Chest muscle training is one of the most important parts of bodybuilders’ workout spilts. The peculiarity of the pectoral (chest) muscles is that they are always in sight, therefore, their workout is one of the highest priorities. In addition, the chest muscles constitute a large muscular group, therefore, you should pay great attention to them. In this article, we will consider all aspects of the training of chest muscles on the same day with other muscle groups, anatomy of the chest structure, practical recommendations for working out different parts of the pectoral muscles, as well as possible causes of lagging the chest. In addition, you will know how to properly train the chest and what to emphasize during your workout.
Chest Muscles Anatomy Basics for Effective Chest Day Workout
What is the chest? The pectoral muscles consist of the external pectoral muscles, internal intercostal muscle, and diaphragm. Bodybuilders, of course, primarily interested in external muscle on gym chest workout day, because it is their hypertrophy is most noticeable. The greatest value is played by the large pectoral muscle, which is a pair structure, that is located on both sides of the chest. The small pectoral muscle is less important, but it also should be trained because it pushes the large pectoral muscle forward, so that the breasts visually become larger. The rest of the muscles usually is not trained by athletes, but this is certainly wrong, because these muscles also perform important functions. Moreover, for example, if you feel discomfort in the area of the clavicle, then you definitely need to work on the subclavian muscle.
Big pectoral muscle takes the lion’s share of the training of the chest, it is trained by all kinds of exercises with barbells and dumbbells. The function of this muscle is to bring the arm to yourself or from yourself, respectively, this muscle is responsible for press movements. Also, this muscle performs a rotational function, it is due to the large pectoral muscle that a person can rotate a hand. In terms of bodybuilding, this movement can be performed as fly chest exercise. This is very important, because during training, the athlete trains muscle fibers that perform those or other functions, respectively, once the functions are different, then the muscle fibers are used differently. This does not mean that bench press and fly chest train different types fibers, but there is a shift in the emphasis of the load and, yes, additional muscle fibers are involved during performing different exercises.
Since the large pectoral muscle, one way or another, is the target of your workout, in the training of the chest it will be given special significance. Conventionally, the chest can be divided into middle, upper and lower parts, although all these parts comprise the same muscle. The meaning of dividing the large pectoral muscle into segments is that the muscle fibers have different attachment points, one is attached to the middle of the chest, the others are attached to the collarbone, and all of them are attached to the humerus. Accordingly, depending on the position of the body, different fibers will be at different angles when the athlete is on a horizontal bench. At 90 degree angle, there are those fibers that are attached to the middle of the chest, when the athlete lies at an inclined angle, then at a right angle will be those fibers, which are attached to the collarbone. And a person is anatomically more convenient to use those fibers that are just at a right angle, therefore, to shift the load to the right muscle fibers, you need to change the load vector.
Small pectoralis muscle and subclavian muscle are similar in many respects, but the first one is responsible for bringing the scapula down and forward, and the second one is responsible for bringing the clavicle down and forward. To load these muscles, it is necessary, during performing chest fly exercise, to perform additional effort when pulling hands, pulling the shoulder forward. The remaining muscle groups are not interesting to bodybuilders from a practical point of view.
The thing that can be useful to those athletes who use a training plan for strength is intra-abdominal pressure, which can be increased with the help of a safety belt. The pressure increases because of the squeezing of the diaphragm, which allows you to deal with a heavier weight, so professional powerlifters train the chest muscles in this belt. It is necessary for them, because they work with heavier weights than bodybuilders, not to mention ordinary gym rats. It should be noted than those who work with very heavy weights might be steroid users. Top steroids in powerlifting include testosterone enanthate, Deca Durabolin, and Equipoise. Even 30 day steroid cycle may bring significant results.
Gym Chest Workout – Possible Causes of Bad Progression
The absence of progression is the most important reason behind the lagging of any muscle group. From a practical point of view, the key moments that make progression possible are a training diary and proper workout routine. Progression of the load can be done in different ways, but it is most effective to do this by increasing the working weights on the barbell / dumbbell. In practice, you will progress by increasing repetitions in working sets and enlarging working weights. The optimal number of repetitions for muscular hypertrophy is 3 sets of 6-11 reps in each exercise. Rest between sets should be 1-3 min (depending on the intensity and working weight). If you want to burn fat make your rest periods shorter, 45 seconds, for example.
A bad muscle feeling is also an important reason, because the progression of loads must be carried out at the expense of the target muscle group, that is, when you increase the weight in the bench press, this should be due to an increase in the load on the chest, rather than on the shoulders, the muscles of the back, triceps, legs or something else. What do you need to ensure proper progressive overload? The right technique! Nevertheless, experienced athletes can perform cheating movements (but if you use steroids like Trenbolone even these movements will be effective).
Another reason is wrong priorities. This reason can be expressed in the fact that the athlete gives preference to force indicators, or the wrong segment of the chest. Exercising the chest muscles for hypertrophy is training the muscles of the chest, so if you use a bench press for strength (that is, you do 3-5 reps with max weight), and your chest has a genetically lagging muscle, then there is nothing to be surprised that the breast does not grow. Less-developed muscle groups need to be additionally trained with the help of isolation exercises, since stronger muscles will naturally steal all the load. You can read more about isolation exercises for the chest muscles in the best full chest workout.
Chest and Tricep Workout
Chest and tricep workout is one of the most practiced types of training of the muscles of the chest, which during the training does not give any special advantages to the pectoral muscles. However, this method has the advantage in terms of recovery. The bottom line is that during the training of the triceps, the chest also indirectly receives a load, especially during close-grip barbell bench press, and if you combine the triceps and chest training, then, respectively, the contractile muscle tissues rest more fully.
Chest and Bicep Workout
Chest and bicep workout is also a popular training stack, in which the chest during the training wins only slightly. Of course, as in the previous case, you combine the training of the muscles of the chest with the training of a small muscle group, which allows you to concentrate more on the chest muscles. This training is one of the best if you do not specialize in the chest, because during the training of the biceps the chest is indirectly involved, which, in fact, is an easy exercise for it, supporting the muscle contraction.
Chest and Arms Workout
Chest and arms workout is a combination workout, which includes bicep and tricep exercises. This is a difficult type of workout, which is used when a person doesn’t have much time for training. We’ve found the following workout chest + bicep + tricep workout routine (you can choose exercise from it or do them all):
- 20 Degree Incline Thick Grip Dumbell Press;
- Decline Thick Grip Dumbell Press;
- Flat Converging Atlantis Chest Press;
- Reverse Grip Poliquin Bar Preacher Curls.
- Incline Thick Grip Dumbell Curls.
- Atlantis Horizontal Arm Curls (superset).
- Standing Rope Cable French Press.
- Decline Watson Triceps Bar Extensions.
- Dips with bands.
Chest and Back Workout
Chest and back workout is an advanced version of training of the pectoral muscles, since it involves the combination of the antagonist muscles. The chest is a pushing (pressing) muscle group, and the back is pulling (lifting) one, but both are large muscle groups, which makes it difficult to pump out both. The great advantage is that during the back training you stretch the chest. If you want to focus on the chest, you can apply this workout using supersets, but the back in this case should be trained with lighter weights.
Chest and Shoulders Training
Training of the chest and shoulders is also a training of the antagonist muscles, so with the chest you will not train the front delt, but the middle and back delts. This training allows you to pump your shoulders in the event that you have nowhere to insert their training, which, in fact, is the advantage of such a combination of muscle groups. That is, there are no extra advantages, but there are no significant disadvantages either. If you need to practice your shoulders, and you do not have separate day for them, then you can use this kind of training.
Chest and Legs Training
Chest and leg training is a very effective scheme of training the muscles of the chest, but, of course, the legs in this case are not the goal, that is, they are trained exactly as much as it helps the training of the pectoral muscles. At the beginning of the workout, you perform light squats of 50% of max one-rep weight for 5 sets of 10 repetitions, then go directly to the training of the main muscle group (the chest muscles). The bottom line is that squats stimulate the production of testosterone, which means that chest training receives additional stimuli.
You may develop 3 day, 4 day or 5 day workout routine. If you choose 5-day one, chest day workout will be separate. The more you exercise, the more recovery you need. You may improve recovery by using special steroids like testosterone propionate.