If you're reading this page now because your sick and tired of having a puny chest.
Listen, I don't blame you and I understand your desire to build some quality chest muscle. I'll be the first to say that anyone, and I mean anyone can build a large and powerful chest.
I've seen guys with so called chicken chests build huge, powerful chests. These were the guys that had absolutely no chest development whatsoever but with some strong determination, and the right weight training programs, built very impressive chest muscles.
Now, some of you reading now may have very under developed chests. I understand and I'm going to pass along some tips that will help you pack on some muscles in your upper torso area.
Also, since summer is fast approaching, I'm going to bet you want to build some of that upper body muscle so you can feel good about yourself wearing a t-shirt or tank top.
Alright, let's get down to it than. How do you build chest muscles? Well, I'll tell you right now that there are no secrets to attaining a hard, chiselled chest. The main things you have to remember about building a strong and powerful chest is that it takes:
1) The right exercise selection;
2) The right training program - specialization;
2) Consistent training program;
3) Proper nutrition;
4) Consistent nutrition;
This is it. If you can manage to follow the above noted criteria, your going to build a large chest. Alright, it's not as simple as that but once you understand how yo put the above noted elements together, your going to start seeing the results you want. Alright, let's break down the above noted elements.
This is probably the most important element in your weight training program. In fact, your exercise selection will determine your success. Trust me, if you want to show up to the gym and do a light workout consisting of cable cross overs and concentration curls, your not going to build the muscle you want. Building strength and muscle is all about exercise choice and how hard you work at these exercises. Choose the right exercises and put everything you have into them and you'll build huge muscles.
What types of exercises am I talking about? I'm talking about compound movements . Compound movements are multiple joint exercises that use more than one muscle group to complete the lift. For example, doing a dead lift requires the use of your arms, back, butt, legs, and calves. This movement requires the use of just about every major muscle group in your body. This is probably why this exercises is often called the "king of exercises". It employs all major muscle groups. Trust me, these types of exercises will help put slabs of beef on your body in a relatively short period of time. If building a big chest is your priority, use compound lifts.
Here are some examples of multi jointed exercises for the chest muscles:
Dumbbell Bench Press;
Incline Barbell Press;
Incline Dumbbell Press;
Decline Barbell Press;
Decline Dumbbell Press;
These are some of the multi jointed exercises you should be performing in your chest routine. Now, I don't recommend you do all of them because you don't need them all. All you want to do is concentrate on one or two of the above noted exercises. For example, I would simple take the bench press and an incline press and concentrate on those two. Now, you don't need to concentrate on isolation exercises yet because your not at the right stage yet to start incorporating those exercises into your training program.
Here are some example of chest isolation exercises:
Cable cross overs;
Anything with cables;
At this point, you don't really need these exercises. Your main concern is getting strong on the bench press and an incline press. That's it. After your initial training cycle is done, you may want to include one of these exercises but not as your primary exercise. Your primary exercise is a multi jointed exercise, followed by another and than an isolation exercise. Here's an example:
Exercise 1 - The Bench Press
Exercise 2 - The Incline Dumbbell Press
Exercise 3 - Dips
So, now you know which chest exercise you need to build your chest. Let's move on to the second point, the right training program - specialization. Read this page here for more information.
Beleive me, your not going to build a big chest until you give it 100% of your time and effort. Let me give you an example. Back in high school, I had a buddy who weighed about 90 pounds back in grade 10. This guy was skinnnnyyyy! His chest in particular was really under developed and was sort of caved in. He had what was called a "chicken chest". I personally don't like that term but this is what he had.
Now, I say he "had" because he started training to build some muscle on his chest. Like the rest of us, he trained in an unorganized manner and didn't gain an inch of muscle after 6 months of training. Of course, we were doing everything wrong.
Once we joined an actual gym and stopped weight training at our high school, everything changed. He started training with a regular at the gym and things for him took a turn for the better. Anyways, he was told that in order to build a bigger chest, he had to train it first and he was to train only chest on the first day of his training cycle. He basically dropped everything he was doing and started to prioritize his chest. I tell you, he went from 90 pounds to 150 pounds overnight. He went from struggling to bench press 75 pounds to doing a set of 8 with 135 pounds.
What I'm trying to get at is this - Prioritization works.
So, on the first day of your training cycle, you will only train chest and nothing else. Keep all of your chest movements in the compounds range such as bench presses and incline presses.
With a prioritization routine, you should train your chest once per week, twice maximum. Here's what a sample routine will look like:
Day 1 - Chest;
Day 2 - Legs and abs;
Day 3 - Rest;
Day 4 - Shoulders and triceps;
Day 5 - Back and biceps;
Day 6 - Rest
Remember, this is a sample and can be adjusted to fit your schedule. Just remember that if you want to build a big chest, you need to prioritize your chest.
In terms of what is an effective training routine for building a big chest, here's my suggestion. This is a sample schedule and remember, it's open for adjustment.
Day 1 - Chest
Exercise # 1 - Bench Press;
Exercise # 2 - Incline Dumbbell Press;
Exercise # 3 - Dips;
Yes, I know, it doesn't look like much but it's not going to be about quantity, it's going to be about quality. Remember that and you'll build a huge body!
Remember, you don't need to be doing 20 sets for chest in order for it to grow. All you need is about 8 working sets and your good to go. Remember, you have to work extremely hard at these sets. Here's a sample workout:
Bench press 3 x 6 to 8 reps;
Dumbbell incline press 3 x 6 to 8 reps;
Dips 2 x 12 reps.
For a complete chest routine, click here
Ok, now you know that in order to build a big chest, you need to prioritize your training. Remember, train chest alone, and first and foremost in your routine.
Let's move onto our third point, consistency.
This is where most trainers fail. You need to be consistent with your training if you want the results your looking for. I'm not going to lie to you, this takes time, patience and motivation. If you're looking for a quick fix, this won't work. You need to put in the time and effort to build a big chest.
Remember that building muscle is a slow process and takes months to see any quality results. The first thing you have to remember is that muscle just doesn't magically appear. The first thing your going to notice is that your strength is increasing. Once this happens, you muscles will slowly start to get bigger and bigger to accommodate new weight loads. New muscle will follow anywhere from 1 to 3 months after you start to get stronger in your main compound movements. Could be less, could be more, it depends on your body type - Just remember that muscle size is coming once you start to notice strength gains.
You need to be consistent and monitor your progress. Don't miss any workouts for any reason, well, except for sickness and other emergencies. What I'm talking about is if you come home from work and you feel a little tired and want to stay home and watch a movie. This is where you have to get off your ass and get in the gym. Be Consistent!
Alright, this next point is probably the most important aspect to getting strong and building muscle, so you don't want to skip it.
I'll be frank with you, if you don't have a proper nutrition plan in place, your not going to get a big chest. This is about as straight up as I can get. You must eat the correct amount of calories in order to build muscle and grow. You also must choose quality protein, carbohydrate, and fat sources. Most of your foods must come from whole food sources.
Now, if your thinking of dieting while trying to build the maximum amount of muscle mass, it's not really going to happen. What you need to do is give your body top quality nutrients, day in and day out.
Here's what I suggest you do. Multiply your current body weight by 25. If you weight 134 pounds, multiply that by 25 and you'll get roughly 3300 calories. You will need to eat about 3300 calories to start growing. This will be enough calories to sustain growth. Once you find out how many calories you need, you'll need to find a menu that supports this calorie count.
Now, I'm not going to get into a full discussion here because there are two pages that go into much more detail. Check these pages out for a detailed discussion on gaining quality muscle mass:
These pages should give you an idea of what you should be eating in terms of adding more muscle size.
Alright let's move onto our last point.
Well, this point ties into the third point. If you can stick to eating quality meals every two hours, you'll grow. The most important point you can remember here is that if you want to grow, you need to be consistent with your nutrition.
It's one thing to know how many calories, protein, carbohydrates, and fat you need but it's another to consistenly eat on a consistent basis. This is the number one reason why people fail to gain weight, as well as lose it. Eating is tough work and to be successful, you need to be good at it.
Once you get your menu down, go to the grocery store and get the necessary food. I usually do all this on Sundays and get ready for the following week. When I was in university, I'd bring all my daily meals in my pack sack. I'd carry around two protein drinks, two bananas, apples, milk, and a couple of sandwiches. You'd almost think there were actual books in that pack sack ;)
When I went to work, I'd bring a cooler bag full of food. People will think your crazy but you know something, your just a highly motivated person who's taking action to do something about it - What are they doing? Prepare your meals in advance and you'll make sure your eating what you should be eating to build muscle and get a big chest.
Alright, there you have it.
Now, what about supplements? Well, I wouldn't recommend you try supplements until after you have your training and nutrition program in place. After 6 weeks of steady training and nutrition, you might want to consider using supplements. Check this page out for further details on using supplements:
If you can keep consistent and train hard, you should have no problems building up your chest muscles.
Need a Bit of Help?
Don't know where to start? Don't know which type of program to follow to reach your goals? Confused about what you should be eating? Let me help you. I can help you clear away the confusion and provide you with some expert advice on how to get started or what to do next. Just go to this page here and fill out the online form and hit submit. I'll get back to you as soon as I can (I won't collect your email address or spam you) - Blake
As the owner of Building Muscle 101, I am committed to providing you the best practical weight training advice. I've been training for over 24 years (and still train to this day!) and the advice and guidance I provide comes directly from my experience and knowledge.
Home > General Routines > Workout Articles