Building A Big Chest

Chest training can be extremely tricky at times due to its nature and simplicity but, believe it or not - it’s a lot more complex than it seems. I’ll be the first one to admit that getting under the bar and doing a bench press isn’t that hard, it’s also extremely easy to get carried away and try to lift more weight that needed. Back in the day, when I first reached a 405lb one-rep-max on the bench press - I felt like a beast but, my chest said otherwise.

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I had put so much effort into moving the bar from point A to point B, that I used my entire body to do so without exercising my chest. As a result, my front deltoids and my triceps were huge while my chest stayed small. I was upset and decided to do some research and opted to train my chest like the pros with lighter weight and higher reps - in a couple of months, my chest was already exploding.

What I learned was that the heavy weight wasn’t holding back my progress; it was how I lifted it. The key to unlocking my chest growth was achieved by enhancing my mind-muscle connection. If you’re struggling with growing a massive chest, here’s what you should try doing.

Tip 1 – Lower the weight, Increase your reps and sets.

The most common mistake that gym rats make is lifting way more weight than they should. When performing any type exercise, you need to focus on feeling the muscle working. Instead of bench pressing 315lbs for three sets of 5 reps, try benching 185lbs for ten sets of 25 reps. I can assure you that your chest will be screaming from the pain (the good kind) and you will get an insane pump.

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If you up the weight and lower the reps, the time- under-tension will be greatly reduced and so will hypertrophy along with it. Now, I’m not saying that moving heavy poundage won’t build a physique - I’m just clarifying that everything has its place and time; you must first master the movement before you can challenge it.

Tip 2 – Don’t be afraid of using free weights

I honestly don’t know why the new generation of bodybuilders focuses so much on training with cables and machines - I tried it for a while once and lost size while damaging my joints. Contrary to popular belief, machines aren’t that safe. No exercise machine in existence is built to fit your body and mimic your range of motion. By using a machine, you are limiting your muscle activation and growth while placing your joints in an awkward position.

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Free weights accommodate your body and offer a lot of benefits. With free weights you are not only exercising the muscle - you’re also working on your muscular stability and flexibility. Once you master free-weight training and transform into a beast, there isn’t a machine in the world that you won’t be able to max out. I know some would argue that free weight training is dangerous, but as long as you’re smart and use perfect form- you shouldn’t have any issues; just start off slow, light, and steady.

Tip 3 – Angles are extremely important

When professional bodybuilders get asked for the secret behind their massive chests, their answer is always – “do incline”. I decided to follow their words and began to do incline, unsurprisingly; I saw results right away but also some shoulder pain. If you actually do some research though, a lot of people get more pain while flat benching than while doing incline. I personally never had issues with flat. But this is what I mean about everyone being different.

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If you want your chest to be big, round, and full – you need to train it from all angles. Even though incline training will add a lot of mass to your chest; it’s really important to not forget about using flat and decline angles. There’s nothing worse than having an unsymmetrical chest. If you experience any type of shoulder or elbow pain - avoid the movement and look for something similar. Remember, training should be about feeling the muscle working and not about moving weight.

Want to Improve your Chest Training? Check out an article I wrote that talks about a couple of overrated chest exercises that you might want to skip at the gym: