A well-developed chest involves both defined upper and lower pectoral. To fully build a massive chest, you must work every fiber of your pectoralis and here is how with a chest workout routine for mass.
Muscle Confusion and Muscle Isolation
You must perform a variety of exercises from various angles and using multiple pieces of equipment. To sustain muscle growth week-after-week, you must ensure your muscles do not get accustomed to a single workout routine. In addition to barbell and dumbbell work, you must also incorporate cables and isolation machines.
For the best aesthetic results, you should equally target the upper, middle, lower, and outer parts of your chest. By hitting the muscles from different angles using different chest exercises, you will also achieve maximum growth of all muscle fibers in the shortest time possible, which is conducive to maximizing growth. Using a variety of exercises from different angles will also allow you to fine-tune your training to focus on any lagging areas as well. For instance, if your upper chest were to lag, you would add more movements and angles that would concentrate more on your upper chest, such as adding incline bench press, incline flyes, weighted dips, to name a few.
Here is an example of a basic chest workout hitting the chest from 3 different angles. It also provides toning and effectively works the other supporting muscles. All exercises should be performed using medium-heavy weights, and the target number of reps for each set is listed in brackets (warm-up set doesn’t count):
- Incline Bench Press – 4 Sets (12, 10, 8, 8, 8)
- Dumbbell Bench Press – 4 Sets (12, 10, 8, 8, 8)
- Dumbbell Flyes – 2 Sets (12, 10, 10, 8)
- Decline Bench Press 4 – Sets (12, 10, 8, 8, 6)
- Dips – 4 sets to failure.
- Deep Breathing Barbell pullovers – 4 sets of 15.
Deep breathing pullovers can help stretch your rib cage. Additionally, they also work your triceps and lats. Many people believe you cannot stretch your rib cage and other people think you can. Check out this woman. She has definitely created more space between her ribs, by stretching out her rib cage.
Performing deep breathing barbell pullovers creates depth in your chest so that when you turn sideways, you appear more puffed up. Remember, for pullovers, take as deep of a breath in-between each rep as you possibly can.
Additionally, with the pullovers don’t lock your elbows, you want your arms straight, so don’t lock your arms out. Having proper form is paramount. This chest routine will provide you with a solid base on which to develop a thick, powerful chest. Also, remember to use use a workout log to record your progress, so you know what you have to beat each time you set foot in the gym. Ther are a lot of great apps to log your workouts on your phone.
Chest Workout Routine For Mass – Compound Lifts Over Isolation Movements
Compound chest exercises such as bench press (and variations thereof), pushups, and dips will always help you develop a bigger chest more than isolation movements. Common chest isolation exercises are dumbbell flyes, pec dec, cable crossover, and dumbbell pullover. Although you should not dismiss isolation exercises. Isolation exercises are great finishing exercises and can help build overall shape to your chest. However, the quickest way to build strength and mass is by emphasizing compound movements.
Chest Workout Routine For Mass The Use Of Dumbbells
Compound exercises performed with dumbbells are very effective for developing a perfect chest. Because when you use dumbbells, you allow each side of your body to work independently through the full range of motion.
For Strength Use Heavyweights, Low Reps Over Light Weights, High Reps
No matter how you lift, when you lift heavy with low reps, you will always develop a better pectoral muscle than light weights with high reps. Provide the right stimulus, through heavyweights, and your chest will respond. Always alternate your chest muscle workout routine. You will stall on strength and muscle gains early by doing the same chest routine week in, week out. Especially if you are using the same weights and only changing reps. Your body and your muscles adapt.
The Slow Control Movement To Increase Mass
Time under tension for your muscles is very influential in building mass. Mass is produced fastest when you go to the point where your muscle has run out of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) and no farther. One of the most effective techniques is a 5-5 method.
Chest Workout Routine For Mass Using Methods With Fives
5-5 Method For Mass
In the 5-5 for mass, you want to lift slowly, increasing the time under tension and using all available ATP in your muscles. To do this, you want to use a 5-second count on the contraction a slight pause and 5-second count on the extension. You want to pick a weight that you can do more than five reps this way, preferable seven to ten reps. Perform this for between one and three sets. If you lift to failure or near failure, you can use less set, and you will likely have to drop the weight or rest longer between sets. Do not go longer than 5 seconds, duration as long as 10 seconds can less effective (1).
5×5 Method for Strength
For building strength, the 5×5 method is much simpler. Simply lift a weight that you can do five reps and do that for five sets. Admittedly, you must choose the correct resistance. Correctly, you should use a weight that you are at near failure on the fifth rep so that you could likely not to a sixth. If you fail before five that is great as well, though drop the weight a little and do a set of five. You should perform each rep for strength as fast as you can with control and safety.
Maximizing Each Rep To Build Mass
When you are doing compound exercises for mass, always squeeze your chest muscles hard at the top of each movement. When you squeeze your chest, you get a better pump, and you elicit more muscle fibers (deeper) for more muscle growth.
Raise The Intensity Of Your Workouts.
To raise the intensity, you don’t just add more weight or lift heavier than you should. There are three basic ways to maximize intensity within your workout:
- Increase the number of reps, as well as the number of sets
- Decrease the rest periods
- Increase the amount of weight you lift
There are excellent ways to increase the intensity of your workout, such as:
- Perform supersets
- Perform your routine as a circuit
The Light, Medium and Heavy Cycle Method For Your Chest Workout Routine For Mass
A simple routine to ensure that you are alternating your training and keeping your muscles guessing is alternating light, medium, and heavy days. However, you must ensure that during each workout, you keep the intensity high. First, on the light days, you should be doing more sets in the same amount of time. A fun way to do this is by incorporating supersets, Giants sets, drop sets, etc.
The Amount Of Rest Between Sets
On heavy days you should increase your rest between sets to about 2 to 3 minutes. Your heavy workout will typically last twice as long as your light workout, due to the increased rest.
On moderate days you should rest about one minute between sets.
To maximize growth, you must keep your body guessing by switching out the exercises and rep range regularly. You also should use several different training techniques to optimize intensity and create muscle confusion, which results in better gains.
Three Advanced Techniques You Should Rotate In Occasionally During Your Chest Workout Routine For Mass:
- Forced reps. Forced reps training are an advanced training method, which is employed at the end of an exercise when you are unable to lift the weight on your own. At this point, a spotter gives a small extra push while providing a spot so that you can overload the muscle by getting reps that you could not get on your own.
- Forced Negatives. To accomplish this technique, you would choose a heavier weight, and your partner would help you lift the weight, and you would slowly control the load during the downward movement. For example, if you usually would use 225 pounds for eight reps on a bench press, you would instead use 350 pounds and slowly lower the weight after receiving help lifting it off. Your partner would also assist you during the upward movement by pulling the weight off your chest while you are pressing the weight up. Be cautious on how often you use forced negatives because it plays havoc on your joints. However, if you do forced negative, don’t do it more than once a month. Consequently, this technique can provide benefits and can help you break through plateaus.
- Slow Negatives. Slow negatives is a technique typically used at the end of a set when your muscles are failing, but you want to get more out of the set to drive it into the critical “growth phase.” You perform slow negatives by merely slowing down the eccentric portion of the exercise. In the case of the bench press, the eccentric part for your chest is the lowering of the bar.
Advance Techniques To Use Frequently
- Pyramiding the weight until you find a weight where you can only do 4 to 6 reps. This is a method to build muscle strength and mass. Once you find your target weight, then get three good sets in at that weight. The three sets of 4-6 build strength. Next, you want to pyramid down, reducing the weight each time. On each pyramid down set, you should push to failure at higher and higher reps. The higher reps as you drop the resistance will build mass.
- Drop Sets. Drop Sets, also known as Descending Sets, is the most basic and yet one of the best techniques to maximize intensity. You begin by reaching failure with a weight, as soon as you hit failure, lessen the load, and then continue the set until you reach failure again. Equally important, when you drop the weight, you want to minimize the rest time. You want to set the weight up so that you can reduce the weight quickly. For example, let’s say you were to bench 225. If you reached failure at 12 reps, you would strip the weight down to 185 pounds and continue. To do this, you should set the weight up with two 10 pound weights on the end of the bar to quickly remove them. A single drop or descending set is when you lower the resistance once. A double drop or descending set is when you reduce the weight twice (for instance from 225 – 185, then from 185 – 135 pounds).
- Supersets. A Superset is a technique where two or more exercises are performed back to back. When you do three exercises in succession, it is referred two as a tri-set superset. You can do supersets in two different ways. One way is doing two different exercises in a row that target the same muscles. Another way is by doing two exercises in a row that target two different muscle groups. Supersets work best when targeting opposing muscle groups. Performing them this way allows for a better pump, as well as more reps.
When trying to build mass on a specific body part, one out of every three workouts should focus on heavier weights. Consequently, you must take more rest between sets when lifting heavy. Although even on your heavy day, you can always finish the workout with a lower weight to do 8-12 reps to finish with a high pump.
Building A Massive Chest Is Not Just Weight Training
To get that massive chest, it is also essential that you get proper rest and good nutrition so that you can fully recover. Remember to develop significant and full muscles you work them hard and break them down, then feed and rest them so that they grow back bigger and stronger.
And always remember that REST is the most critical factor in muscle growth! Always be aware of signs of overtraining. Symptoms of overtraining include lethargy (tiredness), aches, and pains for extended periods, reduced strength, reduced stamina and lowered immunity. If you experience these symptoms, stop working out, take rest, and start back with a new routine. Also remember that proper nutrition, especially immediately following a workout, and for the several hour’s post-workout is an essential component to getting the most out of a workout. Training hard, without feeding the muscle aggressively will result in minimal gains. Additionally, failure to get enough calories and proper nutrition can also result in overtraining.
Examples of Chest Exercises
Incline Barbell Bench Press
When doing standard Incline Barbell Press use a slightly wider than shoulder-width grip. Let your partner unrack the weight. Steady the weight above your chest and bring it slowly down. Let it touch your chest and then push it back up. You shouldn’t lock your elbows at the top of the movement, because this allows your muscles to rest.
Muscles Worked: Pectorals, secondary emphasis on triceps, and front deltoids. Incline press places more stress on the deltoids than the flat bench press because of the angle.
Incline Dumbbell Press
With dumbbells, the only difference between this movement and the flat dumbbell press is the way you start the exercise and the muscles it stresses. Sit on an incline bench with the dumbbells resting on your quads. You want to bring them up so that your hands are just above shoulder height. With heavier weight, this is not easy.
How to bring dumbbells to your chest
An easy way to get the dumbbells into position setting the ends of them on your knees and then pushing them up one leg at a time with your legs. Since lifting with your legs throws the weight up and back where you can bring it to rest near your front delts and upper pecs.
Executing Incline Dumbbell Press
From there, slowly push the weight up and squeeze the dumbbells closer together along the way. Lower the weight slowly and repeat. Additionally, you can pause at the top of the movement, and consciously try to flex your pecs to maximize the stress.
Muscles Worked: Pectorals, secondary emphasis on triceps, and front deltoids. You may feel this movement places more stress on your deltoids than the flat bench press because of the angle.
Flat Dumbbell Press And Barbell Press
For dumbbell press, start seated on a bench with the weights resting up and down on your quads. Lay back and swing the weights back to the point where the corners of each dumbbell is just touching your outer pecs. Push the weight up, bringing them slightly closer together at the top of the movement. Lower the weight back down slowly. You can use double the time rule two seconds on the way down for every second on the way up.
For barbell press, first, make sure you have a spotter, or use a power rack with safety rails. Lay the bench so that the racked weight is just a bit behind your shoulders. Use a wider than shoulder-width grip, but don’t go too wide or you’ll reduce your range of motion too much. You can have your spotter help you unrack the bar or not. Lower the weight slowly down till it touches your chest. Bring it back up with just as much control.
Muscles Worked: Pectorals, secondary emphasis on triceps, and front deltoids.
Incline Dumbbell Flyes
You’ll need to use a lighter weight for this chest exercise than the pressing movements. As with the other dumbbell movements, you’ll need to kick the dumbbells up from your legs to get them in position, especially with the incline flies.
Press the weight up as with any other pressing movement to get started. With your elbows bent a little less than 90°, lower the weight down by separating the dumbbells apart. Slow down a lot towards the bottom of the movement so that when you switch directions to squeeze the weight back up, you don’t tear anything. Keep the elbows bent at the same angle throughout the entire arc. Stop just short of touching the dumbbells together.
Muscles Worked: Pectorals mainly upper and outer pecs, secondary emphasis on triceps and front deltoids.
Flat Dumbbell Flies
For this chest exercise, you will need a flat bench and a set of dumbbells. Sit down on the edge of a bench with a dumbbell in each hand. Lie back, keeping the dumbbells close to your chest. Then lift the dumbbells over your chest by extending your arms. Maintain a slight bend in your elbows. Keep your hips and shoulders flat on the bench, and your feet planted firmly on the floor.
Your arms should be slightly bent and slightly wider than shoulders, and your palms should be facing each other. Keeping a slight bend in the arms, slowly lower the dumbbells to the sides of your body in an arc-like motion. At the lowest point, your bent elbows should be on a horizontal plane, even with the bench. Slowly bring the weights back up over your chest in an arc. Imagine that you are circling your arm just like hugging a tree trunk. The bend in your elbows should remain constant throughout the exercise. As with the other lifts, remember to squeeze your chest muscles hard and focus on your pecs doing most of the work instead of your biceps, triceps, and deltoids.
Muscles Worked: Pectorals particularly outer pecs, secondary emphasis on triceps and front deltoids. Incline variety places more stress on upper pecs.
The critical point to remember here is you need to feel the stretch. Explicitly, it means going all the way down to see the full benefit of the exercise. If you’re getting sets of 10 and 15 without straining too hard, then you probably need to add some more resistance, using a weight belt or by simply cradling a dumbbell between your legs.
To increase the role the pecs play in this movement, point your elbows outward. Keeping them tucked in and back forces your triceps to bear the brunt of the load and is not necessarily bad, but you need to decide whether you’re doing it for your chest or your triceps.
Muscles Worked: Pectorals particularly outer pecs, a strong emphasis on triceps.
Decline Bench Press
Decline movements may not be essential for your training but can be useful to rotate in to confuse your muscles. Although, most bodybuilders have a much harder time developing their upper pecs compared to the lower pecs. Occasionally, you should throw these into a workout as a substitute for the incline or flat presses to add some variety. Variety is vital because it prevents your muscles from getting too used to the same routine and stagnating.
For decline press, you need a unique bench with a place to hook your legs so that you don’t slide down off the bench. If your gym doesn’t have one, you can still do decline dumbbell presses using a decline sit-up board. From that point, the execution is the same as any other pressing motion.
Muscles Worked: Pectorals mainly lower part of the pecs, secondary emphasis on triceps.
Decline Dumbbell Bench Press
If you’re working with heavy dumbbells, you’ll probably have to have help getting them up for the first rep because it’s a real bear to try and curl them up off the ground onto your chest. If you’re using a barbell, then have your partner unrack the weight and stabilize it for you.
Muscles Worked: Pectorals notably lower pecs, secondary emphasis on triceps.
Stand in between the pulleys of an adjustable-pulley-rack. Move the pulleys so that they are at or above shoulder height. You may have to experiment to decide what you like best. Adjust both sides to be the same weight and grab one of the handles. Pull yourself over to the other side and grab the opposite handle. Move back to the center and let the weight pull your arms out, so they are nearly straight out. Bend your elbows slightly and lean forward at about a 60-degree angle. Pull your hands across your body so that they meet in front of you. For an even more fabulous squeeze, cross one hand under the other and alternate which hand goes on top each rep.
Note: do not to let the weight jerk your arms back to the starting position.
Muscles Worked: Pectorals, particularly inner pecs.
Additional Tips/Suggestions for Developing a Perfect Chest:
Your chest workout should include at least two warm-up sets, some light stretching and some heavy poundage on the work sets. A good routine is at least three sets of three different exercises. For high intensity, all of the sets are done to complete failure except perhaps the very first set which is considered a partial warm-up set.
Isolate Your Pectoralis During Your Chest Workout Routine For Mass
To get maximum development, it is crucial to isolate the resistance on the chest as much as possible with strict training technique. Such a method requires the controlled movement of the weight over the chest with your back and shoulders planted firmly on a flat or incline workout bench. Additionally, it is essential to lift your ribcage and move your shoulders back, so that you can remove your lats from the lift. Similarly, this allowing you to focus and concentrate the force on the chest. Using the lats occasionally to handle big lifts is fine, but know that you are “cheating.” Unfortunately, many beginning bodybuilders have more enthusiasm than knowledge when it comes to performing isolation workouts for their chest correctly. As a result, too many beginners start out working with a weight that is too heavy to handle without cheating on their chest training technique.
Use a weight you can handle
Never work with more weight than you can lift naturally and with proper training technique; unless you have a spotter and you are using advanced techniques to shock the muscle. These rules mainly apply with flat bench and incline dumbbell flyes. Both of these exercises require careful, a deliberate movement to get the most from your isolation chest training. So don’t blow it by trying to impress or keep up with anybody else. Especially if you’re new and just starting. Use safe amounts of weight with proper technique, and you’ll soon build the big, muscular chest that you desire! Always rep out on the last set of the exercise.
Always attack your chest from various angles.
A proper chest workout should have three parts to it. One exercise needs to be a mass builder, a compound movement where you use as much weight as you can and still do 6-10 controlled reps. Typically this can be flat barbell press or incline dumbbell presses. Next, every chest routine should exercise your upper chest. Incline flies, incline dumbbell press or incline barbell press all to work well. Finally, to carve out the valley between your pecs, you need some a crossover movement. Dumbbell flies and Dips work well here. Advanced bodybuilders who already have a good base of mass can go into cable movements, pec dec, etc. You can throw in decline presses occasionally as well.
Summary for Developing a Perfect Chest
To build the chest muscles fast:
- Emphasize compound movements, like the press. Compound movements build mass better, especially because you can go heavier.
- Vary the angle of the exercises. Each different perspective you use with any chest muscle exercises will reach into different fibers in your chest muscles. You need to use a variety of chest muscle exercises to hit your pecs at various angles to effectively stimulate massive muscle growth.
- Employ muscle confusion principles. To confuse your muscles, you must modality, the weight, the number of sets, and the number of reps.
- Vary the exercises. All chest exercises work your chest muscle but from different angles which places a variety of stress on your chest. You need to use a variety of chest muscle exercises to hit your pecs at various aspects to effectively stimulate massive muscle growth.
- Use free weights. You should especially use dumbbells instead of machines. You should avoid chest workouts that use many chest machines. There are many disadvantages, such as not incorporating many stabilizing muscles. Your chest muscles will not grow as fast because machine exercises lack the involvement of synergistic muscles or supporting tissues. One exception to this is the Pec Dec. The Pec Dec is designed to have constant resistance throughout the fly movement, which you can’t get for cables or dumbbells.
- Use a full range of motion. Always work on the full range of motion and squeeze your chest muscles hard at every top of each movement.
- Control the weight. Always lower your load slowly and deliberately fighting gravity to provide more resistance to your chest muscles and therefore elicit more muscle fibers for more muscle growth.
- Do not overtrain. You should only work your chest muscles hard once every five to seven days.
- Work supporting muscles. You should include shoulder-saving rotator cuff exercises because no one can train while injured.
- Follow proper form. Do not forget the importance of proper form. Failure to follow appropriate form can slow results and can also increase your risk for injuries.
- Eat right. Be sure to follow a well-balanced nutrition plan.
- Do not forget intensity. If you want to see improvements, you must train hard!