T Nation

Advice for Chest Development


New to this message board, haven't really ventured off the powerlifting page much.
A little background about me, I am what I would consider a powerlifter, in the sense that i have been much more concerned with the strength of the muscles as opposed to their appearance, not to say that bodybuilders only care about the way they look.

Basically I have average strength when it comes to my chest (best bench is just north of 300 pounds) but i have no size or definition in my chest to show for it. Id like to gain some size and shape to my chest but i think i may be more arm and lat dominant when it comes to my pressing. Is there any secrets or modifications i can make to my pressing to increase size in my chest?

a normal chest workout for me is
DB Flat Bench
3 warmups
3x6 working sets, increasing weight with each set (if i get 6 on the last set i increase the 3 weights by 10 pounds for the next workout)

Declined Bar Press
1 warmup
3x8 at around 200 pounds, have been as low as 190 and as high as 230 when i was on a roll

Inclined DB Fly
3x12 at 25 pounds (I try to make this more of a stretch than a lift to increase strength

Cable Cross Over
I do this for the pump towards the end of the workout, early in the set i am focused more on form and as the set progresses i let form lax in order to squeeze out more reps.

Finish with 2 sets of dips to failure.

Im taking all comments and criticism.


Try dumbbells... I'm no where near as strong as you, so take it for what it's worth. But I really found that incline dumbbells helped me learn to feel my chest working. I like to take them down to just above my chest, and stop them on the concentric just before lockout so the tension is constant.

Also something I like to do before I start on chest; loosely grip each forearm with the other hand (obviously lol). Then push your hands away from each other with a bit of force till they naturally stop at the bulge of your forearm (it's like you're sliding your skin over the muscle). You should feel your chest activating quite nicely if you do it right. I learned this from a dancer and she had great chest development... :stuck_out_tongue:


Id give neck presses a try. Also, incline everything, barbells, dumbells and flys. Also try supersetting flys with pushups. nothing pumps up my pecs like that=) For what its worth my chest is also a weak spot, but it has come up alot after i started focusing on different exercises and better technique.


you could try this?

(tempo:very slow eccentrics and explosive cons)
% of load; depends from % of your fibers, so try different loads (from 70 to 90%) and see what works for you

-slight declined (two disks under the bench) bb bench press
one set of 5/7 reps/failure/30'rest/2reps plus how many partials you get

-slight inclined bb press (a little bit wider grip than shoulders)
(no warm up)
one set of 10reps/failure/3-4reps/failure/1 plus how many partials you get

  • one set of dbs flies (but if do two sets at dead very probably your chest is already destroied...) 10/12 reps to failure

slightly declined BP
one set 10/4/2 plus partials to the dead
plus partials to the dead

slightly declined BP with a grip little bit wider than your shoulders
(for some reason,weight used is far less but burn my pec much more...)

one set of 10/4/2 plus partials to the dead.

take a blog and try each session to go beyond in reps a/o load,in 3 months I added 30lb to my inclined bench then I stalled and now decline bench is my main excercise,I'm adding load and when I stall (hope very far) I switch to incline (dbs or bb)or dips...

Mikael from Italy/this protocol seems very simple to perform but if you take 4 sec to finish last rep of set it won't be an easy journey to arrive at the end :slight_smile:


Make sure you are driving your head into the bench

Work on mind muscle connection

Do chest work in a higher rep range

Experiment with different equipment and exercises and see if they hit your chest better

Retract shoulder blades while pressing

Don't touch your chest or lock out when bb pressing

Arms look good btw


What does your frequency look like for chest? Generally, many bodybuilders who have a lagging body part will train it more frequently (it tends to work better than just increased exercises/sets alone). Try training chest 2x/week.

Since you'll have been used to flat pressing, you likely will be better off doing incline movements first to bring up the upper chest. I wouldn't put too much emphasis on the pumping exercises like cable cross-overs...what'll make you bigger is progression on an exercise (not the exercise per ce), so pick ones that allow good load progression each week.

Many favour machines like Hammer Strength for chest pressing movements (targets chest well and at the same time allows great progression over the long term). You don't need to go over-board with the amount of exercises for chest; three is probably about the usual amount.

As for sets/reps, you may like to work up to one maximal set (e.g. 5-8 reps), reduce load enough to do another 8-10, reduce load again to allow 12+ reps (or something close to that). This way is low enough volume for pretty decent strength gains, but with decent size development too.

Hope that helps...


sounds good :slightly_smiling:


Thanks. I have tried many set/rep methods before, but always come back to this good old "all rounder"/drop set method :slight_smile:


I would try to focus on feeling my chest work.. aka increase your mind muscle connection. I know it is an extremely abstract thing but tinker with the way you set up for each exercise so that you feel your chest working