The chest is probably one of the most favoured muscle groups people enjoy training. Walk into any gym on a Monday and its like nation bench pressing day. Everyone wants to build a big strong chest… fast.
If I had a dollar for everytime I’ve been asked “what do you bench” I’d be a very rich man. People want to know how much you’re bench pressing to gauge your overall strength and compare it with theirs.
The problem is, most chest training routines are driven by ego. There’s a competitive nature about bench pressing, everyone seems to want to out bench their friends or impress their gym buddies by moving as much weight a possible. But this attitude towards chest training leads to poor training technique, an ineffective chest routine, and could end up landing you with a shoulder injury. Been there, done that!
Another very common problem I see with chest training is that people who are new to lifting think they know how to training their chest properly. Even people who have been working out for some time think they’ve got their chest routine nailed. I mean, all you have to do is lie under a bar, bring it down to your chest and push it up, after a few sets of that move onto some dumbbell fly’s and viola… chest workout done!
Unfortunately, there’s a little more to an effective chest workout than most people think. Maximum strength and muscle hypertrophy gains require proper planning and execution. Todays post will give you a killer chest workout routine and nutritional needs that will take your pectorals from mini to muscular…. puny to powerful… flat to… well, you get the idea.
The Workout Routine
For this chest building workout, you will be performing two heavy compound movements followed by two isolation movements, and working the chest one day per week. Three sets of each exercise will be performed for a total of 12 working sets to complete the workout.
Compound Exercises: The heavy compound exercises in this program will be flat bench press and incline dumbbell press, performed to failure in the 6 – 8 rep range. You will start with the bench press, but don’t even think about un-racking that bar until you’ve done at least a few warm up sets. I like to start with some light chest stretching, followed by some push-ups.
After stretching and doing some push-ups, the chest should be feeling warm and starting to fill with blood. Start by doing a few warm up presses on the bench press using a fairly light weight. I like to call the first few warm up sets ‘feel sets’, because you’re getting a ‘feel’ for your form, muscle contraction and positioning before you work up to very heavy sets.
Perform a few feel/warm up sets, gradually adding weight to the bar as you move onto the next set. Then push out three heavy working sets to failure between 6 – 8 reps. When doing your three working sets, you’re pushing with brute strength, but be sure to maintain good form throughout the movement. We’re going after full muscle fibre recruitment and metabolic fatigue, while focusing on good form and chest muscle contraction.
Isolation Exercises: The isolation movements will be the under rated pec deck and a cable crossover variation which targets the upper chest, performed using a slightly lighter weight in the 10 – 12 rep range. Each exercise will be performed slowly, focusing on the mind muscle connection and peak contraction.
Concentrate on feeling the muscle squeeze at the end of the movement. For example, feel the muscle squeeze when your hands come together performing the pec deck. Focus on feeling the muscle work on these isolation exercises, maintaining tension in the muscles during the positive (concentric) and negative (eccentric) contraction of each repetition.
To see how each exercise is performed correctly simply click the exercise text in the table below.
|Flat Bench Press||3||6 – 8|
|Incline Dumbbell Press||3||6 – 8|
|Machine Pec Deck||3||10 – 12|
|Cable Crossovers (variation)||3||10 -12|
You can follow this training program to a ‘T’ but without a solid diet and nutrition pan in place you will have little to nothing to show for your hard work. Proper training and diet go hand in hand when building muscle. Neglect any one of these and be forever marooned on the Island of skinny.
Nutrition Basics for Mass
Protein – Consume 1 – 1.5g per pound of bodyweight daily
Carbs – Consume 2 – 3g per pound of bodyweight daily
Fats – Consume 0.25 – 0.5g per pound of bodyweight daily
Your daily macronutrient ratio for building muscle should be roughly 50% from carbs, 30% from protein and 20% from fats.
If you follow the ratio above you don’t need to worry about counting calories as this will equate to your daily requirements for gaining mass.