Table of contents:
The training plan to develop the chest should include different types of exercises because, although all parts of the muscle are activated during training, there are specific exercises to focus more on one or two areas. Thus, it is always important to combine exercises for the different parts of the chest, in order to obtain a more developed and symmetrical muscle.
The pectoral is a muscle group that is divided into two main muscles: the pectoralis major and the pectoralis minor. Generally, the group that is worked on in the gym and for aesthetic purposes is the pectoralis major, which is on top and, therefore, is more visible. However, this muscle is also divided into 3 smaller parts: upper, middle and lower, which need to be worked on.
As with any other strength training, the load chosen must be adapted to the capacity of each person, since if you have an excessive weight, it can lead to poor execution of the exercises. It is important for the person to know that the development of muscle mass takes some time, and it will not be fast by increasing the load.
Check out 8 tips to gain muscle faster.
5 exercises to increase the chest
The training plan should include at least 3 to 4 different exercises that target both the pectoralis major and the minor. Thus, the ideal is to choose between the following exercises:
1. Incline Dumbbell Bench Press
Focused exercise to work on: upper chest.
This exercise must be performed on a gym bench that must be placed on an incline as instructed by the instructor. Then you should:
- Lying on your back on the incline bench, holding the dumbbells with a suitable weight;
- Stretch your arms perpendicular to your body, until almost touching with one dumbbell to the other and with your elbows slightly bent;
- Drop your arms, until you feel your chest stretching and until your arms form a 90° angle. At this moment you should inhale;
- Lift the dumbbells back to the starting position, exhaling the air in your lungs while doing the movement.
You should perform 4 sets of 8 to 12 repetitions, resting about 1 minute between each set. A good tip is to start the exercise with lighter dumbbells and gradually increase as the number of repetitions decreases. A good example is doing 12-12-10-8, for example.
This exercise can also be done with the bench at 0º, that is, horizontally, however, in this case, the middle chest will be worked more, instead of the upper one.
2. Barbell bench press
Focused exercise to work on: mid chest.
This is one of the most classic exercises to train the chest, but also quite complex and with greater effect to increase the mid region and the general volume of the chest. To do the exercise correctly you must:
- Place the bench horizontally and lie on your back;
- Hold a barbell with your hands shoulder-width apart;
- Down the bar, flexing the arms until the bar touches the chest and inhale during the movement;
- Re-extend your arms, pushing the bar until your arms are fully extended. In this movement, the air must be exhaled from the lungs.
You should perform 4 sets of 8 to 12 repetitions, resting about 1 minute between each set.
This exercise can be done with the help of another person, especially when trying to increase the weight of the bar to prevent it from falling onto your chest. Alternatively, you can also do the exercise using dumbbells instead of the bar.
3. Parallel bar lunges
Focused exercise to work on: lower chest.
Lumps are widely used to train the triceps, however, a small variation in this exercise can help to quickly develop the lower chest region. For this you must:
- Hold with both hands on the parallel bars, keeping your arms straight;
- Bend your arms slowly until you reach a 90º angle, and slightly bend your torso forward;
- Go back up and stretch your arms again until you reach the starting position.
The ideal is to do 4 series of 8 to 12 repetitions, resting about 1 minute between each series.
In this exercise it is very important to try to keep your torso leaning forward as you go down, to ensure that the force is mainly done on the lower chest region that you want to work on.
Focused exercise to work on: mid chest.
An exercise that is easy and accessible to anyone is the push-up, which, in addition to working the mid-chest, also helps to strengthen the arms and can be done at home. To perform the exercise you must:
- Stay in a plank position, with your arms shoulder-width apart;
- Go down and flex your arms until your chest touches the floor, keeping your elbows out and your abdominals contracted;
- Up again, returning to the starting position.
This exercise should be performed in 4 sets of 15 to 30 repetitions.
5. Crossover with high grip
Focused Workout: Upper and Middle Chest.
This is a good option to finish the chest workout, which in addition to working the upper and middle part of the chest, also helps to define the region between the two pectoral muscles, creating greater definition. To do this, use a cable machine and follow these steps:
- Grasp both handles of the cable device;
- Pull the handles down until your hands touch in front of your waist, keeping your elbows slightly bent;
- Return to starting position with hands at shoulder level.
You can do 4 sets of about 12 to 15 repetitions and rest about 1 minute between each set.