To get a wider chest and broader pecs you need not do any crazy exercise. Instead, you need to focus on how you’re doing the chest exercises you’re already doing in your chest workout. In this video, I’m going to show you the best way to perform a bench press, dips, cable crossovers, flyes and pushups to build a wider chest than you are already getting from doing these exercises. The key is to take each through their full range of motion, which is something that isn’t often being done.
To start it helps to understand a bit of the anatomy of the pec muscle. We know that there are three heads of the pecs; the upper or clavicular head, middle or sternal head and the lower or abdominal head. Only the first two are separately innervated and therefore responsive to slightly different stimulation from exercises. The sternal head however is only capable of contracting as an all or one unit. There is no such thing as targeting the outer portion of the pecs specifically.
That said, you can heavily influence the appearance of the outer pec depending how well developed your chest is overall. In other words, the chest muscle is going to be much broader and overhang your ribcage if you increase the size of it through proper training. Beyond that however, it is going to be most responsive to your growth inducing workouts if you don’t forget to take the chest muscle through it’s full available range of motion on every exercise and apply focused tension in the longest stretch position of the pecs.
We can do that very easily on a dip. All too often people perform the dip and cut short the time they spend in the bottom of each rep. It is at the bottom that the pec major is under its most stretch tension. You do not want to short change the benefits of keeping the pec loaded here. Of course, you do this safely by pulling the shoulders back and expanding the ribcage. Never allow your elbows to bend more than 90 degrees at the bottom and don’t weight this unless you have the strength to hold the position.
You want to do the same thing on a dumbbell bench press. Instead of just getting to the bottom of the rep and bouncing out of it you want to perform a slight 1-2 second pause on each rep. This will once again not only ensure that a more full range of motion is being applied to the chest but that you are loading the pec muscle in this position and providing a stretch stimulus for growth. From here, you also want to ensure that you initiate the contraction with the pecs instead of letting the shoulders or front delts dominate and take tension off the chest.
Next, you can apply these techniques to a pushup. Think about attacking the ground with your chest rather than simply falling to the ground. This way, you’ll apply a greater stretch to the chest and each rep will help with the tension being developed and applied to the very muscle you are trying to grow.
Finally, the chest fly is a great option – but only if you don’t perform it on a bench but rather on the floor. As I’ve talked about many times on this channel, performing a bench unsupported version of the fly you are placing a great deal of strain on the anterior capsule of the shoulder when going too low with the arms and also not providing a safety net of sorts to prevent an overextension of the arm. The floor fly prevents this.
Take a small half of a foam roller and put it under your back for a few extra inches of stretch on the pecs without risking the same injuries you might incur with the unsupported position of the bench.
As you can see, it’s how you do the exercises you do that makes all the difference not just what exercises you do. If you want to see just how much faster you’ll be able to grow a wider chest as well as the rest of your body, be sure to head to the link below and use the program selector to find the program that matches your body goals right now. Start training like an athlete and start seeing your best results ever in the next 90 days.
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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.