• Chest Training: The Right Way

    The pectorals are one of the most noticeable muscles on the human body, so it becomes obvious as to why the training of this muscle group should not be taken lightly. A strong, defined and sizeable chest is one of the more masculine features of the modern man. It’s no surprise that the size of a man’s chest has become the cornerstone to a larger looking frame, which in turn makes the other muscles of the upper body look larger as well.

    The chest is made up of two muscles:

    1. Pectoralis Major

    2. Pectoralis Minor

    The Pectoralis Major is, just as its name implies, relatively larger as compared to that of the Pectoralis Minor. It originates from the collar bone (clavicle) and stretches across the anterior deltoid to the anterior side of the sternum. It is important to understand that the Anterior Deltoid plays a helping role with many chest movements, so it must be watched carefully if effort to train your chest to maximum stimulation. I will discuss more of this later…

    The chest muscles become stimulated when excessive amounts of weight are forced down onto the arms (Example: gravity in a standard bench press). If lighter weight is used, the chest most likely will be relaxed. This is because the force of the weight is being completely controlled by the arms. When heavier weight is applied, that force shifts downward through the triceps and into the chest to help support the load. This provides a great example of how the chest is a weight-bearing muscle.

    So does this mean more weight is better for the chest?

    Yes and no. When it comes to specific training methods, there are an infinite amount of variations is chest exercises. However, our goal here is to cause as much mictrotrauma and fatigue to the pecs as possible AND at the same time, consistently improve on a week-to-week basis.

    So what major muscles are recruited when performing any standard chest exercise?

    – Pectoralis Major

    – Deltoids

    – Triceps

    Now the reason I mention this is because the deltoids and triceps are much smaller than the chest as a whole. This means that when force is applied, the targeted muscle (Chest) is NOT taken to full stimulation and these two smaller muscles will be the FIRST to fatigue. See a problem anyone??

    So what can be done to correct this and cause the targeted chest muscle to fail at the same time and reach FULL stimulation? Here’s the answer…


    The easiest way to pre-fatigue the chest in my book, are leg-elevated push ups. By doing this, your chest will get a head start for the next compound exercise. In this movement, you’re only using body weight to work the upper portion of your chest muscle. We target the upper portion of the chest for 1 reason:

    To provide a much fuller and larger-looking chest!

    Training the chest using just flat bench press movements will stimulate growth, however the ending result looks saggy and undeveloped. By targeting the upper portion here, (with mostly incline movements) the end result is more eye-catching and will give you that manly-man look you’ve been working hard for.

    So here’s a sample routine that I’ve used many times to shock my chest into growth…

    The following 3 exercises are performed back to back with zero rest in between. The workout will consist of 6 sets of these 3 movements. Rest time is 2 minutes between sets.

    • Leg-elevated Push ups

    -Continue to point of initial fatigue, not till chest is at failure.

    • Incline Barbell Bench Press

    -75% of one rep maximum, 10 reps (Use a spotter)

    • Decline Dumbbell Flys

    -80% of one rep maximum, 6-8 reps

    Notes: The reason we use decline flys as opposed to regular flys is because your center of gravity lies in the center of your mass; when declined, that center of gravity shifts upwards into your chest, further intensifying your chest workout.

    Well I hope that helps! Try this one out for yourself and let me know how sore you are the next day. It’s a tough one. But remember, stay focused on completing each set. Train hard and train smart…

    -Mitch Muller

    CPT – MindsetFitness.net

    Summary with credit to: Permanent Muscle by Reuben Bajada. The Poliquin Principles by Charles Poliquin. ACEFitness.org


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