There are so many chest exercises and workouts to try, from bodyweight staples to twists on dumbbell classics, that building an impressive pair of pecs needn’t be a chore. In fact, mixing up your workouts will mean you’re hitting your chest from more angles than the humble bench press, as good as it is, is capable of. Doing that will result in a bigger, stronger upper torso, which in turn will (obviously) make you more adept at pushing heavy objects — from barbells to broken-down cars.
But let’s not beat around the bush, we also know that part of the reason you’re reading this guide is because having a bigger chest just looks impressive, and that’s a scientific fact. A study published in Plos One found that women’s, as well as men’s, perception of the ideal male body, included a muscular, wide chest circumference that creates an overall V-shaped torso. That’s why we’ve consulted chest exercise experts, including our own fitness editor Andrew Tracey, to help you construct a powerful set of pecs.
For most guys, a chest workout involves alternating between three chest exercises: bench press completed in the flat, incline, and decline positions. But it needn’t be that way.
If you want huge pecs you’ll need to challenge all of your chest muscles. But, you can’t target all of your chest muscles if you don’t know what they are, can you? To set you on the path to bigger pecs, here’s a quick guide to your major chest muscles.
- Pectoralis Major: The pectoralis major makes up most of your chest muscle mass. It is large and fan-shaped and is composed of a sternocostal head and a clavicular head.
- Pectoralis Minor: The pectoralis minor lies underneath the pectoralis major. Its job is to help pull the shoulder forward and down.
- Serratus Anterior: Located at the side of the chest wall, you’ll notice the serratus anterior in action when you lift weights overhead.
Your Major Chest Muscles, Explained
By the end of this, you and your chest should be standing a little taller and a little prouder.
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A broad and muscular chest has been the symbol of masculinity for a long time. Most people think benching heavy weights is the only way to build a chiseled chest. This is as far away from the truth as it can be. There are those exercises out there that don’t require you to lift absolutely massive weight to build a shredded chest. Plus, these can slide into your chest day routine with no problem.
Your body doesn’t know how much weight you’ve loaded onto the bar. All it knows is the amount of muscle fiber recruitment and tension placed upon it. Calisthenics athletes are a great example of using your own body weight to build a ripped chest. Bodyweight exercises allow you to really focus on form and still build muscle. So, you don’t need crazy weight to see huge gains.
Let’s take a look at these 5 bodyweight exercises to build a ripped chest. With no need for equipment, you can do these whenever and wherever you want so you always see gains. The benefit to bodyweight exercises is that once you nail down form, you can better work to add weight for that increased muscle. The versatility of these exercises are hard to ignore and you won’t be disappointed by the results once you see what they can do for you.
Benefits Of A Strong Chest
The benefits of having a strong chest go far beyond looking lean and shredded. A strong chest will work to help you improve strength in your back muscles while also ensuring good posture. Lifting big weight or performing bodyweight exercises requires you to have only the best posture. Great for increasing your ability for those pushing movements, a strong chest will offer better support and breathing ability. The added bonus is the shredded aesthetic that comes along with it.
5 Bodyweight Exercises For A Ripped Chest
These 5 bodyweight exercises are perfect for helping you get a shredded aesthetic. With the right exercises and performed the right way, you are on your way to seeing only the best gains around.
1. Parallel Bar Dips
Parallel bar dips are a bad-ass exercise and will fill up your pecs with blood and lactic acid. We prefer the parallel bar dips over the bench dips as your lower body weight adds resistance in the bar dips whereas the bench dips take it off.
While performing the parallel bar dips make sure you bend forward a little as it will put more tension on your pectoral muscles and will eliminate the recruitment of the triceps. Maintaining a full range of motion in bodyweight exercises is critical for the development of the muscles.
2. Barbell Rollout Flyes
Barbell rollout flyes aren’t for the faint-hearted. The rollout flyes are for advanced lifters and include the use of a couple of barbells and weight plates. Don’t worry, you won’t have to lift any of it.
Get into the push-up position and place a barbell at each side, so one end of the barbells are next to your feet and the other is next to your shoulders. Grab the barbells at the start of the grip area and push them apart so your chest is almost touching the floor. Pull the barbells to the starting position where they should be under your shoulders and squeeze your pecs.
3. Push-Ups (Different Variations)
There are enough pushup variations that you can try a new one in every workout for months. Pushups are one of the basic functional exercises and are one of the first exercises people learn to perform.
You can perform the incline pushups if you want to train your upper pecs, decline pushups for the lower chest, normal pushups for the middle, and overall chest mass. Advance forms include superman pushups, clap pushups, one-hand pushups, etc.
4. Resistance Bands Or TRX Flyes/Presses
TRX and resistance band flyes and presses are isolation exercises which can target the pecs from specific angles. Resistance bands are incredibly portable and can be taken along in a backpack or a suitcase while you’re traveling.
You can decrease the resistance on the bands by holding them close to the bottom or add resistance by grabbing the bands farther away from the ends. Tie the bands to a straight pole or hang them from a bar near the ceiling if you don’t have access to a gym.
5. Isometric Exercises
Isometric exercises are one of the most underutilized exercises and don’t get their fair share of credit when it comes to building muscle mass and definition. The isometric exercises are a great way of building a mind-muscle connection. If done at the end of a workout isometric exercises can give you a muscle-ripping pump.
Isometric exercises are a type of strength training in which the joint angle and muscle length don’t change during contraction. Isometrics are done in static positions, rather than being dynamic through a range of motion.
Best Equipment To Add To These Workouts
While these bodyweight exercises are great without equipment, adding free weights or resistance bands can add even more strength once you establish the movement. The nice part about these exercises is that you can still see huge gains with or without weight and either way, they will slide into your routine nicely. Whether they be dumbbells, kettlebells, or barbells, the right approach to these exercises can be a game-changer for all your goals.
These 5 bodyweight exercises are great for helping you see huge gains. Whether you are looking to absolutely shred or build more functional muscle, these exercises are perfect to add into your routine. The right approach to any workout can make or break those gains and you will only see the best results when you put your mind to it. Give these bodyweight exercises a try and see what these can do for all your gains today.
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