Absence intensifies the desire
I think this is the start of a theme. My last post was building bigger legs, those legs that clearly show you are not afraid of leg day. This post is going to focus on what can be done to get that killer chest, a bigger chest that your shirts no longer fit comfortably. After all, you have already built your bigger shoulders and back, so of course you now want to do the same with your chest.
What is it
I think most of us know the chest as our ‘pecs’. We actually have 2 ‘pec’ muscles, the pectoralis minor, and the better known pectoralis major. The pectoralis major is the larger of the two, actually quite larger. It covers most of the upper chest. The pectoralis minor actually sits underneath the pec major. The main purpose of the pec major is to move the arm across the body.
Time for work
So what can we do to build up the pec major, or the chest. It’s going to be pretty much the same motion, bench press, push ups and we can add somewhat of a different movement, a movement that isn’t a pressing movement, the chest fly.
Maybe you have been doing these exercises already but have hit that plateau, and are now stagnant. What can we change to shock the chest into growing? Let’s take a few exercises and see what we can do.
Push Ups: Boring but effective. Let’s start by changing hand position. Do a set of 15 push ups, 5 normal grip, 5 wide grip and then 5 narrow grip. This will target different parts of your pecs but will also shock the chest into responding by growing. Changing the hand positions should be enough of a change that the muscles will respond. Another option, one that adds resistance is to put your feet up on an object such as a bench, or couch to add more weight to the upper body making the push ups more challenging. Let’s look at one more hand position change, staggering the hands. Have one hand 6 inches forward of the shoulder and the other 6 inches back of the shoulder. Now alternate hand positions on each push up. Try that and let me know what you think.
We can also change the cadence. This really pertains to any exercise we do. Take 5 seconds to lower yourself in your pushup and then hold for 1 second. Take another 5 seconds to raise yourself. I know you will feel muscle soreness later on if you try this.
Lastly I want to add in what I refer to as explosive push ups. Lower yourself close to the ground and then ‘explode’ on the upward motion, pushing as hard and fast as you can. Hopefully you pushed so hard and quick that you hands have left the ground. On the downward motion let your body absorb the energy instead of stopping dead. This will put you right into the next push up. Explosive push ups. You will love them, or maybe even hate them.
Bench Press: Another straight forward exercise. If you have been doing bench presses with a barbell, change it up by doing them using dumbbells. This will allow for a more symmetric approach to the exercise since you can only do as many as your weak side will allow.
You can also change the exercise, shocking the pecs, by doing this exercise on an incline. This will target more of the upper pec major, but should also shock the chest into growing.
Dumbbell Fly: Lastly, the dumbbell chest fly. Not a whole lot to change here other than trying this exercise on an incline, and slowing down the cadence. I think most of us can benefit from a slower cadence as most of us tend to rush things when exercising.
Give it a try and see the results. One more thing you can try is before working your chest, work your triceps. The triceps are secondary muscles used when working the chest and if you exhaust them before hand, the chest has to pick up the slack to execute the exercise. Of course you will end up using less weight because of this. But that’s ok. It should never be about the numbers, it should be about the results.
Make the change. Do it. And you will enjoy the results. You can thank me later.
Yours in health,