How many people do you see in your gym training it on Mondays?
Likely a lot and that’s because people like to start their week by doing something they like.
Outside of the arms, the chest has to be the most popular muscle group to train and this is for a variety of reasons.
A big chest makes a big statement when it comes to muscularity and physique development. Pressing is considered the ultimate upper body standard of strength. It’s a fun muscle group to train but it isn’t a larger muscle group like legs or back so it doesn’t take too much energy.
There are other reasons but those are the most popular.
Regardless of what your reason is, you obviously want to improve your pecs or you wouldn’t be reading this, right? So let’s get to this.
The Out-Angle Chest Workout Routine
You’re not going to see anything too complicated here. That’s because sometimes basics are still the best and that applies in this case.
What you will notice is that there are a variety of angles that you’ll be using throughout this program. We don’t want to leave any stone unturned or any fiber untouched.
Performing this plan once every five-seven days will yield positive results in strength, detail, and overall thickness in eight weeks.
|Incline Barbell Bench Press||5||12, 10, 8, 6, 4|
|Low Incline Dumbbell Fly||3||10-12|
|Seated Machine Chest Press||3||12|
|Single Arm Cable Crossover||3||12 Each|
*One-minute rest between sets except pushups. Rest 30 seconds between sets on pushups.
Pushups are as basic as it gets but this is a great way to warm up and start pumping blood to the pecs. It’s going to help prepare the shoulders, triceps, and elbows too. If you feel your body weight isn't enough, put your feet up on a bench to make it more challenging. If you struggle with pushups, perform them with your knees on the floor.
Don’t worry about setting a rep record here. You should focus on muscle contraction and smooth motion with each rep. Work for 30 seconds and take 30 seconds off. That’s one minute.
Repeat three times for three total minutes of warming up. You might be tempted to rush them on the last set but don’t give in. This isn’t about a record or competition. You’re preparing to do serious work and quality beats quantity here.
Incline Barbell Press
Flat bench is a great lift and while I’m not using it in this program, it isn’t meant to be a knock on it. The fact is that if an athlete considers the chest to be a problem, then it’s likely because the upper pecs are developing. So let's attack that area head-on with a basic compound movement that you can use to move some heavy weight.
When you hold the bar, make sure you don't go too wide because it can take a toll on the shoulders. Conversely, going too close will make the triceps work harder than necessary. If you need to, use a lightweight or just the bar itself to find the best hand placement for you to work with.
As the reps decrease, you should add weight to the bar. Although I want you to challenge yourself, you shouldn’t reach failure at any point. If you have one rep left but you achieved the required number for that set, rack it. Remember that the stimulation of the muscle is the goal, not the weight moved.
Low Incline Dumbbell Fly
The next movement is for the upper pecs too but you want to use a different angle on an adjustable bench so the pecs are more involved. Since you pre-exhausted them with the barbell presses, the delts might be tempted to help out if you use the same angle.
The weight needs to be light but not too light. Lower the weight at a count of four. You should think to yourself “one thousand one, one thousand two, one thousand three, one thousand four”. The weight should go as low as you comfortably go. So past parallel with the body is preferred but don’t risk injury by forcing it.
As you come back up, stop just short of the dumbbells touching each other. Squeeze the pecs as hard as you can for a two-count before lowering the weight again.
Seated Machine Chest Press
The emphasis at this point is doing a seated movement. This allows you to work the chest harder while keeping the shoulders out of it. Make sure you tuck your shoulder blades together and stick your chest out when you sit on the pad.
Using a machine here is a plus too because it will help you keep constant tension throughout the entire range of motion with each rep. It will also restrict the movement so you’re in a fixed motion. This will keep you from worrying about stabilizing the weight like you would a free weight exercise. As we come down the home stretch of this workout, those are big pluses.
The cadence with this exercise should be three-second positives and negatives. Using different cadences and speeds can prevent the workout from getting stagnant and will also help break down those pec fibers even more. Controlling the reps will help you improve control of the contractions when you flex the pecs.
So what if your gym doesn’t have a seated chest press machine? Sit on a bench with it upright and use a band that you can wrap around the back of the bench. This can work even better than the machine because the resistance will increase as you stretch (press) the band. It will decrease as you release that tension at the bottom.
Single Arm Cable Crossover
The cable crossover is a popular movement that has been tried and true for a long time. It’s most known as an effective fly movement that can blast the lower area of the pecs. How can we change this movement and why should we? There’s one way to change it and the why is a big one. Performing these with one side at a time allows you to focus on each side. The result will be a more balanced and overall improved pair of pecs.
Now for the why. When you perform the crossovers at the same time, you likely meet the handles in the middle in front of you. That’s fine but the issue is you’re not maximizing the range of motion. To make the crossover more effective, the movement should be taking the handle across your body.
There is no effective way to target the inner chest. Isolating this area is impossible but when you take your crossover across the body, you’re at least working the fibers as much as possible. Doing your reps in this fashion can help you achieve that more full and separated look that many bodybuilders try to achieve.
You should start with whichever side you feel is weaker so you can commit more energy to it. Once you finish, switch sides and perform the same number of reps. As with every other movement, failure shouldn’t be the goal. Stimulation of the pecs should be. There’s no required rep cadence here. Just make sure you feel it and control the resistance.
Once you try this workout for yourself, let us know what you think of this program in the comment section below.