We all went to get more out of every chest workout. Want to save time and gain more?
What types of exercises do you focus on when you want to build up a set of ripped, strong pecs? Are you tired of the same old bench press routines?
If you’re on top of your diet, rest and supplements, but you’re just not seeing any more growth from your workouts, it’s time for a change.
When it comes to building muscle, variety of movement in is the best fuel for growth.
Varying up your workouts is a good idea. However, there are certain moves that have proven to be highly effective in building muscle in the human body. Today we’ll discuss how some of the most popular moves in the gym are misused.
Think your chest workout is perfect?
Well, it turns out a lot of people tend to focus on the wrong types of exercise. Building an oak chest like Arnold back in the day isn’t an easy thing to do. It’s even harder if you’re using the wrong chest exercises while trying to get there. If you’re looking for Ways To Boost Your Chest Workouts, you’ve come to the right place.
Today we’ll go over the best chest exercises you’ll want to know to achieve the results you desire. We’ll even save you some time too.
Best Chest Workout Tailored to Your Goals
Whether you’re at plateau or just starting out, it’s important to begin with a clear understanding of your goals. One important thing to understand is that your goals will dictate some key aspects to your routine for any muscle group. For example, the percentage of your one rep max, and number of sets and reps you should perform all depend on your goal.
So let’s put this to work, shall we?
There are some other factors people sometimes ‘forget’ when they reach a plateau. One of the most important things is your nutrition. Are you really eating enough protein to support muscle growth?
The general rule is around 1 gram of protein per pound of lean body weight. This means you’ll really need a good protein powder to hit those levels.
Wondering what really is The Best Tasting Protein for your protein shakes?
Want to know the most common chest workout pitfall?
The biggest mistake a lot of people make is building all of the muscle in the lower part of the chest, making the upper chest look smaller—and disproportionate.
Always go for a balanced approach to build symmetrical, evenly developed muscle. This means that just hitting a few sets of bench press isn’t going to cut it.
So the question remains:
How do you build strong, evenly developed pecs through your chest workout?
You don’t want all the mass and muscle into the lower portions of the pecs, toward the outer side. Hitting the right exercises are key to developing all areas of the pectoral muscles.
Chest Workout Tip: varying the width of your grip and angle of your pushups between sets builds 3-dimensional pecs.
What you want to aim for it an evenly developed chest, with a balance between the upper and inner sections. This is not limited to the chest. At every level of physical development, symmetry is the goal.
Did you know that one of the main judgment factors in professional body building competitions is symmetry?
Chest Workout Myths
This brings us to our next topic, this whole “upper chest” and “lower chest” myth. This little debate has been going on for some time now. If you aren’t familiar with it, it, basically is between the upper chest and the lower chest.
This debate questions if specific exercises for the upper chest or needed, or if just chest exercises in general are enough to stimulate all of the muscle fibers that are available. Plus, some people question whether the upper chest is even a real thing.
Here’s what we have to say about that. There is an upper chest. The fancy medical name for it is clavicular pectoralis. So yes, it is a real live thing and you, yes you, have these muscles, and they need your attention.
Despite if you have heard otherwise, this specific muscle isn’t part of the major chest muscle known as pectoralis major. Part of the pectoralis major shares nerves with the clavicular pectoralis. However, there are some major differences between the two. One key difference is the detail of the angle for the muscle fibers. So basically, there are specific movements that can help emphasize the pectoralis major.
Do you know which exercises target the pectoralis major?
On the other hand, there are certain exercises that will specifically help with the clavicular pectoralis.
Nowhere do you hear us say “isolate” the pectoralis major or pectoralis clavicular. Why is that? Because all movements that accentuate one of these muscles is going to accentuate the other – to a point.
But the best thing you can remember is achieving the ideal development in your chest is going to take a lot of emphasis on one particular muscle. And this muscle is the clavicular pectoralis.
There are two reasons to focus on the clavicular pectoralis:
- It’s a stubborn muscle for growth.
- It’s a small muscle requiring specific attention.
But here’s some good news. The movements that really make up the best chest workout for developing the clavicular pectoralis are also a good starting ground for the pectoralis major to start growing, too.
This is good news for your chest routine and saves you time in the gym.
What happens to a lot of people is they have a chest that’s very thick and heavy on the bottom, but not much going on up at the top. A fuller, thicker upper chest can make a seriously impressive difference when you look in the mirror. And there is a best chest workout for size, this is where adjusting your weight and reps comes into play.
For planning your chest workout, first consider your goals:
- Increasing Size and Strength: focus on lower reps (6-8) and higher weight (80% of single rep max).
- Cuts and Definition: By contrast, use lower weight and higher repetition to build endurance. Remember, diet will have more to affect your muscle definition than anything else.
Did you know that using drop sets can help you work both strength and endurance energy systems at once?
One thing to consider for blasting fat, is that high intensity interval training provides a great strength and endurance workout at the same time.
Basically, remember this equation and you’ll be well on your way. In order for you to build a big, symmetrical chest, you’re going to want to make sure a large majority of your reps are conducted with around 80 to 85% weight of your 1-rep max. This should be around 4-6 or 5-7 reps before you have to put the weight down.
Sure you can jump right to the 10 or more rep range, but you are not going to get the results you want.
Think about it this way:
As people, we need to step outside of our comfort zone in order to grow. Well, the same goes for your muscles. Sets of 10 is pretty much the definition of your muscles’ comfort zone.
So, focus on less reps but heavier weights – these are going to be the best chest exercises for mass and ideally, that’s exactly what you’re going for. When it comes to sculpting and striation, your diet matters most.
Of course there are a ton of different chest exercises to pick from, but that doesn’t mean they are all successful at accomplishing major results. The best chest workout exercises to focus on are those that use the maximum amount of muscle fibers. This creates an increasingly heavy overload.
Remember that your muscles need to be overloaded or reach failure to really achieve transformation. The key here is not to ass risk of injury; rather, you want to focus on building muscles and staying safe. If it’s too heavy to move with proper form, it’s too heavy.
What Are the Best Chest Workout Exercises?
Some of these might sound familiar. And let’s be realistic, there’s a reason why some of the ‘OG’ chest moves have stood the test of time. Clearly they work. However, the important question is, are they being used in the best way possible? Don’t worry we’re here to help and show you what many people might be doing wrong.
Barbell Bench Press (3 sets of 6 reps)
Of course, we start with the classic barbell bench press. Vary between incline and flat bench. Don’t have a bench press? Pushups will work perfectly.
Bench Press Mistakes: performing too many sets of bench press takes away from your energy for other moves. Also, using a machine will not work your stabilizer muscles the same way as a barbell will. Go free or go home.
Dumbbell Press (3 sets of 6 reps)
Next, grab some dumbbells around 75-80% of your 1 rep max. Again, here you can go for incline and flat press but switch off from what you did on barbell press. You’ll want to go slightly lighter for incline.
Dumbbell Press Common Mistakes: the biggest mistake people make with this move is wasting too much energy on the barbell to really get work done with the dumbbells. The fuller range of motion with dumbbells works your stabilizer muscles in more ways than a bar can.
Dips (3 sets of 6-8 reps)
Finally, you will want to perform the chest-focused version of dips. If you can add weights using a belt, go for it. Also, you may want to consider
Dips Common Mistakes: using the counterweight machines at dip stations might seem easy. That’s because it is; too easy. You’re better off to perform negative holds until you can perform multiple reps.
Basically, if you want an impressive-looking chest, you’re going to have to learn the ins and outs of these three exercises. We aren’t talking about cable exercises, or Push-Up Methods, machines, or even dumbbell flys – we are talking about these three moves, at high weight working. Period.
Regardless of how you isolate and use machines, these three moves (and pushups) are the best way to build a muscular chest.
Best Chest Workout Reminders:
- Change up the order of exercises by week.
- Aim to reach failure right around the completion of each set.
- Don’t kid yourself. If you’re not using enough weight, you’re not pushing your muscles past their ‘comfort zone’ and you shouldn’t expect change.
Sure, you could choose any chest workout but of all the exotic moves that have come out over the years, nothing is as effective as the three listed above. These exercises are absolutely critical to building a muscular foundation and continuing to progress from there.
The Best Chest Workout and No Machines?
Sorry to ruin your love of the Smith Machine. Research shows that the Smith Machine can’t stand up to free weight exercises when it comes to muscle recruitment. Why? Without free weights, you miss out on training the muscles used to stabilize the weight without the assistance of a machine track.
So why did we say no to the decline pressing? For a number of reasons, the first one being that a decline press actually reduces your range of motion significantly. Because of this, you aren’t going to be able to use the same amount of muscle for it.
Kind of sounds like a waste of time doesn’t it?
Decline pressing also puts maximum stress on the pectoralis major, so there is hardly any emphasis on the clavicular pectoralis. Remember the goal is to focus on the latter of the two, and enjoy the collateral benefits. Incline pressing will lead you in a better direction.
You might still be scratching your head at the fact that we’re telling you to do the three exercises above and not much else of anything for your pecs. So yeah, that means you can skip over the cable crossover and bypass the single fly. No machine reps for you – all you really need to get started are those three exercises, change up the order and you are good to go.
However, if you consider yourself an advanced, experienced weightlifter, you might benefit from adding cable work and dumbbell flies into your routine. These are excellent moves for adding definition to an already developed chest.
If you’ve been building up your chest for a while, and you’re specifically looking to chisel up a bit, you might want to check out the Lowdown on Intermittent Fasting.
Best Chest Workout Tips and Techniques
Maybe you’re familiar with these moves, but we’ve got a few pro tips to keep your form in top shape.
Bench Press Perfect Form: you’ll hear a lot of people say your shoulders are vulnerable to injury in a pushup movement. And this is true – if your form isn’t correct. There are two keys you should remember in order to keep your shoulders safe, strong and healthy.
First, keep your elbows locked at around a 20 to 30 degree angle in relation to your torso. Next, keep your shoulder blades tightly pinched together, with your back at a slight arch. Make sure you keep your chest away from flattening when you’re at the bottom of the lift, with rolling shoulders. Always keep your shoulder blades together tightly when you bench press, as this will push your chest up and keep your spine aligned.
Throughout the entire repetition, make sure your lower back has a very slight arch in the lower part of it. If you’re really trying to be the king of the hill around the bench press, you’ll need to check into our Tips for Benching Like a Boss.
Dumbbell Press Perfect Form:
One of the biggest perks of this exercise is that your range of motion takes the weight past your chest where a barbell is halted. Make sure you rotate your hands at the bottom of the rep and get the dumbbells low. This way, you are safely increasing your overall range of motion but aren’t increasing injury risk.
So as you probably know by now, the definition of a fantastic chest workout is the kind that trains the chest as a whole, with a particular focus on the upper chest, and a strong focus on heavier weights.
Much like other muscle groups, your chest will gain definition when you start with the higher rep work. However, if you really want to see some growth, you need to lift heavy.
Putting Your Chest Workout into Action
If you’re new to weight training, try to follow the below routine once every 5 to 7 days. First, start with the barbell bench press with an incline. Warm up for a bit, then do 3 sets of anywhere from 4 to 6 reps. If you feel like 6 is pushing it, start with 4 and work up to 6 over time, when you feel yourself getting stronger and bigger. Next, head over to the dumbbell bench press. At an incline, do 3 sets of somewhere between 4-6 reps. Again, if 6 feels out of your league, aim for 4 and make 6 your future goal.
To build a rock hard chest, use presses, pushups, heavy weight and a full range of motion.
Remember, to always work with a weight where 6 reps challenges you, and 10 should be impossible. This number will change as you improve, remember to add 5 pound increments when you’re getting through your workouts without failure.
What about rest between sets?
Rest up to three minutes in between each set. You want to give your muscle the time they need to recover their strength in order to give their all for each and every set. This is all the more reason why each set should be a serious challenge for you. That’s how you grow!
So this is all doable, right? 9 heavy sets? You can handle that. Remember to switch around the order of the exercises so that each one gets a chance to be your first priority. This is your best chance to improve at each exercise. Work in the low rep high weight range if you truly want to see transformation in your muscles. Lastly, don’t forget that your workout can only take you so far. Your nutrition and recovery will determine how useful and effective our best chest workout really will be for building your dream body.
I’m Terry and I’m here to help you achieve your fitness goals. I truly believe anyone can achieve the figure they want with the proper guidance. Through my extensive fitness blog, top fitness videos, leading workout supplements, and top selling eBooks, I have been able to help thousands of people online lose weight, tone up and get in shape. My passion is helping people all around the world change their lives for the better.
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