When training pectoral muscles many people make a lot of mistakes. Firstly, it seems that not everyone understands the goals of his or her training. For example, a person wants to pump up an aesthetic and beautiful chest with pronounced muscle definition, but at the same time he / she performs bench presses “with a bridge” on his back and does only 1-2 repetitions per set. Or he / she begins to do all kinds of isolation exercises, while neglecting the basic exercises (read about chest day combination workout here). So, if you have problems in the training of pectoral muscles, this article is for you. We will help you to develop killer chest workout!
Chest Anatomy and Main Rules or Training
The most basic thing, which you need to know and remember, is that the pectoral muscles consist of:
- Big chest muscle (pectoralis major muscle);
- Small chest muscle (pectoralis minor muscle);
- Front chest muscle (serratus anterior muscle);
Another important thing is that the pectoral muscles are unique in comparison with other muscle groups, because they are attached at different angles to the sternum and clavicles, which is why they need to be trained from different angles. Apparently, things are not difficult. We need to train different parts of the pectoral muscles from different angles.
Now a few words about the rules of growth not only of the pectoral muscles, but also of all muscle groups. For the pronounced and powerful growth of any muscle group, you need to observe only three basic rules:
- Progressive Overload (creating favorable conditions for the body muscles to grow).
- Adequate recovery (proper nutrition, including sports nutrition, like BCAA, plus 8-10 hours of sleep).
- Muscle sense/proper feelings (the load should fall into the right muscle, you can learn more from this article).
So, the load on the muscles should grow (you should add weight plates on the bar, increase number of sets, repetitions, exercises, perform supersets, dropsets, etc.). You should perfectly recover (eat right and sleep well). Your muscles will simply not grow without proper recovery. Lack of sleep is bad for all body, not only for your muscles. In addition, you should feel the muscles that you are training, and “turn off” all the other muscles. That, in fact, all that can be said about basic principles of chest training. So let’s switch to the most widespread mistakes of chest workouts.
Chest Workout in Bodybuilding – Most Common Training Mistakes
Many people make the same mistakes when training a breast. These mistakes hamper the progress.
1. Too much weight on the bar (dumbbell). In any gym, you can see this mistake when a person (beginner or amateur) uses too much weight on the bar or dumbbell. A person writhes, twists, helps himself with his / her legs, back, all parts of the body, just to lift the weight, believing that the more he lifts, the better the progress of the pectoral muscles. This is not true. The load is thus simply “smeared” on other muscles, leaving the chest. The chest, naturally, does not grow. The body always strives to save energy, so it will strive to break the technique of doing exercises. Your task is to monitor the progression of the load, keeping the correct technique. We will talk about it below.
2. Using only the horizontal bench for exercises. Many people overestimate the importance of bench press on a horizontal bench for the growth of pectoral muscles. As we have said, pectoral muscles (chest muscles) are attached to the clavicles and sternum at different angles, respectively, you should train them at different angles of inclination of the bench. The bench press on the horizontal bench mainly acts on the lower area of the chest, which itself grows much easier than the upper chest, but it is much smaller in size. Accordingly, for the proper development of all pectoral muscles, this is not the most preferred version of the bench press. Only by experimenting with the sensations of the pectoral muscles at different angles of the bench, you can achieve their comprehensive development. By the way, some people do not do barbells presses on a horizontal bench, they only press on an inclined bench (20-30 degrees). Despite this, their chest often look better than that of many people who focus on the bench press on a horizontal bench.
3. Few basic exercises and many isolation ones. Some beginners are focusing on isolation exercises in chest workouts for mass, believing that in this way they will significantly improve the chest muscles. This is a mistake! Such option of training is possible, but not in the form in which they do it. The classical option is basic exercises (presses) at the beginning of your workout, and isolation exercise (chest flys, crossover, pullover, exercises etc.) at the end of your workout. It is basic exercises that will allow you to take more weight on the bar and provide progressive overload. Then you should perform isolation exercises that can tire your muscles deeper and fill them with blood.
4. Too much rest between sets and separate exercises. This moment is very important. If you want a beautiful, aesthetic breast, you should not rest more than 1-1.5 minutes, a maximum of 2 minutes. With each set, fatigue should be stronger and stronger. A good indicator that you are doing everything right is the reduction in the number of repetitions in each set.
5. Too much exercises in chest training. Because of this your efforts may dissipate. We believe that it is better to do 3-4 most effective exercises for one muscle group, increasing the number of sets to 5-6, and even 7, than to do 7-8 exercises, performing 2-3 sets for each. When people run from one gym machine to another, rapidly performing bench press, dumbbell press, dips, hummer exercises, flys, crossover, etc., they, most likely, although this may seem strange, receive insufficient load. We do not mean professional athletes who can train for 2 hours or more (but you should know that professionals often use anabolic steroids, such as testosterone enanthate, Sustanon and Testoviron Depot; these drugs increase their workout performance). We are referring to the average person who wants to develop a breast of impressive size. Even in the training of professionals, you can often see only 4-5 exercises for 1 muscle group.
Chest Workouts for Mass – List of Possible Exercises
Exercises for the muscles of the chest should be divided into two large groups:
- Presses (with barbells, dumbbells, in Smith machine).
- Chest flys (with dumbbells, in a crossover, Hummer machine, etc.).
The presses are the basic multi-joint exercises in bodybuilding chest workout (they involve two joints: the shoulder joint and elbow joint), and the flys are isolation ones (only humeral joint works). That’s why you should start your training with the presses, and finish with chest flys for deeper fatigue.
There are many types of bench presses.
Types of presses depending on the equipment used:
- Barbell Press;
- Dumbbell Press;
- Smith Bench Press.
Types of presses depending on the angle of inclination of the bench):
Types of presses depending on the width of the grip):
- Wide Grip Barbell Press;
- Medium Grip Barbell Press;
- Narrow Grip Barbell Press.
As you can see, there are lots of options. The higher the slope of your body, the more the top of the chest works and the less load its bottom receives. But the angle should not be more than 40-45 degrees, because the higher the inclination of the head, the more deltas and triceps are included in the work. Therefore, we can advise you to incline the body at about 20-30 degrees. So the load will lie more evenly than if there is no inclination angle.
Killer Chest Workout – Best Exercises
These exercises for the chest should be in the arsenal of every bodybuilder.
1. Barbell Incline Bench Press Medium-Grip. Perhaps, this is a number one exercise number for building huge pectoral muscles. As we have said, the optimal inclination is about 20-30 degrees. Higher angle is not necessary, because the deltoids will be connected to work. Very often manufacturers of sports equipment make a fixed angle of the bench at 45 degrees. This is very bad, because this include your shoulders into work. Therefore, we would advise you to take a regular inclined bench with the possibility of changing the angle of inclination. Do not perform the exercise without bench, this may be dangerous for health.
The width of the grip should be medium, because this gives us a large amplitude of motion, and, therefore, complicates the work, and does not allow the triceps to work. You should try to work inside the amplitude (do not touch the neck of the chest and do not straighten the elbows at the top point completely), this will not allow you to turn off the chest muscles.
2. Incline Dumbbell Press. This is also a very effective ultimate exercise for the chest muscles. The dumbbell press is much more difficult to perform than the barbell press, so, for example, if you press a 100 kg bar at a time, you can not perform two dumbbells weighing 50 kg each. With the dumbbell press on the bench, there is no bar between the dumbbells, i.e. there is no additional stabilization that simplifies the work, so the body is forced to connect a lot of muscle stabilizers, which are smaller in size. This is necessary in order to stabilize the movement of each arm separately. The angle of the bench, the position of the elbows, etc. remain the same. The dumbbell level at the bottom point should be slightly lower than that in the barbell press, because in the middle there is no “limiter” in the form of a neck. Therefore, we lower our arms down to the stop, until the pectoral muscles are fully stretched. The way to raise dumbbells should be thoroughly learned in order not to get unpleasant injuries. The main tip is as follows: if you cannot lift dumbbells to the starting position yourself, then the weight is too big for you!
Barbell Chest Workout – Example Routine
Your barbell chest workout may be as follows:
- Barbell Bench Press. Warm-up, 4 sets, 6-8 reps.
- Low-Incline Barbell Bench Press. 4 sets, 6-8 reps.
- Dips For Chest. 4 sets, 10-12 reps.
- Incline Bench Cable Fly. 4 sets, 10-12 reps.
You might be interested in the best inner chest workout for mass.
Dumbbell Chest Workout – Example Routine
You can try the following dumbbell chest workout:
- Bench Press. Warm-up, 4 sets, 6-8 reps.
- Incline Bench Press. 4 sets, 6-8 reps.
- Decline Bench Press. 4 sets, 6-8 reps.
- Lying Fly. 4 sets, 10-12 reps.
- Incline Fly. 4 sets, 10-12 reps.
- Straight-Arm Pullover. 4 sets, 8-10 reps.