoulder height when seated.
  • Bring your arms forwards so that they are at shoulder height and roughly in line with your armpits.
  • Hold the handles with a neutral grip and keep your elbows slightly bent.
  • This is the start and finish position for each rep.

The movement

  • Pull your arms forwards in a semi-circular motion, driving your upper arms into the sides of your chest.
  • Pause for a moment and focus on contracting (squeezing) your chest muscles.
  • Reverse the motion, under control, to return to the start position.
  • Repeat for the desired number of reps.

Trainer tips

  • The cable crossover station is a popular piece of equipment, and it may be difficult to perform the seated version in a busy gym. If that’s not an option, go for a standing version with a split stance to maintain stability.
  • The goal of the exercise is not to touch your hands together. They may or may not touch depending on the length of your forearm and the degree of elbow bend.
  • Do not allow your elbows to travel behind your armpits, as this places an unwanted strain on your shoulders.

Overhead rope triceps extension

The set-up

  • Grip the rope attachments with a neutral grip and turn your body to face away from the weight stack, holding the ropes in place behind your neck.
  • Take a long stride forward and adopt a split-stance position with one foot in front of the other.
  • Push your hips back and bend forwards from the waist so that your torso is at a 45-60o angle to the floor.
  • Position your upper arms at shoulder height and tuck your elbows in.
  • Tuck your chin in so that the rope does not hit your head during the movement.
  • This is the start and finish position for each rep.

The movement

  • Keeping your upper arms and torso still, extend your elbows to straighten your arms.
  • You have reached the end of your range of motion when you cannot straighten your arms any further without your elbows flaring out and shoulders rotating inwards.
  • Pause for a moment and focus on contracting (squeezing) your triceps.
  • Reverse the motion, under control, to return to the start position.
  • Repeat for the desired number of reps.

Trainer tips

  • Using two standard length rope attachments will maximise your range of motion and allow you to extend your elbows fully.
  • Tuck your chin in so that the rope does not hit your head during the movement.
  • Do not let the cable pull your upper arm out of position. One solution is to place your elbows on a preacher curl bench for improved stability. However, this may be difficult to do in a busy gym.

Standing rope cable triceps extension

The set-up

  • Adjust the cable to the highest setting and attach two standard length rope attachments.
  • Hold the ropes with a neutral grip and take three to four steps back from the station. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, push your hips back and lean forward slightly.
  • Squeeze your shoulder blades back together and pull your elbows back behind your shoulders.
  • This is the start and finish position for each rep.

The movement

  • Keeping your upper arms and torso still, extend your elbows to straighten your arms.
  • You have reached the end of your range of motion when you cannot move any further without your upper back rounding and shoulders rotating inwards.
  • Pause for a moment and focus on contracting (squeezing) your triceps.
  • Reverse the motion, under control, to return to the start position.
  • Repeat for the desired number of reps.

Trainer tips

  • Using two standard length rope attachments will maximise your range of motion and allow you to extend your elbows fully.
  • Make sure the ropes are not twisted, or they will be slightly different lengths.

Close grip push ups

The set-up

  • Place your hands on the floor shoulder-width apart.
  • Place your feet together behind you so your legs and torso are straight
  • Squeeze your glutes to brace your core.
  • Ensure your hips, shoulders and head are in line.
  • Have your arms straight to start the movement.

The movement

  • Keeping your palms flat on the floor and your fingers spread bend your elbow and begin to lower your body.
  • As your lower your body keep your body in a straight line.
  • Once your elbow angle reaches 90 degrees or below push through your palms to drive your body back up until you return to the start position.

Trainer tips

  • Push through the base of your palms and spread your fingers wide.

Why this workout works

This workout works by combining large compound movements followed by specific movements for maximum chest and triceps development.

Like any boxing match, you are freshest at the start of your workout. The aim is to break down muscle tissue while optimising your output. An incline barbell press is a great way to target the upper fibres of the chest. In contrast, the flat dumbbell bench press allows you to target all-around pec development and provides the greatest opportunity for progression.

The triceps are composed of three smaller muscles (the name triceps means ‘three heads’). Each plays a greater or lesser role in different forms of pressing exercises, which we can target maximally through a range of movements at different ranges.

It’s almost impossible to isolate specific parts of the chest without fatiguing other muscle fibres; therefore, pairing these exercises will likely reduce the total training volume (or the total amount of work) you can perform. As a result, this workout is best performed in straight sets. This is a great workout to add to any push/pull/legs or body part training split.

 

TO START YOUR LIFE-CHANGING BODY TRANSFORMATION TODAY, VISIT ANY ONE OF OUR GYMS AROUND THE WORLD OR BEGIN YOUR ONLINE TRAINING PROGRAM.

DISCLAIMER | Results may vary | Results are based on individual circumstances | Timeframes for results are not guaranteed | Willpower is always required!

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