If you’re thinking about your chest and pecs, you’re not alone. Strong, defined chest and pecs are often at the top of many people’s workout lists. In fact, they are so popular they even have their own day at the gym (Monday, aka international chest day). If you’re ready to add chest day to your workout routine, we’ve got 6 tips that are key to your success.
1) Push your pecs
If you want to build your chest and pec muscles, push-ups are a great place to start. From a standard pushup to a variable arm-width pushup, a diamond pushup, and a staggered pushup, there are lots of variations of this classic exercise. It is also a great way to see your progress as you get stronger.
For the perfect pushup, focus on these three things:
- Start with a flawless plank position and maintain it for every set. Squeeze your abs tight, and never let your core sag.
- Turn the pits of your elbows forward. This will help keep your shoulders rotated externally and turn on your lats.
- Lower your chest to within an inch of the ground, squeezing your shoulder blades as you approach the ground. Then press all the way up. Ditch the half-reps and make sure you get that final bit of chest contraction.
2) Hit the gym
With your FITNESS PROJECT membership, you have everything you need to build out the ultimate chest and pec routine. Here are a few exercises at the top of our list, but there are over 200 great gym exercises that target your chest and pecs.
- Barbell bench press: Lie on your back and bend your knees at a right angle. Grab the bar with both hands in an overhand grip and place your hands a little bit wider than shoulder-width apart. Press the bar straight up from your chest, and be sure not to arch your back.
- Dumbbell bench press: Have your weights ready and lie down on the bench. Grip each dumbbell firmly, squeeze your shoulder blades together, and ensure your feet are actively pressing into the floor. Slowly lower the dumbbells toward and away from your chest.
- Machine chest press: Grip the handles and hold a neutral wrist position. Push outward until your arms are fully extended but don’t lock your elbows. Pause and then bend your elbows to return to your starting position.
- Dumbbell pull-over: Sit on the end of a weight bench and place your feet on the floor. Hold a dumbbell with each hand, and roll back to lie on the bench making sure your back, neck, and head should be fully supported. Extend your arms toward the ceiling, over your chest, palms facing each other. Extend the weights back and over your head, keeping a strong back and core. Return your arms to the starting position.
3) Find your focus
Looking to get laser-focused on your chest and pecs? A FITNESS PROJECT Personal Coach will get to know you and where you want to go. Together you’ll set your goals and build customized workouts, including the best exercises to help you target your chest and pecs. They’ll be there to motivate you and ensure that you know how to do each exercise properly. Sign up for a free personal training session, get a free 3D body scan, try a free studio fitness class, and start building your chest and pecs today.
4) Give Kettlerow a go
An innovative new workout combining kettlebell flow sequences with rowing intervals is great for targeting your chest and pecs; plus, it’s only available at Fitness Project. This amazing new rowing class has all-in-one body conditioning and is a great way to build strength and endurance.
5) Lean into protein
When you’re looking to build muscle, diet can make a big difference. Go for lean protein sources like:
- Lean beef
- Egg whites
- Whey protein.
If you’re eating carbs, choose complex ones that come from:
- Brown rice
- Sweet potatoes
Fruits and veggies will also be key, along with good fats like:
- Fish oil
- Natural nut butter
6) Stretch it out
As you start to target a specific group of muscles, stretching them out is important. After a killer chest and pec workout, try a corner pec stretch. Find a corner at the gym or at home, place one hand on each wall, keep your shoulders down, and lean your whole body into the corner. Another classic is the towel chest stretch. Hold a towel behind you with your arms straight. Keep your shoulders down and gently lift the down up behind you.
Yes, chest strength is about the physical definition, but strong pectoral muscles can help improve posture and benefit breathing and support the surrounding muscles and joints. No matter if your goal is a sculpted chest or a stronger upper body to help you carry groceries in the house, working your chest and pecs is all a part of a well-rounded workout.