Chest Workouts

Our readers asked our advice on chest workouts, which are a corner stone of the male gym routine. Thus, fitness correspndent Dr. Sebastian Müller (Ph.D.) reports on great ways to train the chest, exclusively here in City Connect.

A nice big muscular chest. Many people like that about a man’s chest and your girlfriend will love it if you have a nice manly chest. I will describe exercises that will help you achieve your goals and also try to uncover some misconceptions that people may have about the chest muscles.

Each chest has two major muscles, the pectoralis major and the pectoralis minor. Whereas the former is very visible on the outside, the latter is kind of hidden underneath its bigger cousin. However, both muscles are equally important and contribute to the strength of your chest. Both muscles need to be trained properly and extensively.

The pectoralis major is the bigger of the two muscles and spans most of the clavicle and sternum and attaches to the upper arm. In contrast, the pectoralis minor is a thin triangular muscle that lies beneath the pectoralis major and is responsible for similar functions by supporting its bigger cousin. Your chest is helpful in contact sports that require a lot of pushing such as football and rugby.

Chest exercises can be divided into three classes: Upper, Middle and Lower Chest exercises. I have listed some chest exercises and it is important that you rotate and do not stick to one exercise type all the time. I usually rotate the exercises between workouts to maximise the benefit. Free weights are better than fixed machines as they allow training other muscle groups, too. Only real bodybuilders really benefit from isolation exercises!

In addition, all these exercise also do train the entire chest, as you cannot isolate certain parts of your chest to train in order to look bigger. Every chest looks different, so try not to compare yourself with other physiques, but rather cherish and improve your own. Dividing the chest into upper, middle and lower parts, helps train other muscle groups around your chest, which will ultimately have a great effect on your chest itself.

Upper Chest exercises

The upper chest is important to train. These exercises will also help you train your shoulders and thus strengthen your posture. The idea of the incline is simple, as long as your upper body is higher than the lower body in one plain whilst you do your chest exercises.

Declined Push Ups
Exercise Ball Inclined Pushups
Incline Barbell Bench Press
Incline Bench Cable Flyes
Incline Supinating Dumbbell Flyes
Incline Bench Dumbbell Press

Middle Chest exercises

Most men train the middle chest for most parts of their work out. Many exercises are popular and it hits the biggest part of the muscle. However, if you neglect your lower and upper chest exercises, you will see little results and may even risk injuries.

Narrow Grip Push Ups
Push Ups
Medicine Ball One Arm Pushups
Barbell Bench Press
Cable Crossovers
Close Grip Barbell Bench Press
Flat Bench Dumbbell Press
Flat Bench Dumbbell Flyes
Flat Bench Cable Flyes
Machine Bench Press

Lower Chest Exercises

The lower chest is difficult to train and not many men perform these exercises. However, they give great definition and you really need to incorporate them into your exercise programme if you wish to have a strong defined chest. Here, the upper body has to be below the lower body in one plain.

Decline Barbell Bench Press
Decline Dumbbell Bench Press
Decline Dumbbell Flyes
Exercise Ball Push Ups
Wide Grip Decline Barbell Bench Press

Furthermore, as with most muscle groups, definition comes when you do many repetitions at lower weights and size come if you use bigger weights with few repetitions. Leave at least one day of rest for your chest muscles until the next day.

If you wish to train your chest in contact sports, the best sport to choose would be Rugby.


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About Sebastian Müller

Sebastian Müller was born and raised in Leipzig/Germany and moved to England as an adolescent. He is a trained research chemist and geneticist and is currently working as a postdoctoral researcher at the Institut Curie in Paris/ France working in cancer research. He obtained his Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge and is still actively involved at the university today. He is fluent in English, German and French and has many fortés and interests including science, philosophy, linguistics, history, competitive sports such as rowing, fitness and nutrition. He is a freelance writer also drawing from his experience as an author in peer-reviewed scientific journals. "I love writing and putting my thoughts down on paper. The written word to me is one of the most powerful ways of conveying thoughts and initiating discussions."
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