Everyone wants to know how to get a bigger chest. It’s not just about size either. People want a tighter, leaner, firmer and more defined chest. There’s an attraction to a muscular chest that no one other bodypart presents. A defined chest symbolizes strength. Regardless of what you’ve read before on how to build a big chest, these 13 tip will build a bigger chest.
Jimmy’s 13 rules for a bigger chest
- Realize that the upper chest accounts for the majority of your muscular definition. I suggest that when attempting to develop big, full pecs you prioritize your upper chest through various angle incline movements as well as isometric holds.
- Your chest responds best to one all out chest day and another low volume, high rep isolation stretching day. Due to the high tension levels on your shoulders that just comes with chest pressing, you only want to train your chest hard once per week. This would be a typical bodybuilding chest workout. 3-4 days later I suggest that you perform 3-5 high volume, “pump” sets. Cable flyes work great as they reduce tension on your shoulders but also stretch the fascia that surrounds your muscle while increasing recovery.
- Don’t get too cute with your chest training. I tend to see some people I know from the gym once per month trying these new, awkward looking movements. Keep your chest training simple. Personally I’m not the biggest fan of old school barbell pressing. I already mentioned how hard barbells are on your shoulders but I also feel that it limits your range of motion by reducing your shoulder extension. I’m not saying we have to eliminate barbell pressing (see tip #4) but think of switching it up to greater range of motion movements like kettlebells, dumbbells and dips.
- Just get a strong chest. Size follows strength. That’s not to say that you have bench 315 pounds for 20 reps to get a big chest but every incremental strength gain will lead to increase chest muscle fiber growth. No movement gets you stronger then the barbell press. Your strength potential is limitless as opposed to dumbbells where most gyms stop at 125 pounds or so.
- Incorporate more kettlebell pressing. The biggest advantage that you get from kettlebell pressing is that the bell falls past your shoulder during the eccentric portion of the lift as opposed to a dumbbell that stops parallel with your shoulder joint. This puts your chest as a mechanical disadvantage and require more force production to drive the weight back up.
- Consider adding a dynamic effort chest workout into your weekly training cycle. Band training is a fantastic way to increase the end range of the bench press lockout. While it works your triceps in addition to your chest it will allow you handle greater weight then your used to. Band work gets you stronger, consider using it.
- Finish off all of your chest workouts with some loaded stretching. Also known as fascial stretching, using light weights and slowly lowering yourself into the end point of a chest send strong signals to the paper like structure known as fascia that surrounds your chest. As you open up your chest fascia you’ll increase your growth potential.
- Have a greater economy of training. Stop wasting your time on useless movements like the pec deck that allow any lifter to use the maximal amount of weight.
- Add some eccentric movements into your chest workouts. I love adding two sets of slow eccentrics per workout. At the end of my training session I’ll load the incline barbell press up with about 135 pounds and slowly lower the weight for 10 reps of 5 seconds.
- Keep your overall volume low. Aim for about 9 sets per chest workout. I know some people say you MUST perform more movement but more people over train then under train. Perform 9 hard sets of intense training then get out of the gym.
- If you want a bigger chest then you must modify your nutrition on your chest training days. Consider eating more carbohydrates and healthy fat. For a complete nutrition resource click here.
- If you still can’t get a big chest regardless of your training then consider switching to a more modified workout such as 5×5 or 4×6 drop sets.
- Add a zinc and magnesium supplement into your nutrition program. Both supplements enhance muscular recovery which is compromised when your training heavy.
Chest training questions and answers
Q: Can I get a bigger chest in 1 month?
A: You certainly can get a bigger chest is one month but don’t expect to see massive gains. It’s entirely possible with dedicated training and focused nutrition. Just make sure that your doing two workouts per week, one with high reps and one with low reps.
Q: Can I get a big chest with dumbbells?
A: I love dumbbell training but there comes a point when you train with them too frequently that your shoulders are going to be in pain. There also comes a point when you train with heavy enough weight that your shoulders are going to get beat up. Consider using various grips such as a neutral grip and a partial neutral-pronated grip hybrid that still allows for a pec stretch while saving your shoulders.
Q: When will I see definition in my chest?
A: That’s an impossible question for me to answer since it primarily depends on your diet and chest size. People get confused by the nonsense on the market and expect to see veins and striations with very little chest size. Focus on increasing the size of your pecs before