Among fitness goals, a bigger chest, alongside six-pack abs and broad shoulders, stands out as a highly sought-after target for numerous trainees. Yet, finding people with well-developed, symmetrical chests remains a rarity.
From my experience, achieving a bigger chest was a significant challenge for years, even with regular workouts. Let me offer some insights that aided in building a bigger chest. First, we’ll start with an anatomy overview to clearly understand chest musculature.
Alongside six-pack abs and broad shoulders, chest muscles rank as a top goal for many trainees. However, it’s seldom to encounter individuals with ideally developed, symmetrical chests.
From personal experience, my chest was a challenging area to develop, despite consistent workouts. I’ll share several strategies that enhanced my chest size. But initially, a brief anatomy overview is essential to understand chest musculature thoroughly.
For optimal chest development, knowledge of its primary muscle groups is crucial. The chest comprises the large pectoralis major and the smaller pectoralis minor situated beneath.
To build a bigger chest and maintain injury prevention, it’s vital to develop both muscles.
Additionally, as an enthusiast of classic training methods, I incorporate exercises targeting the serratus anterior in my chest routine. This enhances the wide ribcage appearance, focusing on the slender muscular sheet between the ribs and scapula.
Since it is big muscle on its own, the pectoralis major is divided into 3 main parts: the sternal(lower) chest, the middle chest and the clavicular(upper) chest.
All of them needs to be targeted properly for complete growth.
Chest Training Keys
Key 1: Work all the muscles of the Chest
This is an obvious one. That includes the 2 portions of the pec major: the upper portion, the lower portion, the pec minor, and the Serratus Anterior to fully expand your rib cage and show off Bigger Chest muscles to their fullest.
Include heavy compound exercises in your routine
Given that most chest muscle fibers are predominantly type II, they react favorably to heavy weights. Therefore, incorporating at least one heavy exercise within the 4-6 rep range in every workout is beneficial not only for stimulating growth but also for enhancing upper body strength.
Start your session with Incline Bench Press
Particularly crucial for those struggling with an underdeveloped upper chest — a common issue — it’s advisable to begin workouts with an incline press while you’re at your strongest.
If barbell exercises lead to excessive shoulder discomfort, switching to dumbbells is a smart alternative. Dumbbells offer a wider range of motion and typically result in less shoulder pain, aiding in effective upper chest development.
Focus on Time Under Tension
Spoiler alert: this is my secret for chest growth.
A frequent mistake in chest training — and I’ve been guilty of this too — is performing partial reps with excessively heavy weights, falsely equating strength with effectiveness. Unfortunately, this approach resulted in minimal growth, as my chest remained a weaker area until I embraced the concept of ‘time under tension.’
What is time under tension? It’s about maintaining continuous muscle engagement throughout each set and for a significant duration. This means avoiding overly rapid lifts and not fully locking out on each rep, as this can reduce the tension on the chest muscles, crucial for growth.
Workout Your Chest Twice a Week
The era of once-a-week training is outdated. Except for complete beginners or those using anabolic steroids, this approach offers limited benefits.
Lately, a shift has occurred among fitness influencers, YouTubers, and coaches, favoring more frequent workouts over traditional body part splits.
Why this change? Recent studies by Dr. Brad Schoenfeld affirm that training each muscle group at least twice a week is essential for maximal muscle growth. The chest, like all muscles, follows this rule.
The rationale is straightforward: to build size, you need to maximize protein synthesis within the muscle.
Incorporating these principles into your chest routine can significantly accelerate your progress, leading to a robust, barrel-sized chest swiftly.
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