Nearly every guy in the gym hungers for a bigger, broader, stronger chest. Heck, the chest is the only body part with its own holiday: Monday, aka "International Chest Day."
Building a barrel chest isn't easy, but it doesn't have to be complicated. This workout contains only five main exercises, but it's exactly what you need to carve powerful pecs.
My five-move chest blast pushes you to start heavy with incline dumbbell presses.
It moves into isolation work with incline dumbbell flyes, stretching your chest and drawing nutrient-rich blood into the muscle. From there, you'll jump to machines and knock out a Smith machine bench press and pec deck fly, fully engaging your chest as your stabilizer muscles start to fail. The workout ends with dumbbell pullovers for maximum shape.
You only need to complete this workout once every week. Push it hard and it's all you'll need.
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I like to warm up my shoulders before I start any heavy chest work. I don't want to start cold. I use arm circles and rotator cuff exercises to get blood into my shoulders and loosen the joints. I suggest you do the same.
Once you get warmed up, move on to your working sets. I pick weights that allow me to lift 10-12 reps to keep me injury-free. That's the prime range for growth. This is bodybuilding, so we are after growth!
1. Incline dumbbell press
I know everyone has shoulder problems, so use help if you need it to get your dumbbells into position. However, if you can't press the dumbbells out of the hole, they're too heavy, so lower the weight. I like to envision a bar going through the dumbbells. I touch that imaginary bar to my chest at the bottom of every rep to ensure a full stretch.
2. Incline dumbbell fly
Lower an adjustable bench just one notch shy of completely flat. Why? Because when you're completely flat and keeping an open chest like you're supposed to, it places an inordinate amount of tension on your front delts. By lifting the bench a bit, the pressure shifts from your shoulders to your chest, which is exactly where you want it.
I almost pause at the bottom of each rep, as you can see in the video.
3. Machine bench press (Smith machine)
I use the Smith machine in this video because it's the only machine press most gyms have. Typically, I prefer to use a Hammer Strength machine. It helps you get the correct angle, and you don't have to worry about getting the bench centered, as you do on the Smith.
You are going for a pump with the flat bench, so you go just short of lockout and get a good stretch at the bottom of the movement.
4. Pec Deck Fly
As I complete every rep on the pec deck machine, I turn the bottoms of my hands in. Doing so will remove your propensity to round your shoulders and use your back and shoulders to move the weight. It also allows you to get a better inner-chest contraction. Cup your hands inward and keep shoulders back as you move through each rep.
5. Dumbbell Pull-Over
This exercise is typically done on back day, but whenever you have this much blood in your chest, the stretch that this exercise gives will elongate the muscle. A longer muscle is a stronger and safer muscle.
Push Your Pecs
Give this workout a shot on your next chest day. I guarantee you won't be disappointed! Drop any questions or ideas in the comments section below. I'm excited to hear what you think!