The Best Chest Workout for Men

the best chest workout for menBuilding a Chest Chiseled From Stone

What guy does not want rock solid pecs to strut around the pool with?  However, too often instead of rocking the solid pecs we are covering up embarrassing man boobs. Well no more man boobs. It’s time to shape up and build a chiseled chest with these exercise tips and workout routine from a professional.

Men’s Chest Workout Exercise Tips From the Pro

This is more than just thoughtlessly performing a few chest workouts.  This is about being precise by using the right form, the right nutrition, and the right workouts. Without precision, you may be losing out on your chest gains.  Not to worry, my exercise tips below and chest workout program are designed to construct a chest worthy of strutting the beach.

Bench Press Exercise Tips

Although this is probably hands down the best chest exercise, more often than not the chest muscles are not fully engaged due to improper form and lack of concentration. Performing the bench press if the scapula is not retracted or chest sunken in, leads to the anterior deltoids and triceps doing working more than intended robbing the full potential of chest development.  In addition, performing half reps or not focusing on engaging the muscles of the chest can potentially hinder your results as well.  Therefore, doing the bench press the right way is a must.

The Fix

Whether you are using barbells or dumbbells begin with an adequate warm up. The warm up is intended to prepare your muscles for exercise, perfect your form before performing heavier weights, and to help you engage your chest muscles mentally.  When performing the bench press start with a light weight, feet on the floor, and with your shoulder blades/scapula completely retracted while lying down on the bench. With each warm up repetition, your focus should be on flexing the muscles of the chest to move the bar. By doing this, you are establishing a mind muscle connection allowing you to fully engage the muscles of the chest. After the warm up, then increase the weight for your working sets.

Further Reading:

Chest Flies Exercise Tips

This is a great exercise to isolate and develop the chest muscles. It can be performed in a variety of different ways such as with cables or dumbbells, at a decline or incline, or with specialized machines.  However, even with specialized machines you can find yourself putting emphasis on the front deltoids and engaging the wrong muscles  if you are not careful.  Remember, precise form is required of all exercises.

The Fix

You may have to drop your ego and lighten the weight, but hey no one really cares about how much weight you are doing chest flies with anyway. During this exercise, you will want to retract your scapula/shoulder blades and think of your arms as just an extension of your chest. Therefore, when doing a chest fly you should be flexing your chest muscles to bring your arms together and slowly relaxing the chest muscles to move the arms apart. Keeping the shoulder blades pulled back during the chest fly allows the muscles of the chest to dominate the movement.  Failure to retract the shoulder blades can lead to front deltoid domination.  At no point during this exercise should you lose focus proper form to isolate the pecs unless you want massive deltoids.

Push Ups Exercise Tips

This basic no special equipment exercise can be used anywhere to build some nice pecs. Proper form is a must if you are looking to get the most bang for your buck.  There is no shame performing modified push ups as form is extremely critical and you do not want the deltoids or triceps to dominant this exercise. Placing your hands to narrow or too far in front of the body makes the triceps the prime muscle group while putting your hands too far apart may be the cause of shoulder pains.

The fix

The keys to doing a perfect push up involve proper hand placement, and proper plank position.  While in the plank push up position, place your hands just outside your shoulders and directly underneath your shoulders.  Like the other chest exercises, it is imperative that you engage strictly the chest muscles to push. In addition to engaging the pecs, be sure to perform a full range of motion. If you cannot perform the full range of motion for the number of allotted reps, then there is no shame in doing a modified push up. It’s better to check your ego at the door and develop some nice looking pecs than to be able to do 100 push-ups with over developed deltoids.

Further Reading:

Men’s Chest Workout Nutrition Tips

best chest workout nutrition tips

Although this chest workout is designed to help you get maximum results, that cannot happen without proper nutrition.  Proper nutrition will give your body the nutrients it needs to grow muscle and shed fat. Unfortunately, there is no such thing as spot reduction. The muscles of the body do not own the fat encompassing them and performing chest workouts won’t burn the fat off your chest. Therefore, if you want some ripped pecs, you are going to have to shed the fat with your diet.

From counting macros to the paleo diet, there are numerous nutrition plans out there. So which diet is the most effective? The truth is the best diet is the one you can stick to. The key is consuming the right amount of energy or calories.  As long as you are consuming the proper caloric intake for fat loss, it does not matter which diet you choose so choose one that makes you happy.

The right amount of calories for fat loss is different for everyone and this number is forever changing as your body adapts to fat loss, muscle gain, age etc.  How do you find the right amount of calories for you?  I suggest checking out either my nutritional articles, purchasing my lean physique guide, or hiring a nutrition coach if you need help developing a plan.

Now that you know how important engaging the pecs through proper form and calorie balance are in regards to developing and defining the muscles of the chest, we can begin with the workout routine.

Further Reading:

Best Chest Workout for Men: The Routine

best chest workout routine for menThere are numerous ordinary chest workouts out there that do not include periodization and if your workout calls for the same routine with the same rep and set scheme, chances it is not a periodized workout routine.  Periodization is an organized approach to training that includes cycling periods of intensity over time.  Several studies have shown periodized workout routines to be more effective in terms of hypertrophy and strength than non-periodized workout routines.  To maximize results, this chest workout routine uses DUP.

Although there are multiple forms of periodization, this chest workout routine uses daily undulating periodization (DUP) which means using different weights, rep ranges, and sets on different days of the week.

This workout will alternate between two chest workouts weekly using size and power rep ranges.  For this workout, you will perform the power/strength routine in the beginning of the week like Monday, and then the hypertrophy/size workout several days later like on Thursday or Friday.

First Chest Workout of the Week

The first chest workout of the week is the power/strength routine. In the beginning of the week when the muscles and mind are fully rested, is usually an optimal time to lift for strength in my opinion.  The main objective of this workout is to develop strength, therefore take as much time as needed in between sets to recover and perform reps with a faster, but controlled tempo.

Power/Strength Routine

  • Barbell Bench Press 2 warm up sets, 5 working sets 3-5 reps
  • Dumbbell Flat Bench Press 5 working sets 3-5 reps
  • Smith Machine Incline Press 3 working sets 3-5 reps
  • Decline Bench Press 3 working sets 3-5 reps

Second Chest Workout of the Week

The chest workout of the week focuses on the size rep range with the working sets ranging in the 8-12 rep range.  With the second chest workout of the week, the objective is to overload the muscle with more volume to illicit growth.  During this workout, no more than 120 seconds rest should be taken in between sets and reps should be performed at a moderate tempo to increase time under tension.

Hypertrophy/Size Routine

  • Dumbbell Bench Press 2 warm up sets, 4 working Sets 8-10 Reps
  • Dumbbell Incline Press 3 working sets 8-10 reps
  • Cable Fly 3 working sets 10-12 reps
  • Push Ups 3 working sets 10-12 reps
  • Dips 3 working sets 10-12 reps

The Bottom Line

As you can see building an impressive chest takes more than just working out. You will need the right nutrition to support muscular growth and fat loss, you will also need the right form to properly engage and stress the muscles of the chest, and you will also need a workout routine designed to give you top notch results. Also, do not forget the most important factor of all which is being consistent with the above mentioned points because the best nutrition and the best workout plan won’t give you results if you do not stick to it.

See Also:

Author Profile: Julian Brown, BS, ACE-CPT, NASM-FNS      Julian is the co-owner of The Yard Fitness, an established fitness writer, a professional natural bodybuilder, a fitness & sport nutrition specialist, and a certified personal trainer. He began strength training at the young age of fourteen to improve his sports performance and hasn’t looked back since. Julian is a graduate of Grambling State University, ACE & NASM certified, and he has over a decade of personal experience in strength training.

Disclaimer: The views of the author are his or her own, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Ask The Trainer.
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