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Articles > Weight Training > Building a Big Chest
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When a woman lays her head on your chest, she doesn't want to smack her cranium on your collarbone or the top of your rib cage. This is one reason a little muscle on your chest goes a long way to creating a physique that has more sex appeal and the fuller the better when you're snuggling.

Working the entire chest area isn't as difficult as many trainees make it out to be. For example, the bench press actually does a decent job of hitting most of the pectoralis major, the fan-shaped muscle that starts at your shoulder and spreads down and across to your sternum and up and across to your collarbone. Beginners can concentrate on this exercise and its variations and achieve good chest development. Due to this muscle's fan shape, however, the more advanced bodybuilder should divide it into lower and upper sections and train each separately for more complete size and shape. What's more, to make chest training as effective and efficient as possible, you should think optimum contraction as well as pressing.

To get optimum contraction, or hypercontraction, of as many muscle fibers as possible, you must activate the myotatic reflex. This happens when you incorporate exercises that have a high stretch component for both your upper and lower pecs, for example, flat and incline flyes. Dumbbell flyes are great for achieving the prestretch you're looking for; however, there's no resistance at the top of any dumbbell flye movement, and that means you don't get a contraction at the top. You can squeeze your pecs in this position, but if you have access to the right equipment, there's a better way. To make the flye more efficient, do the movement on the cable crossover machine.

With standard crossovers and incline crossovers you not only get a prestretch, which activates the myotatic reflex, but you also get peak contraction, or resistance at the top. After you do your bench presses or incline presses, always perform a crossover movement for the area of the pecs you're trying to hit, and you'll increase the growth stimulation of your workout substantially. Here's a good pec routine that focuses on your upper and lower with the proper pressing, stretch and contraction movements:

Lower pecs
Bench presses 2 x 8-10
Cable crossovers 2 x 8-10

Upper pecs
Incline presses 2 x 8-10
Incline crossovers 2 x 8-10

If you really have a weak chest, you can divide it into three sections. Once again the muscle's fan shape puts certain fibers in a more advantageous position to contract, depending on the angle of pull, for example, work on a decline will target more of the lower-pee muscle. In this case you consider any flat-bench work to be midchest training, and you incorporate specific decline work for your lower pecs.
Here's a sample routine:

Middle pecs
Bench presses 2 x 8-10
Cable crossovers* 2 x 8-10

Upper pecs
Incline presses 2 x 8-10
Incline crossovers 2 x 8-10

Lower pecs
Decline presses 2 x 8-10
Decline crossovers 2 x 8-10

*Pull the handles out and to the front of your body, rather than down in front of your crotch, to hit your midpecs.

Twice-a-week pec work should do the trick, with one to two minutes between sets. Give it a shot with plenty of intensity and you'll be amazed at the results. Your shirt will fill out, and the ladies will get a strong urge to rest their heads on your padded pecs. Life's rough for a man with muscle, isn't it?

Chest Exercises

Bench Presses - Recline on a bench with a loaded bar on the racks. Take a slightly wider-than-shoulder-width grip on the bar, lift it off the racks and lower to the middle-chest area. Without a pause, ram the bar back to arm's length and repeat. Tip: Keep your elbows out away from your body.

bench2
Start
bench1
Finish

Incline Bench Presses - Lie on a 35 degree incline bench with a loaded bar on the racks. Take a slightly wider-than-shoulder-width grip on the bar, lift it off the racks and lower to the upper-chest area. Without a pause, ram the bar back to arm's length and repeat. Tip: For a slightly different pec effect try using dumbbells.

Cable Crossovers - Position yourself between the two cables in a cable crossover apparatus with a cable handle in each hand. Simultaneously pull the handles down and across your torso until they cross at mid-to-lower-chest level. Slowly return to the top position and twitch the chest muscles to initiate the next rep. Tip: The section of your chest that you cross the handles over is the section that will get the most stimulation.

Incline Crossovers - Place a 35 degree incline bench between the handles on a
cross2
Start
cross1
Finish
cable crossover apparatus. Grab the lower handles, one in each hand, keep a slight bend in your elbows and pull the handles up until your arms cross over your upper chest. Slowly return to the stretch position and twitch the upper pecs to initiate the next rep. Tip: To more fully work your chest, focus on keeping your rib cage expanded.

Decline Presses - Perform these exactly like bench presses, only use a decline bench and touch the bar to your lower-pee line.

Decline Crossovers - Perform these exactly like incline crossovers, only use a decline bench and cross your hands over your lower pecs.

Decline Presses - Perform these exactly like bench presses, only use a decline bench and touch the bar to your lower-pee line.

Decline Crossovers - Perform these exactly like incline crossovers, only use a decline bench and cross your hands over your lower pecs.


Related Articles
Building a Massive Chest
Building Your Upper Chest
The Best Exercise For Chest


 



 
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