Every guy serious about weight training wants to have a defined, ripped chest. A developed chest gives the torso girth and thickness and easily separates the serious bodybuilder from the casual or novice bodybuilder. I think most women will agree that a well sculpted chest is a cornerstone to a guy’s sexy-looking physique! A lot of novice weight lifters, both men and women, use incorrect form with free weights when performing chest exercises, or simply don’t know the best exercises to return the most benefit, so I’ll offer a few tips below to help set them on the correct path to a well sculpted set of pecs!
Let’s focus on building mass and definition for the chest (pectorals). The basic mass-building principle applies; heavy weight and low reps are most beneficial when your goal is to build muscle. I would like to suggest performing three separate exercises for the chest, to focus on different regions during your gym workout; these being the upper, lower and outer portion of the pectorals. Lets define exercises for each region.
Lower and middle: Bench Press
The Bench Press is a staple in every bodybuilder’s workout. This is a classic mass-building exercise that will never go out of style! The basic press focuses on the middle and lower regions of the chest muscles, and should utilize the most weight out of all of your chest exercises. You can use a bar or dumbbells, but since I personally prefer dumbbells over a bar, that’s what we’ll discuss here.
When performing this exercise, lay on a sturdy, flat bench and begin with the dumbbells balanced to either side of your chest, in line with the nipples. Your palms are facing toward your feet. Keep your feet flat on the floor, do not put them up on the bench. This will keep your body steady, otherwise you have more of a chance of teetering over to one side.
Push the dumbbells up slowly until your elbows are almost completely extended, but not locked. Locking your elbows takes some of the strain off of your chest, which you do not want. You want your pecs to be constantly working and contracted throughout the entire exercise. Touching the weights together is personal preference, but you should bring them in close together at the very least, so your chest is contracted the most at the top end of the movement. You should take 1-2 seconds to raise the weight, and 3 seconds to lower it back down to the starting position. Do not rush the movement, and do not push up the weight without good form. Slow and steady is the way to go.
Upper chest: Incline Press
For general, the incline press uses the same action as the bench press, except that you will be sitting on a bench about 30 degrees inclined to the right. Using too much of an incline, the anterior deltoids (shoulders) will start to work and take focus off the chest. As with the bench press the same rules and principles apply to the incline press. The weight will be approximately over the head as the weight is forced up at the end of the motion. Move the weight up onto a purely vertical plane.
Outer chest: Flyes
The Flyes are another classic exercise used by pretty much every bodybuilder that knows what they’re doing in a gym. Flyes focus on the outer portion of the pectorals, which helps to create a defined and wide chest. Flyes are generally performed with a cable system. Use comfortable hand grips and position the base points 4-5 inches above shoulder level. Grab the grips with each hand and lunge forward between them. Keep your back straight, or arched slightly back is acceptable as well. With your elbows slightly bent, allow the cables to pull your arms apart until your elbows are behind your torso, then pull them together in front of you. To work the lower chest, pull the cables together in a downward arch, until the grips are in front of your waist. Allow the cables to pull your arms apart again, but slowly, taking 2-3 seconds to get back to the starting position.
A couple key points to remember when working your chest.
Slow and steady offers the most benefit. In generally, it should take 1-2 seconds to push the weight up, and 2-3 seconds to lower it back to the starting position.
High weight and low reps are a key ingredient for effective weight training in general, but especially so when working your chest if your goal is to build muscle mass.
Ajay Dalal is a content writer and a copywriter who specializes in writing marketing blog Technology and sales pages. He often writes for Digital Junkies and Dricki.com and explores new technologies, and shares his knowledge through writing.