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A complete physique is the sign of a true aesthetics seeker. However, there are muscle groups that have become infamous for being extremely difficult to develop and building a complete well-rounded chest is amongst those muscle groups that have gained gross notoriety in this endeavour.
You need to keep in mind though that when it comes to developing a complete chest, balance is key. According to Jim Stopani PhD, you don’t want to have a chest that is thick down low and thin up top. Nor do you want a densely muscled chest that has no width or detail to it. The goal is to build a chest that looks great from every possible angle.
In this piece, we’re going to discuss the 7 best exercises that you should employ to hit the chest from every angle in order to grow that full chest.
Let’s have a look…
The king of all chest blasting exercises, the bench press is most definitely any pro bodybuilder’s primary choice of movement when it comes to developing the strength and size of your chest. Aiming to perform a set of 4-6 reps is a great way to develop overall chest strength which will go a long way in helping you strengthen your other chest movements as well.
Firstly, and contrary to popular belief, this movement does not primarily target the triceps. The primary goal of this exercise is to target the upper chest (an area that has dished out more than its fair share of troubles and headaches for both men and women who have been looking to grow that stubborn area). The reverse grip bench press is a pressing movement that should be performed with a shoulder-width grip. This exercise and its method of execution have been shown in studies to increase the muscular activity in the upper chest by approximately 30% as compared to using a standard overhand grip.
The purpose of this exercise to isolate the upper pectoral muscles with a single joint movement thereby offering the isolated contraction that is needed to develop the finer details in your upper chest. A great idea for the use of this exercise is to use it as a method of pre-exhaustion for your chest routine, depending on what phase of training you’re in.
Crossover exercises are one of those movements that allow your chest to feel consistent tension throughout the duration of the movement resulting in the creation of essential muscle-growing stimulus. Furthermore, most cable pulley mechanisms allow for the cables to be set at a wide range of angles which allows you to hit the chest from varying directions. Therefore, using the cables in its varying ranges will allow you to sufficiently hit the inner and outer pecs for greater width and detail.
An excellent choice for a single-joint free weight movement that when performed on a flat bench that will help in isolating the pectoral muscles and hit all the necessary outer areas needed to complete that rounded chest look. If you’re in an intense hypertrophic phase of your training, starting with dumbbell fly’s is an excellent way to pre-exhaust the muscle and create the foundation for an extreme chest-popping session.
According to a host of pro builders around the world, this exercise is undoubtedly one of the world’s best mass builders and is a movement that will really help you create that “boom” in your chest, most especially for the upper portion. Performing this exercise in all varying rep ranges will yield results in both strengths increases and maximal muscle gains in your chest.
If you have a look at a lot of chest routines, you’ll notice that the majority of them generally put this exercise last. The reason for this being that it’s an excellent chest routine finisher. It’s a rather simple but still challenging movement to execute and is particularly effective at the end of a routine when your chest is burned out but you still have those last few drops of energy left to really leave everything on the floor. Additionally, it’s one of those chest movements that serve to target both the inner and outer chest in a single motion and do it effectively as well.
By revolving your chest routines around these seven effective exercises, your efforts in the gym for a bigger and better chest are sure to be rewarded with time and consistency. Remember to periodize your training though. Spend time working on your strength, hypertrophy and lactic threshold. It isn’t enough to just do the exercises. You need to have a clear goal and objective when it comes to tackling the exercises above and consistently training in the hypertrophy range is bound to get you hitting a plateau at some point. So, cycle between your goals and you’re sure to see consistent growth and change.