For those who are naturally inclined towards fitness and building muscle, going to the gym and lifting, pressing, and squatting comes almost instinctively. Sure, nobody is born having exact prior knowledge in the matters of the body—it takes patience, dedication, and perseverance to truly achieve the potential of our bodies.
…but this being said, while it certainly does take a long time to get a shredded physique, there are a ton of shortcuts you can take along the way to make things easier on yourself. There’s supplements you can take, routines you can do, and even specific muscle groups you can focus on to quickly gain the appearance of being jacked.
One of which groups is the chest muscles. I’ve always had naturally large pectoral muscles from a young age, and even when I was a skinny little beanpole (at least in my view) people would complement me on them. Now that I’ve spent time building them up however, I frequently get girls rubbing them and squeezing them at parties (no joke).
The first thing that people associate with a “strong man” are the chest muscles. This association has been practically ingrained into our collective consciousness due to popular culture and celebrities like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Ronnie Coleman. Surprisingly enough, while it may take years to get pecs like them, there’s still a few ways to get killer pecs in just a short time.
1. Chest Press Machine
Anyone who’s currently doing my “Body of an Alpha” workout routine knows that I prioritize free weights above all else. Training with dumbbells and barbells trains your body as a whole by strengthening your core muscles and other supportive muscles, so that they can function as an entire unit.
That being said, if you’re not ready for free weights, the chest press machine is a great way to start. In conjunction with other types of exercises, it can help chisel away those great big pectoral muscles that everyone is always looking for when “sizing you up.” The most important thing here is to focus on the muscles however, like Mr. Schwarzenegger often professed.
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The chest press has a couple of unique quirks, that in some ways make it superior to free weights.. The most obvious one is that, unlike free weight pressing, you’re at no time at risk of hurting yourself, because there is nothing that could fall over. While training supportive muscles is obviously necessary, sometimes doing a chest press machine AFTER you work to exhaustion with free weights can help you get that extra bit of muscle growth.
Typically what I do is exhaust my pectoral muscles using free weights, and THEN (and only then) once I’m not able to comfortably support them, I’ll move onto other exercises like the chest press machine (or cable flyes). The seated machine press is a great exercise to use in conjunction with free weights for that extra “oomph.”
When it comes to the position of the body, sit upright with your back pressed tightly against the seat and grab the handles with your palms facing down. Place your feet on the floor, exhale and push the handles forward. Your arms should be extended and, without the elbows locking.
2. Incline Bench Press
While machines are a great way to avoid injury, the truth is, free weights are more efficient when it comes to building muscle FAST, especially in the chest area. Free weight exercises also boost overall power and performance, which will definitely show in your physique—so they’re certainly not something you want to skip.
The benefit of doing an incline bench press is that it works your upper chest more than a regular flat bench press. While you can’t typically lift as much weight as you can with a flat bench press, it’s still a great exercise to incorporate into your workout routine for a full, rounded set of pectoral muscles.
Many gyms are equipped with benches that have a steeper incline, and most of them can be easily adjusted according to your preferences by using the knob from underneath it. Personally, I prefer to do my incline bench presses at a 30 degree angle, although sometimes I’ll alternate between 30 and 15 degrees to work different parts of the chest.
Next up, position your body on the bench. Grab the bar with an overhand grip, making sure your hands are shoulder-width apart. You can vary your grip strength depending on what muscles you want to really focus on—for pure chest, a wider grip is best. Overall however, I prefer a slightly-wider-than-shoulder-width grip, because it trains power and strength the best.
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Hold the barbell above your chest, extend the arms without locking your elbows, and feel the squeeze of your pecs at the very top. Then, slowly lower the barbell (not too slow, though) down to about a half inch above your chest. You’ve just done your first rep.
3. Incline Dumbbell Press
While the barbell is great for exercises in which you want to build overall power and strength, the dumbbell does have its many advantages—the primary one being that it allows greater flexibility and thus a more full usage of the muscle. In other words, with dumbbells you can go down further, and you train each arm evenly.
Barbells are typically used for exercises that could potentially harm your joints—and while they’re great for lifting more weight, sometimes you want to lift less weight with dumbbells just to really focus on training the muscle at hand. Again, this is why I recommend combining barbell training WITH dumbbell training, although this can change depending on your goal.
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As for the workout, the process is pretty much the same as dong barbell bench presses, only now you’re just using dumbbells. Pick up the dumbbells, and set them on your legs while sitting down. This will allow you to smoothly rock back, pick up the dumbbells, and get into position for the exercise.
Make sure that your elbows aren’t parallel to your shoulders—you want to have them tucked in just a little bit to avoid injury. Start by pushing the dumbbells all the way up (without locking your elbows) and really feel the burn in your chest. Bring them all the way down, slowly, and feel the burn on the way down. You’ve just done your first rep.
Summary: The Best Chest Exercises
In summary, chest muscles are some of the most easily noticeable and fastest growing muscles on the body. There’s a reason why Mark Rippetoe dubbed them “chesticles,” because men typically show off their pecs as a way to garner male respect, and prove their masculinity.
…and while men such as Arnold Schwarzenegger (in his prime) and Ronnie Coleman may have spent years building their massive pectoral muscles, it isn’t hard to get a decent set of pecs within a matter of a few weeks. In fact, using some of the “hardcore supplements” out there such as SARM’s (which I will soon talk about) can make this process even faster.
That being said, naturally building yourself a swole set of pecs in four weeks can be easily done with a little dedication and effort. The most efficient way to achieve this is by lifting free weights, like dumbbells and barbell bench presses, in conjunction with machines that enable you to rep until failure. If done regularly, the results will not hesitate to appear.
As always, I hope that you guys enjoyed the article—with summer right around the corner many of us are trying to get those perfect beach bodies that will naturally attract women. So, if you guys have any questions, comments, or concerns, feel free to let me know…and as always, I’ll see you next time!