Building Bigger Pecs: 4 Workouts For Improved Chest Size

Steve Shaw
Written By: Steve Shaw
January 23rd, 2014
Updated: June 13th, 2020
Categories: Workouts Chest Workouts
379.2K Reads
It's time for a change. These four unique chest workouts provide you with effective, intense and fun training options that will help to increase your pec size and strength.
Workout Summary

Workout Description

These workouts are part of a training series I am putting together to provide lifters with some new, interesting and fun muscle building choices. While the other chest workouts here at Muscle & Strength are highly effective when coupled with progressive resistance, it is often nice to take a mental break and try something different.

Each of these 4 chest workouts are fairly intense. I would recommend running them for 8-12 weeks at a time, then taking a complete week off from training. From there you can try a new approach, or choose to stick with something that is working well.

Keep in mind that no matter which workout approach you use, overload must be part of the equation. Use as much weight as you can for each listed set, and add weight when it makes sense.

Here are the 4 workouts:

  • Workout #1 - Cluster Sets and Supersets
  • Workout #2 - Pre-Fatigue and Burn
  • Workout #3 - Upper Chest Blast
  • Workout #4 - Dumbbell and Barbell Volume

Dumbbell Bench Press

Workout #1 - Cluster and Superset Chest Program

  • Bench Press - Pick a weight you can perform about 12-15 reps with. Rest 30-45 seconds between sets. Don't worry if you can't hit 4-5 reps per set. Keep the rest periods tight and do what you can.
  • Supersets - Jump from one exercise to the next, keep rest to the bare minimum.
  • Dips & Push Ups - AMAP equals as many reps as possible.
Workout #1
Cluster & Supersets
Exercise Sets Reps
Bench Press - Cluster Sets 8 4-5
Incline Dumbbell Bench Press - Superset #1 3 8-12
Incline Dumbbell Flye - Superset #1 3 8-12
Machine Chest Press - Superset #2 3 8-12
Pec Dec or Cable Crossovers - Superset #2 3 8-12
Dips - Superset #3 3 AMAP
Push Ups - Superset #3 3 AMAP

Workout #2 - Pre-Fatigue & Burn Chest Program

  • Dumbbell Flye - The point here is to get in a good 40 to 50 reps before moving on to compound lifts.
  • Paused Bench Press - Sets should be able one rep shy of failure. Add weight when you can. Pause for only a one thousand one count on the chest.
  • Pec Dec - These sets are burn out sets. Pick a weight you can perform 15-20 reps with. Once you get close to failure, only rest for a brief amount of time before trying to knock out more reps. Continue this rep and limited rest pattern until you reach 30-40 total reps.
Workout #2
Pre-Fatigue & Burn
Exercise Sets Reps
Dumbbell Flye or Cable Crossover - Pre-Fatigue 4-5 10
Paused Bench Press 4 8-12
Dumbbell Bench Press 4 10-12
Decline Bench Press 4 8-12
Pec Dec or Machine Bench Press - Burn 2 30-40

Bench Press

Workout #3 - Upper Chest Blast Program

  • Set Intensity - Each set should be pushed to about one rep shy shy of failure. Add weight when you can.
  • AMAP - AMAP equals as many reps as possible.
Workout #3
Upper Chest Blast
Exercise Sets Reps
Incline Bench Press 5 8-12
Incline Dumbbell Bench Press 5 8-12
Cable Crossovers to Upper Chest 5 8-12
Push Ups with Feet on Bench 5 AMAP

Workout #4 - Dumbbell and Barbell Volume

This workout is also perfect for the home trainee who has limited equipment.

  • Bench Press - Pick a weight that allows you to perform a 5x5. When these 5 sets feel manageable, meaning the last rep of the last 5 rep set was not close to failure, add 5 pounds the following week.
  • Set Intensity - Each set should be pushed to about one rep shy shy of failure. Add weight when you can.
  • AMAP - AMAP equals as many reps as possible.
Workout #4
Dumbbell & Barbell Volume
Exercise Sets Reps
Bench Press 5 5
Dumbbell Bench Press 5 10
Incline Bench Press 5 8-12
Dumbbell Incline Bench Press 5 10
Dumbbell Flyes 5 10-15
Dips or Push Ups 5 AMAP
Posted on: Wed, 05/29/2019 - 00:28

Can someone pls explain the cluster set in the 1st workout? I choose a weight i can do 12-15 reps for 8 sets or what?

Posted on: Tue, 06/13/2017 - 21:23

Would you tell how can I do these workout
everyone do it for one week or how
Thank you

Posted on: Sun, 11/27/2016 - 21:30

I want to increase my cheats what I want to to Iam aged 20

Posted on: Fri, 06/03/2016 - 17:21

DEAR Steven ,
I really don't know how to use this workouts ,
Should I change it every week or for example I should do the workout #1 for 1 month then jump to the other one ?
Kind regards,

Posted on: Fri, 12/11/2015 - 17:28

Good workout. I did workout #1 today for the 1st time. It went quickly and I got a good workout. The super set of dips and pushups at the end were rough. I started out doing weighted dips and pushups, and dropped the weight once I hit failure and continued until I hit failure again. By the last set I was smoked.

Posted on: Sat, 07/25/2015 - 21:46

I am moving into workout #2 in a week. I am concerned about the proper way to do a paused bench press. Some of the literature I have read on proper form suggests that you always keep your arms 90 degrees and not allowing them to go all the way back to avoid shoulder injury.
How is this possible if you are bringing the bar down to your chest for the paused portion of the exercise?
When you pause are you still applying a lot of tension or do you relax momentarily?
Thanks for a great workout series so far!

Posted on: Mon, 04/20/2015 - 15:07

I have i question for workout #1
Do i chose three supersets e.g.(Incline Dumbbell Bench Press, Machine Chest Press, Dips) and jump from one to another till i finish 3 sets of each, or do all of them e.g.(do 3 sets of Incline Dumbbell Bench Press and Incline Dumbbell Flye jumping from one to another, then move on by doing Machine Chest Press/Pec Dec, Dips/Push ups)?
Thank you

Posted on: Tue, 03/17/2015 - 01:15

Do you do all 4 workouts at once or 1 for several weeks then on to the next?

Posted on: Mon, 02/09/2015 - 16:13

Hi I'm doing workout 1 an I was wondering how many weeks should do it for.

Posted on: Mon, 01/19/2015 - 16:37

could you help me out with quads workout, calves and shoulder...?

Posted on: Sat, 08/23/2014 - 20:56

Hi Steve. With the workout #1 supersets should you increase the weight every set or remain with the same weight?

Posted on: Fri, 08/22/2014 - 12:09

I have a problem the right side of my chest is smaller than the left my tricep seems to get workout on the right side. And my left tricep is smaller than my right. What can i do to slove this.

Posted on: Mon, 06/23/2014 - 11:56

Could u demonstrate pre fatigue set means

Posted on: Wed, 06/11/2014 - 20:32

For workout #4, how long is the rest period between sets?

Posted on: Tue, 06/03/2014 - 16:49

Hey Steve ,
sorry for my question because i am not a professional ,
i tried workout 1 - but what about decline ?
and for machine press which muscle in chest middle or upper or lower because the video machine different from what i have in d gym
l and can i train 2 times per week
and last question which workout between 4 is the most effective for the chest ?

Posted on: Wed, 05/14/2014 - 14:17

Hey! I`ve been working out now only for 3 monts. I still dont have a shape. What would you suggest to do in case if i want to build it and have a nice shape and gain strenght? will this be it?

Posted on: Sun, 05/04/2014 - 07:15

Thanks for the programs Steve. I'm not sure about the rest period between sets for the Volume workout given above.

Posted on: Fri, 04/18/2014 - 01:35

Would you recommend doing two of this workouts during the week?

Posted on: Tue, 04/15/2014 - 07:46

im wanting to strengthen the muscles that are used in press ups as im joining the army and can only do like 20 press ups in 2 minutes what would you recommend ?

Posted on: Sun, 04/13/2014 - 20:17

I am 74yrs. old, my max bench as of today is 265lbs. clean, I do take a protein shake right after my workouts, my question is do I change the weight on my bar when I am doing the 12 to 15 reps.with the 30 sec. pause,and go till exhausted. or do I bring the weight down after each set?

khaalid kagee
Posted on: Sun, 04/06/2014 - 09:23

how long must the gaps/days be between each workout?

Posted on: Wed, 03/19/2014 - 06:14


I have a question about the flys, i would like to know if the incline flys with dumbbells it's an exercise to do at the beginning or at the end of a workout. For example i do incline press with dumbbells, incline flys with dumbbells, press with dumbbells and pullover, is it ok?? I have to use dumbbells so much because i train at home.

Thank you very much and sorry about the english mistakes.
Greatings for the page.

Posted on: Fri, 03/14/2014 - 14:59

I have bought whey protein gold standard 2lbs how long will it take me to realize changes

Posted on: Tue, 03/11/2014 - 14:40

Hey Steve! Nice workout! Can I add this to your 3 day/w HLM workout?
I'll do Heavy, Light, Medium would that be it n would this only be too much?
Was also interested in the 18w chins&dips workout.
What would u prefer n recommend?

Posted on: Sun, 03/02/2014 - 23:06

A great workout for pecs:
Neck press(smith machine)
And that's it.
Although its fun it throw in db presses and flues.

Posted on: Sun, 03/02/2014 - 08:42

Is it need to workout with heavy weights?if yes then why?

Posted on: Mon, 02/24/2014 - 21:41

I have been doing workout #1 and #4 for 2 and a half months when I started my max was 245lbs now my max is 350lbs. This is an awesome workout and it has completely changed my body and gains. Thanks so much!

Posted on: Sun, 02/23/2014 - 11:47

I do chest workout 2times a week. Monday upper chest..Thursday mid chest..
Should i pick 1workout and do it on Mon. and Thurs.?
Or choose 1workout for Mon. and choose another for Thurs.?
Please enlighten me your highness..

Wansh Malekoo
Posted on: Sun, 02/16/2014 - 16:09

Hey Steve,
I wanna build a bigger chest as in rounded poppin out chest. i think my outside chest is fine but i wanna get the inside chest where u get the cut in the middle like a trench. i want to gain mass overall and also focus on the upper inner chest. Which workout should i use? Thanks Steve! Take care!

Posted on: Fri, 02/14/2014 - 00:54

which protein i have to take ...............plz suggest me ...........last 5 years m doing bicep size is 16.5 and chest size is 40....and my body is bulk with fa

Posted on: Tue, 02/11/2014 - 04:27

steve .........which protein i have to take ...............plz suggest me ...........last 5 years m doing bicep size is 16.5 and chest size is 40....and my body is bulk with fat ....

Mutalwa Brian
Posted on: Tue, 02/04/2014 - 03:23

Hey man, nice workout. Meanwhile, how offen should it be done in a week. Am 6.5ft, 110kgs and intermediate trainee.

Posted on: Mon, 02/03/2014 - 15:48

Hi steve been training for 2 years but my pecs are a slightly different size not by by much but if I can notice it surely other people will notice? any ideas

Posted on: Mon, 02/03/2014 - 06:07

Sir what does it mean that Pause for only a one thousand one count on the chest. Kindly explain it.

Posted on: Mon, 02/03/2014 - 01:21

steve .........which protein i have to take ...............plz suggest me ...........last 5 years m doing bicep size is 16.5 and chest size is 40....and my body is bulk with fat ....

Posted on: Sun, 02/02/2014 - 22:55

Wait there are 4 workouts; so you mean you try each chest workout for 12 weeks and than try the next. Also I am 62 years old and what I am finding out is my strength is in reverse and my bones feel like they can not increase weight anymore. It is like my body is changing and I can not like a twenty year old keep on increasing weight amounts. Can you modify this for us old guys.

Posted on: Tue, 01/28/2014 - 21:24

hey steve, could you make a workout that would be good for a football lineman?

Posted on: Tue, 01/28/2014 - 10:47

Do you have the same routines for different muscle groups? Such as legs, backs, and arms? I'm putting this routine in for sure this week

Posted on: Tue, 01/28/2014 - 08:29

Which protein I have to take for my it's ok to take egg and chiken

Posted on: Tue, 01/28/2014 - 08:26

Which protein I have to take it's ok to take egg and chicken....

Posted on: Sun, 01/26/2014 - 00:29

Did workout 1 today but ended up doing 5 sets of each for the supersets... Felt great. Can't wait to try the rest

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Posted on: Mon, 01/27/2014 - 19:51


Posted on: Sat, 01/25/2014 - 03:29

Hey!steve I need your help.can you please tell me how can i gain muscle mass without using protein shakes?

Posted on: Sat, 01/25/2014 - 02:27

hii steve.........
..last 5 year's m doing workout and m nt taking any supplements. ... I only eat egg ,chicken and drink milk its necessary to take supplement. .....

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Posted on: Sat, 01/25/2014 - 21:41

No, not if your daily calories and protein intake are ok.

Posted on: Mon, 05/25/2015 - 18:32

You are the only person that has answered this question that makes since. Why should I supplement when it is not necessary. Here in Costa Rica, getting supplements shipped in is a pain unless you have the doctor write a prescription for them, and that is costly and time consuming!

Posted on: Fri, 01/24/2014 - 19:47

also, what is an insulin spike? is it necessary post workout? really confused here... please help

Posted on: Fri, 01/24/2014 - 19:15

Is having fast digesting carbs post workout a myth? Please help me out...


Posted on: Fri, 01/24/2014 - 11:00

Hi Steve, I really wanna try out this. How do i start? Should i do workout 1 on one day, and workout 2 on the next chest day, and workout 3 on the chest day after that and so on?

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Posted on: Fri, 01/24/2014 - 12:33

Only use one workout at a time. Run it for 8-12 weeks.