There seems to be a lot of confusion
out there about how exactly to develop a full, balanced
chest. While I generally believe that the upper pecs
are the key to bringing out the entire chest, I think
it's important for advanced level trainers to
employ a wide array of movements that attack the chest
muscle from a variety of angles.
Chest Muscle Workout - the Basics
Heavy Benching Isn't the Only Way
to Build a Chiseled Chest. The heavy metal we push
toward the ceiling is hardly the only exercise that
builds, shapes, and sculpts a formidable chest. Developing
a lean, muscular chest is an essential part of every
weight training routine! Maybe it's time to
emphasize some of these basic and effective chest
Seated Chest Presses
This is a similar range of motion
to the standard flat-bench press, except you are in
a seated position. The benefit of this machine is
that the weight is not bobbling around during the
motion; it is stabilized and therefore works strictly
the pectoral muscles. Grasping the handles, slowly
extend your arms forward, straightening the elbows
and squeezing the chest muscles.
Do not lock your elbows at the
height of extension. Rather, slowly let the weight
pull your arms in toward your chest. Concentrate on
the negative, allowing it to tear the pec muscles.
At a point where your hands stretch back to the plane
of your body, begin your next repetition. Try 3-4
sets of 10-12 reps for a great pump.
Clasping the handles on to the upper-cable
stations, step one foot forward for balance while
locking your elbows in a slightly bent position. Bring
your handles down low, around your waistline, at a
slight angle in front of you. Slightly bend forward
and extend your chest, squeezing tight on the contraction.
Holding this position, allow the weight to slowly
pull your elbows back, providing a healthy stretch.
Repeat the motion and try three sets of 10-12 repetitions.
Adjusting the bench to the incline
of your desire, generally a 45-degree angle or so,
and hold the dumbbells to your sides so your elbows
are bent at a 90-degree angle. Slowly arc the weight
toward the ceiling, bringing the dumbbells toward
each other at the top as your elbows straighten out.
Stop at a point where the dumbbells are about six
inches apart from one another.
Squeeze your pectoral muscles together
during the contraction. Begin the decline slowly,
bending your elbows once again until they make a pair
of right angles at your sides. Try not to let your
elbows drop below the plane of your torso. Repeat
the motion and try 3-4 sets of 10-12 repetitions per
If you're trying to build
a treasured chest, remember that the key you are looking
for may just rest in the family jewels ... or
should we say, in your genetics. Often genetics are
directly responsible for the limits you can reach
with chest development. But if you're bench-pressing
20 sets a week, looking for those instant results,
just give it a rest. The key to an impressive chest
may well be with cable crossovers, incline flyes,
and seated chest presses.
In addition to the basics, here's
some of the best exercises to round out your pec development
Chest Muscle Workout Exercises
High Cable Crossovers
This is an excellent movement to
hit the lower pecs as well as the difficult to develop
inner pecs. Good development of the inner pecs, of
course, gives you that nice separation that is a hallmark
of a first-rate physique.
Low Cable Crossovers
These are also great for hitting
the inner pecs—continuous tension is the key
Bench Press (Wide Grip)
Extend your grip out on the flat
bench press to shift the emphasis to the lower pecs.
Bench Press (Close Grip)
The mid-range section of this movement
really targets the inner chest pretty intensely. Later
in the movement, of course, the triceps and upper
chest take over.
Decline Bench Press
These, of course, primarily hit
the lower pecs hard. If you move your grip in a bit
and really emphasize the top of the movement, you'll
get good stress on the inner pecs as well.
if performed strictly, Dumbbell
Flyes can hit the inner chest, though you really need
to squeeze your pecs together hard to get the full
effect. I like to alternate doing Dumbbell Flyes on
the flat bench, incline bench, and decline bench.
The elbows-in variation place the bulk
of the emphasis on the lower pecs, while the elbows-out
style will pull the inner pecs more into the exercise."
Copyright MuscleMaster. Reprinted