Every Monday in gyms all over the world, several guys bang away on the Bench Press, trying to get that massive chest that will fill out their shirts, impress the girls and make them feel powerful. What many of them don’t realize is that the key to a great chest workout is much more than the flat barbell Bench Press. To build powerful pecs, you have to train them from different angles and with different movements. If you’re looking to build a strong, powerful and balanced set of pecs, keep reading.
Incline Barbell Press
Starting with this movement has two advantages: you control more weight with a bar; and since you cannot use as much weight as you can on a flat bench, you are forced to pay better attention to the movement. When you press, don’t lock out your elbows. That will not help your chest improve, and it places unwanted stress on your elbow joints. After a couple of warm-up sets, perform three working sets of 8-10 reps with one minute rest between sets. Check out the video player above to see NFL RB Reggie Bush’s Alternating Dumbbell Incline Press.
Low Incline Dumbbell Flys
Set an adjustable bench at its lowest incline position. If you lack access to an adjustable bench, stick with the incline bench. Flys help you isolate the pecs and get a better stretch than presses. As you lower the weight out to your sides, keep a slight bend in your elbow so the pressure stays on the muscles and not the joints. When you lift the dumbbells back up, don’t let them touch. Keep them a couple of inches apart so tension stays where it needs to be—on your chest. Three sets of 10-12 reps with one minute rest between sets will work here.
Performing Dips on parallel bars while keeping your body upright targets your triceps and shoulders. If you lean forward slightly, the focus shifts to the lower portion of your chest. Go as deep down as you safely can without feeling pain in your chest or shoulders. Push yourself back up until your arms are just short of locking out. Hold that position for a second and repeat. If your body weight alone isn’t enough, you can increase the challenge by wearing a weight belt or by placing chains around your shoulders. Shoot for three or four sets of 12-15 reps with one minute rest between sets.
These hit the outer and lower pecs as well as the middle of the chest.
If you train in a gym with updated equipment, you should be able to adjust the position of the pulleys on your cable station. If not, that’s OK; use the high pulleys. If you can adjust the settings, place the pulleys just above shoulder-height. Grab the handles and bring them in front of you until they meet in the middle above your navel. Slowly return the handles to the starting position and repeat. Do not let your arms become completely outstretched to your sides, and squeeze your chest hard when you bring them in. This keeps the pressure on your chest, where you want it. If you do three sets of 20 reps with one minute of rest between sets, you will finish this workout right and be sure that you maximized your chest training for the day.