The best chest exercises that build new muscle

By September 29, 2010 8 Comments

How to get your chest to start growing again

Everyone has their goto bunch of exercises that they use when they KNOW they’ve hit a wall. Sure-fire workout routines that build muscle are a MUST HAVE in anyones box of training tricks.

What should you do when your chest has stopped growing?

I can’t stress enough that gains, no matter how small, are fricken GAINS! A ‘gain’ is adding 1.25kg’s to your bench press, or its adding a single rep to a set that you normally couldn’t do the last time you did exactly the same exercise.

If you can’t seem to add 5kg’s to your bench-press each and every week, remember—not even Superman can. That’s largely because he’s fictional.

So how does one get their chest to grow week after week?

You need to eat more, get a decent amount of sleep and use a method called progressive overload or ramping. Each week you want to be increasing your weights or be adding a rep to each set without going to failure.

If that isn’t happening within your current training regimin, you need to re-assess the eat & sleep requirements you are currently adhering to.

Why no training to failure?

Like I’ve said before, failure (all the time) is bad mmkay. It sends negative feedback to your central nervous system telling it you suck, and can’t lift the weight. Your CNS will learn from this and won’t allow you to progress. Cheeky huh?

All that is fine, but what are the best chest exercises?

Every man and his dog has their own theory as to which exercises grow the most muscle. Ones that cause a serious ‘burn’ or ones which leave your chest aching for days afterwards. These are all great, but are largely hit-and-miss.

I’ve decided to concentrate on specific exercises which I highly rate and have used in my OWN personal development.

Barbell Guillotine Press

This is a genius exercise which takes the deltoids out of the movement allowing you really isolate the chest

Preview Notes
Lower weight to neck. Upper arms will be perpendicular to torso. Press bar until arms are extended.

Dumbbell Incline Press

This is the mother of all chest building exercises! It directly ignites the fire of your upper-pectorals. If your upper chest is a bit of a weak spot, I’d definitely add some of these into the mix. If you don’t have dumb bells, substitute with a bar.

Preview Notes
Press dumbbells up with elbows to sides until arms are extended. Lower weight to sides of upper chest until slight stretch is felt in chest.

Weighted Chest Dips

I use this as more of a finishing exercise, but can be added to any stage of your chest workout. Use a weightbelt or dumbbells to increase the weight from set to set.

Preview Notes
Lower body by bending arms allowing elbows to flare out to sides. When slight stretch is felt in chest or shoulders push body up until arms are straight. Added weight can be placed on dip belt or dumbbell can be placed between ankles.

Example chest workout structure

Below is a sample structure that you can use as a guide for the above mentioned exercises. It uses a 5×5 principle with progressive overload. Rep ranges can vary depending on your goals (higher reps for muscle mass, and lower reps for strength). Add this format into your current regimen, remember to remove the warmup sets for each subsequent new exercise.

Set Exercise Weight lifted Comments
1 Barbell Guillotine Press 75kg x 5 First warmup set we start at 60% 1RM
2 Barbell Guillotine Press 85kg x 5 Second set we add 10kg
3 Barbell Guillotine Press 95kg x 5 Third set we add another 10kg and keep the rep range the same
4 Barbell Guillotine Press 100kg x 4 Set 4 we go heavier again but this time reduce the number of reps
5 Barbell Guillotine Press 105kg x 3 The last set our nervous system is ready for the onslaught due to the progression, therefore lift more weight and reduce the number of reps once more.

To wrap it up

By the end of a month, you should notice a significant increase in size and/or strength. Just make sure that you are eating and sleeping properly during this time to maximise your gains.

Clint Nielsen

Author Clint Nielsen

Clint is a dad and husband trying to stay in shape. He's also a highly opinionated fitness enthusiast and author of Reveal The Steel. Follow him on: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Google+

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