Chest exercises: 7 ways to pump up the pectoral muscles

Chest exercises: 7 ways to pump up the pectoral muscles

Accelerate the development of the lagging top of the chest muscles with these 7 effective strategies, exercises and techniques!

If your training consistently includes exercises such as bench press, bench press on inclined or back inclined bench and wiring with dumbbells – you have the opportunity to load chest muscles in full. However, this does not mean that you will have a well developed chest. If you are first, while you are awake and full of energy, perform mid-chest exercises, then you have much less forces to train the upper and lower chest muscles, which in the end can cause a lag in the development of these parts.

Bodybuilders who always start with a horizontal bench press usually have shortcomings in the development of the upper and lower parts of the chest, which in time becomes especially noticeable. And some simply have genetically not very developed one or another area of ​​the breast, which forces them to double their efforts in training the lagging zones.

If you want to get large and strong muscles of the chest, then using these 7 ways you can correctly build your workouts and eliminate shortcomings in the development of the top of the chest.

1. Start with the basic (multi-joint) exercise for the upper chest

Basic (multi-joint) exercise for the upper chest
Basic (multi-joint) exercise for the upper chest

The simplest and most obvious solution in order to focus attention on lagging zones is to make them a priority on the day of training. Thus, instead of starting with a bench press on a horizontal bench, use the inclined

You will notice that if you do not put the exercises for the top of the chest at the end of the workout, you can perform more repetitions with heavier weights. Exerting more muscle fiber than usual, you will get additional incentives for their growth.

As you become stronger, do not be afraid to increase weight, because nothing slows down the progress more than working with the same weight and the same number of repetitions, as the muscles get used to and stop responding to the load. If you usually work in the range of 8-10 repetitions in the approach, then at the next workout do (after the warm-up) a set or two for 6-8 reps with a heavier weight.

If there is a choice between a barbell or dumbbells, they will fit equally well. It is not recommended to use simulators, because it is the work with free weights that gives opportunities for maximum muscle growth.

2. Change the angle of inclination

With a detailed study of the inclined bench, you can notice several holes and a latch with which you can adjust the slope. Usually the angle of the bench is 30-45 degrees. A higher angle redistributes the load from the top of the chest muscles to the deltas. There is no binding rule that would argue that you need to use the same angle of inclination all the time; in fact, you can better develop the upper chest, if you change it a little.

An adjustable bench is best used with dumbbells or in a Smith simulator.

Start using different angles of inclination – from the set to the net or from training to training – in order to differently use the target muscle fibers.

3. Perform the second exercise for the upper chest muscles

Exercise for the upper chest muscles
Exercise for the upper chest muscles

One way to focus on the lagging muscle is to do more exercises on it. However, do not use the movement that you already did in the previous exercise.

Suppose you performed 3 sets of bench presses on an incline bench, which consisted of 8 reps, and now you are going to do the second exercise. Which of them is more diverse in the load on the target muscle?

Variants of answer:

  • A: The rod press in the Smith’s simulator, with the same angle as the first exercise, the angle of the bench and the load;
  • B: Gimble dumbbells with a lower angle of the bench in 3 sets for 10-12 repetitions.

The correct answer is option B. If you want to optimize the training approach when working with the target muscle, you must use different equipment (barbells, dumbbells, simulators, etc.), change the slopes and intensity of the exercise. Simply performing the second movement for the top of the chest will not be enough, if you do not take into account all these factors.

4. Do not stop with muscle failure


Stimulating chest muscle growth
Stimulating chest muscle growth

If you want to really stimulate muscle growth, you should not be afraid of muscle failure. If you just finish the exercise after 10 repetitions, when you can perform a few more, you can assume that your working set has not been completed.

Read the article about tips for training your hands.

With increasing load, which, by the way, should be cyclic and have periods of high and low intensity, more muscle fibers are destroyed, and those few repetitions performed after muscle failure guarantee you more muscle growth. (Caution: Continuous execution of additional repetitions can lead to overtraining). The best option is to do 1-2 repetitions of this exercise after reaching a muscle failure in the last or heaviest set.

There are many advanced techniques for training your breasts.

If you are training with a partner, consider them:

  • Forced repetitions. You perform as many repetitions as you can, and then your partner provides the necessary help when moving the projectile (barbells, dumbbells, etc.) up to do a few more;
  • Negative repetition. When you reach a muscle failure (you will not be able to repeat yourself), your partner raises weight, but you fully focus on the phase of lowering (negative phase), which should last at least 5 seconds. This method is better suited for working with a barbell and most simulators, rather than with dumbbells.

If you do not have a training partner, here are two ways that you should try:

  • Reception “rest – pause”. Choose a weight that you can raise 7 to 8 times, but do only 3 to 4 repetitions, and then put the bar back on the racks. Rest for 20 seconds and perform another 3 to 4. Performing 4 to 5 such stretches, alternating with a 20-second rest, will allow you to perform about 15 repetitions with a weight that you normally press 7 to 8 times.
  • Dropsets. When muscular failure is achieved, instead of completing the set, you should reduce the weight by about 25 percent and continue the set until the failure again. This method is best suited for working with dumbbells and block simulators.

5. Think about the second workout for your chest

If you use a training split, in which you train a certain muscle group not more than once every 5 days, then you have the opportunity to add a second workout for the chest muscles.

In a short period – no more than 6-8 weeks – perform an additional workout that will focus on the lagging part of the chest  muscles. The idea is not just to repeat the previous activity, but to change the workload qualitatively with the help of new, unusual exercises and techniques. In this sense, your second training can differ not only in the choice of exercises, but also in the number of repetitions, intensity, rest periods and other training factors.


If you follow these principles, you can correctly organize the training process.

You have to make sure that you will not train any of the “muscle” muscle groups directly one after another, which in the end will give you enough time to recover. An example of a poorly constructed split looks like this: chest – day one, shoulders and back – the second day, hands and feet – day three, chest – on the fourth day, etc.

A break of at least 48 hours between workouts that involve such “muscle” muscles, like the chest, shoulders and triceps, significantly optimizes growth. The simplest split, which includes the second training for chest muscles, can look like this:

  • Day 1. Breast – triceps
  • Day 2. Back – biceps
  • Day 3. Rest
  • Day 4. Chest – Shoulders
  • Day 5. Feet
  • Day 6. Rest

6. Try the “new” exercises

Bench press
Bench press

New and unusual exercises are very important for the growth of muscle fibers on the top of the chest. Assuming that you are familiar with the basic movements that involve the top of the chest muscles, we offer several ideas on where to begin:

  • Bench press on an inclined bench at an angle of 45 degrees. Whether it’s a dumbbell or a Smith trainer, doing a bench press with a 45 degree slope on an adjustable bench, you will breathe new life into this favorite and tested exercise.
  • Inclined press in the simulator. Instead of choosing the usual simulator, use one that usually does not enjoy your popularity. It is very good, if in your room there is a training simulator for the breast “Hammer”, in which the movement of one hand does not depend on the other. Sit in it, grasp the handles of the simulator in front of you and squeeze the weight with a powerful movement of the muscles of the chest.
  • Isolation exercises for the upper chest muscles. You certainly perform some isolation exercises during the workout, but be sure to do one or two, stressing the load on the upper part of the pectoral muscles. A good option would be to reduce hands in a crossover or wiring with dumbbells lying on an incline bench.
  • Pressing back grip. The bench press lying using the reverse grip actually shifts the focus of the load to the top of the chest. Before starting the exercise, make sure that you firmly grasp the neck to avoid injury.
  • Pullovers on an incline bench. Use the inclined bench instead of the horizontal for the pullovers. Perform 3 sets of 12 reps. Hold in the last repetition for 5 seconds, in order to create an isometric tension on the top of the chest muscles.

7. Do you train your breasts after a day of rest?

And the last tip in order to get the best workout is: train your lagging muscle groups after a day of rest during which you eat and recover correctly.

If you go to the gym tired, then you will not be able to fully work out in training!

Some pre-training complexes (cocktails) are great for improving your stamina and recovery, but do not rely on them all the time. The presence of the necessary amount of sleep and proper nutrition are the two most important factors for increasing your working capacity in the hall.

After all, if the top of your nurses is significantly behind in development, it would be foolish to continue doing the same and expect any change. Use these tips and you will feel the difference from the next workout!