In this article we will take a look at how to perform a great chest muscle workout to build a larger, more evenly-muscular chest. All lifters in the gym are after powerful pecs yet few know how to train them properly for good gains.
All too often I see guys in the gym overtraining their chest by either doing too many sets or too many different chest exercises. If you have read our guidelines to muscle building workouts then you will know that just like every other muscle group, you will build up your chest muscle best by performing a small amount of high-intensity sets.
For the best muscle gains possible you only need to work your chest (or any other muscle group for that matter) once a week, using just 2-3 exercises that work the chest muscles effectively.
These exercises we're talking about are basic pressing movements, such as the barbell bench press, dumbbell presses, or wide-grip dips. These chest exercises are the most effective for great muscle gains.
Second to pressing movements are flyes. Flyes work the chest effectively, but not as much as pressing movements. So if you want the best chest muscle workout, make sure you focus on the pressing exercises.
If you use the right lifts and you train at 100% by giving your all-out best, you will see that large, ripped, rock-solid chest soon enough. Just remember to increase the weight or number of reps each week to keep building larger and stronger muscles.
Let's take a look at the pressing movements we recommend for your chest muscle workouts:
Barbell Bench Press (Flat, Incline, or Decline)
This exercise should be the bread and butter of your routine. Flat barbell presses will work your chest equally, while incline presses will put more stress on your upper chest and decline presses will work your lower chest more.
Dumbbell Press (Flat, Incline, Decline)
Same as the Barbell Bench Press, except with dumbbells. One advantage of using dumbbells instead of a barbell for the bench press is that your arms move through a slightly more natural movement which can prevent injury. Using dumbbells can also prevent strength imbalances because one arm can't cheat for the other. The only disadvantage of using dumbbells is you can't handle as much weight as with a barbell.
Wide Grip Dips
Dips are often overlooked as a great exercise for the chest, but they work wonders. For your chest muscle workout we highly recommend supplementing your barbell/dumbbell presses with dips. To shift the stress from your triceps to your chest, lean forward slightly and use a wide grip.
Now you know the best exercises, here is an example of putting these exercises together for a solid workout. This is the workout I personally use with great results:
2 Sets of Barbell Bench Press (5-7 reps)
2 Sets of Incline Dumbbell Press (5-7 reps)
2 Sets of Wide Grip Dips (5-7 reps)
Make sure to use a weight that will challenge you to get to 5-7 reps. Keep a record of what weight you used and the amount of reps you performed. Then aim to better that the week after, while keeping within the rep range of 5 to 7.