Monday is chest day for most people and the chance of a free bench or a free rack to use is highly unlikely and don’t get me started on the cable cross over.
Now you may see incline bench pressing, flat dumbbell pressing or even weighted pull ups but what’s best to build a big chest? Do you focus on the flat bench or switch it up to do incline pressing?
The answer is a mixture because it is difficult to shock and shake your training up as to work the chest the majority of the time a “press” or a “push” is included.
Below I have listed a few alternate exercises and training methods you might be missing out on and progressions to build a bigger and stronger chest.
1 – Pre/Post Exhaust Super Set
Grab yourself a bench and 2 sets of dumbbells, one for pressing and one for doing flies.
Now, with pre exhaust sets you work the smaller/secondary muscle groups first so a set of 10 flies followed by a set of 10 presses, for example. This will cause your chest to fatigue and it is also a alternative way of training as most people do their flies separate and after pressing.
Post exhaust super set is basically the opposite so, in this case it would be 10 reps on the press and then a set of flies which will hit your chest in a different area but will hurt especially after a heavy press.
2 – Cable Crossover 21’s
21’s are a great training method that involves 3 lots of 7 reps, usually the same exercise but done at a different angel or a different part. For example, when doing a bicep curl do 7 at the bottom, 7 at the top then 7 full reps. This gives a great pump but also really hits the muscles hard.
Now set the cable to the highest setting and perform 7 pec crossovers, right after this you should drop the height of each side to the middle and perform 7 reps then drop the cable to the bottom setting and perform 7 upward flies and that is one set of 21’s.
This can be done using a bench and dumbbells and hits your pectoral muscle top, middle and bottom.
3 – Single Arm Press
By performing a isolated single arm press you use your abdominal and back muscles to keep yourself steady on the bench as well as helping iron out any imbalances in the chest which all aids in building muscle evenly.
Alternatively this can be done using 2 dumbbells by starting with both arms extended and performing a press one arm at a time (left arm x10 and then right arm x10 for example) by doing this one arm is always extended and the stability needed will work the chest muscles despite no exercise being done.
4 – Bench Press Negatives
Warning - a spotter will be needed for this exercise!!!!!
Bench press negatives are ideal for building up your chest and it is the perfect exercise to shake up your training and also make big muscle gains.
With negatives, you focus on the “eccentric” part (downward) so you slowly lower the bar down to your chest then your spotter aids in lifting the it back up which takes a lot of the press effort away from you. This all means that you can focus more on the eccentric part of the exercise.
I recommend a 6-8 second count down towards the chest and lightly touch the chest to get the full benefits of this.
Give these exercises a try and comment below on what are your top tips for building a bigger chest and which of these you have tried yourself!