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pectoralis major – a skeletal muscle in the chest that abducts and rotates the arm. Commonly referred to as ‘pecs’.
pectoralis major – a skeletal muscle in the chest that abducts and rotates the arm. Commonly referred to as ‘pecs’.
When we talk about chest workouts, we are usually talking about working the pectoralis major, which is the largest muscle group in the upper body.  These large muscles spread across the upper torso, so the best chest workout is achieved by combining a number of exercises that focus on the different areas of the pectoral muscles: upper, lower, inner and outer.

The pecs are “pushing” muscles that tie in closely with your arms and shoulders. When you work your chest, your triceps and deltoids also get some work. The size, spread and depth of your pecs is directly related to the weights used in your training regimen.

The chest muscles are pushing muscles which work together with muscles in your arms and shoulders. The best chest workouts will also involve working the triceps and deltoids.  The size of your pecs, as well as the spread and depth, is determined by the amount of weight you use in your workouts.

Chest Workout Exercises

Bench Press

The bench press has always been the standard chest workout exercise, and it is usually included it in all of the best chest workouts. There are many varieties, using different angles, grips and benches.

The barbell bench press is probably the most common form of this exercise. This form uses a barbell with weights at each end. The bodybuilder lies on a flat bench and pushes the bar straight up using a wide grip. Lowering the bar to the neck will work the upper pectorals, while lowering the bar to the chest will work the middle pectorals.  Using an inclined bench, the lifter can work the upper pectorals. Conversely, using a declined bench will allow you to work the lower pecs.

Parallel Bar Dips

Dips are very good for exercising your inner and upper pecs.  Make sure you keep your hands at shoulder width. If you place your hands wider than shoulder width, you can work your outer pecs.

Dumbbell Exercises for a Chest Workout

There are a number of good chest exercises that can be done with dumbbells. Flyes are very good dumbbell exercises to work into your chest workout.  Like the bench press, these can be performed on a flat, inclined or declined bench. These exercises are extremely good for stretching your pecs and ripping them up.

Bent Arm Pullover

This exercise is performed on a flat bench with the barbell on the floor. The lifter lies on his back and reaches back over his head for the barbell.  Keeping his arms bent, the weight is brought to the chest in a circular motion.

A compound exercise is can be performed by pressing the weight from the chest as a close-grip bench press. Return the weight back to the chest and then lower it to the floor in a circular motion.

Cable-and-Pulley Machine

Cable-and-Pulley machines are good for finishing exercises like the two-handed crunch. This exercise begins with arms spread wide and the handles are brought together in front of the chest, with the arms slightly bent at the elbow.

Exercise Order

In order to achieve the best chest workout, begin your workout with the heavier weight exercises like the bench press. Then move your way down to the lower weight exercises, like flies and pullovers. This assures that your pectorals will get the maximum possible work and you will still be able to work the entire pectoral region.


When done properly and completely, the best chest workout only needs to be done once day a week.  This gives your pectorals 6 days to recover, during which time your body will repair the muscle. When combined with a proper bodybuilder’s diet, you can expect to see results as you work to achieve your ideal body.

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I run for my aerobic exercise. You can run, walk, dance; whatever you prefer. Just be certain to do aerobics at least 3 – 4 times a week for a minimum of 30 minutes each workout. If you are using HIIT or something on that order, obviously you will be spending less time getting in your aerobics.

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