When it comes to men, building the chest is of the utmost importance.
The chest (pectoralis major) is a critical part of the physique puzzle as a well-developed chest looks like an armor plate on the human body.
I had a bird chest for the vast majority of my life before my training evolved. Once I focused on getting stronger, the results flowed in smoothly like the Nile River.
With that said, many trainees in the iron game struggle to build a respectable chest because they waste time with exercises and techniques like:
• Pec-dec flyes
• Cable crossovers
• Seated chest press
• Poorly executed bench presses
None of the exercises above can build a great chest and get you to the pec promised land.
A grown man sporting a teenage bird chest is about as noble as that same grown man sporting his teenage salary or clothing choices.
The worst technique for building bigger pecs is the usage of half-reps.
While using 1 and 1/4 reps is a great intensity technique for making movements more difficult, relying on pure half-reps where you never reach the bottom of the movement, will prepare you for a total disaster when you finally perform a full rep.
I once saw a trainee on social media who had been performing half-reps in the bench press.
One day they had a bench press competition at the local commercial gym.
He had easily performed half-reps with 315lbs, 355lbs, and then 385lbs with little to no effort.
He was cocky and thought his strength matched that of Luke Cage.
The next weight up was 405lbs. The bench press rep had to be a full rep to the chest for the impromptu meathead challenge.
The second he passed the halfway point you saw his chest fold in and turn purple.
The man suffered a torn pec. His chest had never felt the full range of motion of a proper bench press and he paid a very steep price.
Don’t let your ego get the best of you.
Use a full range of motion and your muscularity and strength will improve in time.
The Best 3 Chest Exercises For Muscle And Strength
The top 3 exercises for building a bigger chest will allow you to say goodbye to that bird chest forever. They are:
The power of dips cannot be understated.
When you look at the upper body of a gymnast it should tell you all you need to know about the effectiveness of dips.
Dips are a versatile movement that will also hit your triceps and front delts hard like a big hit from Brian Dawkins.
The problem that arises is that most trainees perform dips in an absolutely horrendous fashion.
The half-rep plague that infects most exercises inside the walls of the commercial gym, also affects dips as well.
There is no possible way for you to be a half-repper in the dip and then expect your chest to truly grow.
To execute proper dips follow these steps:
• Grab the parallel bars and then extend your elbows to get to the start position
• On the descent, you will keep your elbows close to your body (not a pure full tuck like a close grip bench press)
• When you reach the bottom, you are looking for the bicep to connect with the forearm
• If the bicep does not connect with the forearm the repetition did not count
• Push back up to the start position before performing the next rep
• Lean slightly forward during the dip to put more stress on the pecs
Check out how to perform proper dips below:
2) Bench Press (barbell or dumbbell, neck/flat/incline/decline bench)
Of the top 3 exercises for building a bigger chest, the bench press is by far the most popular.
As a result the standard bench press is seen by most men as the ultimate chest builder. For some men with great genetics that could be true.
The bench press is a phenomenal upper body strength builder, but when you perform a proper rep (medium grip, elbow half-tucked) the distribution of the muscular stimulation is balanced across the triceps, front delts, and chest instead of truly targeting the pecs.
Variations of the barbell bench press that hit the chest harder do exist.
Incline barbell bench presses performed with a slightly wider grip on a low incline bench (15 degrees or the first incline setting) will add some serious meat to your chest.
Another variation from the old school days of bodybuilding is The Gironda Neck Press.
I promise you that the large majority of trainees have never seen this press in a gym before.
In his coaching prime, the Iron Guru Vince Gironda would have bodybuilders perform the neck press in an effort to truly isolate the chest.
Using a wider-grip on the barbell and lowering the bar to your neck creates a pump in your chest that is downright ridiculous.
Your shoulders need to be strong before you perform the neck press, so do not jump into it blindly. You can see how to correctly perform the neck press below.
The flat and incline dumbbell bench presses are fantastic because using the dumbbells allows you to get a greater range of motion in the bottom of the movement when compared to the barbell versions.
All variations of barbell or dumbbell pressing will work wonders for your chest provided you use a full range of motion.
If you exclusively do quarter and half reps like most men then you will continue to have a flat, bird chest.
Check out how to perform incline dumbbell bench presses below:
Push-ups are rather underrated but deadly like Paul Pierce.
Many trainees think that they are too advanced for push-ups but I have seen men who can bench 275lbs struggle to do 25 strict push-ups. This is asinine!
There are many variations that you can use to make push-ups more difficult once you are able to perform strong repetitions with the standard versions.
A few options that you could use to increase the difficulty of your push-ups would be:
• Wearing a weighted vest or performing reps with a plate on your back
• Use high-intensity rep styles like pause reps and 1 and 1/4 reps
• Perform variations of the push-up like the Spider-Man or Gator Push Up
Regardless of what you do, including the push-up as a part of your yearly training regimen will allow you to build a better chest.
Learn about to use proper form on the push-up below:
Workouts To Build A Superhero Upper Body
Meatheads disrespect the game.
To them, training only chest and biceps 3 days per week seems like a good idea.
Even though our emphasis in this article is the chest, we will never strive to build an incomplete physique.
When we train our chest, we will also train our back. A balanced physique is always better then a Johnny Bravo-like, meathead physique.
• These workouts should be separated by about 72 hours of rest for optimal performance.
• Learn how to use my RP-21 Training System here.
Workout A: RP-21 Dips and Chins
• Dips and Chins 7×3
• Dips and Chins 6×5
• Dips and Chins 1 set to failure on each movement. Then rest 2 minutes between movements.
Workout B: RP-21 Press and Pull
• Barbell Bench Press and Pull-Ups 7×3
• Incline Dumbbell Press and T-Bar Rows 5×10
• Push-Up Pyramid to 10 reps.
– For the push-up pyramid, start with 1 rep and add 1 rep each set until you reach 10 reps.
– Rest 10-60 seconds between sets.
Workout C: RP-21 Volume
• Incline Barbell Press and Chin-Ups 7×3
• Barbell Neck Press and T-Bar Rows 8×8
• Push-Ups 100 Reps
– Use as many sets as needed to reach 100 reps in the push-up.
– If it takes you 10 sets week 1, make your goal to get to 100 in at least 9 sets the following week.
Use the top 3 exercises for building a bigger chest while utilizing these workouts for 3 training cycles. (3 weeks on and a 1-week deload = one cycle)
As a result, you will witness the big-time changes in your upper body and wear your tank tops with confidence this summer.
I’ll holla at you next time,
The People’s Trainer,