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treasure chest

Of all the muscle groups in the body, none command the respect of a powerful, fully developed, defined chest. Besides the fact that it lies directly next to perhaps the most visible muscle group in the body (the abs!), the pecs are what catches most peoples attention and enables someone to instantly determine whether you work out or not.

That said, what do people think of you when they see you without your shirt on?   Can they tell you spend time in the gym or do they instantly know you work behind a desk for a living, have never had a gym membership, and hate the feeling you get in your arms when you do pushups?!? If so…then let me help you.


3 Keys for Unlocking a “Treasure” Chest

I put together what I consider my “3 Keys” for unlocking a “Treasure” Chest.  Whether your chest is already big but lacking the definition that actually makes it look much bigger (the inner chest separation, the rounded lower pecs, the “shelf” at the top of the chest) or you’re dealing with nothing but a flat terrain above your stomach that looks like it did in your baby pictures…these keys will help you to change all this…and quickly.

So without further ado, let’s “dig” up this treasure chest and see how you can achieve the powerful pecs despite all previous failed attempts.


1.  Trade Minutes for Intensity!

When you’re looking to develop the chest (or any muscle for that matter) you’ve got to understand that the only way you’re going to be able to make a stubborn muscle grow is to FORCE IT TO GROW! You have to give it a reason to respond.  The way to do this is to actually make your workout experience a little uncomfortable.

I’m not talking about painful (as in joint pain or muscle pain beyond just a normal lactic acid burn).  I’m talking about making the workout a true challenge and a test of your will.  To do this….set out to achieve in 30 minutes what you normally would do in 60! I know…it seems impossible but it really isn’t.  Amp up the intensity, stop the socialization and dig deep and you will find that your workouts won’t be the only thing that becomes shorter…so will be your wait to getting that chest you’ve always wanted.


2.  Attack From All Angles!

If you want to develop a chest that looks like one you’d see on the cover of a muscle magazine, you’ve got to be sure that your workout includes exercises that attack the chest from multiple angles while still keeping the workouts brief enough to adhere to principle number one!  This can be quite the challenge.  However, not really when you do it right.

The angles you want to address are an exercise for the upper chest, one for the lower pecs, one for the inner chest and finally…the one that most people ignore…one for the outer pecs! If you ignore any one of these your chest is never going to look fully developed, or worse, it’s going to look droopy or lopsided even when it’s muscular.  You don’t want this and it can be easily avoided with a proper plan of action.


3.  Standard Reps Are Not Enough!

To get a stubborn muscle to grow you’ve got to first “expand” your repertoire of techniques for accomplishing it.  My favorite tactic is by varying rep speed and cadence.  Things like 1 1/2 reps and time under tension are incredible ways to increase the workload being required by the targeted muscle.  The higher the workload, the shorter the time within which you execute this load (as pointed out in number 1) the more that is demanded of the muscle.

Finally, that stubborn muscle is going to have to wave the white flag and submit!  Growth will follow! Remember, as the old saying goes “if you keep doing what you’ve been doing you’re going to keep getting what you’ve been getting!” Change it up and watch the changes occur almost before your eyes as that chest bulks up, cuts up and stand out!


So remember…your chest is like your fitness calling card.  People don’t even have to say a word to you and they can determine whether you workout just by the way your chest looks as you pass by shirtless on the beach or even how it looks under your dress shirt.  It’s unmistakeable.

That said, don’t make the mistakes that will prevent you from getting your own impressive pecs! Focus on adhering to these three principles above and implement them into your own targeted chest workout and you’ll be unearthing that “Treasure Chest” that has been buried for far too long!

Stay Strong,




Jeff Cavaliere Headshot

Jeff Cavaliere M.S.P.T, CSCS

Jeff Cavaliere is a Physical Therapist, Strength Coach and creator of the ATHLEAN-X Training Programs and ATHLEAN-Rx Supplements. He has a Masters in Physical Therapy (MSPT) and has worked as Head Physical Therapist for the New York Mets, as well as training many elite professional athletes in Major League Baseball, NFL, MMA and professional wrestling. His programs produce “next level” achievements in muscle size, strength and performance for professional athletes and anyone looking to build a muscular athletic physique.

Read more about Jeff Cavaliere by clicking here

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