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Training chest muscles? Which exercises are best for large pectoral muscles?

Best chest exercises for massive pecs

It's no coincidence that a majority of gym goers are out to build big pecs. No one needs to tell you that huge pecs are a sign of strength and athleticism. The physique of someone with a huge chest speaks for itself. Looking at Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, and for the younger generation, Dwayne Johnson, it's understandable to be desperate to build those massive pecs. However, building massive pecs isn't as easy as you think. It takes time, effort and determination to achieve that. Of course, the gym should also be your best friend, because that's where you spend most of your free time. But exercise alone is not enough. You also need to eat the right kind of food, in the right amount, rest between workouts, and get enough sleep every day.

Benefits of large pectoral muscles.

There are many benefits associated with a broad chest. Some of them are:

  • Better appearance

Without denying this is the main reason why many people hit the gym. Whether you want those perky pecs to attract the opposite sex, or to get rid of those man boobs, one thing is for sure; a huge chest exudes confidence and sportsmanship. 

  • Improved posture

A wide chest improves posture and can help you stand upright. This also applies to women, because strong pecs can make your chest a little wider, and somehow help lift an already sagging chest.

  • Improved strength

A large chest can increase the overall strength of your upper body. Having a lot of chest muscles helps you push and pull things better. It can also enable you to easily do exercises like the push-ups, which can increase your overall strength and endurance.

Before we move on to the best exercises that can help you build a massive chest, let's take a look at the muscles that make up your chest.

Chest muscles of the chest

To build a massive chest you need to train and engage all the muscles in your chest. The pectoralis majorly consists of three muscles: the pectoralis major, pectoralis minor, and serratus anterior.

  • Large pectoral muscle

The pectoralis major or pectoralis major muscle forms the largest part of the chest muscles. It is large and has two heads: the sternocostal and the clavicular head. It functions in flexion, adduction and rotation of the upper limbs.

  • The small pectoral muscle

This muscle lies directly below the pectoralis major. It serves to pull the shoulder blade forward and down against the chest wall. 

  • Serratus anterior

The Serratus anterior is located on the lateral wall of the chest, usually on the surface of the 1st to 8th ribs. It serves to stretch the shoulder blades.


Anatomy pectoral muscles ApexNutrition

The best exercises for large chest muscles

If you want to build broad and strong chest muscles, the exercises below can help you achieve your goal, provided you keep other factors such as nutrition in mind.

  • (Incline) Bench Press

Bench press is one of the most popular exercises in gyms. If you walk into any established gym, I bet you'll find someone doing the bench press. Yes, it's that popular. Because it's a compound exercise, the bench press works many muscles, including the pectoralis major of your chest, the triceps in your upper arm, and the deltoids of your shoulder.

A study conducted by the American Council on Exercise (ACE) found that the barbell bench press was the most effective exercise for training the pectoralis major muscles in a group that included eight other exercises.

Advantages of the bench press:

  • As a compound exercise, the bench press increases your upper body strength.
  • It works numerous muscles, including the pectorals, biceps and triceps.
  • In resistance training, the bench press can improve bone health and increase muscle endurance.

How do you do the bench press?

  1. Start by lying flat on your back on a gym bench.
  2. Grab a barbell with appropriate weights with an overhand grip. The barbell should be held directly above the shoulders with a grip slightly wider than shoulder width.
  3. Now remove the barbell from the rack and slowly lower it to chest height, around the nipple line. You should lower the barbell until your elbows are just under the bench. Inhale while doing this.
  4. Pressing your feet into the ground, gently push the barbell up until you return to the starting position.
  5. That's one rep. Perform 5-15 reps in 3-4 sets.

The bench press can be performed in numerous variations. In addition to the traditional flat bench press described above, there are other variations such as the narrow grip bench press, incline bench press, and the decline bench press. However, each variation works on a different muscle group. While the traditional bench press works the chest muscles, shoulder and arms, the narrow grip bench press works the forearms and triceps brachii muscles. The incline bench press works the upper chest, while the declined variety works the lower chest.

Common bench press mistakes to avoid

  • Bending your back too much.
  • Incorrect grip width.
  • Lift your butt off the couch.
  • Try too heavy weight.
  • Take your feet off the floor when lifting.

bench press ApexNutrition

  • Push up

If you want to build a huge chest without going to the gym, then pushups are your best bet. Push-ups can effectively target and increase the size of your chest muscles, in addition to working other areas such as the deltoids in your shoulders, the triceps brachii of your upper arm, and to some extent the quads, glutes, and part of your your back muscles. In fact, push-ups strengthen the entire core.

Benefits of the Push-up

  • They can be performed in the comfort of your home or any other place. You don't have to go to a gym. It is one of the most effective exercises that uses only your body weight.
  • It works on different parts of the body including the chest, arms, shoulders and to some extent the butt.
  • It can improve your posture and flexibility.
  • It can also reduce the risk of shoulder and lower back pain.

How do you do the push up?

  1. Start on all fours, with your hands slightly wider than shoulder width.
  2. Straighten your arms and legs so that your head, back and buttocks are in a straight line.
  3. Now, engaging your core and glutes, lower your body until your chest almost touches the floor so that your elbows are at about a 90-degree angle.
  4. Pause for a second or two, then push back to the starting position.
  5. That's one rep. Repeat for required quantities.

As with other exercises, the pushups can be done in numerous variations, which can come with increased difficulty, specificity to target muscles, and even greater muscle gains. Some variations include close-grip pushups, plyometric pushups, deficit pushups, staggered hands pushups, incline and decline pushups.

We recommend that you always do some push-ups after your chest day!!

woman print ApexNutrition

  • Chest dip

If bench presses aren't for you, then you should consider doing chest dips. They are just as effective in developing the chest muscles. They work your chest muscles and other muscles such as the triceps and anterior deltoids. As a compound exercise, dips can increase upper body strength.

It must be said that chest dips are different from tricep dips. The chest dips require you to lean forward slightly while extending your elbows and keeping your feet behind you, unlike the tricep dips which require you to stand upright with your elbows bent and your feet directly under you.

Benefits of the Chest dips:

  • Like other compound exercises, chest dips have the added benefit of working different muscles in your upper body than those in your chest.
  • It has many alternate variations, some of which can be beginner-friendly.
  • It puts less strain on your shoulders than other exercises such as bench press.

How do you do the chest dips?

  1. Step onto a dip station and place your hands with a grip slightly wider than shoulder width.
  2. Now lift yourself so that you are standing over the dip bar with your arms straight and your elbows fully extended.
  3. Tilt your body slightly forward by stretching your chest and extending your elbows. This is important if you want to effectively target your chest muscles.
  4. Begin the dip motion by unlocking your elbows and gently lowering your body until your forearms are almost parallel to the floor.
  5. Hold for a moment, then push back to the starting position.
  6. That's one rep. Repeat for the required number of sets.

Weighted chest dips are introduced as an advanced form of this exercise. When you can comfortably do many reps of chest dips, you should consider adding some weight to increase the difficulty, which may ultimately lead to better muscle growth.

Chest dip man Apexnutrition

  • Bent-forward Cable Crossover

The forward bent cable crossover is an exercise that targets the large and small chest muscles. It also works the shoulders and triceps. ACE's survey of the best chest exercises placed this exercise in the top three of exercises that can promote chest muscle growth. One thing fitness professionals love is that the cable crossover exercises provide constant tension throughout the entire movement.

Benefits of Bent-forward Cable Crossover:

  • Targets the pecs, shoulders and triceps.
  • Improves shoulder stability.
  • Because cables provide continuous resistance, there's no chance of swinging momentum like with other exercises. This helps activate many other stabilizing muscles in your chest in addition to the main muscles.

How do you do the Bent-forward Cable Crossover?

  1. Start with your feet in a staggered position. For better results, make it a bit wider than walking.
  2. Grab a cable cross machine handle in each hand.
  3. With slightly bent elbows, slowly bring your hands together by pulling on the cables. Don't forget to contract your chest muscles during this process.
  4. Slowly return to the starting position.
  5. That's one rep. Repeat for required quantities.
Bent-forward Cable Crossover ApexNutrition
  • Peck Deck

According to the same ACE "Best Chest Exercises" study mentioned above, the peck deck, along with the bench press and bent-forward cable crossover, were found to be the top three most effective exercises for engaging the chest muscles. These three exercises outperformed others in the group such as the incline dumbbell flys, hanging pushups, standard pushups, chest press machine, and dips.

Advantages of the bench press:

  • A good isolation exercise for the chest muscles.
  • Easy to perform.

How do you do the Pec Deck?

  1. Sit on a Pec machine with your feet shoulder-width apart and YOUR back firmly against the back pad. Also, make sure you adjust the chair so that the handles are level with your chest muscles.
  2. Now reach your hands back to grab the handles, and slowly pull them toward the center until they almost touch.
  3. Then slowly release them back to the starting position, resisting the tension of the movement.
  4. That's one rep. Repeat for desired amounts.


pec dec machine woman ApexNutrition

Chest exercise workout plan. What's best for my chest muscles?

A good training plan is essential for the development of your chest muscles. Factors such as the type of exercise, training time, training volume, intensity and diet can make or break your journey to build your chest. The following tips, when incorporated into a plan, can help you develop a massive chest in no time.

  • Train your chest muscles about 2-3 times a week

Research has shown that a higher training frequency is always better than a low training frequency. So, instead of training once a week, do 2 or 3 workouts a week.

  • Stick to a few chest exercises per workout

Again, instead of doing every chest exercise you know, find and stick to 1-3 exercises that work best for you. You could look at bench press, and one, two or max 3 other exercises that are in this blog.

  • Do more compound exercises

You can gradually overload your chest muscles by doing compound exercises, such as the bench press. This way you strengthen your entire upper body.

  • Use heavy weights, but progressively

If your goal is to get strong and bulky pecs, then you need to keep adding those weights. Work with weights between 75-85% of your maximum effort.

  • Increase your reps

Instead of doing a low number of reps, do 8 to 15 reps per set.

  • Eat enough protein

To grow your pecs, you need to eat more calories than your body burns, and get plenty of protein too. As we probably all know, protein is involved in the repair and growth of your workout-damaged muscles. The sad truth is that no matter how effectively you train, if you don't have the right type of diet, you won't achieve your breast building goals.

Can Supplements Like Turkesterone And Shilajit Help Build A Massive Chest? 

  • turkesterone

This is a natural plant compound used in the bodybuilding world as an anabolic supplement to increase muscle growth. It is extracted from a plant called Ajuga Turkestanica. As an ecdysteroid, it has the ability to increase muscle hypertrophy. Claims made by many people who have used this substance indicate that it can significantly improve muscle growth. But what does research say?

Research has shown that ecdysteroids can increase protein synthesis and limit its catabolism. It has also been clinically shown that intake of a certain ecdysteroid, ecdysterone, can improve muscle hypertrophy and athletic performance in resistance-trained individuals.

This means that a supplement like turkesterone can play a role in building your chest muscles. If you are concerned about your health, it is a natural anabolic agent, which does not come with the side effects of synthetic agents.

  • shilajit

shilajit, also called mineral pitch, is a sticky compound that forms as a result of the decomposition of plant material over a long period of time. Research has shown that taking shilajit can increase the levels of testosterone in the body, a hormone that is actively involved in muscle growth. Another piece of evidence worth sharing is that shilajit can help increase the body's absorption of nutrients - a process critical to muscle growth.

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