Everyone wants a huge chest, plain and simple. It is all too common to see inexperienced lifters slaving away on endless sets of bench presses and cable crossovers in search of full, thick pecs. The reality is that there is nothing complicated about building an impressive chest. The bottom line for huge chest gains is consistency, effort and steady progression in weight and repetitions.
The chest is made up of two main heads, the pectoralis major and the pectoralis minor. To stimulate the chest using weights you will be using one of two motions: a press or a flye. If you want the greatest bang for your buck from your chest workouts, the true gains lie in your pressing movements.
Flyes may have their place from time to time, but nothing can compare to the overall anabolic effect of high intensity pressing movements. I’m talking about the basic, bread-and-butter lifts such as heavy barbell presses, dumbbell presses and wide-grip dips. Save the pec-deck and cable crossovers for the pencil necked geeks on the treadmill; real men train with real lifts.
Like I said before, building a thick and well-developed chest is fairly simple. There are no secrets, magic formulas or killer techniques that will “shock” your chest into massive growth. Stick to your basic presses, focus on overload and progression, and I promise that you will see impressive gains. Here are the most effective lifts for packing muscle onto the chest:
Flat/Incline/Decline Barbell Bench Press:
A standard barbell press is the meat and potatoes of any effective chest routine. This basic compound movement will allow you to handle the most weight through the given range of motion. The incline press will shift more of the stress to the upper region of the chest while the decline does the opposite, targeting the lower/outer region. The flat bench press works the upper and lower regions equally. I highly recommend a standard barbell press as a basic component of your chest routine.
Flat/Incline/Decline Dumbbell Press:
Dumbbell presses are another basic and highly effective movement for stimulating chest development. The main advantage that they have over the barbell is that they allow you to move through a more natural range of motion, helping to prevent shoulder injuries. They also prevent strength imbalances from occurring since one arm can’t cheat for the other. The only drawback is that you are not able to handle as much weight. Overall, a standard dumbbell press is an awesome movement that allows for great chest stimulation.
An amazing movement for the chest that is often overlooked. Make sure to use a wider grip and lean forward to shift the stress from the triceps onto the pectorals. If pressing your own body weight is not sufficient then you can always add weight using a weight belt. Dips are an excellent compound movement for overall chest development.
Here are a couple sample chest routines:
1) Flat Barbell Bench Press: 2 x 5-7
Incline Dumbbell Press: 2 x 5-7
Wide-Grip Dips: 2 x 5-7
2) Incline Barbell Bench Press: 2 x 5-7
Wide-Grip Dips: 2 x 5-7
Flat Dumbbell Press: 2 x 5-7
All sets should stay within the 5-7 rep range and should be taken to complete muscular failure. Write down the details of each workout you perform and focus on progressing in either weight or reps from week to week. There is nothing more to it than that. Good luck!