Simple 3 exercise routine
If you do not have a mountainous chest then you might be thinking that you are not cut out for this but you would be wrong.
It is certainly possible to make a difference to the size of your chest if you follow the right workouts.
You need to manage your expectations here. It is unlikely that you will have the same size chest as Arnie in a few weeks. If you follow the advice here you will see progress for each area of your chest so let’s get started.
This workout is following a simple routine. There are a variety of chest exercises you can do, but for this routine we are focusing on 3 primary exercises for each section of the chest and working towards progression. After 2-3 months of this routine for chest, you should notice nice progression in your lifts and size, at this time would be best to switch the exercises up to continually shock your muscles and avoid them adapting to the same routine which can cause a plateau.
Depending on your weekly routine, you may be only focusing on one of these sections per workout day, or combing multiple. If you are going to be working more than one area of your chest per workout session, make sure to switch which part to start with each training session. For example, if you are hitting chest on Monday and Friday, Monday start with Upper. Friday start with Lower. This way each section of your chest gets hit hard without being taxed from previous sets.
Lastly if you are planning a full chest day trying to hit all angles in one day, leave the pushups out until the final sets, you don’t need to do pushups for each area of your chest. These are meant to finish off your workout.
Your Chest Anatomy
There are two muscles that comprise your chest function and these are the pectoralis minor and pectoralis major. The minor muscle is directly underneath the major muscle These muscles begin at the clavicle and insert at the armpit area and the sternum.
Your chest muscles have three different functions which are the ability for you to move your arm up and down at your sides, provide the motion for arm wrestling and the pitching motion with the side arm.
You need to think about your chest having three parts which are the upper chest, middle chest and lower chest. You should work out your upper chest on an incline bench at around 30-45%. The middle chest is best exercised on a flat bench and the lower chest at a 30-45% decline.
How To Build Your Upper Chest
INCLINE BENCH PRESS WITH BARBELL
You want to start this with a incline bench press using a barbell. Go for as much weight on the bar as you are comfortable with. You want to increase this over time. Lay on the bench and keep your feet flat on the floor.
Drive through to your hips and keep your shoulder blades retracted and your back arched. Take a medium grip and hold the weight with your arms extended above your chest as the starting position. Flex your elbows and lower the bar to your sternum being careful not to bounce.
Keep your elbows in and your lats tight. Allow the bar to touch your body and then move the bar up to the starting position. Aim for 3 sets of around 5 reps.
INCLINE DUMBBELL PRESS
After this go for an incline dumbbell press. Lie on the inclined bench with a dumbbell in each hand on top of your thighs. Ensure that your palms are facing each other. Push the dumbbells up one at a time so that you can hold them at shoulder width.
Now rotate your wrists so that your palms face away from you. This is the start position. Now drive the dumbbells up with your chest. When you reach the top hold for a second and then lower slowly to the start position. Go for 3 sets of 8 reps.
INCLINE DUMBBELL FLYES
Time now for some incline dumbbell flyes. Set the bench to a 30% incline and hold a dumbbell in each hand. Push your arms up and bend your elbows slightly. Make your palms face towards you and you are at the start position.
Now lower your arms to the side while extended and at the same time rotate your wrists until your palms are facing each other. Then reverse the movement so that the dumbbells are back to the start position. Go for 3 sets of 9 or 10 reps.
Finish off the upper chest exercises with 3 sets of pushups for 12 reps or until failure.
Middle Chest Exercises
FLAT BENCH PRESS WITH BARBELL
Start with a flat bench press using a barbell and a medium grip. You want to go for 3 sets of around 5 reps for this exercise.
FLAT DUMBBELL PRESS
Then go for 3 sets of 8 reps of the flat dumbbell press.
Next go for the dumbbell flyes. This is the same as the incline dumbbell flyes described above except that you will be using a flat bench. 3 sets of 9-10 reps is good here.
Finish off the middle chest exercises with 3 sets of pushups for 12 reps or until failure.
The Best Lower Chest Workout
DECLINE BENCH PRESS BARBELL
Start off with a decline bench press using a barbell. Lay down on a decline bench and use a medium grip to lift the bar and with your arms locked hold it above you. This is the start position. Bring the bar down slowly so that you can feel it on your lower chest.
Pause for a second and then return to the starting position. Use your chest muscles here and lock your arms and bring the bar down slowly again. Go for 3 sets of 5 reps.
Not all gyms have a decline bench, a secondary option would be to opt for the smith machine for the decline barbell.
BENCH PRESS DECLINE DUMBBELL
This is the same as the incline dumbbell press described above except that you will be using a decline bench and you will need a spotter. Aim for 3 sets of 8 reps here.
If you don’t have a spotter to help you setup, please don’t try to grab a heavy weight to do decline dumbbells. This is quite difficult to setup on your own!
Setup tip – Stack two dumbbells end on end for both sides right beside where your end position would be on the decline bench. Now when you get on the bench and lower your body, the dumbbells will be at a height off the ground that you can simply grab them while laying back and as you do, the secondary dumbbells will fall forward leaving you space to drop the dumbbells after your set. Then repeat for each set.
DECLINE DUMBBELL FLYES
This is the same as the incline dumbbell flyes described above except that you will be using a decline bench and a decline of between 30-45%. Go for 3 sets of around 9-10 reps for this.
You can use the same setup as the decline dumbbells if you have trouble getting on the decline with the weights chosen.
Complete your lower chest workout with 3 sets of pushups for 12 reps a set or until failure.
Safety note* Using a cage is an easy way to ensure you don’t get stuck under the barbell exercises. Align the safety pins to wear you’re bringing the bar to its lowest, just touching the chest.