Q. I consider myself to be in pretty good shape, but my chest seems to fall flat. What's the best way to train to build prominent pecs?
We weren't all born with a tapered-V waistline, toned quads, or washboard abs. The chest is no different. You might strive for Arnold Schwarzenegger or Lou Ferrigno's pecs yet currently have a flat, bird-like chest. There's no shame in that. It's quite common. My chest was always one of my weakest body parts, so I had to work harder than the next person to build it up to be symmetrical with the rest of my body.
Can you overcome your chest weakness? Yes! One caveat: You have to train with intelligence, efficiency, and consistency. I train chest twice each week, something I've done consistently for the past 10 years. To increase and stimulate the size of your muscle, you have to shock it and tear down the muscle fibers with quality, intense workouts.
The chest comprises the pectoralis major (located on the front of your rib cage) and pectoralis minor (located underneath the pectoralis major). Both areas need to be targeted from every angle for optimal results. When training chest, breathe properly and squeeze with each repetition. While this might sound cliche, it's important to feel the muscle working when you train a particular body part.
When you are training your chest twice per week, give yourself at least three days between workouts. As a guy who prides himself as natural, I can tell you there's a difference between doing some ridiculous 50 or 60-set routine and doing half that amount properly.
While you might be sore from mere quantity, doing a few dozen sets is actually counterproductive—especially when completing a shorter routine will effectively train and immediately stimulate the body part you target. More isn't necessarily better when it comes to muscle growth—proper form is.
Here are two routines you can integrate into your weekly routine to help chisel your chest. They work all parts: incline exercises to target the upper region, flat-laying exercises to target the middle, and decline exercises to target the lower region. When executing these exercises, focus on achieving a full range of motion.
Rest for no more than one minute between sets to enhance muscle growth. Train with intensity, then get back up, and attack the next set to achieve a fuller physique.