How to Build a Strong and Muscular Chest
Aren’t getting the gains you want from your chest routine? If this is the case, it could be due to a variety of mistakes. Maybe you’re focusing on the wrong exercises or doing the right ones the wrong way. Or perhaps you’re routine lacks the needed variety. Keep reading if you want to find out how to finally reach your pec goals.
Top Chest Routines Based on Goals
Whether you’ve hit a plateau or you’re a beginner, it’s imperative to know your specific goals. They will be what determine important factors in your program, such as the quantity of repetitions and sets. Also, before starting any routine, be sure to have a nutrition plan in place that promotes muscle. This entails taking muscle supplements and consuming the right amount of protein, which is roughly 1 g for each lean pound every day.
The most widespread error that people make when training their chest is focusing too much on the bottom part. This diminishes the top part, which ultimately makes the chest as a whole look disproportional. Hence, it’s important to include exercises that target ALL parts. So only doing a couple sets on the bench press would be a mistake. One way to hit each area is to vary both the angle and grip width of chest exercises, such as the pushup.
The top part of the chest is known as the clavicular pectoralis, which is a smaller muscle that can be difficult to grow. It is separate from the pectoralis major, which is the main muscle. Both of them have a lot of differences, such as muscle fiber positioning. Nerves are shared between the two though. There are also certain exercises that can target them both at once, which is good for the sake of both time and efficiency.
OK let’s break things down based on specific goals. If you’re looking to gain strength and bulk, you should concentrate on doing smaller repetition ranges (~6-7) with heavier weight (~85% of one repetition maximum). If you want more stamina and lean definition, you should basically do the opposite which is bigger rep ranges with lesser weight. If your goal is somewhere in the middle, try doing high intensity interval training and drop sets.
Top Chest Exercises
Certain chest exercises are definitely better than others. The most effective ones will target the max quantity of muscular fibers, which will promote overload. Overload is important because the muscles must go to a point of failure in order to progress. However, note that if you can’t lift it with good form, then the weight is too much. Safety is important too! Now let’s go over which specific exercises have been shown to be most effective along with their respective reps and sets:
-Bench press with barbell (~3 sets X ~7reps)
-Incline bench press with barbell (~3 sets X ~7 reps)
-Press with dumbbells (~3 sets X ~7 reps)
-Incline press with dumbbells (~3 sets X ~7 reps)
-Chest dips (~3 sets X ~7 reps) *use a weight belt if possible
-Pushups (~3 sets X ~10 reps)
Again, variety is an important factor, so be sure to mix up the arrangement of exercises. Also, you should try to get to the point of failure by the end of every set.
Machines or Free Weights?
The debate of machines versus free weights is a hot topic in the realm of bodybuilding. Generally speaking, the truth is that free weights are better than machines. This is because free weights also work the stabilizing muscles. This is especially true with dumbbells, since they allow a wide range of movement. However, supplementing with machine work can be beneficial for the seasoned bodybuilder that wants to enhance muscular definition. Some exercise examples for this scenario would be the dumbbell fly and the cable crossover.
Technique and Form
You can get injured if you use improper form with any type of exercise. With pushup type of exercises like the bench press, the shoulders are the susceptible area. To prevent such an injury, you should make sure that the elbows are kept at an angle of approximately 25 degrees relative to the torso. When at the lower lift portion, don’t let the chest go flat (roll the shoulders). Always have the back somewhat arched. Also always have the shoulder blades firmly pressed together in order to align the spine and propel the chest up. To help prevent injury with the press with dumbbells, be certain to rotate the hands when at the lower portion of each repetition and allow the dumbbells to reach a low point.
Beginners should try to get in a chest workout about every four to six days. They should also begin the workout with the bench press followed by the press with dumbbells. As they get more advanced, this order should be mixed up with the additional exercises mentioned thrown in too. They should also eventually increase the weight at slight increments as they get stronger. Last but not least, everyone should rest between sets for about a couple of minutes. This allows the muscles to recuperate for more sets.
If you put the chest routine tips mentioned in to practice, you should definitely start to get the results that you want. But be sure to remember that a good workout plan doesn’t make up for a poor nutrition plan and vice versa. So consume the right foods and muscle building supplements too.
What are your current chest goals? Are you a beginner or more advanced? Leave a comment with your answers and anything else you’d like to share!