We have all seen it right, the chest that looks like a plate of armor. Strong powerful and functional. Surprisingly building a chest that looks impressive is easier than you think but requires some of the more unconventional training methods.
Conventional Chest Training
Focuses on building bulk on the chest, by doing various presses and flys which do work well at building a puffy bulky chest. If however you are looking to build a flat, broad and functional set of pectoral muscles then you have to look elsewhere with more old school and basic exercises being the key. I would suggest you try basing your chest work on these exercises, try it for a while and see how your muscle changes……
The most simple, yet most effective chest builder around. Its versatility is unrivaled and anyone can do it from the beginner to the advanced body builder. Yet how often is this exercise overlooked in the gym now days? With so many variations it can be made to build different parts of the chest and tailored for different abilities.
Close Grip Pushup
Explosive Pushup with Clap
Those are just a few of the options available, and who is to say the standard pushup is no good….Try doing 3-5 sets of pushups of different varieties a few times a week. One catch though pick a pushup variety which makes you start struggling on 10-15 reps or lower.
Always try to feel a good squeeze and contraction on each rep and perform them explosivly on the way up with a slower negative. This will help fire up the muscle fibers and get maximum benefit in terms of muscle strength and size. Check the video above for an example of a Hindu Pushup which is a favourite of mine as it elongates the chest and helps you breath into the lungs while giving the whole upper body a good stretch.
Another classic, but great for building a powerful and good looking set of pectorials. Once known as the best upper body exercise dips are the go to movement to get your Chest, Shoulders, Upper Back and Triceps worked deeply. If you do your dips wide grip (on a wider dip station) you will work the chest more, whereas if you go close grip you will be working your inner chest and triceps more. So pick carefully depending what your going for. Dips are actually a great tricep builder as they are a muscle that responds well toheavy weights.
Pecs should be a wide slab, and not some kind of woman breast look -- Vince Gironda
As the legend Vince Gironda puts it pecs should be wide and flat not puffy and protruding. In terms of development Dips will cover your lower chest and give a good shape to the overall muscle including the inner chest. What they will not do is build a thick chest like you see on many of today’s bodybuilders. Try going for 8-12 reps while maintinging good form and leaning forward to emphasize the chests work and take load off the triceps. Once you can do a few sets of 15 reps with bodyweight it is time to add some weight or go for explosive reps….
The Shoulder Press
The press is a shoulder exercise isn’t it? Well nope its actually one of the ultimate upper body development tools which can develop your Upper Chest, Shoulders, Triceps and Core. It should be a staple in everyone’s gym workout along with things like the front squat. As for the chest it is probably the most efficienet upper chest builder as it allows you to push a heavy load.
Try doing a few sets of regular standing barbell presses to start an upper body workout. Do as many reps as you can in good form then try a few Push Presses (see below)
This will lead to some pretty impressive upper body devlopement without adding uneccary bulk or causing injury like incline chest presses or other conventional chest builders which put a load of strain o the shoulders as they work at odd angles. The other benefit of the standing Press is that it is a great way to stregthen yur core orgnically, it will force you to brace your abs and lower back muscles leading to functional strength without harming your lower back like crunches. Plus if you can press a heavy weight in good form you can rest assured you will have a pretty impressive set of abs!
3 Money Exercises
Which will work your entire chest and the best thing is two of them can be done with NO equipment.
Push -Up (The total chest builder)
Dip ( a Great chest shaper and lower chest builder)
Shoulder Pressing (Add volume and upper chest depth)
So there we have it, 3 staples of any effective chest routine. So drop all the conventional chest exercises for a while and give these a try.