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The Best Science Based Chest Workout for Muscle Mass and Symmetry

Do what’s best for your chest!

This is probably the best science based chest workout for muscle mass and symmetry.

At least, according to Jeremy Ethier, it is. He is a kinesiologist and fitness trainer, co-founder of Built With Science. His YouTube channel has nearly 6 million subscribers and he delivers clear information with sound background research.

He designed this workout you are about to see. Check below which exercises he picked and why, followed by a comprehensive workout to wrap it all up.

Source: Courtesy of CrossFit Inc.

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The Best Science Based Chest Workout for Muscle Mass and Symmetry

Jeremy Ethier, an expert in fitness and body transformation, delved into the intricacies of chest development in a video he published. Despite the chest being a commonly trained muscle group, many individuals struggle with achieving a well-proportioned and symmetrical chest. Ethier emphasizes the significance of understanding the chest’s anatomy to effectively target each portion for optimal results.

Breaking down the chest anatomically, Ethier explains the division into the clavicular head (upper chest) and the sternal head (middle and lower chest). While all portions are activated during chest exercises, certain exercises can emphasize specific areas based on the direction of muscle fibres. For example, exercises with upward arm movement activate the upper chest, horizontal movements target the middle chest, and downward arm movement engages the lower chest.

In a video, Ethier presents a scientifically optimized chest workout rooted in anatomical understanding. He starts by stressing the importance of establishing a solid mind-to-muscle connection to enhance chest activation. Citing a study by Snyder et al., he highlights the impact of verbal cues on chest activation during bench press, indicating a 22% boost in activation with cues.

dumbbell bench pressSource: RODNAE Productions / Pexels

The workout begins with incline dumbbell presses, targeting the clavicular head of the pecs. Ethier explains that this exercise allows a full range of motion, leading to increased hypertrophy. Referencing an EMG study by Brett Contreras, he identifies inclined dumbbell presses as the most effective compound movement for the upper chest.

Moving on to the traditional barbell bench press, Ethier notes its emphasis on the middle chest and overall chest thickness. Despite its effectiveness, he acknowledges individual variations in response and suggests alternatives like the dumbbell bench press for those who may overcompensate with triceps during the barbell bench press.

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Ethier introduces dips as an effective exercise for the lower chest, specifically recommending straight bar dips for increased activation. He emphasizes proper form and guides maintaining balance and preventing excessive triceps engagement.

To target the upper chest and enhance overall strength, Ethier introduces banded push-ups, citing a study by Anderson et al. that compares banded push-ups to bench presses. This exercise, with added resistance, activates the chest effectively and contributes to upper body strength gains.

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The workout concludes with high-to-low cable crossovers, focusing on the sternal head of the pecs. Ethier emphasizes the exercise’s ability to enable greater horizontal abduction at the shoulder, enhancing chest activation. Ethier provides a sample chest workout and advises on exercise order based on individual weaknesses and strengths.

In a nutshell, the exercises included in Ethier’s best science based chest workout for muscle mass and symmetry are:

  1. Incline dumbbell press – upper chest
  2. Barbell/dumbbell bench press – middle chest
  3. Dips –  lower chest
  4. Banded push-ups – mid/upper chest and overall upper body strength
  5. High-to-low cable crossovers – mid/lower chest

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In conclusion, the best chest workout focuses on a balanced and comprehensive approach to chest development. By incorporating exercises that target the upper, middle, and lower chest regions, individuals can achieve symmetrical growth and overall mass in their chest. Personalizing the workout by selecting exercises that resonate with one’s body and preferences further enhances the effectiveness of the routine, leading to a well-sculpted and aesthetically pleasing chest.

Watch it all in the video below.

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Engaging in chest training offers a myriad of advantages for overall fitness and physical well-being. Let’s delve into the compelling reasons why incorporating chest exercises into your workout routine is beneficial:

  1. Strengthening Chest Muscles: Chest-centric exercises such as bench press, push-ups, and dumbbell flyes play a pivotal role in fortifying your chest muscles. This enhanced strength not only contributes to overall upper body robustness but also facilitates the execution of daily activities involving pushing or pulling motions.
  2. Aesthetics and Proportional Physique: Developing a well-defined chest goes beyond mere physical strength. It elevates the aesthetics of your upper body, fostering a balanced and proportional physique. A sculpted chest can significantly enhance your overall appearance.
  3. Improved Posture: A robust chest contributes to improved posture by pulling the shoulders back and supporting an upright position. This not only enhances physical appearance but also minimizes the risk of developing posture-related issues.
  4. Boosted Metabolism: Engaging in chest exercises can give your metabolism a significant boost. A heightened metabolic rate translates to increased calorie expenditure throughout the day, contributing to better weight management and overall fitness.
  5. Enhanced Athletic Performance: A strong chest is instrumental in elevating performance across various sports and activities that demand upper body strength. Whether it’s basketball, football, or rock climbing, a well-trained chest can enhance your capabilities and overall athletic prowess.

Incorporating a diverse range of exercises into your chest workout routine is crucial for ensuring comprehensive muscle engagement, targeting not only the chest muscles but also other upper body muscle groups.

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Determining the frequency of chest training hinges on factors such as individual fitness goals, overall fitness level, and the specifics of your training program. While a general guideline suggests training the chest at least once a week for noticeable improvements in strength and muscle growth, some individuals may benefit from more frequent sessions, perhaps 2-3 times a week. This is particularly applicable to experienced lifters aiming to hone specific areas of the chest.

Caution must be exercised to avoid overtraining, and consecutive training days for chest muscles should be avoided to mitigate the risk of injury. Adequate rest between workouts is essential to allow muscles the necessary time to repair and grow.

Ultimately, the optimal frequency for chest training is contingent on individual goals and fitness levels. Seeking guidance from a certified fitness professional is advisable, as they can assist in crafting a personalized workout plan that aligns with individual needs and aspirations.

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