I would like to know how I can get a bigger and wider chest. I have been working out for about 6 months now and I just can’t seem to make my pecs grow. I really want to develop a big and thick chest but even though I’m training hard, it’s just not happening. Can you provide any advice on chest exercises to use or some other workout tips to help me achieve this?
To really add a lot of muscle mass, you need to make sure to train at a super high intensity and limit your workouts to 45-60 minutes maximum. Any longer than this is just a waste of time and if you’re truly hitting the weights hard, this amount of time is more than enough to get a great workout in. You also need to make each set really count by going to positive failure (after warm-up). If you have a training partner, have them spot you and when you start having a hard time lifting the weight, have your partner assist the weight up in order to allow you to go past failure for 2-3 extra reps in your set which will really push your muscles to grow.
The best mass building exercises for your chest are barbell bench press, barbell incline bench press and barbell decline bench press. These 3 exercises should be the cornerstone of your chest workout since they hit the major parts of your chest that include the upper, middle and lower pecs. Stick to a repetition range of around 6-8 reps per set with the heaviest weight you can lift. You want to focus on lower reps when your goal is building the most amount of muscle. Forget all of the “toning” exercises like cable crossovers and other “shaping” movements. These exercises will not build your chest the way you want simply because you can’t pack on the amount of weight needed in order to stimulate the muscles and break down the fibers in order for them to rebuild and grow larger. Performing multi-joint exercises and doing them hard and heavy is what really builds massive muscles, period!
For optimal recovery, get at least 2-3 minutes of rest between each set. Another key element is the amount of rest after your workout. Make sure to get at least 48 hours of rest between muscle groups to fully recover and grow. Ideally, you should only be training chest once per week for the best results. If you are truly busting your butt in the gym and training at a very high level of intensity then you will need a full week of recovery after each chest workout.
Along with the mass building chest exercises I listed above, you may also want to add two arm dumbbell pullovers which will really help in widening your rib cage. By working the rib cage with pullover movements you will be able to build the thickness in your chest which will help to make your pecs appear very wide. Another exercise to mix into your routine are weighted dips where you wrap a weight belt around your waist with a few plates attached to it for added weight and then perform a regular dip movement. However, you need to make sure that you do not have any shoulder issues before doing this exercise since it places a lot of tension on the shoulder and rotator cuff muscles. If you have healthy shoulders, the dip exercise provides a fantastic stretch in your pecs at the bottom of the exercise and allows you to target your pecs very well but you need to make sure that when doing the exercise, you keep your elbows out which will place the majority of the tension on your chest muscles. If you keep your elbows in towards your body, you will place most of the tension on your triceps instead of your pecs, so make sure to be aware of this when doing the dip exercise.