What is an Effective Workout Schedule for Building My Chest?

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question-icon-newMy main goal is to add muscle mass to my chest and upper body. I have been training my pecs only once per week since this is what I have been told to be the best routine for building muscle. However, I have been following this single chest workout per week schedule for about 6 months now and I’m not getting any bigger. I really want to add some size to my upper body and I like the way a big, muscular chest looks. Should I add another chest training day into my weekly workout or will this be too much?

answer-icon-newYou are correct that training a muscle group once per week is a good rule of thumb to follow. Since you didn’t mention the type of exercises you are currently using for your chest workouts, I will provide some information on the importance of selecting the right mass building movements. In order to get a big chest, you will need to train with multi-joint mass building exercises that will really break down the muscle fibers of your pecs and do damage. Remember, during training you damage muscle fibers and then while you rest, those fibers recover and grow bigger and stronger. However, you need to use the right stimulus in order for your body to want and need to grow. If you’re doing shaping exercises like cable crossovers, this will simply not be enough resistance to add thick slabs of lean muscle to your chest. You need to overload your chest will heavy weight and the way you do that is with exercises like the barbell bench press and dumbbell incline bench press.

I recommend using the single chest workout per week routine for the next 3-4 months but make sure to include mass building exercises and try to use lower repetitions with maximum weight. A good rep range for mass building is around 6-8 reps per set but make sure you really push yourself and pack on as much weight as possible. You should barely be able to lift the weight on your last rep. If it’s too easy, add more weight. Here is a great mass building chest workout that you can use once per week. Remember to switch up your exercises every workout in order to shock your muscles.

Mass Building Chest Workout:

If you are still not growing after a few months of using these mass building exercises and training your chest once per week, then you can add an additional workout session to your week so you will be training your chest twice per week instead of only once. Now, the important thing to remember is to make sure and give your chest enough rest to fully recover between your workouts. I recommend giving at least 48 hours of rest before training your chest again. A good schedule would be to train chest on Monday and then again on Thursday. The best way to incorporate two chest workouts per week is to switch them up and train your upper and middle pecs on one day and your lower pecs on the other day. Here is a sample weekly workout routine for your chest:

Monday: Chest Workout #1 (Upper and Middle Chest):

Thursday: Chest Workout #2 (Lower Chest):

It’s important to use “instinctive training” in your overall routine. What this means is to listen to your body closely and if you’re feeling tired and rundown, take some time off to rest and recover. If your pecs are sore on the day of your second workout, skip the workout and get another few days of rest. The last thing you want to do is overtrain your chest and start breaking down muscle instead of building it up. It’s always better to hit a muscle hard and fast in the gym versus long and slow so make sure to limit your overall workouts to 45-60 minutes maximum. Stimulate the muscle and then let it rest, recover and grow!

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