Ultimate Chest Workouts – The Best Chest Workout for Mass and Shape
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Monday is for chest workout, this is our routine in gym.
Not only our gym monday is the national chest workout day.
Let’s create a workout routine that helps you to build your chest muscles faster.
There are lots of chest workout variations . if you search in youtube there are tons of workouts that you can use on your chest routine.
When i started my workouts is am a fan of doing lots of exercise variation's i find over internet.
I tried different exercises.
People are actually fan of doing a lots of exercise variations.
It will be good for your personal satisfaction, but not for building a good developed pecs.
It took me years to find out what actually works.
I have detailed the process of creating your own workout routine .
Here we will look into creating routine for your chest.
First lets look into the anatomy of chest.
Your chest muscles are made up of two muscle groups
Pectoralis major and pectoralis minor.
The pectoralis major muscle is a fan shaped muscle. It make up the bulk of your chest muscle.
The pectoralis minor lies under your pectoralis major. It origins from the 3rd, 4th and 5th rib and insert into the coracoid process of scapula. Its function is to stabilize the scapula.
The pectoralis major can be divided into two the clavicular head and the sternal head.
The clavicular head originates from the anterior surface of the clavicle pass obliquely downwards and insert into the intertubercular groove of upper arm.
The sternal head originates from the anterior surface of sternum and 2nd and 6th rib and insert into the intertubercular groove of upper arm.
Pectoralis muscles are responsible for the shoulder joint movement. The actions involve lifting your arms from front (flexion )and side (adduction) and Internal rotation of the arms like in arm wrestling.
If we look further into the function of clavicular and sternal you can notice that clavicular head(upper chest muscle) is responsible for flexion, horizontal adduction, and internal rotation of upper arms.
While sternal head is responsible for the downward and forward movement.
Routine that focus your upper pecs:
A good workout routine will help you to develop both clavicular(upper pecs) and sternal head(lower pecs).
Proper growth of both upper and lower pecs will give a fuller and bigger chest. The lack of growth of your upper chest results from a bad workout routine.
Majority of routine focus mainly on the middle portion of your chest.
If you have a well developed lower pecs and you can't see your upper pecs pooping out, that will be a mistake of your routine. Overdeveloped lower chest will look like man boobs.
You have to train your upper chest harder than lower chest. It's hard to build your upper chest , so put 60 % effort on your upper pecs and remaining 40 on your lower pecs.
This will help you to develop a fully developed chest muscle.
Tip: Give more emphasis to exercise that focus on upper chest muscle!
The Workout Tips
Doing a lot a flyes or pec dec will not help you to get big chest. Of course you will get the satisfying muscle pump, but not enough for bigger muscle.
You have to do compound lifts like barbell bench press, incline barbell press for inducing hypertrophy in chest muscles.
Compound exercise will help you to lift more weights.
Compound lifts like bench press will will also work your secondary muscles like your triceps and deltoids.
Doing a lost of reps:
Doing 10 -15 reps won't help you build muscles faster. Researches had shown that 4-8 rep ranges will help you to add more muscle and strength.
4-8 reps enable you to lift more weight to the end your sets, as you will not be exhausted with 4-8 reps.
Try to lift the weight that are 60-80% of your 1 rep max ( the maximum weight that you can lift for one rep). That way you will create maximum stimulus for growth.
Your working sets will be like
Don't forget Progressive overload:
Choose those exercise that help you to progressively overload.
You have to increase the weights lifted each set. Increase the weight when you hit your target reps.
You Don't need to increase 10 or 20 kg even 1 or 2 kg is enough. The goal here is to increase the weight lifted.
When you are a beginner you can increase weight by 10 or 20 kg(As you progress this will became difficult). Adding 1 or 2kg will be enough to keep you on your goal to maximum muscle growth.
Equipments for chest workout
To do chest workout you will need a press bench , barbell, weight plates, dumbbell ,dip stand.
Press bench will have a stand attached to bench for placing bar. There will be also incline and decline press benches available at most health clubs.
You can even use an adjustable bench and power rack dto do a bench press. Power rack will help you to lift weights safely without the help of a spotter. Power rack is a square metal frame that has holes every 2 inch in its vertical posts and has two horizontal support bars.
For press you can use a standard olympic barbell (7ft long and weighs 20 kg).
Dumbbell and weight plates
Dip stand consists of two horizontal bar parallel to each other, attached to two vertical posts.
How to do a bench press?
Start by lying on the bench with your back. Your eyes should be under bar. Grip the bar with your little finger on the rings on the bar.
Unrack the bar by straightening your arms. Start the workout by lowering the bar to your mid-chest.
Lower the bar until it touches your mid chest .
Press back to starting position( directly above shoulders).
That constitutes one rep, repeat for required number of reps.
Bench press proper form
Rack the bar on the press bench. Lie on the bench with your back while maintaining natural arc of your spine.
Your butt must be fixed on bench and your feet flat on the floor.
Squeeze your shoulder blades at the back,this will help to disengage your shoulders during press.
Hold the bar with full grip by wrapping your fingers around the bar. Hold it directly above your forearms. It will avoid the rolling of wrist backwards (extension) while pressing.
Remember to squeeze the bar throughout the workout, this will help you to lift more weight.
Squeezing the bar sends a signal to the rotator cuff – through a process called irradiation – to pack itself. This provides more stability to the shoulder joint, which is never a bad thing when you're trying to hoist heavy loads off your chest.
Squeezing will also helps you to decrease the fear of lifting heavy weights.
Unrack the weights by extending your arms at elbows. Move the bar and keep it above your shoulders, this is your starting position. Hold the bar at this position, the bar is stable while above shoulders.
Lower the weight to your mid chest until the bar touches your chest.
While lowering the bar don't flare out your arms outwards, it will put your shoulders at the risk of injury.
Keeping your upper arms too close to body is not effective. It is best to keep your upper arms at 60 -75 degree at the lower portion of your press.
If you feel pain in your shoulders,move your upper arms closer to your body. This will reduce the involvement of shoulders.
During workout your forearms must be vertical this will ensure a good form.
When the bar touches the chest, push the bar back to starting position. This will complete one rep.
The bar moves diagonally from top to bottom and return. It moves from shoulder to mid chest then to shoulders.
Finish with the required reps and rack the bar safely.
Don't push the bar from chest to rack directly. Instead push the bar to starting position with arms fully extended and elbows locked, then move the bar to the stand.
If you don't have a spotter use a power rack with horizontal bars attached to catch the bar. I once have to roll the weight to my legs,as the gym floor was empty. This happened in my beginner days, so the weight lifted was light.
It will not be a pleasant experience to roll heavy weights over your abs!
Smith machine is also used in chest workout. They feel it safe to do a bench press as the machine will balance the bar for you.
But the machine restrict the movement of the bar. It allows the bar to move in vertical path.
In bench press as we said earlier the bar should move diagonally. So smith machine is not good for bench press.
There are advanced smith machine that allow both vertical and horizontal movement. They will allow free movement of bar.
How to do an Incline bench press?
You cannot isolate upper chest from your lower chest. In normal bench press your whole chest muscle will do the work with more emphasis on middle part of chest.
As the angle of bench moves from horizontal to vertical the muscle that work will also move from middle to upper chest to shoulder.
While keeping your bench at 45 degree you can give more emphasis on your upper chest.
Start the workout by lying on the incline bench with your back with its natural arc and butt fixed on bench.
Squeeze your shoulder blades together.
Grab the bars with your little finger on the rings of the bar.
Unrack the bar with straight arms and keep it over your shoulders. This is your starting position.
Lower the weight to your upper chest and push back to starting position. Then breathe.
Complete as many reps.
How to do a Dumbbell bench press?
Dumbbell bench press are done same as that of barbell press.
Lift the dumbbell off the floor and keep it on your thighs close to your chest.
Lie on the bench.
Press the dumbbell off your chest. Balance the dumbbells over your shoulders and keep your arms straight.
Lower the weights to the sides with your upper arm 75 degree with your torso at the bottom. During the workout your forearms must be vertical.
Dumbbell press are effective if you have strength imbalance. If one arm is stronger than other , then it will do most of the lifting in barbell press. When done with dumbbells both arms will work equally. This will help to strengthen the weaker side over time.
Dumbbell press are shoulder friendly workouts.
You can go heavy with barbells than you do with dumbbells. So use barbell press as your main exercise.
How to do an Incline Dumbbell squeeze press?
When you lie on an incline bench and press both hands together, your upper chest get more activation.
Lie on an incline bench with dumbbells in both hands.
Press the dumbbells against each other and keep this throughout the workout.
Push the dumbbells until arms are fully extended and above your shoulders.
While doing this keep your chest up and shoulder blades squeezed at the back.
Squeeze press will increase the time under tension of pec muscles. it's also a shoulder friendly exercise.
Do squeeze press after your barbell press as a good finishing exercise.
How to do Dips ?
Raise yourself on the dip bar until your arms are straight. Lower your body by bending at your elbows.
Don't stop when your upper arms are parallel to floor, lower yourself till your shoulder level lower than elbows. But don't lower too much to stretch your chest muscles, it will stress your shoulders.
The best exercises to build chest muscle
Flat bench barbell press
Incline bench press
Incline dumbbell squeeze press
Dips -chest version
*does not include warm up sets, do 2-3 warm up sets with light weights before doing working sets.
Rest for 60- 90 s between sets, good for muscle growth. This give your muscles enough time to restore its energy stores.
Do this workout once every week.
A good workout is not enough for building huge pecs you have get good nutrition, supplements and rest.
Muscle growth happens outside gym. So take care of your nutrition and get enough sleep.