For most guys, a chest workout involves alternating between three chest exercises: bench press completed in the flat, incline and decline positions. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
There are so many chest exercises and workouts to try, from bodyweight staples to twists on dumbbell classics, that building an impressive pair of pecs doesn’t have to be boring and monotonous at all! In fact, mixing up your workouts will mean you’re hitting you chest from more angles than the humble bench press, as good as it is, is capable of. Doing that will result in a bigger, stronger upper torso, which in turn will (obviously) make you more adept at pushing heavy objects — from barbells to broken-down cars.
I also know that part of the reason you’re reading this guide is because having a bigger chest just looks impressive, and that’s a scientific fact. A study found that women’s, as well as men’s, perception of the ideal male body included a muscular, wide chest circumference that creates an overall V-shaped torso.
Your Major Chest Muscles, Explained
If you want huge pecs you’ll need to challenge all of your chest muscles. But, you can’t target all of your chest muscles if you don’t know what they are, can you? To set you on the path to bigger pecs, here’s a quick guide to your major chest muscles.
- 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?
Let’s first go over some of the reasons why your chest might not be growing. For instance, if you’re not using correct form or warming-up properly, you may struggle to pack on size.
Growth struggles may also be caused by your technique. Pumping out fast reps is unlikely to be giving your chest the muscle-building stimulus it needs. A study published in The Journal of Physiology found that slow, controlled lifts performed to fatigue produced greater rates of muscle growth than the same movement performed rapidly.
Similarly, the British Journal of Sports Medicine proved, across 31 studies, that high-load dynamic warm-ups greatly enhanced power and strength performance, as ‘warm’ muscles have greater flexibility and are more conditioned to generate explosive power.
How to Activate Your Chest Muscles
As well as varying your rep ranges, adjusting your lifting ‘tempo’ — the pace at which you lower and raise the weights — and working different parts of your chest(like your upper chest), it’s also important to warm-up before your go-to chest workout. With 45 per cent of regular gym goers having suffered an injury, opening up your body with mobility and stretching will ensure easier lifts and considerably safer workouts.
Dynamic warm-ups are generally considered to be the best approach to a pre-workout warm-up. Consisting of movements with a progressive range of motion that mimic the exercise you’re about to do, you’ll be lengthening your muscles and preparing them to work under heavier loads.
What to Eat for a Bigger Chest
As any fitness zealot will know, working out is only half the battle. To really maximise your efforts into building a bigger chest, you’ll need to fuel yourself appropriately. Even if you’ve hit every workout consistently and methodically, your diet will help build a more healthy, rounded physique, with protein taking priority. Don’t believe me? A study published in the journal Nutrients found that “protein intake was shown to promote additional gains in lean body mass beyond those observed with resistance exercise alone.”
Currently, dietary guidelines suggest that you should eat 0.8g of protein per kg of bodyweight every day. To build muscle, however, you’ll need to double that, consuming around 1.6 to 2.0g per kilo of bodyweight. If you weight 80kg, for example, that’s 128g to 160g of protein per day
Don’t neglect the carbs, either — by concentrating your intake before and after exercise (a bagel with breakfast and a banana with your post-workout protein shake, for example) will ensure you have enough fuel to push harder, lift heavier and last longer during a workout, while ensuring your stores of glycogen don’t deplete and leave you crawling into the shower. Also, meal prep and learning to count macros will help track your nutrition in your mission to build a bigger chest!
The Ultimate 3 Week Chest Workout
Below I attached a basic “3 WEEK CHEST WORKOUT”. Try it out for 3 weeks, twice a week and let me know what you think! This is a generic workout based on general population, if you want more advanced and individualized program I would be more than happy to help!
Hit me up through a form in a Contact Us section.