For a lot of men, a chest exercise routine will include switching between 3 chest workouts: the bench press in flat, incline, and decrease postures. But it needn’t be that way.
There is a wide selection of chest exercises and workouts to select from, ranging from bodyweight exercises to variations on traditional dumbbell sessions, so developing remarkable pecs shouldn’t be too difficult. Mixing up your workouts will provide you with more approaches to training your chest than just the standard bench press can offer. The end effect of doing that activity will be a bulky, powerful torso area. This, of course, will make you capable of pushing heavy items, from heavyweights to a disabled vehicle.
Let’s not be evasive, we are aware that a part of why you are perusing this manual is because having a bigger chest merely looks good, and that is undeniable. The results of a Plos One investigation revealed that people, regardless of gender, visualize an optimal male physique as having a buff chest girth that creates a V-shaped torso. We sought help from chest workout specialists, including our own health and fitness reporter Andrew Tracey, to build a robust set of pectoral muscles.
At the conclusion of this, you will have a feeling of elevated self-esteem and pride.
Your Major Chest Muscles, Explained
To build impressive pectoral muscles, you will need to target all areas of the chest. However, if you do not possess knowledge of the distinct muscles in your chest area, you cannot target them all effectively, correct? This is your guide to understanding the primary chest muscles so you can achieve the muscular chest you desire.
- Pectoralis Major: The pectoralis major makes up most of your chest muscle mass. It is large and fan-shaped and is composed of a sternocostal head and a clavicular head.
- Pectoralis Minor: The pectoralis minor lies underneath the pectoralis major. Its job is to help pull the shoulder forward and down.
- Serratus Anterior: Located at the side of the chest wall, you’ll notice the serratus anterior in action when you lift weights overhead.
Why Isn’t My Chest Growing?
Before giving the solution for why your chest isn’t growing, let’s look at what might be preventing it from doing so. For example, if you do not have the right technique or don’t warm up correctly, it may be tough to gain muscle mass.
Growth struggles may also be caused by your technique. Doing many repetitions quickly will not provide your chest muscles with the required stimulus for growth. A research paper appearing in The Journal of Physiology concluded that muscles gain more muscle growth when slow and controlled lifts are done until exhaustion as opposed to completing them in a fast manner.
Likewise, the findings of a 31-experiment research project conducted by the British Journal of Sports Medicine showed that doing warm-up activities with high levels of exertion improved one’s power and strength due to the fact that muscles that are ‘warm’ can be more flexible, and thus be better able to generate powerful movements.
How to Activate Your Chest Muscles
In addition to mixing up the number of reps you do, modifying the speed at which you lift the weight, and targeting different regions of your chest (like the top area), it’s also essential to heat up beforehand for chest exercises. Around 45 percent of people in the UK have experienced a workout-related injury at one point or another. To avoid future issues, it is highly advisable to incorporate mobility and stretching in your overall routine in order to enable smoother lifts and reduce the odds of an injury occurring.
Dynamic warm-ups are widely thought of to be the most effective way to prepare before exercise. Incorporating motions with increasing levels of mobility that are similar to the workout you are about to engage in will stretch your muscles and make them ready to take on more intense burdens.
What to Eat for a Bigger Chest
For devotees of fitness, exercising is only one part of the challenge. It is essential that you supply your body with the right nutrients if you want the best results in strengthening your chest muscles. No matter how often and methodically you have been exercising, it’s your eating habits that will help you create a well-rounded, healthy body – with protein at the forefront. Don’t believe us? A recent study found that when combined with resistance exercise, increased protein intake can lead to additional gains in lean body mass. This research was published in the journal Nutrients.
Currently, it is recommended that individuals consume 0.8g of protein per kg of their body weight on a daily basis. In order to build muscle, you must consume around 1.6 to 2.0g of protein per kilo of body weight. If, for instance, you are 80kg, the recommended daily intake of protein is 128-160 grams.
Make sure to not forget carbs either – emphasize having them before and after exercise (such as a bagel with breakfast and a banana with your post-workout protein shake). This will provide the energy you need to be able to have more power, lift heavier objects, and have an enduring workout while refraining from sapping your sources of glycogen, avoiding the point of being completely exhausted when your exercise is done. If you’re having difficulty consuming the required quantity of protein, this guide to whey, vegan, and protein bars should come in handy. Additionally, preparing meals in advance and understanding the breakdown of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats will enhance your diet with the goal of increasing your chest size. Bon appétit.
The 4 Best Upper Chest Exercises For Strength And Size
Incline Hex Press
It’s all about strain when attempting to break down muscle fibers to promote their growth and improvement. Tension is fully provoked by performing the hex press, involving the pressing of two free weights together whilst firmly squeezing them. Doing the hex press on an incline will angle the weights in a way that puts more pressure on your upper chest. Be aware that this activity, when done correctly, can be totally overwhelming. If you usually use barbells weighing 50-60 lbs, you should use 25 lbs weights instead.
How to Do the Incline Hex Press
Set an adjustable bench at a 30-45 degree angle. Pick up a pair of dumbbells that aren’t too easy, but not necessarily too heavy. This exercise is emphasizing contracting your muscles and focusing rather than using the heaviest dumbbells possible. While holding a set of dumbbells between your chest, push them upward and slightly backward. Bring your elbows in close to your body and keep them there as you lower the dumbbells until they make contact with your clothing. As you move, tightly press the dumbbells together.
Incline Dumbbell Press
The incline dumbbell press is a go-to exercise for bodybuilders and powerlifters, as it is highly versatile and difficult when done properly. Working out with this movement effectively targets the chest and shoulders while producing intense results. When pressing on an inclined area, it makes it possible for greater shoulder bending. This is primarily done by the clavicular head of the pectoral muscles or the ‘upper’ part of the chest. This widened scope of motion should produce a significant boost in the activation of the muscles in the upper chest area.
How to Do the Dumbbell Bench Press
Place the bench at an angle that can be adjusted between 25 to 40 degrees. While sitting on the floor, hold onto a pair of dumbbells with your knees and tighten your abdominal muscles. Then, sit back while keeping the dumbbells in place. Drop into position and “push” the dumbbells off the ground with your legs to begin. Set your feet firmly on the ground and position your forearms so that your elbows are directly below your wrists. Push the weight off the ground, slightly angled backward and towards the center line of your body.
The last spot should have the dumbbells close to each other, directly above your shoulder joint, and you should use your arm actively to press your shoulder against your body. Bring the weights down to your chest level, if you can, and then do the same thing again.
At first sight, it might appear as though someone is incorrectly doing a regular bench press. When performed in the correct way, bench pressing is an awesome activity for targeting the upper part of the chest since it grants a good stretch and little involvement of the triceps. The guillotine press is commonly done with a barbell and receives its label from bringing the weight down to the neck or even to the chin. The immense flare of the elbows gives the double heads of the pectoralis muscle a tremendous stretch, yet be aware — it demands solid shoulder health and adaptability, so be sure to warm up properly prior to beginning.
How to Do the Guillotine Press
Grab ahold of the barbell with your hands spaced out as far as possible and lift it out of the rack while lying on a bench that is either flat or slightly inclined. Grasp the load and move it downwards gradually towards the collarbone or throat area, keeping your elbows wide. At no time should you place the bar across your neck, but take a few seconds at the lowest point before pushing back upwards and attempting to bend the bar into a U-shape. Stop before any noticeable shoulder discomfort.
This activity is also ideal to perform in a Smith machine, as the ideal path of the bar is essentially upright or close to it. The Smith machine has acquired a negative opinion in some quarters, but studies recommend that it can create the same amount of muscle activity and force as free weights.
Low Cable Flye
A training program should have components that work on all of the muscles’ different types of actions. Although the pectorals are often thought of in relation to pushing, they are also responsible for drawing the arm across a plane. A successful chest workout session won’t be complete without the addition of a unilateral exercise focus on the upper chest, such as lateral flyes. You can perfectly copy the shoulder flexion action of the pec minor muscles by adjusting the cable attachments to a low angle, so the low cable flye would make a great conclusion for your next chest training session.
How to Do the Low Cable Flye
Take a staggered stance while keeping the cables below your waist. Let your arms hang at the back of your body with your hands facing forwards. Lift your arms as you twist them so that your elbows point outwards, with the handles of the apparatus close to your body. Press your chest and hold your upper limbs tightly against your body for strong compression before lowering them to starting point gradually. Avoid letting your shoulders elevate at any point.
The Ultimate Home Chest Workout
You don’t need a gym subscription or any equipment to get a great chest workout; you can combine aerobic exercise with quick and powerful moves to get a great workout using just your own body’s weight.
Rest: 60 secs
Do a normal push-up, but space out your hands more than shoulder-width apart.
Rest: 60 secs
Get into a traditional press-up position. Descend towards the ground and move your right knee to your right elbow without touching the surface. Push your foot away and move your leg to the starting position. Repeat with the alternate leg.
Rest: 60 secs
Do a push-up that requires your hands to be close enough together for the tips of your thumb and pointer finger to make contact. That’s the diamond shape.
Rest: 60 secs
Do a push-up where your right palm is on the ground and your left hand is on a box. Switch arms and repeat. That’s one rep.
Rest: 60 secs
Place your hands narrower than your shoulders on a staircase and keep your toes pointed. Bend your body forward and move your chest towards the steps. Push yourself back up and repeat.
Rest: 60 secs
Assume a push-up position while keeping your hands approximately the same distance apart as your shoulders and your back straight. Lower yourself so your chest is almost at the floor then thrust yourself upwards with force, clapping your hands together before immediately starting the next push-up.
Chest, Arms, and Abs Workout
If you’re short on time, don’t sweat it. You can still use your big exercises to build up your chest muscles while strengthening your abdominal area for an excellent chest and six-pack workout. This exercise routine from Marcus Deware will help you burn fat by utilizing bodyweight exercises and doing higher numbers of reps. Here’s how.
- 10 press-ups
- 10 plate step ups
- 10 press-ups on the plate
- 10 lateral tap downs
- 10 lateral power-ups
- 10 press-ups
This short chest workout requires that you concentrate on stimulating your abdominal muscles and compressing your butt and shoulder bones together. This will cause a tightening sensation through your body, and by gripping the floor with your digits and keeping your elbows near your frame, you will remain in the correct stance as you lower your body to the floor and then make an explosive upward movement.
Chest Workout Press-Up Challenge
This training session will challenge you to determine how many repetitions you can carry out while performing a sequence of four press-ups. Perform these exercises regularly for a period of three weeks and you will notice a difference in your chest, triceps, and back muscles development. Your task: Perform four press-up variations to failure. Keep a record of how many you can complete and ascertain the group you belong to beneath. Let’s get after it.
Your hardest move comes first: the pike press-up. Place your feet firmly on a box or a chair and bend your upper body forward until you create an L-shape with your body. Firm up your core muscles to stay stable and perform as many repetitions as you can. After a failed attempt, move swiftly ahead without allowing your knees to touch the ground.
Max out on decline press-ups.
Take your feet away from the couch and continue doing as many push-ups on the ground as you can until you are unable to do anymore. Expand your posture a bit in order to reduce some of the tension on your triceps and focus more on your chest muscles.
If you run out of energy while doing exercise, turn your body around and put your hands on the back of a chair while having your legs spread apart behind you. The slope is the simplest variation, so accomplish as many movements as you can. Add together your total score and utilize our suggestions in the following three weeks to make better progress.