For some, growing their pecs has been nothing short of effort, blood, sweat, and calloused hands. For others, well, they just got big ol’ muscle tiddies the moment they first laid their backs onto a bench. Yes, unfortunately, there are always going to be those who are able to grow their pecs by either doing push-ups or by just touching a barbell. Life’s not fair, deal with it.
For those of you who actually have to provide enough stimulation for your muscular man boobs to go up a t-shirt size, this one’s one for you. Of course, if Mr. Genetics wants to grow his pecs even larger than they already are, you’re welcome to this routine as well. After all, gains are for everybody.
Before we begin, this routine needs one thing from you: Dedication.
If you’re not willing to put the work in, don’t expect your pecs to grow. And of course, be sure to fuel your recovery with enough carbs and protein. I’m not going to cover the specificity of how much this or how much that. Take it from the bodybuilders of the Golden Era — prioritize on protein first. That bit of advice is outdated, I know. But I don’t really feel like writing a segment in this article breaking down macronutrients.
One last thing, you’re probably already doing these exercises in your current workout routine. The things that will make your pecs go from ‘oh’ to ‘grow’, will be intensity techniques, reps, sets, biomechanical adjustments, and so forth.
1. Flat Bench Press
Reps: 12, 10, 8, 6, 8, 12, 15, 20
Yeah, the staple ‘bro’ exercise that absolutely cannot be excluded from any chest routine. But what if I told you that all this time that you’ve been doing bench presses you’ve had form comparable to that of bodily food paste, aka crap?
Sure, you might think that what you’re doing is right, but how big are your pecs compared to your delts? That’s what I thought.
To prepare yourself for pec glory, while lying down on the bench, hold the bar with your middle fingers on the power ring of the barbell. This should be a fairly wide grip, about two hand widths from your shoulders. The idea is to have a wide grip, so adjust your grip accordingly with your arm length.
Next, pull your shoulder blades together and push them down your back and hold them there for the duration of your set.
Finally, unrack the bar and hold it above your chest. Lower the bar to about 2 inches above your chest. Yes, we’re not lowering the bar all the way down. You’re training for size, not a powerlifting meet.
During the whole set, picture yourself trying to push your elbows together. This will help you develop your mind-muscle connection with your pecs, allowing for more pectoral stimulation.
2. Flat Bench Dumbbell Flyes
Reps: 15, 12, 10, 12, 15
You probably saw this one coming from a mile away, huh? Well, if something works, why change it? As an immediate follow-up to bench presses, dumbbell flyes ensure that you make good use of the skin-ripping pump you picked up from the benching.
When lying on the bench, ready to execute this exercise, bring your feet up and rest them on the bench instead of on the floor. Again, retract your shoulder blades for this just like you did with the bench presses.
Remember to keep your elbows bent for this movement.
Lower the weights by opening up your arms, but try to move the weights with your humerus (upper arm). This will help (again) with your mind-muscle connection.
When lowering the weights, don’t let your arms drop to the point that you start feeling pain. When bringing the weights back up, be sure to not let the dumbbells touch one another.
3. Incline Dumbbell Presses
Reps: 10, 8, 8, 6
There’s not much rocket science behind this movement as there is with the two exercises above.
One thing that I will say, focus on pressing the dumbbells up from your elbows and don’t bring the dumbbells to each other at the top of the movement. Instead, keep the dumbbells at shoulder width apart.
4. Parallel Bar Dips
When performing this exercise, many tend to push from their delts instead of their pecs. Although this exercise doubles as a shoulder exercise, we’re going to modify it to primarily focus on the pecs.
When you’re on the bars, straighten your legs out and form a V shape with your legs and torso by leaning forward. It should be a wide V and not sharp.
Again, retract your shoulder blades. Lower your body until your nipples are more or less in line with the bars, or even slightly higher.
Push yourself back up with the idea of pushing from your elbows.
5. Dumbbell Pullover
You can’t go wrong with this one as a pec developer.
Hold the dumbbell overhead as you’re lying down on the bench. Again, retract your shoulder blades. Lower the dumbbell until it is behind your head. There is no need to lower the dumbbell as low as you would when performing pullovers for lats.
By not lowering the weight so much, you’re keeping constant tension on the pecs.
When you bring the dumbbell back up, don’t bring it up to 90 degrees. Instead, bring the dumbbell up to over our face. This should create an angle less than that of 90 degrees.
6. Pec Deck (Optional)
Sets: 2 (Double Dropset)
Reps: 20-failure-failure (this equals one dropset)
Here’s a little twist to the conventional pec deck: instead of placing your arms in the traditional manner (90-degree angle at the elbow), keep your arms extended. You might look a little funny at first but when people start seeing the development in your chest, they’ll want a piece of the pie too.
When performing the motion, rotate your palms upwards in the concentric portion of the movement. This will ensure that you get the best contraction you possibly can in your inner chest.
On the eccentric portion of the movement, rotate your palms back to a neutral position so that your elbows are flared out slightly. This will ensure that you get a good stretch in between reps.
I hope this chest routine will bring you the same amount of success it brought me. Remember that noticeable gains don’t come overnight and that you have to stick to something in order to the results thereof.