T Nation

Chest Development


I’ve been working out consistently for almost 2 years now, and my gains over those two years I am mostly happy with. However it seems in comparasin to the rest of me my chest is lacking. For the past several months I have been working chest two times a week and occasionally I fit in a third. I’m just looking for people to share their advice when it comes to building their chests.

it doesn’t matter how many times a week you train your chest if your not feeling the movement in your chest. if you chest isn’t stretching then contracting.

whats your workouts look like?

Please write with as many details as you can what you’ve been doing for chest along with the weights used

I’ll help afterward

you’re delts dominant. pre-exhaust chest before serious training, use more dumbells, standard bb bench press goes about third in a row (forget about heavy ass weight here and use partials, negatives, dropsets) . end your workout with stretch pushups.

Do this twice a week with different angles or/and different rep schemes.

Add more rowing movements, rear delts, face pulls etc work to keep balance. you may also consider training your delts WITH chest together.

Thanks for the replies, a typical chest workout for me would be flat bb press 225 for 3-4 sets of 8, incline bb 185 for 3-4 sets, incline db flyes 3-4 sets of 10, a machine press 3 sets of 10, then two sets of push ups to failure. Often I switch the bb presses to db presses depending on how I feel.

TooJuicybropump:Hi,you have a large anterior delt and good mass in the tricep’s.The result of flat B.press.The chest is under-developed,especially in the upper pec.Bro in my opinion drop the flat bench.I know,I have the same issue and have benched 530Lb’s.The heavier we bench the more the front delt will overshadow the chest.Try 20-30degree incline dumb-bell press,concentrate on expandind and contracting,forget about the poundage,as that is just for our Ego’s and is detrimental to building a good upper chest.All the best johnny

[quote]JuicyBroPump wrote:
Thanks for the replies, a typical chest workout for me would be flat bb press 225 for 3-4 sets of 8, incline bb 185 for 3-4 sets, incline db flyes 3-4 sets of 10, a machine press 3 sets of 10, then two sets of push ups to failure. Often I switch the bb presses to db presses depending on how I feel.[/quote]

Firstly, the traditional flat BB press is simply not an effective movement if you are at all delt dominant. And the risk for injury is not worth the return. If those are your staple movements and the only change is BB to DB then you will definitely not grow as a delt dominant presser.

I can tell you that the single best change I made for me was to combine Shoulders with Chest,(courtesy of JM). Work the shoulders first (can be done with minimal pressing) then hit chest. I would keep the incline BB exercise as it is one of the better ones. Incline DB too. If I ever do any flat pressing it is ALWAYS db’s. It allows ME to determine grip, ROM, path, hand orientation, etc. This will allow you to really dial in the MMC. Floor presses with DB are good as well as floor presses in the smith. If you have them, use bands. Reverse banded pressing allows for a lighter load but really hits the muscle well. Reverse banded floor presses in the smith may be my favorite. Will build the hell out of the top shelf :wink: (upper chest).

Your rep scheme is not ideal. I personally am a volume whore. But I can’t always keep it high. Use a schedule. Fluctuate your volumes every 2-3 weeks for a 12 week cycle and then de-load. You may find that after really upping the volumes, in progression, that you don’t need a second day. If you are dead set on another day of chest, then build a split that hits it twice every 9 days or so. There is a 3day split that will hit chest 3 times in 11 days. that is alot. Your diet/recovery efforts will have to be in order.

You can also utilize some of the intensity techniques here and there. DO NOT do these on every set. Use rest pause for the last set or two. Use 3 sec negatives. Try partials and assisted forced reps if you have a spotter you trust. Again, incorporate these conservatively.

Lastly, pull more than you press! Ideally you are doing twice as much pulling as pressing.

If what you are doing now isn’t working, change it. Change load, exercise choice, tempo, set time duration, etc, etc. What movements do you feel the most in the target muscles?

Since I’ve posted this I have somewhat changed my routine and I feel I’m having better gains. My typical chest routine starts with Flat BB press, which I’ve been doing 5ish sets on working up to a 3 rep max then dropping back down for a set of 6-8, followed by Incline BB press, semi inclined flyes, cable flyes, dips and push ups. For example last workout was 10 reps on 135, 2 sets of 6 reps on 245, 3 reps 265, 7 reps on 225. Then Incline BB press, which i did 4 sets of 185 for 8 reps. Then the flyes and such, which I feel the weight is irrelevant as long as your feeling it during your sets. I know the poundage shouldn’t matter on my BB presses but I feel the heavy sets mixed with the other exercises works my chest better. I know I’m basing this mostly off bro-science, which is why any feedback would be appreciated.

Dumbbells “isolate” the chest better. Not saying that’s the surest way to get a bigger chest, mines grown plenty and all I train is flat BB bench with 3 sets of flyes, but judging by your picture and and user name I’d assume that you take the bar to the nipples, don’t have your scalpulae tucked in, and therefore will plateau faster and possibly be subject to injury should you take your bench above the 315 range. You can keep incline BB bench without changing your set-up, switch to DB pressing, or bench “powerlifting” style when benching flat. Most other options will not see your chest catch up to your anterior delt.

Either do more volume for chest than for the rest of your bodyparts or have a higher frequency for chest than for the rest of your bodyparts. If you have a problem feeling your chest or getting sore then stop the BB press, switch to dumbells and start with a flye movement. Also, don’t think your chest is going to catch up to the rest of your body in a month or two it’ll likely take at least a year if it ever does catch up since the rest of you should still be growing

Here is the chest advice you’re after… Listen closely…

INCLINES, INCLINES, INCLINES.

DB’s, DB’s, DB’s.

Seriously. Incline variations: smith, HS, DB, BB, Flys. Hammer those DB’s. might want to get rid of the flat BB and hit DB’s. Lastly, make sure you’re dominating he weights and controlling them. On the way down and up.

[quote]siberian wrote:
you’re delts dominant. pre-exhaust chest before serious training, use more dumbells,
[/quote]

[quote]johnny k53 wrote:
Try 20-30degree incline dumb-bell press,concentrate on expandind and contracting,forget about the poundage,as that is just for our Ego’s and is detrimental to building a good upper chest.All the best johnny[/quote]

[quote]Mateus wrote:
I would keep the incline BB exercise as it is one of the better ones. Incline DB too. If I ever do any flat pressing it is ALWAYS db’s. It allows ME to determine grip, ROM, path, hand orientation, etc. This will allow you to really dial in the MMC. Floor presses with DB are good as well as floor presses in the smith.
[/quote]

[quote]Zoro wrote:
Dumbbells “isolate” the chest better. Not saying that’s the surest way to get a bigger chest…You can keep incline BB bench without changing your set-up, switch to DB pressing…[/quote]

[quote]gregron wrote:
Here is the chest advice you’re after… Listen closely…

INCLINES, INCLINES, INCLINES.

DB’s, DB’s, DB’s.

Seriously. Incline variations: smith, HS, DB, BB, Flys. Hammer those DB’s. might want to get rid of the flat BB and hit DB’s. Lastly, make sure you’re dominating he weights and controlling them. On the way down and up. [/quote]

There is a common denominator here.

[quote]JuicyBroPump wrote:
Since I’ve posted this I have somewhat changed my routine and I feel I’m having better gains. My typical chest routine starts with Flat BB press. I know the poundage shouldn’t matter on my BB presses but I feel the heavy sets mixed with the other exercises works my chest better. I know I’m basing this mostly off bro-science, which is why any feedback would be appreciated.[/quote]

[quote]Mateus wrote:
There is a common denominator here.
[/quote]

Check out Dr. Clay’s chest article. Some good stuff here:

also, Back article since you’ll want to offset pressing:

I found these articles very helpful for upper chest and realized that I was lat dominate(back), I’ve since change my routine for chest and back and I’m finally making progress for upper chest and upper back(thickness). Legs and delts, JM all the way!

10x5 supersetting 60 degree incline dumbell presses and rope face pulls resting 60 secs between each set. Thats 10 sets of 60 degree incline db and 10 sets of face pulls for 20 total. The 60s really bring up the upper portion of the chest and the face pulls will balance out your front delt overdevelopment.
For the first workout, 60’incline press dumbells till u find your 10 rep max.Take that weight and do ten sets of five with it, the first 4 sets will b easy, but trust me itl get hard on later sets.

For the second workout, grab 5 lb heavier dumbells and go for 10 sets of 4 instead of 5.
For the third workout, grab 5 lb heavier dumbells than yout 10x4 weight and do 10x3 with it
Now for the fourth, grab your 10x4 dumbells u used and do 10x5 with them and trip on how u did 50 reps with that weight easier than you did 40 last time with em, and notice that muscle collecting around your clavicles!

Just something that’s helped me quite a bit recently.

Inclines and DB’s were the advice I always got too, but being delt dominant, both of those didn’t seem to really help in achieving a solid chest pump.

So I lowered the Incline (already been mentioned) but I also stopped lowering the DB’s as far down as possible. I make sure to get a stretch in the chest, but NOT so much that I get one in my front delts. Obviously form nazis may say not bringing DB’s all the way down is ‘cheating’ but just bringing them down about 2-3" higher then that has REALLY kept tension on the pecs.

Also, my pressing motion for Incline DB Press is ‘triangular’. When I bring the DB’s down, I bring them out wide, then as I press up, I bring the DB’s ‘in’, to get a good squeeze in the pecs, instead of a straight up an down which you have to do with a Barbell.

Also, I’m broad shouldered with long arms, so maybe that’s why it works for me.

most guys i see with good development who use DB’s also press “triangular”… if they get above 90lb or so they either use a neutral grip, or rotate the grip on the way up into a neutral grip so as to contract the chest more. I don’t have any experience with this, though.