Ready to get big? Increase that Chest Size? Ready to make everyone take notice?
This pec blasting workout will reshape your physique to superhero status!
Building an impressive chest that enters the room before you do means increasing your chest size with serious volume. A dominant wide chest is the true mark of a man.
A wimpy saggy dad bod chest attracts and impresses no suitors. Here are nine tips to add massive amounts of volume to your chest.
These Are Some Chest Anatomy Basics
In order to understand how to increase chest size, you need to understand the anatomy of the chest. The chest is composed of two main muscles. The first is the pectoralis major. This is the visible part of the chest muscle we associate with the chest. The second muscle is the pectoralis minor muscle. It lies beneath the other muscles.
These muscles perform a few major movements. The first is medial rotation.
That’s essentially the movement your arms make during a hug where the elbows are horizontal to the torso and come together.
The second function of the pectorals (pecs) is to flex the arm at the shoulder joint. Essentially this is raising your arm from a relaxed position at your side.
The third is adducting the arm at the shoulder joint, which comes down to your shoulder mobility. Imagine your arms are straight out from your sides. This movement would be bringing the arms back down to your sides.
The last movement, the one we typically think of with the pecs, is to extend the arms away from the body as in a bench press. Like a shoulder press.
It’s Training Time to Increase That Chest Size…
With solid intel on the training target it’s time to attack your chest.
Each of these tips is a surefire way to blast past your weight plateau and get you into the promise land of protruding pecs.
#1 Use The Pre-Exhaust Method
One of the best ways to begin the best chest exercises is to properly train the chest for best results we have to use a great shoulder workout mixed with compound exercises that include the shoulders and triceps, as well as the pecs.
While this is effective, sometimes rather than the chest hitting failure, it’s the secondary muscles like the triceps and deltoids that hit failure.
This means doing an isolation exercise for the chest prior to the compound movement. This can be done back to back in superset workouts fashion or all the sets for the isolation exercise can be done before the sets for the compound exercise.
The perk of the superset style is that it doubles your time under tension exhausting both slow and fast twitch muscle fibers. If it sounds like a long and hard set, it is. The burn will feel like someone put a George Foreman Grill on your pecs.
To try the pre-exhaust method, start by doing 12 reps of cable flyes, then perform 12 reps of bench press. This will ensure that the pecs reach failure and are maximally taxed. This will certainly decrease the amount of weight you can do on the bench press, but in the end will result in greater gains in volume.
Another perk of using pre-exhaust sets is that it works great in situations where you don’t have access to heavy weights such as at a hotel gym.
#2 Use The Post-Exhaust Method
While using the pre-exhaust method is very effective it can also be done in the opposite fashion. This version starts by doing the compound exercise prior to the isolation exercise in a superset fashion.
Since the pecs are fresh in the first exercise you’ll still be able to move almost as much weight as normal, but still ensure the pecs have completely reached failure. It will take mental focus to not speed up the reps on the isolation exercise.
Try this method out by doing 10 reps of incline dumbbell press, then performing 12 reps of incline dumbbell flyes right after.
This will ensure your pecs hit failure and keep the weight up on the primary movement.
#3 Use Barbells To Go Heavy
To know your training advantages, you need to know your equipment. Using barbells with flat, incline and decline bench presses provides greater stability than dumbbells. Also, using a fixed barbell such as on a Smith machine provides an even greater level of stability.
Greater stability means that more weight can be lifted. That causes more muscle fiber trauma. It’s always wise to use this effect when your training objective is to lift as much as possible.
An added tip to training with barbells is to try to bend the bar as you lift it. The pecs function to extend the arm and also bring them together.
Simply trying to extend the bar straight up doesn’t activate the pecs maximally, so envision yourself literally bending the bar(like inverted row) as you lift it to see your chest activation shoot up.
#4 Use Dumbbells To Focus On Contraction
While on a total scale we can always lift more weight with barbells than dumbbells. But, it doesn’t mean barbells are always better.
Many pro bodybuilders prefer using dumbbells due to the mobility.
With a barbell your hand positioning is more or less fixed throughout the movement. With dumbbells you can not only extend out from your torso, but also adduct or bring your arms together.
This means rather than only doing one movement of the pecs, we can in fact perform two at the same time. This makes it much easier to contract the pecs throughout the movement for added volume.
Another perk of the high level of mobility with dumbbells is the overall range of motion. With barbells, the bar can only be lowered as far as your chest. Pending any shoulder issues this may be a good thing for some.
For others, lowering the dumbbells that extra one to two inches intensifies the muscle stretch adding an extra challenge to the exercise.
#5 Think About The Angle Of Attack
To look as developed and voluminous as possible, the pecs have to be balanced. Often we find ourselves always putting certain exercises first in our best chest exercises.
The flat bench press is a perfect example. This is a huge bang for your buck exercise, but it also means you’re always putting the most effort into training your pecs at that angle. If strength on the bench press exercise is your goal, then that’s great.
In terms of areas of development, we can mainly consider the pecs as being devised into upper, middle/lower, inner and outer. Ignoring or over overemphasizing one of these areas will take away from balance, definition and overall size.
You could try the incline dumbbell press or incline hammer strength press. If the outer pecs need attention, then opt for a wider grip or on dumbbell presses go straight up as opposed to bringing the dumbbells together.
Don’t forget that isolation exercises have a big impact as well. After all, they’re used to isolate one spot. The angle and range of motion on flyes will make the difference in emphasis. Consider dumbbell flyes.
If you focus on the lower range of motion and avoid bringing the weights all the way together it will keep tension on the outer pecs. If you do cable flyes where the handles cross over each other and hold the contraction for one second, the inner pecs will get blasted.
Always go into your chest workout carefully picking which exercises will develop lagging points and don’t settle for whatever exercises are open in the gym.
More Ways To Increase Your Chest Size…
#6 Push Yourself
The almighty push-up challenge should never be left behind.
Most can tell you how much they can bench press, but what about how many push-ups you can do consecutively or within a minute?
This gold standard of strength will greatly add to your chest development.
Push-ups can be done with high frequency and only require a floor. Just as with gym exercises, push-ups can be manipulated to emphasize different areas with grip width and body angle by elevating the feet or hands. To take advantage of the push-up effect, try one of these two methods.
Push-Up Method #1
The Push-up Pyramid: In addition to your normal chest workout you’ll complete an increasing number of push-ups every day.
It doesn’t matter how many sets it takes you or which push-up type you use as long as you complete the necessary amount of reps each day. Depending on your fitness level do 10, 30 or 50 push-ups of your choice on day one.
For 30 days you’ll do five extra push-ups each day.
By the end, you’ll be doing an additional 150 push-ups. It’s also advised that you vary the push-up type. It will be tough some days, but it’s effective and a small time commitment considering the progressions you’ll see. Your strength and chest volume will surge over these 30 days.
Push-Up Method #2
The Push-up Burnout: This consists of one continuous set of push-ups starting with your feet up on a chair, your feet on the ground, then your arms above your feet on a bench or table.
For each type you’ll complete as many reps as possible without breaking form. Then, you need to switch right away to the next style push-up. Since the body positioning makes each push-up easier, it’s just like doing a very gruesome dropset.
Do one set a day for one month or perform three rounds with a one-minute break as a quick hotel workout.
#7 Get Atlas Strong
Atlas is the bronze sculpture of a Titan who holds the earth upon his back. The feeling of this immense weight crushing down on his back is what’s going to happen to your chest.
Handling weights larger than what you can lift by yourself will boost your strength. This, in turn, will allow you to lift more and cause a greater training stimulus.
Negatives of Getting Atlas Strong
Here we’ll use negatives. It involves loading the bar with about 10% more weight than you can normally lift for five reps and slowly lowering the weight at no more than three seconds per rep while a partner helps you lift the weight.
The eccentric or lowering portion is what causes the greatest muscle trauma. Since we can handle greater loads during the eccentric portion of exercises, we’ll overload the muscle even more. In addition to greater muscle trauma this technique acquaints you with holding heavier weights, preparing you to lift heavier as your strength builds and making your normal training weights feel lighter.
To apply this method, start your workout with three sets of five negative reps on the bench press. Be sure your partner assists you with the lifting portion, but not at all with the lowering portion.
By the end of the set you should barely even be able to keep the weight from crushing you with the force of an entire planet.
#8 Try Speed Work
It’s true that training at slow tempos will work wonders on hypertrophy. But, lifting weight rapidly does as well. In order to lift heavy weight without hitting a sticking point or lifting it at all you must lift it quickly.
To get your lifts moving explosively and with more weight add in speed work.
Speed work is best done on a different day than your typical chest workout. Since it’s very light and quick it won’t take much time or cause much muscle damage, but needs to be done fresh for maximal effect.
Add in speed work by doing six sets of six to eight reps with at most 50% of your one rep max, resting 30 to 45 seconds between sets.
This should be done on the compound exercise you’re most looking to improve and that you typically start your chest workout with. The goal is not to increase the weight used. It is to increase the speed of each rep.
Each rep should take at most two seconds. If the reps take longer, it’s the equivalent of hitting failure and you should lower the weight and not complete any more reps.
Do this once per week and you’ll instantly feel how much faster and easier you’re capable of moving weight on chest day.
#9 Shuffle The Deck
The final tip to beefing up your chest workout is to switch things up. Everyone responds best to different methods of training, exercises and rep ranges.
You need to experiment with all these different tips to see what work best for you. It may be that the higher rep range is where you thrive, or it could be with heavy negatives and very little isolation work.
The bottom line is you need to shuffle the deck on your chest training to find your optimal training protocol. If you don’t try, you’ll never know.
But, once you’ve found your groove, you’ll have a few aces up your sleeve to keep taking your chest to that next level.
You’re well armed to chisel out your pecs and have your chest puffed out with the pride of a lion. Now it’s time to get in the gym and under some iron.
If you follow these tips, you can make your chest volume grow too powerful proportions.
By Raphael Konforti, MS, CPT