While having a great set of arms is great, most guys prioritize their chest workouts over everything else. There’s that old joke that Monday is chest day and it should be no surprise that the benches at most gyms are packed with amateur bodybuilders banging out reps with shitty form using weights they can’t really handle.
If you are one of the many guys out there who wants to build a great chest, or maybe you are someone who has struggled with chest training in the past, this article is for you. Check out below for our top 5 tips for building a bigger, more impressive-looking chest.
1 – Stop Doing the Bench Press
We hate to say it, but for the majority of guys out there flat bench press is simply not an effective exercise for building the pecs. Most people experience shoulder and elbow pain from doing it and generally only notice the development in their triceps and front deltoids. While bench press is definitely the #1 ego exercise out there, you would be surprised to know that tons of IFBB pros have ditched this exercise in favor of the far more effective incline bench press.
For guys with longer arms, the incline bench press allows you to bring the bar down to chest level without putting a ton of strain on your shoulders. On top of that, incline work tends to emphasize the upper portion of the chest which will help fill out those pecs. We also recommend giving dumbbells a shot as they allow for a larger range of motion and will develop those important support muscles.
Another reason we can’t stand the bench press is that most guys just doing it wrong. They load up far more weight than they can handle and have their spotter practically deadlift the weight off their chest. All this does is waste their time and put them at a greater risk of injury. If you’ve been lifting for a long time chances are you’ve had to bail out some dude who tried to bench heavy without a spotter.
2 – Pay Attention to Rotator Cuff Health
Most guys who end up with injuries when benching don’t tear their pecs – they end up hurting the rotator cuff. This tiny muscle has a tough task at hand when it comes to supporting that heavy benching weight. As a result, it’s quite common to have a sore rotator cuff after a tough chest workout. In order to reduce the risk of injury, we recommend taking some time at the end of every workout to stretch out the rotator cuff and even do some exercises geared towards strengthening them. Just make sure you don’t go too heavy on these exercises otherwise you will end up doing more damage than good.
3 – Start Doing Dips
Dips are one of our favorite upper-body exercises however we rarely see people actually doing them. The main knock against dips is that many people consider them a tricep exercise, however by leaning forward you can shift the emphasis onto your pecs. The great thing about dips is that it emphasizes the lower pecs and allows you to work through a motion that is natural to your body. When doing dips becomes too easy (as in, you can do 12+) you can add weight either by holding a dumbbell between your feet or by wearing a weight belt. We’ve all seen those videos of bodybuilders doing dips with several 45 pound plates hanging from their waist – those guys look badass!
If you can’t do a single rep, don’t worry – many people can’t. Don’t go to one of those assisted dip machines that has the padding below your knees to make it easier. They don’t actually help you develop the strong stabilizer muscles you need to perform a proper dip. Instead, just focus on training the negative portion of the dip. Jump to the top of the movement and lower yourself slowly. Once you get to the bottom, repeat the process for 3-5 reps. Eventually you will build enough strength to do a single, proper dip. After that it becomes about doing them consistently as the number of reps you can perform increases.
4 – Increase Your Testosterone Production
If your testosterone levels are low you will have a hard time building up those chest muscles. That’s why we recommend guys do everything they can to increase their testosterone. Getting at least 8 hours of sleep per night, eating a clean diet and training with heavy, compound exercises at the gym are all great ways to boost your testosterone levels. However, if you really want to take things to another level we recommend taking a testosterone booster. These products use natural ingredients that are scientifically proven to boost testosterone production. As a result, your body will be able to produce more testosterone on its own which means the gains you make will be permanent. Click here to check out our testosterone booster page to learn more about the benefits of these supplements as well as our favorite products currently on the market.
5 – Remember that Everyone is Different
If your goal is to build a chest that looks exactly like a certain bodybuilder you are setting yourself up for disappointment. The reality is that everyone is different and our various muscle groups grow in different ways depending on our genetics. Some guys have an easy time building a huge chest while other guys have to work harder at it. If you are struggling to build a great-looking chest don’t be too hard on yourself – just focus on building the best chest you are able to achieve. While you might be weaker on the chest development chances are that you are stronger in other areas that will make people envious. No matter how bad your genetics are, as long as you train properly you can build a body that looks better than 99% of guys out there.