If you want to build a bigger chest then you'll want to use a chest workout that checks all the boxes and delivers the pec gains that you're pursuing. In this video, Jesse from ATHLEAN-X takes me through his chest workout at his gym. For years, these two have been building Jesse up from within the walls of the ATHLEAN X Box. Now, he’s fully grown and ready to roam. See as he takes Jeff Cavaliere through his very own chest workout using machines, dumbbells and even chains.
This workout for chest starts with the classic dumbbell bench press. After a couple brief warmup sets, the two set out to perform 4 sets for this basic chest building exercise. The first two sets are for 10-12 reps and the last two are heavier, with the goal being 4-5 reps. That is, until Jesse changes the script and makes the last set an AMRAP. Throw a little extra incentive in to the winner and we have the makings of a little bench press competition to raise the stakes even higher.
From here, the two move onto the classic pec deck chest fly. Typically, this is an exercise that Jeff doesn’t like. That said, it is much preferred to the unsupported dumbbell chest fly that is performed while laying on a flat bench. The pec deck allows for a safer bottom point, and therefore safer shoulders, than the flat bench dumbbell fly does.
One of the tips that Jeff shares is that you can rotate your body towards the arm you’re grabbing to make sure that you don’t put any added stress on the anterior shoulder capsule even just getting into the machine. 3 sets of 12-15 reps is what was done to train the adduction of the function of the pecs.
From there, we moved onto the cable crossover exercise. This is one of my favorite ways to train chest adduction. By doing this one arm at a time you are able to get a better, more focused contraction on each side and help alleviate any muscle imbalances that may exist. The goal here as always is to keep the chest out in front of the shoulder as you bring the arm across.
If you lead with your shoulder you will shift too much of the load onto the delts and away from the chest. This is one of the most common chest workout mistakes people make. It takes away a lot of the chest growth that you can achieve by doing a workout for chest. 2-3 sets of each arm for this chest crossover exercise is the next step in this chest workout.
Next, we hit the incline hammer press machine. This is actually a good machine that really helps people to engage their upper chest more effectively. The reason is, that the bench press angle is set to a proper 30 degrees to better engage the upper clavicular fibers better. Also, the machine locking you into the bar path of up and in allows you to really engage the up and in function of the upper pecs. The two load the machine up for 2 sets before moving onto what Jesse calls the “curveball” of the workout.
Here, they break out the chains. A chest dip alone is not enough to finish this chest workout strong. Instead, they do a chest dip chain finisher. Starting with two chains around their neck, they do a set to failure then immediately strip away one chain and do another set to failure. Not quite done however since they take away the final chain and then do a final bodyweight set to failure as the last part of this triple giant set.
When you’re in the gym and are looking for a great gym chest workout you have lots of options. Here, you now have an example of a great workout for pecs that can be done with just dumbbells, machines and a few optional chains. Remember, it’s important to perform your sets with an intensity level that challenges you. If you’re looking to build bigger pecs you have to force them to grow. This comes from choosing chest exercises and workouts that challenge them from every angle and every function.
If you’re looking for a science based workout plan that helps you build a bigger chest and much more, be sure to head to athleanx.com and check out the ATHLEAN-X workout programs. Let strength coach and celebrity trainer Jeff Cavaliere take you through his exact step by step workouts to build a ripped athletic body in just 90 days. Check out the link below for access to this same workout plan.
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