Perfect Pectoral Exercises

Most men would like to add muscle to their chests, which explains why you can never get on the flat bench in your gym. But while the bench press allows you to move a lot of weight, this exercise alone won’t really build your chest beyond a certain level because it doesn’t hit all the muscle fibres. Press-ups won’t get the job done either. If you’ve been banging out endless press-ups every morning like Christian Bale’s Batman since you were young, your pecs are probably so efficient at this exercise that they’ve never felt under enough strain to need to grow bigger.

The solution is to target your pecs from multiple angles, using a combination of free weights and resistance machines to vary the way your muscles have to work and a mixture of tempos to force all the fibres in your chest to grow.

RECOMMENDED: 20-Minute Chest Workout

It’s equally important to work your muscles in a balanced way. All muscles will always be limited in terms of size and power if their antagonistic muscles – in this case, the ones in your upper and mid-back – are neglected. You have to match your pushing with equal parts pulling to keep your body well balanced and functional. That’s why this workout alternates the pressing exercises with pulling lifts.

It also kicks off with an explosive bodyweight press-up to activate all the fast-twitch muscle fibres that will help you with the rest of the lifts. And it finishes with a pec stretch to ensure you don’t seize up and find yourself hunched over in agony the next day. Do expect a bit of an ache though – this is DOMS (delayed onset muscle fatigue) and a surefire sign you’ve worked muscles that had previously had an easy ride.

Do this workout once or twice a week, increasing the weights or reps as you progress week by week for four weeks. Rest for one minute between sets and two minutes between exercises.

RECOMMENDED: 10 Steps to a Bigger, Stronger Chest

1 Plyometric press-up

Plyometric press-up

Sets 3 Reps 8-10

Get into a press-up position with your body a straight line from neck to ankles. Bend your elbows to lower your chest to the floor, then explosively push your torso upwards. Continue the movement all the way through, lift your palms off the floor, clap and then return them to the ground to catch your bodyweight on the way down.

2 Incline bench press

Sets 3 Reps 10

Set the bench to 45° above horizontal. Place your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart on the bar, brace your abs and then press the bar straight up in the air. Pause at the top, then lower the weight under control for two seconds as far as is comfortable.

RECOMMENDED: The Only Home Chest Workout You’re Ever Going to Need

3 Bent-over row

Barbell bent-over row

Sets 3 Reps 10

Hold a bar with an overhand or underhand grip (vary it each set to target different muscles in your back and arms each time). Bend forwards, hingeing from the hips to keep your back straight. Pull the bar towards your sternum, pause, then lower to the start.

4 Decline bench press

Decline bench press

Sets 3 Reps 10

Set the bench to 30° below horizontal. Place your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart on the bar, brace your abs and then press the bar straight up in the air so that it’s directly above your lower chest. Pause at the top, then lower the weight under control for two seconds as far as is comfortable.

5 Lat pull-down

Lat pull-down

Sets 3 Reps 10

Sit upright with your knees supported and take a wide, double shoulder-width grip on the bar. Retract your shoulder blades, then pull the bar down until it is just below your chin. At the bottom of the pull, squeeze your shoulder blades together, then slowly return to the start.

6 Cable crossover flye

Sets 3 Reps 10

Stand in the middle of two cable stacks with the pulleys set at head height. Place your feet shoulder-width apart but with one foot slightly behind the other so that you have a strong base. Take a cable handle in each hand. Brace your core, keep looking ahead and pull each cable in towards the middle of your chest for a count of two, crossing your hands over each other slightly and squeezing your chest for a count of two. Then return the cables back under tension for a count of two.

7 Chest stretch

Chest workout Stretch out

Kneel on the floor beside a gym ball and rest your left arm on top of the ball. Place your right hand on the floor and lean down towards the floor so that you feel the stretch in your left pectoral muscle. Hold for ten to 20 seconds, then swap sides and repeat.

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *