The chest is one of the favorite muscles of the upper body for athletes to train. Who doesn’t want a bigger chest? But chest muscles have a more important role than simply good looks.
The pectorals major—the primary chest muscle—acts on your upper arm. It is activated any time you extend, flex or bring your arm across your chest. Whenever you swing a bat or throw a ball, your chest adds strength or power to the movement.
The problem is that many folks get stuck in tired old routines, doing the Bench Press for the same amount of sets and reps and seeing no results. (See Breaking Down The Bench Press.) For any chest routine to be effective, follow these three golden rules:
- Do Push-Ups every day. Try doing five max sets in the morning or during TV commercial breaks. Do this only on days that you don’t do a chest workout.
- Don’t forget about incline pressing exercises. The Incline Bench and DB Incline build strength and size in the upper chest, which is often underdeveloped.
- Focus on your back, which stabilizes your shoulders during pressing exercises. You will be able to lift more weight and offer a greater challenge to your chest muscles. Do at least one back exercise for every chest exercise. This will also promote muscle balance and prevent shoulder injuries moving forward. (See How to Pair Chest and Back Exercises.)
With these tips in mind, perform this 3-day chest workout each week to maximize your mass and strength. It’s best to add the exercises to a complete upper-body strength workout that engages your back, arms and core.
Chest Workout Routine for Mass
Day 1: Chest Strength & Power
- Compound Set: Bench Press – 5×5 + Plyo Push-Ups – 5×10; rest for 3 minutes between sets
- Incline DB Press – 4×6-8 with 2-minute rest
- DB Flies – 3×10-15 with 1-minute rest
Day 2: Chest Size
Rest for 90 seconds between sets
- Incline Bench – 4×6-8
- Compound Set: DB Press – 3×10 + DB Incline – 3×10
- Tri Set: High Chest Flies – 3×10 + Bench Press – 3×10 + Push-Ups – max
Day 3: Chest Endurance & Function
Perform in circuit fashion. Repeat five to 10 times and rest for one minute between sets.
- Sprints: 10-20 seconds
- Push-Ups – Max
- Pull-Ups – Max
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