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Chest has to be nearly everyone’s favourite muscle to train. International chest days on Mondays at every gym is always packed out. Everyone is fighting for the flat bench to do bench press. It’s the day to show off who can do the most weight. Even though majority of the people who do this are just filling their ego and making no gains at all. Especially the half rep warriors who claim they can bench so much, but barely move the bar up and down. I think Arnold had one of the best chests ever, and it hasn’t been replicated since because nobody wants to stick to the basics anymore. You need to hit the chest at different angles so that you can best benefits from your training. But the basics are the presses like bench press or dumbbell press are for the thickness of your chest. And flys like cable & dumbbell flys are more for the width of your chest.
There would give 2 main tips for pressing movements for your chest. One would be to keep to keep your elbows tucked in and not flared out. One benefit of this is that you get a further range of motion. You also will do it in more of an arch shape when you press and you will be able to stretch your chest to its maximum ability. The second tip would be to get full range of motion. This may be obvious but as I said before, you see countless people doing half reps and never improving. Get a full stretch and squeeze to really get the blood pumping to your chest. When I started I used to mix between sets of high volume and smaller sets for strength. When I used to stagnate on my strength gains, I would do volume for a weeks. Then when I came back to doing the smaller sets I would be stronger again. Sometimes a change up can really help the body and keeps it guessing.
Remember to always train upper chest just as much as your lower part. People always fail to do as much upper part and never really have a complete chest. Majority of us have a weaker upper chest so in that instance I would leave your ego behind, and train on incline first. The benefit of this will be that you will have a more balanced physique, but also you will be exhausted by the time you go to do a flat movement. You’re probably thinking, why would I want to be weaker on my flat bench, my pride and joy. The fact is that if you can’t lift as much, you are more likely to pick a decent weight in which you can fully contract your chest properly. Resulting in more growth for your chest!
Now flys, a brilliant exercise to get that wider looking chest. The most important part of the movement is getting the stretch on this exercise. If you do too much weight you are going to end up doing a half press fly movement which is a waste of time. You may as well have just done another press movement. You should lock your arms in a position and when bring them up make an arch like you are trying to hug someone. You will know you are doing it correctly when you feel a great squeeze in your chest. You can do this exercise with dumbbells and cables too. Cables help keep a lot of tension on the muscle and you normally feel a greater contraction.
As a finisher some press ups or some dips can really help finish off a great chest session. It will really solidify a great pump and give you that awesome full looking chest. You should normally just do these exercises bodyweight and go to failure. If you can do countless reps at this point, you work out definitely was not hard enough. Normally a good 3-4 sets will have your chest fully done in, and you should be thinking of getting some good nutrition in to recover!
Workout to try:
Incline dumbbell press – 4 sets of 12-15
Incline flys – 4 sets of 12-15
Flat bench press – 3 sets of 12-15
Flat flys – 3 sets of 12-15
Press ups – 3 sets till failure
Try this routine, you can switch between dumbbells and barbells for the presses. As for the flys you can use cables or dumbbells. Let us know how you get on with this workout!