The chest is one of my favourite muscle groups to train and that for good reason, it’s become one of my strongest muscles. Training the chest is like the epitome of training legs for ladies, we love it and we do it all the time. The chest is the muscle that is most overlooked like women because of their mammary glands (breasts), but please stick with me on this! It’s still a muscle in your body and needs to be trained. Focus on the recommended exercises portion of this post to benefit the most of it. Gentlemen, I’m not worried about you!  You’ve probably already got your notebooks open and pen in hand, good, let’s get going!

What we know as the chest is actually called the pectoralis and it is made up of two muscles; the pectoralis major and the pectoralis minor( sits beneath the pectoralis major). Both males and females have the major and the minor, however the female chest has the pectoralis major and the minor around the mammary gland (the breasts)

Now to help you target the pecs better, I’ll separate them into two portions; the upper and lower pecs. If you build a strong chest and get your body fat low enough you can actually see this separation when you flex your tits. If you look at the photo above you see the separation. The lower portion of the pec that you can see in the photo is the larger sternal head of the pectoralis, while the upper portion of the pec is the smaller, clavicular head. So what does this mean? Well basically by understanding that the pec has both upper and lower portion, we can isolate each portion with specific exercises. Exciting stuff right? This will bring out those monster pecs.

How do we work out the chest?! To to this we find out what the pectoralis major actually does for us. The answer:  brings your arms towards the middle of your body across the chest. Think of it like this, everytime you hug someone you’re using your pectoralis major to wrap your arms around them. Never thought of it like that, eh? I’ve probably ruined hugs for you now, oh well, moving on..

The pecs are what we call a push muscle. What does that mean?! Well, to work the muscle itself we have to use a pushing movement. Do you know what a pushup is? I assume you do, do you know what muscle it works? If you guessed the chest, you’re right! Thats because when you push yourself off of the ground, you are using the pectoralis major muscle to get off of the ground, thats why its called a pushup.

When training the chest, there are generally two types of lifts that we do, these are presses and flyes. Whats the difference?! The bench press is used to add size to the pecs, while the flyes are used to give shape to the pecs. Think about it like making a pot of clay, doing bench presses is like adding more clay to the pot to make it bigger, while doing flyes brings the actual shape of the pot together. You usually use more weight on the bench press as it is a compound lift (click here to see the Weight Training 101 post) then on the flye because it is an isometric exercise.

So now that we know everything about the pec, all thats left is to provide you with some exercises that will work the entire chest! Here we go!!

To build the overall size of the chest, I recommend to do a variety of these exercises:

  • Barbell/ Dumbell (DB) Bench Press – Hits the whole pec muscle.
  • Incline Barbell/ Dumbell (DB) Bench Press – Hits the upper pecs.
  • Decline Barbell/ Dumbell (DB) Bench Press – Hits the lower pecs.
  • Plyometric Pushups – Involves explosiveness, builds power and adds size.
  • Pushup – Hits the whole pec muscle.
  • Incline Pushup (Arms Elevated) – Hit the lower pecs.
  • Decline Pushup (Feet Elevated) – Hit the upper pecs.
  • Machine Press – Hits the whole pec muscle.
  • Incline Machine Press- Hits the upper pecs.
  • Decline Machine Press- Hits the lower pecs.

To shape and define the chest, I recommend these exercises:

  • Dumbell Flyes – Hit the whole pecs.
  • Incline DB Flyes – Hits the upper pecs.
  • Decline DB Flyes- Hit the lower pecs.
  • Cable Flyes – Hit the whole pecs.
  • Incline Cable Flyes- Hit the upper pecs.
  • Decline Cable Flyes- Hit the lower pecs.
  • Machine Flyes – Hit whole pecs.

By now we should have a better understanding about the pecs and we’ll use the provided exercises to hit them hard and watch them grow. Thats a wrap for this post folk, see you at the gym training jacked!

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