A pumped chest is the ultimate indicator of strength and power. If you have massive biceps and a flat chest, your physique is going to look uneven and underdeveloped. Your chest can be split into upper and lower pectoralis major, with each area requiring different exercises for optimal gains. So if you’ve ever wondered how to work out your lower chest, or how to do a chest workout with cables, we’re going to hook you up. We’re going to cover alternative, effective workouts for upper chest and workouts for lower chest to build a full, pumped chest.
Remember: building size is known as hypertrophy, this type of training is different to building strength or endurance. Rather than focusing on what exercise is the hardest, focus on the exercise that creates the most muscular micro-tears and metabolic stress to begin the cycle of tear, repair, grow.
All the following exercises should be included in any chest workout for men, or chest workout for women; depending on your goals.
Incline Dumbbell Press
Change the angle of your bench for this type of press in order to hit the right part of the chest rather than just the shoulders. Hitting a muscle from different incline angles does amazing things for growing it! Try it at a 45-degree angle and focus on keeping your back and chest flat on the bench as you push up in front of you, lower slowly to increase the time under tension.
If you want to try something a little different with this exercise, try to slowly rotate the dumbbells from palms facing forward to the palms facing inward during the concentric part of the press. This causes you to rotate the upper arm toward the centerline of your body which recruits the pec major more.
This is a great exercise to do as part of a dumbbell only chest workout.
Incline Bench Cable Fly
This exercise, particularly when done in conjunction with heavy compound lifts like the bench press, is great for isolating the pecs. Put the bench at around a 45-degree angle in the middle of two cable machines facing each other, and pull the cables together and up above your face.
Cables provide continuous tension throughout the range of motion so the slower you perform this movement, the more you are maximizing the time under tension to really work your chest. Try super-setting this with the exercise above for 10-12 reps to achieve a maximal pump.
Low Incline Barbell Bench Press
Would this even be a complete list without mention of the trusty bench press? But we’re going to switch it up slightly. Most benches are fixed straight, parallel to the floor, which is great for recruiting the front delts. If you adjust the bench so it’s around a 30 degree you’re going to be able to hit the upper pecs without recruiting too much delt action.
Contrary to popular belief, having a grip that is closer than shoulder-width works the upper chest muscle fibers to a greater extent than the wider grip. Focus on both the concentric and eccentric part of this movement because like most compound movements, they are both equally as important stages in building muscle.
Incorporate these exercises with the discussed adjustments and you’re going to be making some real progress on your chest in no time.
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