Stop doing the wrong exercises and seeing no results. Continue reading to learn more about upper body workouts for a bigger chest…
If you’ve been hitting the gym every day for months, but you still haven’t seen the improvement you want from your pecs and upper body muscles, you may be focusing on the wrong exercises.
Building muscles in specific areas often necessitate working on complementary muscles that work together with the areas you’re trying to build up. When you’re ready to power up your pecs, read this to learn more about the top workout routines for a bigger chest.
Before you try anything too ambitious, it’s good to make sure you’re actually doing the basic exercises that are known for building up your chest.
With the correct weights and the right amount of reps, you can expect big gains from these simple exercises:
- Flat Dumbbell Press – Lying flat on your back, start with your arms out at shoulder height with your elbows bent at a right angle. Hold a dumbbell in each hand with your knuckles pointed in the direction of your face. Extend your arms straight up above the shoulder, keeping your shoulders flat against the bench and the dumbbells level. You will be using your abdominals and your legs to help maintain your balance.
- Incline Dumbbell Press – Similar to the flat dumbbell press, this exercises is completed the same way, but your bench is positioned at an angle so that you are resting back, but not completely flat on your back.
- Chest Dip – Position yourself on the handlebars so that your hands are directly underneath your shoulders. Lift your feet off the ground and cross them at the ankle. Starting with your arms straight, bend your elbows until they are at a right angle. Your chest and head will be in front of your hands on the handles and your shoulders will be rotated behind you.
- Pec Deck Fly – Use the pec deck fly machine to complete 3 sets of 10-12 reps. The force angles this machine creates utilize all the appropriate muscles for developing a larger chest including your pectoralis major and minor.
To challenge yourself a little bit more, add weight around your waist for the chest dips.
If you’ve got the basics down pat and you’re ready to go for something a little more challenging, set up your regular weights of dumbbells and barbells for this series of exercises. It focuses on your chest, back, and arms to build up your chest.
- Incline Dumbbell Fly – 4 sets of 15-20 reps
- Incline Barbell Press – 5 sets of 12-15 reps
- Decline Barbell Press – 5 sets of 10-12 reps
- Incline Machine Press – 5 sets of 15-20 reps
Once you’ve done this, you just finished your chest workout for the day. If you feel like you can keep going, try this bonus round to really fatigue your muscles to the max.
Bonus round: Four sets each of pec deck flys and pushups to failure.
High Volume Training
If you’re looking for a high rep workout that will really exhaust you, try this 35 set assault on your shoulders, chest, and triceps.
- Machine Bench Press – 5 sets of 12 reps
- Pec Deck Fly – 5 sets of 12 reps
- Machine Overhead Press – 5 sets of 12 reps
- Machine Rear Delt Fly – 5 sets of 12 reps
- Machine Close Grip Bench Press – 5 sets of 15 reps
- Machine Tricep Extensions – 5 sets of 15 reps
- Triceps Rope Pushdown – 5 sets of 15 reps
- Sit Ups – 10 minutes
This workout is a very exhaustive series of machine heavy exercises that will get your heart pumping and your muscles working. If you’re not sure you can complete all these sets and reps, lower your weights and push through.
No Machine Chest Workouts
If the machines at your gym are always full or you don’t have a gym membership, no problem!
There are chest workouts that don’t require any gym equipment at all. Check out this series of workouts that are completely machine free.
Do as many sets as you want, but each set should be 30 seconds long with 30 seconds to rest in between.
- Wide Pushups – You do these exactly like a regular pushup, but with your hands set as wide as possible while maintaining your comfort. It’s best to place your hands 2-4 inches outside your elbows when your arms are straight out at your sides. If your form starts to slide during your 30-second set, drop your knees.
- Diamond Pushups – Another variation on the traditional pushup, the only difference with the diamond pushup is that your hands are placed directly under your chest at your sternum in a diamond shape. The tips of your index fingers should be touching, as well as the tips of your thumbs to create the shape of a diamond.
- Shuffle Pushups – Start in the traditional pushup position. Complete one pushup, and then, maintaining your form, bring your right hand in next to your left. Step out your left hand to bring you back to the pushup position and complete another. Bring your left hand to your right and step out your right again. Alternate from hand to hand until the set is complete.
- Dynamic Box Pushups – Set yourself up in the diamond pushup position, but place your hands on a slightly raised box. After your lower your body, press your body away from your hands in one explosive motion that lifts your hands off the box. Land with your hands back in the diamond position on the box and repeat.
- Single Leg Pushups – This is one of the most challenging types of pushups. Place your hands under your shoulders and align your feet wide behind each shoulder. List one leg so that it hovers a few inches off the ground. Complete a push up in the position. Eventually, you will be able to do a pushup with one leg and one hand off the ground.
This is the type of workout you’ll see in most HIIT sessions, like Krav Maga Fitness Classes.
While there isn’t much variety in this workout, as it is all based on push-ups and your own body weight.
If you have wearable weights at home, you can wear them while completing this workout. Another option is to complete this series with dumbbells — raising the alternate arm in a row each time.
Keep it Consistent
Consistency is key here, so no matter which type of chest workout you choose, do it 3-5 times a week to ensure you’re getting the full benefits of these chest exercises. As soon as these get easy for you, up your weights, reps, or sets to keep everything challenging.
Creating the chest you want will take patience, hard work, and a whole lot of effort. If you find yourself psyching yourself out before heavier lifts, focus on your breathing and find a friend or gym-mate to spot you.