Body Beast: Build Chest/Triceps

Sagi Kalev
Year Released: 2012

Categories: Upper Body Strength

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This is a heavy weights workout designed to build mass and strength. You will need assorted dumbbells and a weight bench (or aerobic step with risers) to do the workout. One backgrounder substitutes a stability ball for the bench; as this requires more balance, you might want to go lighter on weights if you use the ball.

Format is simple: Sagi leads two bodybuilder-type backgrounders in a short warmup, followed by strength work and a brief stretch. Both the warmup and stretch are basic; the warmup is more moving around (knees up, some pushups) than anything, and the stretch has exactly three exercises in it. I add in a longer warmup and stretch, usually one of Cathe's. I time the workout at approximately 5 minutes for warmup and stretch combined, and 43 minutes for the strength work. There is a countdown clock showing total workout time and also rest time/time between sets.

The strength work uses basic tried-and-true bodybuilding exercises and groupings. Sagi does single sets, supersets (two exercises back-to-back) and one giant set (three exercises back-to-back). The chest is worked most heavily in this workout: there are chest presses, incline flyes, incline presses, close grip presses, partial flyes and decline pushups. Targeted triceps exercises are lying double-arm extensions, kickbacks, close-grip pushups and dips. Each exercise is done in a drop-set formula: 15 reps at a lighter weight, 12 at a heavier weight and 8 at your heaviest weight. For some exercises Sagi tacks on a fourth set of 8 reps at a lighter weight than your heaviest. Rest periods are about a minute between sets, except for the fourth set which comes 10 seconds after the third (drop one set of weights, pick up the next and GO). During the rest period between sets, Sagi demonstrates the upcoming exercise with excellent form and form tips.

The music is guitar/metal background stuff, not setting any sort of beat or pace but more to add to the macho atmosphere. Sagi's tempo is hard for me to follow - he counts you down to start a set ("3,2,1 and go") but he doesn't maintain a consistent tempo on his count. I end up finishing most sets before he does.

There is a lot of silly talk in this workout ("Beast out", "get Beast-y", "the Beast is talking") but it's pretty easy to ignore. Sagi seems determined to recreate a sweaty men's-only hardcore bodybuilding gym atmosphere but he seems to have enough self-awareness to know it's all a bit of fun.

Instructor Comments:
Sagi is in bodybuilder shape - he's massive. His form pointers and the form he demonstrates are excellent. Sometimes he does a full set, but often he drops his weights and goes to stand by one of the backgrounders, offering (loud, weight-room "this is the Beast workout!") encouragement.