Chest Exercises Workout Routine for Men & Women
Are you looking to increase the size of your chest muscles? Are you seeking to have huge pectoral muscles(pecs) that command respect?
If this is your goal then understanding the anatomy of the chest muscles is of great importance. In addition knowing the key exercises to perform, number of repetitions, type of equipment to use will be of great help. Below are some helpful and informative tips which will help you with this, so let’s get started.
Anatomy of the chest:
The pectoral is a fan shaped muscle that is broken down into three parts known as the pec major, minor and clavicle head to differentiate the different parts of the same muscle. All chest exercises work your chest muscles but from different angles which stresses certain chest fibers more so than others. You need to use a variety of chest muscle exercises to hit your pecs at various angles to stimulate massive muscle growth. The various angles used will assist in targeting certain fibers more so than others.
Chest Exercise Equipment:
1) Let’s go over some examples: The flat bench press places more stress on the middle chest muscles. Incline bench press focuses more on the upper pecs, while decline chest press focuses on the lower chest muscles. Do keep in mind that each one of these exercises will hit all the muscles fully, yet due to the various attachment points, different angles are required to isolate certain fibers more so than others.
2) The means or equipment used is also important. Each one comes with some advantages and disadvantages. Let’s take for example a chest press machine, where you simply sit and arms are placed in a fixed position to carry out the chest press exercise. This is considered the easiest as it doesn’t require your shoulder stabilizers to work as much to perform the exercise. This allows you to focus more on your chest without the worries of controlling or stabilizing the weight. You also have the added benefits of not having anything fall on you as is possible using a Barbell or Dumbbell.
3) Barbell Chest Press: This is a great chest builder, yet it requires strong shoulders. Many prefer barbell chest press over the machines as it may require more work from the assisting muscle group and stabilizers, which is great for overall strength and growth. The start of the positive will require a good amount of energy from your shoulders, chest, then the triceps kick in to straighten the elbows. Both internal and external rotators need to be able to stabilize the weight.
If there’s a huge difference in strength between both shoulders, one side will end up working harder than the other. In addition, the neck muscle may try to assist the weaker shoulder, forcing that weaker shoulder to crunch into your neck, which may cause muscle pulls, strains, etc…
4) Chest Rack Machine: A better option to the Barbell chest press is the Chest rack machine. Works very similarly to the bacis barbell chest press in terms of movement, yet it comes with some great protection features. It comes with one or more protective latches that assist you in pushing up the barbell safely and placing it down the same with a simple twist of the wrists. Some even have a cable feature which provides an additional protective barrier. All and all, it works wonders for the chest when it comes to size increase and growth.
5) Dumbbell Chest Press: This is without a doubt the toughest of the three from beginning to end. Having to pick up the weight to lay down into a flat bench is a challenge for many depending on the weight. Controlling the dumbbells from falling backward, forward, or sideways is another challenge requiring strong support from the shoulder stabilizers.
Lastly, sitting up after the last rep or placing the weight to the floor while laying flat on the bench can be extremely stressful to the shoulders and or lower back if done improperly. A spotter is definitely recommended when working with heavy loads. Although it can be dangerous, it’s a great exercise for overall chest, shoulder, tricep, assisting muscles and stabilizers.
6) Pec Fly: This is another great chest exercise that can be performed with dumbbells or a cable machine. Highly effective in providing size increases and cuts to the muscles. This is a true isolator for the chest, as it doesn’t involve the triceps to straighten out the elbows.
In addition, shoulder work is minimal during this movement, which is why this is an amazing exercise for the chest. This forces the chest to do most of the work. Lastly, using the cable machine is preferred by many as the resistance is the same throughout the whole movement unlike using a dumbbell, which varies based on gravity.
7) Bar Dips – Dips is another great exercise for the lower chest. It does involve a lot of shoulder and tricep work, yet it’s a great addition to add towards the end of your chest routine. Things to keep in mind is that you want to keep your elbows pointed out (not inward towards your body) and lean forward to get a deep stretch to the chest muscles.
8) Push Ups – This is another great way to end your chest routine as you will have already been fatigued from using the weights. This forces you to use the remaining energy left in your chest to complete them and reach a deeper level of muscle failure. Once you fail and are unable to perform another rep, drop to your knees and do modified push ups. If you have great pain tolerance, you can perform two to four negative negative reps, which requires you to go to the floor in 8-10 seconds from a high plank position.
1) Always aim to start your chest routine on the area that’s the smallest. For example: The middle and lower chest tend to be much bigger than the upper, so starting with the upper would be the best order.
2) Do your compound exercises first as they require more energy to perform: Chest presses, push ups, dips
3) Your isolator movement are better placed at the end of the work out…For example: Chest flies.
4) Two to Four exercises will do just fine for chest growth
5) Around 8 to 10 reps is perfect for muscle growth but aim to take your sets to failure if possible.
6) You can also do volume training up to about 15 reps but you must take it to failure, which requires higher level of pain endurance from the high level of elastic acid build up.