Chest Workout: Strength and Volume

The muscular structure of the chest is comprised of the Pectoralis major and the Pectoralis Minor. The Pectoralis Major is a large fan shaped muscle that comprises the majority of the mass and strength value of the chest area. The Pectoralis minor is a small thin muscle located under the Pectoralis major along the upper chest area. With respect to aesthetics, the chest is a large forefront muscle group that counterbalances the size of the arms, width of the shoulders and Latissimus dorsi muscles. Since the chest muscles comprises the majority of the size of the front upper torso and is essential to overall bodily strength, this muscle group is a top priority both for aesthetics and strength. The chest is responsible for movement of the arms through the shoulder joint, and therefore the chest muscles have two main movements: push and adduction. The chest allows the athlete to project force outward through their arms and additionally adducts the arms in an inward hugging motion. In order to specifically strengthen, tone and induce hypertrophy of the chest, an athlete must target and execute resistance movements that are essential to overall development. The organization and exercises that comprise a workout must focus on strength and volume in order to improve total body strength, arm extension power, and aesthetically improve the overall shape and tone of the athlete’s torso.

Pectoralis Major

Although the chest is commonly targeted as ‘outer’, ‘inner’, ‘upper’, and ‘lower’, this specific targeting does little for targeted development because during contraction the Pectoralis major contracts evenly across all heads no matter what angle. The angle of the exercise dictates the stability, length of movement, and involvement of the shoulder muscles. The purpose of this workout is to increase the strength and volume of the Pectoralis Major by integrating essential press and adduction movements.

1) Flat Press- This exercise is comprised of either dumbbell press or barbell press, and each variation should be alternated every few weeks. If performing dumbbell press, place the dumbbells on your knees, kick them back as you lie down. Have a spotter assist you on the first lifting motion after you have lied down in order to avoid injury and excessive strain from being beyond the range of motion. If performing barbell press (bench press), have a spotter provide a ‘lift off’ from the rack, and follow your repetitions to avoid injury. On both exercises, the athlete should lower the weight to their chest without bouncing, and lift up in a smooth, even motion.

  • Warm up with half of the starting weight for 15 repetitions.
  • Increase the weight significantly to a weight that you can only do 4 repetitions of.
  • Decrease the weight 5-10 pounds for the next set and perform 6 repetitions.
  • Decrease 5-10 pounds for the next set and perform 8 repetitions.
  • Decease the weight 20 pounds and perform until failure.

2) Flat Flies. Lay flat on a bench with a dumbbells in each hand. Perform a hugging motion by keeping your elbows slightly bent, creating an arc with your arms and then contracting your chest together at the top of the motion.

  • Warm up with half of the starting weight for 15 repetitions.
  • Increase the weight significantly to a weight that you can only do 6 repetitions of.
  • Decrease the weight 5-10 pounds for the next set and perform 8 repetitions.
  • Decrease 5-10 pounds for the next set and perform 10 repetitions.
  • Decease the weight 20 pounds and perform until failure

3) Incline Press with Push up Superset- The incline angled press will incorporate more shoulder movement, but will help strengthen the stabilizer muscles and correlated strength between the chest and shoulders. The incline press is paired with the standard push up, which is performed immediately after every set to failure.

  • Perform a weight that allows 6 repetitions.
  • Immediately following this, without rest, perform push ups to failure.
  • Decrease the weight to one that allows just 8 repetitions.
  • Immediately following this, without rest, perform push ups to failure.
  • Decrease the weight to one that allows just 10 repetitions.
  • Immediately following this, without rest, perform push ups to failure.

 

Push Ups

3) Cable Crossovers- Center your body between a cable machine with handles on each end chest high, and after the initial set raise the hands to head height in order to perform decline flies. The decline motion will help vary the adduction range of motion and push the muscle downwards for aesthetic shape and striations. Perform the same wide arc and contract your chest together as with flat flies. The cable tension allows for constant tension and a shaping movement.

  • Perform a weight that allows 8 repetitions at shoulder height. Rest. Raise the handles to head level and repeat the repetition range in a decline fly motion.
  • Decrease the weight to one that allows just 10 repetitions. Rest. Raise the handles to head level and repeat the repetition range in a decline fly motion.
  • Decrease the weight to one that allows just 12 repetitions. Rest. Raise the handles to head level and repeat the repetition range in a decline fly motion.

Go Train.

-Papa Swole

(This is an original post copyright to SwoleScience.com, credited to the aforementioned author. Its reproduction is strictly prohibited. All rights reserved to the original authors of any quoted or embedded material)

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