Everybody wants a big, strong chest: this is one of the most aesthetically appealing muscles around and has been popular since the 1970s during the classical period of American bodybuilding. A strong, powerful chest is also useful for throwing and pushing opponents in competitive sports. This workout is a great one to include in a training plan or chest-training routine. This is an adaptation of the workout included in the following video.
This workout is effective because it includes a lot of different exercises which focus on different parts of the chest, as well as combining stretching and pressing exercises. However, we have adapted this workout to improve the amount of chest growth that it can induce – the original order of exercises and rep schemes aren’t conducive to maximum strength and size. We’ve ensured that some of the larger exercises are more geared towards strength (e.g the barbell bench press) and that stretching exercises always come before pressing exercises. Exercise science tells us that performing stretching exercises before pressing exercises can improve muscle growth, which is why we have arranged the exercises in this order.
Exercise one: Chest dips
Perform 3 sets – don’t go to failure, leave a few reps in the tank! Dips are a great ‘stretch’ exercise and are used for strength by a variety of top-level athletes, this is because it does not tighten the chest as much as bench presses. Don’t go to failure yet, as we’ll need some energy for the rest of the workout!
Exercise two: Barbell bench press
Perform one set of 10 reps, followed by 2 sets of 12. The barbell bench press is one of the classical chest size exercises, allowing us to add some serious weight to the bar and increase the overall strength of the chest. The set of 10 should focus on moving heavy weights, after which we drop the weight and focus on control and squeezing the chest.
Exercise three: Dumbbell flyes
Perform one set of 15 reps, followed by a set to failure. This is a great choice for chest gains because it provides a maximal stretch to the chest muscles, focusing on the squeezing of the arms together, rather than pressing.
Exercise four: Incline dumbbell press
Perform one set of 10-12 reps, followed by a set to failure. This exercise is included because it hits the upper (Clavicular) head of the chest, which improves the “3D” look of the muscle.
Exercise five: Push-ups
Perform 100 reps in as few set as possible. The push up is a great finisher because it is easy to get lots of reps performed in a short space of time, and should be possible even after all the other exercises. Perform as few sets as possible, taking rest only when form begins to break down.