One of the most commonly asked questions so many aspiring bodybuilders want to know is “How to Get a Big Chest.” Why? Because having a thick, muscular chest is very impressive to say the least. Whether your goal is to compete as a professional bodybuilder, or you are just out to impress the girls, learning how to get a big chest should be your number one priority.
To get right into it, there are typically two main exercise types which you need to be aware of being; Isolation and Compound. If you want to know how to get a big chest fast, you need to understand what these exercise types mean. Isolation exercises are those of which work only one muscle over one joint e.g. dumbbell chest fly’s. Compound exercises are those that work more than one muscle group over two or more joints.
Compound exercises are generally done at the beginning of your workout and should make up at least 80% of your total workout. Without boring you with all the theory behind building lean muscle, let me give you an example chest workout demonstrating both compound and isolation exercises. This was one of my original chest building routines and is designed to hit your chest from multiple angles to maximize the development of the Pectoralis Major and Minor muscles (Pec’s!).
- Incline Dumbbell Bench Press – 3 sets (12, 10, 8). Compound exercise
- Dumbbell Bench Press – 3 sets (12, 10, 8). Compound exercise
- Dumbbell Fly – 2 sets (12, 10). Isolation exercise
- Decline Barbell Bench Press – 2 sets (12, 10). Compound exercise
The chest routine above will put sufficient stress (overload) on your muscles to make them want to grow. You’ll notice that we have primarily used dumbbells and compound exercises for most of the workout. Why? Because if you want to build a bigger chest, these are the exercises that you are going to have to do.
It has been proven through numerous studies that free weights are much more effective at building muscle mass than machine weights. Free weights put your body under higher physical and mental stress in the three dimensional world that we live in. Your body adapts by developing a high mental focus to recruit every muscle fiber available to lift the weight safely through all planes (Frontal, Median, Horizontal, and Sagittal).
Some common mistakes…
A common mistake inexperienced bodybuilders make is following the routines from bodybuilding magazines which involves them doing 20+ sets per muscle group. This is a big mistake! The routines that professional bodybuilders use are the routines which you need to be taking anabolic steroids for. Period!
Your natural body simply can’t cope with those high volumes, split workouts which require you to be in the gym 6 days a week for hours on end. This type of training will most definitely lead to overtraining before you know it. If you over-train your muscles you will never experience how to get a big chest – or body for that matter.
Now, there are some basic rules to using the program above which must be followed;
How to Get a Big Chest – Rule # 1
The best chest exercises to build rock hard muscle mass are without a doubt compound exercises performed with dumbbells. Stay clear of machine weights and make free weights (dumbbells/barbells) your two best friends.
How to Get a Big Chest – Rule # 2
The repetition range outlined in the program above should be the maximum amount of reps you can do with a particular weight without any assistance. If you can do more reps than specified above, simply select a heavier weight. You won’t get big looking at the big weights so get in there and show them whose boss. Saying that, remember to always use a spotter where you can to avoid injury to yourself.
How to Get a Big Chest – Rule # 3
Always remember that REST is the most important factor of muscle growth. The general rule of thumb is 60-90 seconds rest between sets, and 72 hours rest between training the same muscle group. Do not train your chest every day. I see it all the time and these guys are not getting any bigger. In fact, it’s laughable!
How to Get a Big Chest – Rule # 4
Always use proper lifting techniques and strict form. Sadly, this is where most beginner bodybuilder and weightlifters miserably fail. Their high enthusiasm coupled with their low knowledge is a recipe for disaster. Any exercise you perform should be done correctly to maximize muscle growth and to prevent serious injury. If you don’t know how to do an exercise correctly, ask one of the trainers in your gym, I’m sure they will be more than happy to assist.
A good place to start to ensure your lifting technique is correct is to time your reps in your head. For example; let’s say you were doing bench press. For the concentric phase (pushing the bar away from your body in this case), you would count “one thousand” in your head, or out loud if you prefer but you might get a few strange looks from the other guys in the gym. One second is how long it should take for the bar to travel from the chest to the arms extended position. For the eccentric phase (lowering the bar to the chest), you would count “one thousand, two thousand” in your head. Ensuring that you don’t bounce the bar off the chest, you would then have a count of “one thousand” before pressing the bar up through the full range of motion. By adding a count of “one thousand” or one second at both ends of the repetition, this will prevent you from cheating and pretty much force you to have better form.