This is the perfect chest workout for building muscle and looking good. If you are thinking about spicing things up, change your chest workout for this one for a couple of weeks, feel the pump, and see the results yourself.
Creating the ideal chest workout involves targeting the upper, middle, and lower chest muscles. However, achieving optimal chest gains requires addressing the shortcomings of popular chest exercises and filling in the gaps.
And the person who is the creator and designer behind this self-titled perfect chest workout is none other than Jeff Cavaliere.
Jeff Cavaliere is a fitness trainer, physical therapist, and the creator of the popular fitness YouTube channel called ATHLEAN-X. He is known for his expertise in strength training, conditioning, and sports medicine. Jeff Cavaliere served as the Head Physical Therapist and Assistant Strength Coach for the New York Mets in Major League Baseball from 2006 to 2009.
When he examined the main chest exercises—inclined bench press, flat bench press, dips, and push-ups—it became evident that while they focused on primary muscles, they lacked complete shoulder adduction. The issue lies in not fully utilizing the three-dimensional range of motion offered by the shoulder joint during these exercises.
The Perfect Chest Workout for Building Muscle and Looking Good
According to Cavaliere, traditional chest movements, with hands fixed on equipment, restrict the shoulder’s horizontal adduction, limiting pec activation. “The key to growth for the chest muscles is to not forego the popular mass building chest exercises using heavier loads but add to them, in drop set fashion using a cable crossover machine and band training.”
When coming up with the perfect chest workout for building muscle and looking good, Cavaliere settled down on the following:
Barbell Bench Press
- 4 sets of 6, 8, 10, 12 reps
- Execute a flat bench press with a wide grip, followed by a horizontal cable chest or band crossover for 15 reps.
Incline Dumbbell Bench Press
- 4 sets of 6, 8, 10, 12 reps
- Set an incline bench to 30 degrees, perform dumbbell presses, and transition into a low-to-high cable or band crossover for 15 reps.
- 4 sets of 6, 8, 10, 12 reps
- Incorporate weighted dips and seamlessly transition into a high-to-low cable or band crossover for 15 reps.
- 3 sets to Failure
- Perform weighted push-ups and immediately follow with banded push-ups for 15 reps.
Maintain a tight core throughout the workout and focus on the mind-muscle connection for optimal results.
By combining traditional exercises with drop sets, you not only engage the chest’s full range of motion but also target every chest area. The drop set format intensifies less challenging exercises, accelerating strength gains and promoting muscle growth. This scientifically crafted chest workout exemplifies how to elevate your training routine.
To see how to perform each exercise properly – after all, good form is imperative when training – watch Cavaliere’s video below in its entirety.
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.