The chest usually gets all the glory when it comes to training in the gym. But you don’t need to complicate things over. Check out the only 3 chest exercises you need for mass according to science.
The hashtag ChestDay is one of men’s favourite to post on social media. The chest gets a lot of attention for most people when it comes to designing a workout plan. Mainly because of societal norms, that people prefer to have a stronger and bigger chest compared to legs, for example.
And still, in the world of fitness, chest training often falls victim to extremes. On one end, some experts complicate the process, advocating for a myriad of exercises targeting every possible angle. On the other hand, minimalist trainers argue that simplicity, particularly through frequent bench pressing, is the key to a bigger chest. But where does the truth lie? Let’s explore the science behind chest training using the knowledge provided by coach Alain Gonzalez and unveil the only three exercises you need for a well-rounded chest.
Coach Alain Gonzalez is an author, personal trainer and YouTuber with over 800K subscribers. He often uploads videos of fitness workouts, tips, training tricks and more, all related to making the most out of your time when working out.
Check them out below.
The ONLY 3 Chest Exercises You Need for Mass (According to Science)
Before delving into the exercises, it’s crucial to understand the anatomy and physiology of the chest. Contrary to popular belief, the chest primarily consists of one muscle—the pectoralis major. This muscle has multiple heads, including the sternal costal head and the clavicular head, responsible for different functions like horizontal adduction and shoulder flexion.
Choosing the Right Exercises:
To build a solid, well-rounded chest, focus on exercises that emphasize the primary functions of the pecs—horizontal adduction, internal rotation, and shoulder flexion and extension. Now, let’s explore the three key chest exercises backed by science.
Bench Press: The Foundation of Chest Training
The bench press takes the spotlight as the primary pushing movement. It targets the chest as a whole, focusing on horizontal adduction. Research published in the Journal of Interventional Medicine Applied Science supports the effectiveness of benching three days per week for chest thickness and strength gains. To optimize this exercise, pay attention to your form—ensure wrists and elbows are in line and bring the bar down just below the nipple line.
Incline Dumbbell Press: Prioritising the Upper Chest
While the bench press is excellent for overall chest development, incorporating an exercise that prioritizes the upper chest is crucial. The incline bench press, or preferably, the incline dumbbell press, ensures sufficient stimulation of the clavicular head. This exercise involves shoulder flexion and horizontal adduction, targeting the upper chest effectively.
Chest Fly: Deep Stretch, Short Contraction
To complete your chest workout, include an exercise that targets the chest as a whole, allows for a deep stretch, and provides a strong contraction. The chest fly, whether performed with cables or dumbbells, fits the bill perfectly. Focus on maximizing the stretch by straightening your arms throughout the movement, ensuring a fully short and contraction for optimal chest engagement.
Building a well-rounded chest doesn’t require a complicated routine, nor is it as simple as bench pressing every day. By understanding the anatomy and physiology of the chest, you can strategically incorporate the bench press, incline dumbbell press, and chest fly into your training regimen. Focus on proper form and progression, and watch your chest grow with these scientifically-backed exercises.
Watch the video below for all the information you need about the only 3 chest exercises you need for mass according to science.
Training your chest can have a number of benefits for your overall fitness and physical health. Here are some reasons why you might want to train your chest:
- Strengthening your chest muscles: Chest exercises like bench press, push-ups, and dumbbell flyes can help you build stronger chest muscles. This can improve your overall upper body strength and make it easier to perform daily activities that require pushing or pulling.
- Aesthetics: A well-developed chest can enhance the appearance of your upper body, giving you a more balanced and proportional physique.
- Improved posture: A strong chest can also help improve your posture by pulling your shoulders back and helping you maintain a more upright position.
- Increased metabolism: Chest exercises can also help boost your metabolism, which can help you burn more calories throughout the day.
- Improved athletic performance: A strong chest can improve your performance in a variety of sports and activities that require upper body strength, such as basketball, football, and rock climbing.
Overall, training your chest can have numerous benefits for your physical health, appearance, and athletic performance. It’s important to incorporate a variety of exercises into your chest workout routine to ensure that you’re targeting all the muscles in your chest, as well as other muscles in your upper body.
How Often Should You Train the Chest?
The frequency at which you should train your chest depends on several factors such as your fitness goals, overall fitness level, and your training program.
In general, it is recommended that you train your chest muscles at least once per week to see improvements in strength and muscle growth. However, some individuals may benefit from training their chest more frequently, such as 2-3 times per week, especially if they are more experienced lifters and are looking to target specific areas of the chest.
It’s important to note that you shouldn’t train your chest muscles on consecutive days as this can lead to overtraining and increase the risk of injury. Additionally, it’s important to allow your muscles to rest and recover between workouts, so that they have time to repair and grow.
Overall, the frequency at which you should train your chest will depend on your individual goals and fitness level, so it’s best to consult with a certified fitness professional who can help you design a personalized workout plan that meets your needs.
How Heavy Should You Lift When Training for Muscle Growth?
When training for muscle growth (hypertrophy), the weight you lift, often referred to as the training load or intensity, is an important factor to consider. Here are some guidelines to help determine how heavy you should lift:
Use a weight that challenges you: To promote muscle growth, it’s important to use a weight that challenges your muscles. Aim for a weight that you can do at least 6 reps and feel exhausted, reaching a point of failure after that.
Choose a weight that elicits fatigue: The weight you select should cause fatigue in the target muscles by the end of each set. You should feel a sense of muscular burn or fatigue during the final few reps, indicating that the weight is appropriately challenging.
Progressive overload: To continue building muscle, it’s crucial to gradually increase the demands on your muscles over time. This can be achieved through progressive overload, which involves gradually increasing the weight you lift as your muscles adapt and grow stronger. Aim to progressively increase the weight as you become more comfortable with a certain weight range to continue stimulating muscle growth.
Form and technique: While it’s important to challenge yourself with heavier weights, it’s equally important to prioritize proper form and technique. Lifting weights that are too heavy and compromise your form can increase the risk of injury and reduce the effectiveness of the exercise. Focus on maintaining good form throughout each repetition, even when using challenging weights.
Individual capabilities: The appropriate weight will vary depending on your individual capabilities, strength level, and experience. What may be heavy for one person might be light for another. It’s important to listen to your body and select weights that are appropriate for your current fitness level.
Variation in training: Incorporating a variety of rep ranges and training modalities can be beneficial for overall muscle development. While the hypertrophy rep range (8-12 reps) is commonly associated with muscle growth, including both higher rep ranges (12-15+) and lower rep ranges (6-8) in your training can provide different stimuli and promote well-rounded muscle development.
Remember, finding the right weight is a process of trial and error. Start with a weight that challenges you within the recommended rep range, and adjust as needed based on your individual capabilities and progression. Consulting with a fitness professional or personal trainer can also provide guidance and help you determine the appropriate weight selection for your specific goals and needs.