When it comes to bodybuilding, most people are obsessed with huge arms and “boulder shoulders” as they call them, that they tend to neglect other parts of the body, particularly for some reason, the chest.
The chest, or rather, the pectoral muscles, are some of the largest muscles in the human body, so obviously building them up and adding size to them can be very beneficial indeed.
The problem for many people trying to build a bigger chest, however, is that, after a few weeks of constant bench pressing, they may get fed up because they don’t see the results they may have been hoping for.
Getting a big chest, however, isn’t as difficult as some people would have you believe, and if you yourself are struggling to add mass to your pecs, take a look at this handy guide in which we share a few tips from the pros with you on how to build a bigger chest.
So, without any further hesitation, let’s help you build a barrel chest that would make a prime Arnold Schwarzenegger envious of.
Train Your Triceps Hard
If you’re serious about building up your chest, you are going to need to progress and continue to lift heavier weights, pushing your body harder and harder with each passing week.
The problem. however, is that many people quickly hit natural plateaus when training chest, and find themselves working with the same weights, exercises, and rep ranges week in and week out.
To help you record heavier lifts you should train your triceps regularly and train them hard.
The reason for this is that the triceps are a muscle group that assist the pectoral muscles when they work, which is why when bench pressing, your triceps also get a pretty good workout, because they’re doing some of the work.
By building up your triceps and increasing their strength, they will then be able to help you when performing various chest exercises, allowing you to lift heavier weights and to continue to progress.
Stick Mainly With The Basics
Remember, this article here is talking about tips on how to grow your chest, which obviously means stimulating new muscle growth in, and around, the chest area.
Whilst there are many effective chest machines and pieces of equipment that will certainly benefit your chest and its development, to really stimulate maximum muscle growth, you should stick with the basics, which means mainly compound exercises and movements.
The flat bench barbell bench press, for example, is arguably the most effective exercise for adding mass to the chest, so make sure you incorporate that exercise regularly.
Dumbbell presses are also great, and, using no weight other than your own bodyweight, push ups are also absolutely fantastic.
By all means perform other exercises such as cable crossovers, chest flyes, chest presses with a machine, etc., but make sure you base your workouts mainly around heavy compound exercises so that you really fatigue your muscles and increase your chest’s size.
Don’t Forget The Upper And Lower Pecs
What people often fail to realise, is that there are three different sections of the pectoral muscles that can be trained – The lower pecs, the middle pecs, and the upper pecs.
Most exercises I.E flat bench presses, push ups, pec deck, chest flyes, etc., work the middle part of the pecs, though to create an even and full chest, you should ensure that you also train your lower and upper pecs as well.
When it comes to upper chest development, the key to build a bigger chest is incline presses, either with dumbbells or with barbells, as they are what really hit the upper portion of the chest.
As far as lower chest development, the most effective exercise is one which you won’t see many people performing in the gym – the decline press.
Decline presses work the lower pecs perfectly, so add them to your weekly routine and you’re good to go.
Eating Right Helps To Build A Bigger Chest
As well as training, another vital component to any big chest routine, is actually diet and nutrition.
You can train your chest as hard as you possibly can, and can follow the most effective chest routine in the entire world, but if you aren’t eating right and are messing up your diet and nutrition, your body simply won’t grow and you won’t make the gains on your chest, or anywhere else for that matter, that you may have been hoping for.
Get plenty of lean protein, eat complex carbohydrates, consume some healthy fats, stay away from processed junk food, and get plenty of fresh and healthy nutritious foods instead, including fresh fruits and vegetables.
Try Different Weights And Reps
After a while of following the same routine, you will hit a plateau and will stop progressing, which is exactly what you want to avoid. In these instances, try different weights and rep ranges to mix things up.
If say, you’ve been going moderately heavy for 8 – 10 reps per working set, why not go heavier and aim for 6 – 8 reps per working set instead?
If you aren’t feeling that strong, actually going lighter and performing 14 – 16 reps per set is another great way of really getting a bigger chest.
Whatever you’re doing, after a few weeks, mix things up for a few sessions and you’ll see exactly how beneficial this strategy can be.
Add A Second Day Just For Benching
If a muscle group is being particularly stubborn and it just doesn’t seem to want to grow, rather than ignoring it and hoping that it will change its mind, we should instead give it extra attention and work it even harder than various other parts of our body.
With the chest, the bench press is arguably the most popular and effective exercise for adding mass to the chest, and if your chest is lagging considerably in comparison with the rest of your body, you may wish to seriously consider adding a second day just for benching.
Forget about any other exercises, just focus solely on bench pressing and performing different variations of the same exercise.
You can begin with the flat barbell bench press, you can then move onto the incline dumbbell press, before moving onto decline bench presses.
You can use different weights, different rep ranges, you can even use different ranges of motion.
The fact is, that as the bench press is so effective for building muscle mass, dedicating an entire training session just to benching, is only going to be beneficial.
Follow A Smart Training Routine
Your chest training is incredibly important for a whole variety of different reasons, so you will need to ensure that you are following a safe and effective training routine.
In order to grow your chest, you will need to include a variety of different exercises, and not find yourself sticking solely to the same ones over and over again.
If, for example, one session is initiated with flat barbell bench presses, you could begin your next session with incline dumbbell presses instead.
Instead of dumbbell flyes, try cable flyes instead. Variety is the spice of life, and when it comes to chest training, variety is the secret to growth.
Make sure you have plenty of different exercises to choose from, be smart with weights and rep ranges, and don’t try working too hard.
Focus On The Squeeze To Build A Bigger Chest
If growth on the chest is one of your priorities, make sure you really focus on squeezing the pectoral muscles when you train them.
With dumbbell flyes for example, you won’t be using super heavy weight, because the key here is formed and technique.
When you are on the positive portion of the lift, hold the weight for a second and focus on really squeezing the muscles.
Imagine you have a nut or grape on your chest and that you are trying to crush it with your pecs alone. It may sound odd, but that type of visualisation technique really does work.
Squeezing exercises are just as important as pushing exercises when it comes to chest growth, so don’t neglect them.
Never Train Chest With, Or Just After, Shoulders
In regards to how to build a bigger chest, a lot of people tend to pair up their shoulders with their chests, or they will train chest the day after they have trained shoulders, when in reality, this is incredibly counterproductive.
The shoulders are a pushing muscle group, just as the chest is, and so training them together will hinder your performance greatly.
If you train chest the day after a shoulder session, you simply won’t be able to perform quite as well as you should, because the same types of muscles will have been used just before.
Tired shoulders will result in a lacklustre chest session, and even if you train chest first, although your chest workout may be productive, your shoulder session won’t be.
Ideally, if pairing up muscle groups, pair up the push and pull muscle groups for optimal results.