There is a good reason social media sites are flooded with “international chest day” updates every Monday.
Possessing a big, well sculpted chest is the dream of many trainers out there, and for good reason – it is one of the most readily visible indicators of all your hard work, and with proper training and diet a very aesthetic look can be achieved.
The first step
I always touch on this point when detailing how to build a great body, but it’s a point that can never be stressed enough. Make sure you’re getting enough food for your body to grow! A proper chest session should leave you feeling extremely drained and have your body crying out for nutrients afterwards – consuming a high protein content whey protein shake with added carbs such as maltodextrin or dextrose will massively enhance your recovery and ensure that maximum gains are achieved.
There are some great workouts for building chest mass, but with so many routines targeted at so many different audiences, it can be hard to know exactly what to include in your routine. As a general rule, for building mass you should be aiming for only being able to push out 8-10 reps per set. Any less, this will build strength over size, and if you’re able to do more than 8-10 reps per set, you aren’t lifting heavy enough.
Here is a sample chest routine that myself and many others have used to build a great chest – it’s tried and tested to work for anyone wanting to enhance their pecs!
Flat Bench Press – 4 sets of 8 – 12 reps
The bench press is included in almost every chest routine out there, and for good reason. If done properly with good form, the movement engages the entire pectoral muscle and gives a huge pump. A tip that most new trainers find very helpful is to make sure you are bringing the barbell down to just below your chest on the negative, and using explosive force to push the barbell up to above the mid line of your chest on the positive.
This is best done with a spotter to ensure you can work to failure without risk of getting the bar stuck on your last rep.
Incline Dumbbell Press – 4 sets of 8 -12 reps
Although very similar to the barbell bench press, the dumbbell press engages more stabilising muscles due to needing to keep each separate weight in the correct position. The reason to include an incline press in your workout is to really hit the upper pectoral and front deltoid muscles. If you find this exercise puts too much strain on your shoulders, try lowering the inclination of the bench to put more of the weight back onto your chest.
Flat Dumbell Flyes – 3 sets of 8 – 12 reps
The most important aspect of flyes is form – making sure to keep your elbows bent and really stretching out the chest muscle is a great mass builder. They are also an excellent addition to any chest workout for ensuring you don’t leave the gym with tensed muscles more prone to post workout pain.
It is also advisable to add 1 or 2 sets of dumbbell flyes before you start your workout, working at a very light weight to warm the chest and shoulders up for the heavier weights you will be lifting.
Cable Flyes – 3 sets of 8 – 12 reps
To finish off, we go with cable flyes to finish stretching out our chest, and give a very full looking pump. There are several variations of cable flyes, and which you choose depends on which area of your chest you feel needs most work – for developing the upper chest, try setting the cables on the top notch of the machine, and bringing them across your body down to your hips, really tensing at the bottom of the rep and holding for a few seconds. For developing the lower chest, try setting them on a lower notch and pull the cables forward, finishing with both of your hands held perfectly in front of you level with your chest. Again, holding this rep for a few seconds really hits the muscle hard.
Developing a big chest is a difficult hurdle that many of us struggle at. Whilst muscle groups such as legs or the back tend to be generally more responsive growth, it takes real dedication and a lot of hard work in the gym to developed that sculpted, well rounded chest. Keep increasing the weight you lift week after week, get the proper nutrition in, and most importantly be consistent, the chest you always dreamed of might be just around the corner.