Getting the optimal workout can be challenge if you are focusing on the wrong exercises and reps. In this article, we are going to cover the best chest workouts that will help you target the specific areas you want while also aiding your strength & power.
The Major Problems With Your Current Chest Workout
The main problem with almost every chest workout routine is that it only focuses on the middle portion of the chest with basic exercises like the barbell bench press and dumbbell fly. An impressive chest has developed every section of the pectorals – most importantly the upper chest (pectoralis major).
Developing a chiseled upper chest will set you apart with your physique and will give people the illusion that your chest is bigger than it really is. It will make you look awesome in V-neck’s, and also put your bench press numbers through the roof – a double win!
Another problem is that some people are under the impression that big chests are built with pec flys, machines, and high reps: not the case. In this article we will discuss what actually works.
Developing The Upper Chest for Maximum Aesthetics & Strength
Having a really well developed chest starts with your mindset to training. Most lifters simply think that they want a “big chest”, but to get a full chest you have to develop each section of your pectorals. This is the difference between having an aesthetic physique and not.
If your lower chest is too big and you have a very undeveloped upper chest, it may give off the illusion that you have “man boobs” instead of chiseled pectoral muscles. This image illustrates the different areas of the chest that must be developed to achieve a full look:
Developing both pec major and pec minor will have a dramatic effect on aesthetics & strength. Take a strategic approach to chest training for maximum development of all sections.
First, lets cover the forgotten but important chest muscle!
The Forgotten Chest Muscle
Your upper chest is actually a separate muscle called the “clavicular pectoralis.” The best chest workouts put just as much emphasis on this section of the chest as the middle to lower portions. This is what creates aesthetics! The tricky part about having a well-developed chest is that it takes much longer to build the clavicular pectoralis.
In fact – if you don’t know what you’re doing you could spend 10 plus years in the gym and never develop the clavicular pectoralis.
Let’s first dive into the 3 rules of training that you MUST follow.
Ultimate Chest Development Laws & Best Chest Exercise Selections
1. HEAVY PROGRESSIVE OVERLOAD
Since your pectorals are a large muscle group you need to train them with heavy resistance and progressive overload. What this means is that you have to lift heavy in the 3-8-rep range for the majority of your chest exercises. Despite what the guru’s and bodybuilding magazines say, this is how you build mass.
The best exercises include the dumbbell bench press, barbell bench press, dumbbell incline bench press, and the barbell incline bench press.
If you don’t put a heavy load on your pecs, you will not stimulate maximum hypertrophy and growth.
It’s no secret that you absolutely have to be bench pressing and performing the chest related compound movements close to your 1 rep max.
A good rule of thumb to follow is that you should make sure that 80 percent of your compound sets are done at 70-80+ percent of your 1 rep max. So if your bench press max is 300 lbs, you will want to make sure you are doing sets of 210-240 lbs at minimum.
“Repping out” and chasing the “pump” in the 15-20 rep range may feel good, but the pump is short lived, and it won’t translate into maximal muscle growth. Save it for the end of your workout and focus most of your efforts on training heavy.
If you’ve spent years “chasing the pump”, you will experience a serious surge in gains by switching to this training methodology.
2. BIG BASIC LIFTS = AESTHETICS, STRENGTH, POWER.
The biggest mistake that many people make with their chest workouts is that they don’t focus on big, compound lifts. How many of your chest days involve pec dec machines & 100’s of pec flyes? Here’s the truth: these exercises are literally a complete waste of time. You will never build any muscle with the pec dec machine.
This is the problem with so many training routines, stick with the proven basic lifts that work.
If you want your chest to grow, stick with the big three: barbell & dumbbell bench press, barbell & dumbell incline press, heavy dips. No machines, no pec decs. Sorry guys, this is the key to full chest development.
3. FULL CHEST DEVELOPMENT
The most important rule to having a fully developed chest is that you must work the upper chest just as much as your lower chest. Since your upper chest muscles are the most stubborn for growth they will need just as much attention.
Not to mention, if your bench press has been plateaued for a while, hitting your upper chest hard may be exactly what you need to break through it.
Most people focus 90-95% of their chest workout on the lower-mid pectoral muscle development without even knowing it. It should actually be closer to 50-50.
The best chest workouts will grow the upper and lower sections equally.
Chest Workout Routine to Follow:
1. Barbell Bench Press
- Sets: 4
- Reps: 5
- Rest Time: 90-180 Seconds
2. Dumbbell Incline Press
- Sets: 4
- Reps: 8-12
- Rest Time: 90 Seconds
3. Barbell Incline Bench Press
- Sets: 4
- Reps: 6-8
- Rest Time: 90 Seconds
4. Weighted Dips (Chest Version)
- Sets: 4
- Reps: 8
- Rest Time: 2 Minutes
5. Flat Dumbbell Press
- Sets: 4
- Reps: 10
- Rest Time: 1 Minute
That’s it! No drop-sets, super-sets, tri-sets, pre-exhaustion sets, or anything like that. Just proven exercises that actually build muscle. Don’t go until failure for every set, leave 2-3 reps in the tank, save your max effort set for the last set of each exercise. So for example if you can bench press 225 for 5 reps, do 205-210 for 4 sets of 5, then 225 for your last set of 5.
Adding Fuel to The Fire: Supplementation.
If you really want to take your training to the next level, you need to prime your body with supplements that enable you to train harder and recover faster.
99% of supplements on the market today are a complete joke, literally useless, and some are even counter productive.
The pre-workout ALTIUS will give you an instant surge of clean energy, a clear mental focus, and endurance in the gym. You will notice an increase in strength, pumps, and the ability to maintain peak performance in your training session.
It is also naturally sweetened and flavored while still maintaining a refreshing, phenomenal taste. Furthermore, it contains no artificial sweeteners, food dyes, chemicals, or anything that will detract from reaching optimal performance.
Here’s the thing: building muscle and strength simply comes down to proper, consistent training and eating over time, that’s it.
Adding weight to the bar, increasing the total amount of volume per workout, and re-building with optimal nutrition. That’s the winning formula, there’s no secrets.