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How To Build Chest Muscle - Pectorals Exercise
By Jean Lam

The chest muscle also known as the pectorals is among one of the most impressive muscle groups in your body. When fully developed, it's like two carved stones. When the muscles are highly visible, you can actually see the muscle tissues. Take a look at Arnold Schwarzenegger chest. This is an example of a well-developed chest.

Having a thick and powerful chest definitely commands attention and should be one of the most important muscle groups to work out. If you don't know how to build your chest muscle, this article will give you some nice tips and you should reach your goals provided you really train them intensely.

First of all, you need to know more about your pectorals. Just working them out just like that without having any knowledge what you're doing can be a waste of time. For instance, you know bench press works the chest muscle but do you know which part it targets the most? If your only exercise is doing bench press, you will miss out on your chest details and it won't be fully developed. I remember working my chest with only normal push ups and my pectorals did get some mass but when I look myself in the mirror, I noticed there was something lacking. My chest lacked muscles in certain areas like the upper part. So what I was doing wrong is not targeting my upper chest muscles enough. Why? I didn't know that much about the pectorals at that time. I thought only normal push ups will work my whole chest. It's true but you have to perform it differently to target different areas. I didn't know that because I was doing it in only one way. What I did after was to add a variety of other exercises to fully work my pectorals. Good news, my pectorals changed for the better. Just doing body weight chest exercises will make your chest gain mass but if you want to build stronger and more massive pectorals, you still need to lift iron.

Ok, so with the body weight exercises, I did incline push ups to target the upper chest muscles. This exercise is done with your feet elevated on a solid object like a sturdy chair, hence the push ups become more difficult since you're using more of your body weight in the exercise. Next exercise I did was push ups between two chairs. Instead of placing your hands on the floor, you place one hand on one chair and the other on another one. The chair is spaced out about 60-80 centimeters from each other. Then both of your feet are supported on one chair placed in the middle of the two chairs but spaced out about your body length. This exercise will give your chest more stretch since you can lower your chest further between the two chairs and really target the outer pecs. Another great exercise I did was dips between chairs. This one targets the lower chest and the middle too. It's the same as the early one but your body is reversed with your chest facing the ceiling. We can call it reverse push ups as well. What you do is lower your body with your arms bent no lower than 90 degrees. Then raise your body again. Incline your body forward instead of backward since backward will work more on your triceps muscles.

For incline push ups(upper pecs): do 3-5 sets of 10-15 repeats
For push ups between chairs(outer pecs): do 3-5 sets of 10-15 repeats
For dips between chairs(lower and middle pecs): do 3-5 sets of 10-15 repeats

If you were to use weights, here are the pectorals exercise you'll do:

(1) Heavy Barbell or Dumbbell Bench Press(middle and lower chest): do 4 sets of 6-10 repeats

=> Lie on a bench, grap a barbell more than shoulder width and lower the barbell till it's just above your chest, then push up. Repeat. You can also use two dumbbells.

(2) Heavy Incline Barbell or Dumbbell Bench Press(upper chest): do 4 sets of 6-10 repeats

=> Same movement as bench press but your bench is inclined about 45 degrees.

(3) Heavy Dumbbell Flyes(outer chest): do 4 sets of 6-10 repeats

=> Lie on a bench and hold two dumbbells one in each hand, your palms facing each other. Extend your arms on both sides till you can feel your outer pecs stretched but not too much since it can be too painful and you can injure yourself. Return to the initial position. Repeat.

(4) Weighted Dips(lower and middle chest): do 4 sets of 6-10 repeats

=> You can perform weighted dips either with two parallel bars or using two benches. Attach a weight plate around your waist, grasp the two parallel bars such that your body is off the ground. Slightly inclined forward and legs crossed, lower your body with your elbows bent no lower than 90 degrees. Then push upwards to return to the initial position. Repeat.

To do weighted dips between two benches, position them against each other horizontally about your body length and using one of the bench to support your arms and the other to support your feet. The movement is identical as with the parallel bars. To add weight, ask someone to place the weight plate on your legs. You can also use sturdy square chairs to substitute the bench.

(5) Cable Crossover(inner and outer chest): do 4 sets of 8-10 repeats

=> Grab two cable crossover handles one in each hand. Pull them towards your chest, then release. Repeat.


If you follow a chest routine consisting of the above exercises coupled with a high-protein, limited carbs and healthy fats diet, you'll build a powerful, ripped and massive chest in no time. Give it at least 12 weeks before seeing promising results.

About the author

Jean Lam is the webmaster of Body Building Resource which provides articles on weight training, nutrition and fitness, body building book and DVDs.


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