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pec workouts

THE ULTIMATE PEC WORKOUT GUIDE

Most people assume that if their pec workouts include compound exercises like the standard Bench Press, they’re completely covered for pec strength and size.

But this is only scratching the surface!

Targeting the pecs has a LOT more depth than you might imagine, particularly if you’ve noticed that your pecs are slow to develop.

In this comprehensive guide to pec muscle workouts, I’ll give you an overview of pec muscle anatomy and introduce you to the top exercises and workouts for every region of the pec muscles.

It doesn’t matter what workout equipment you have at your disposal – cable machine, dumbbells, resistance bands, or body weight – I’ve got plenty of pec exercises for you.

Here are some of the topics that I’ll cover in this pec muscle training guide:

chest muscle anatomy

1) PEC MUSCLES ANATOMY

Before I cover the best chest training exercises, I want to review the anatomy of the pec muscles.

Having a solid understanding of the muscles you’re targeting can help you strengthen your mind-to-muscle connection.

That means better activation, contractions, and overall results.

The muscles of the chest – the major muscle known as the pectoralis major – are a collection of muscle fibers that run three different ways.

The reason for the directional split is because the muscle fibers originate from different areas on the clavicle and sternum.

That’s why the chest muscle can be broken down into three sections: upper pecs, middle pecs, and lower pecs.

There’s also the pec minor, which sits beneath the pec major, but the latter is the major muscle that you see when it comes to results. With that said, that’s the one we’ll be focusing on.

UPPER CHEST FIBERS

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Pec Workouts

The upper pecs, or the clavicular head of the pectoralis major, originate from the clavicle (collar bone) and attach to the humerus (upper arm bone). They’re located just below the collar bone.

The primary function of the upper pecs is to assist in moving the shoulder joint. They’re involved in various shoulder movements such as flexion (raising your arm), adduction (moving your arm towards the center of your body), and medial rotation (rotating your arm inward).

If you want to target the upper pecs, you can perform the Incline Barbell Bench Press, Cable Machine Crossovers, and some Pushup variations. For example, Decline Pushups hit the upper pecs. This is when you perform Pushups with elevated feet shoulder width apart.

MIDDLE CHEST FIBERS

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middle chest muscle

The term “middle pecs” generally refers to the central fibers of the pectoralis major.

Key functions include horizontal adduction (moving the arm across the body), shoulder flexion (raising the arm upwards), and medial rotation (rotating the arm towards the body’s center).

One of the best exercises to activate the middle pecs is Regular Push-Ups.

LOWER CHEST FIBERS

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lower chest muscles

The sternal head of the pectoralis major, often referred to as the lower pecs, connects the sternum (breastbone) to the humerus (upper arm bone).

They help with shoulder movements like moving your arm back behind your body, pulling your raised arm back down towards your body, and turning your arm inwards.

Some of the best exercises to target your lower pecs include the Decline Barbell Bench Press, and Incline Pushups.

 
 

2) HOW TO GET BIGGER PECS

If you want to get bigger pecs, you need to overload the chest. But not just one part of the chest, you’ll need to hit all of the muscle fibers I talked about above.

This means that you’ll have to move the arm across various ranges of motion. By doing so, you’ll align the fibers of the middle, upper, and lower parts of the major chest muscle more effectively.

But there’s more to it than that. You’ll also want to tweak your training to focus on things like eccentric overload and full extensions for every rep.

Sounds like a lot, I know, but I’ve got you covered.

Here’s how to target each of the pectoral muscles to ensure you achieve the size and development you want.

MOVE ACROSS MIDLINE

Let’s kick things off with easily the most important thing you should be doing on chest day: moving the weights across your center line.

Take the Bench Press, Incline Bench Press, and Dips for example. These exercises are all limited in their ability to cross the midline of the chest.

You’re literally just going up and down.

This means the pec isn’t doing everything it could be doing. The action of the pec at the shoulder can take the arm through adduction across midline.

the action of the pec takes the arm across midline

Yes, you should be doing those compound exercises, but you’ll also want to include exercises that allow your hand and the weight to move in front and across the midline of your body.

This will ensure that the pec is working through every range of motion, and this is essential for optimal chest activity.

An example of an exercise that takes your hand across the center of the body would be the Single-Arm Cable Crossover.

Naturally, you also want to keep constant tension on the muscle as you move through the exercise.

OVERLOAD THE UPPER PECS

Next up, you want to make sure you’re overloading the pec muscles. I recommend following this format: overload the muscle and then take it across the midline.

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incline bench press

With that said, let’s begin with overloading the upper pecs. To do that, I’d recommend the Incline Bench Press. This exercise is perfect for activating those upper chest fibers.

OVERLOAD THE MID PECS

Next up, we have the middle pecs.

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barbell bench press

The traditional Bench Press is the optimal choice for targeting the mid chest area with substantial weights.

When I extend my arm during the Bench Press, the orientation of my arm aligns nearly parallel to the mid chest fibers that originate from the central part of the sternum.

OVERLOAD THE LOWER PECS

Finally, you need to overload the lower part of the pecs, and to do that, I’d recommend the Weighted Dip.

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weighted upright dip

By guiding your arm to extend behind your body and then lowering it from a high to a low position, you can selectively target the lower fibers of the chest.

GO BEYOND STRENGTH

I know that it’s tempting to focus on those big compound movements for the chest like the Barbell Bench Press.

As I mentioned, these exercises are great, but here’s the problem: If your focus is solely on strength, it’s unlikely that you will be able to develop the kind of well-defined inner chest that you’re aiming for.

The reason for this is that they don’t emphasize adduction. And as I mentioned above, your pecs are capable of doing more than just going up and down.

For example, the most popular chest exercises like the Incline Bench Press, Weighted Push-Ups, and Cable Machine Bench Press only move in one direction.

Up and down.

You’re not taking your arms across the midline. There’s no rotation involved in these exercises.

While these exercises are amazing at building strength, they aren’t allowing you to see the full picture. They aren’t tapping into the full potential – full muscle activation – of the pec muscles.

With that said, I recommend adding adduction-focused exercises such as Cable Crossovers, Cable Flyes, Pec Deck, etc.

Sure, you can’t go as heavy with these exercises, but that’s okay. It gives you an opportunity to use acute variables for muscular hypertrophy, endurance, and power.

FOCUS ON LOWERING THE WEIGHT

It’s important to focus on stimulating the inner pecs for growth because this will help to build and emphasize chest size.

You’ll be able to carve out those deep lines while getting bigger pecs, which is what you want.

If you want to kickstart line-cutting muscle growth, I recommend eccentric overload.

This strategy emphasizes the lowering of the weight during an exercise.

Lift the weight at a regular speed but take significantly more time to lower it. Begin with a duration of three seconds for each repetition and gradually increase to five or six seconds.

 USE LESS WEIGHT, DO MORE REPS

 A lot of folks avoid light weight thinking they can only get bigger pecs with heavy weights.

I know it’s not the glamorous route, but when you lighten the weight you’re lifting, you opt for metabolic focus and pushing your contractions to the max.

If you’ve always been chasing more strength in every chest-focused workout, you likely haven’t made your muscles work hard enough to fully flex.

By reducing the weight to a level where you can do more than 12 repetitions, you allow the muscle to completely flex. And this is very important for developing both strength and aesthetics.

GO FOR FULL EXTENSION

So, you’ve made the weights lighter, allowing you to tap into full extension of the muscle. You might think doing a few reps like this is enough, right?

Not exactly.

I want you to focus on full extension of the muscle for each and every repetition.

Research shows that by doing exercises with a full range of movement, you get more muscle fibers working. This is thanks to the muscle stretch reflex. And don’t forget that better muscle activation means better results.

TWICE A WEEK FOR THE PECS

For an ideal balance between training and recovery, I recommend that you aim for pec workouts twice a week.

This allows you to concentrate on your pectoral muscles with enough intensity to promote growth and development, while also providing them with ample time to recover and rebuild between workouts.

On these days, ensure that you incorporate a mix of exercises that target each section of the pecs.

Start with overloading the pecs with exercises like Barbell Presses and then move to exercises that cross over the midline such as Dumbbell Flyes and Cable Crossovers.

Also, try to alternate between heavy lifting days and lighter, high-rep days to stimulate different muscle fibers and promote overall chest development.

To learn more about how to hit the upper pecs and lower pecs, check out this Upper Pecs & Lower Pecs article.  If you want more specific exercises for the outer pecs and the middle pecs, check out the Outer Chest Workout and Middle Chest Workout articles.

WHAT IS THE BEST PEC WORKOUT?

Now that you know the best ways to target the pectoral muscles, we can jump into the best pec workout for growth and development.

As I discussed above, I want you to follow the pattern of overloading the chest and then moving the weight across the midline.

And that’s exactly how this workout is laid out. Starting with the upper pecs and working down to the lower pecs, this workout overloads the muscle and then achieves full extension across the midline.

DUMBBELL INCLINE BENCH PRESS

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incline bench press

HOW TO DO IT:  To perform the Incline Dumbbell Bench Press, begin by lying on an inclined bench, holding a dumbbell in each hand with a neutral grip, and placing your feet firmly on the ground. Utilize the strength of your upper chest to thrust your arms upward. Bring the dumbbells down towards your chest squeezing the pecs as you lower. Make sure your abdominal muscles are engaged during the entire exercise and your form remains correct. You can use a heavier weight here, aiming for rep ranges between 6 to 8 repetitions.

WHAT MAKES IT EFFECTIVE:  The inclined bench ensures the workload is placed directly on the upper pecs.

LOW TO HIGH CABLE CROSSOVER

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low to high cable crossover

HOW TO DO IT:  To begin, position yourself at the Cable Crossover machine with the machine’s arms adjusted to a low angle. Take hold of a handle in each hand and keep a slight bend in your elbows. Lift your arms upwards and inwards, making your wrists meet at the top of the movement. Perform 8-12 repetitions.

WHAT MAKES IT EFFECTIVE:  During this cable chest exercise, by focusing on having your wrists meet at the top, you effectively cross the midline of the body and move into full extension of the upper pecs.

BARBELL BENCH PRESS

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barbell bench press

HOW TO DO IT:  Lie flat on a bench and grab the barbell with an overhand grip. Your hands should be a bit wider than your shoulders and your shoulder blades should be pulled in. Bring the barbell down to your chest. As you slowly bring down the bar with control, focus on bringing your upper arms a little below the bench level to give your chest muscles a good stretch. Make sure to keep your core tight the whole time with perfect form. Push the barbell back up to the starting position. Aim for 6 to 10 repetitions.

WHAT MAKES IT EFFECTIVE:  Barbell Bench Presses are one of the best compound exercises for building up the middle part of your chest. As you get stronger, you can keep adding more weight to the bar. This means you can keep challenging your pec muscles, which helps them grow even more. One thing you don’t want to do is perform a Close-Grip Bench Press, which will emphasize the triceps over the pecs.

HORIZONTAL CABLE CROSSOVER

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horizontal cable crossover

HOW TO DO IT:  To start, set the Cable Crossover machine handles to be at shoulder height. Hold one handle in each hand with your palms facing away from you. Make sure you keep your elbows slightly bent as you push your hands forward and toward each other, letting them cross over your forearms. Contract the pec muscles and slowly release. Perform 8-15 repetitions.

WHAT MAKES IT EFFECTIVE:  This exercise allows you to seamlessly go across the midline, fully activating the pec muscles and ensuring intense muscular contractions.

WEIGHTED DIP

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weighted upright dip

HOW TO DO IT:  Get into the dip position by holding onto the handles and lifting your feet off the ground, crossing your lower legs. Keep your grip in a neutral position. Lean your body forward a bit then bend your elbows to lower yourself down. Pause at the bottom, ensuring full extension. Contract the lower pec muscles to push yourself back up. You can use heavy weight plates here, but don’t go so heavy that you sacrifice good form. Shoot for 10-12 reps.

WHAT MAKES IT EFFECTIVE:  This exercise is excellent for really challenging the lower part of your chest. You’ll feel an intense contraction, especially during the eccentric portion of the movement. Plus, it’s a bonus because you’ll also be exercising your arms and shoulders at the same time.

HIGH TO LOW CABLE CROSSOVER

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Pec Workouts

HOW TO DO IT:  To start, you’ll be on the cable crossover machine, and you’ll want to have the machine’s arms set at a high angle. Take hold of a handle in each hand and keep a small bend in your elbows. Then, move your arms down and towards each other, letting your wrists cross. Pause and contract the chest muscles before returning to the starting position. Aim for 8-15 repetitions.

WHAT MAKES IT EFFECTIVE:  The part of this exercise where your arms cross and move down is perfect for exercising the lower part of your chest muscles. For an even more intense contraction, squeeze and hold for a few seconds before returning to the top.

To see how I’ve put these exercises together to create the best pec workout, check out my article on the Perfect Chest Workout.

 
 

3) WHAT ARE THE BEST PEC EXERCISES?

The best pec exercises focus on two of the most important factors I mentioned above: overloading and crossing the midline.

Here are my top picks for exercises that meet those criteria.

Whether you want to get stronger, bigger, or more aesthetic pecs, these exercises will help you get there.

Just like above, you’ll see that a compound movement – overload exercise – is paired with an isolation exercise to cross the midline.

UPPER CHEST UPPER CUT

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upper chest upper cut exercise

HOW TO DO IT:  Position yourself sideways next to a cable machine, with the machine’s arm adjusted to roughly your waist height. Take hold of the handle with the hand nearest to the machine and simulate a punching motion upward, inward, and across your body’s midline. You should experience a firm tightening in your upper chest area. Be sure to maintain a tight core throughout this exercise.

WHAT MAKES IT EFFECTIVE:  Upper chest exercises like this rely on cables, which work to your advantage because the range of motion is shortened. This allows you to target the upper pec muscles more effectively.

LEAN BACK CABLE PRESSES

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lean back cable presses upper chest exercise

HOW TO DO IT: Starting position is sitting on a bench in front of a cable machine with the arms of the machine set low. Lean back slightly to 20 or 30 degrees to place your arms in the correct position to hit the upper chest. Drive your arms upward as the cables provide resistance. Keep core engaged throughout and take 1-2 minutes rest between sets.

WHAT MAKES IT EFFECTIVE: The leaning back makes this more of an upper chest movement instead of a shoulder movement. While with dumbbells your arms are only being acted upon by gravity, this cable movement also provides forward resistance, making this a very effective upper chest move.

PLYO TAP

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plyo tap

HOW TO DO IT:  Begin in a push-up position with two dumbbells on the floor in front of you, spaced about as wide as your shoulders. Execute a pushup, and as you lift yourself up, explosively push your body upwards while simultaneously tapping the tops of the dumbbells with your hands.

WHAT MAKES IT EFFECTIVE:  This exercise gives you the chance to display your power by focusing on explosive speed. Unlike the bench press, where the length of your arms can limit your movement, here you have the freedom to push yourself as high as you’re able to go with each repetition.

ECCENTRIC FLOOR FLY

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eccentric floor fly

HOW TO DO IT:  Begin by lying flat on the floor, holding a dumbbell in each hand. They should be raised straight overhead, roughly shoulder width apart, and angled about 45 degrees towards your chest. Proceed as you would with a regular Bench Press, pushing the dumbbells upward. Then, lower the weights gently, with a minor bend in your elbows, similar to the motion of a Dumbbell Fly.

WHAT MAKES IT EFFECTIVE:  Slowly lowering the weights in this exercise places tension right where it’s wanted: on the pectoral muscles. You can opt to use heavier weights than usual in this routine to boost hypertrophy.

JACKHAMMER PUSHDOWN

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jackhammer pushdown

HOW TO DO IT:  Begin by standing before a cable machine equipped with a short straight handle attachment. Hold onto the ends of the handle with both hands, open your elbows outwards, lean your chest just a bit forward over the bar, and push down. Pause at the bottom, focusing the intense contraction in the chest. Allow your elbows to glide upward along your sides as you revert to the starting position.

WHAT MAKES IT EFFECTIVE:  When you position your elbows out to the sides, you’re focusing on your lower chest muscles, not the triceps.

STANDING CABLE LC PRESS

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standing lc cable press lower chest exercise

HOW TO DO IT:  To begin, make sure the cable pulley is positioned high. Stand with your back towards a cable machine and grasp only one handle for this single-sided exercise. As you press forward and downwards, concentrate on lowering your elbow and raising it high on the return, aiming to touch your breastbone at the end of the move. Slightly twist to open up at the peak of the exercise, which brings your shoulder into an external rotation. As you press down, your elbow will lead towards your lower chest, causing a bit of internal rotation.

WHAT MAKES IT EFFECTIVE:  This exercise aligns perfectly with the movement direction of the lower chest fibers, making it highly effective for targeting those muscles.

4) WHAT IS THE BEST DUMBBELL PEC WORKOUT?

If you don’t have access to a full gym, but you’ve got plenty of dumbbells, you can still build some impressive pecs.

Here’s a dumbbell pec workout that targets each head of the pectoral muscles and supports strength, hypertrophy, and metabolic overload.

LADDER STYLE DUMBBELL BENCH PRESS

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ladder style dumbbell bench press

HOW TO DO IT:  To begin, lay on an inclined bench while gripping a dumbbell in each hand, with your shoulder blades firmly tucked beneath you. Start the movement by pressing the weights upward, followed by a controlled descent, pausing for one second at the bottom. On your next rep, increase the pause by one second, gradually progressing with each rep. It’s going to get tougher as the time increases but be sure to lower the dumbbells with control for every rep.

WHAT MAKES IT EFFECTIVE:  This is a type of metabolic training exercise that promotes both intensity and muscle growth through extended time under tension. This one is tough, but it helps you achieve peak contraction in the chest muscles.

BENCH PRESS UP

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bench press ups

HOW TO DO IT:  Start on a bench with a 45-degree incline, holding a moderately heavy pair of dumbbells. Perform the exercise by pressing the dumbbells up, then explosively sit up and lean forward before lowering your body back to the bench with the dumbbells following. Keep a tight contraction in the pecs the entire exercise.

WHAT MAKES IT EFFECTIVE:  In this exercise, similar to the Turkish Getup, you’ll perform Incline Bench Presses while simultaneously keeping the dumbbells raised overhead as you push your body up and forward. To take it up a notch, you can incorporate a standing component after the sit-up.

ONE ARM DUMBBELL BENCH PRESS

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one arm dumbbell bench press

HOW TO DO IT:  To begin, lie on a flat bench with a dumbbell in one hand and feet flat on the floor. Position your body at an angle towards the same side as the dumbbell, putting more weight on the glute of that side. Drive your arm upward and across the body for adduction. Keep your core engaged and tight throughout the exercise. You can also perform this as an upper chest exercise on an incline bench.

WHAT MAKES IT EFFECTIVE:  To effectively target the mid chest, use a single dumbbell and angle your body toward the same side as the dumbbell. This positioning allows for the necessary adduction movement.

DUMBBELL PULLOVER

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dumbbell pullover

HOW TO DO IT:  To begin, lie on your back across a flat bench with your feet flat and planted firmly on the ground. Hold a dumbbell with both hands above your chest. Slowly, bring it over and back behind your head. Contract the pecs to bring the dumbbell back to the starting position. Keep the core tight to stabilize yourself throughout the exercise.

WHAT MAKES IT EFFECTIVE:  By pulling the weight overhead and actively squeezing your hands together, you create a powerful adduction movement from the top down.

DUMBBELL WEIGHTED DIP

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dumbbell weighted dip

HOW TO DO IT:  Attach a dumbbell securely around your waist using a weight belt or a dog leash. Position yourself at the top of the dip station. Bend your elbows and slowly lower your body down, focusing the contraction on the chest. Pause at the bottom for a moment then contract the chest to push yourself back to the starting position. Do not pause at the top. Immediately go into the next rep.

WHAT MAKES IT EFFECTIVE:  This exercise prioritizes shoulder stability while offering the opportunity for progressive overload by gradually increasing the weight of the dumbbell as your strength improves.

To see my picks for best corrective and adduction dumbbell pec exercises, check out my article Best Dumbbell Exercises for Chest.

5) HOW TO DO PEC WORKOUTS AT HOME

What if you currently don’t have access to a gym and the only piece of equipment you have at home is a resistance band?

This is still enough to get in a brutal chest workout.

Here are some of the best pec workouts that you can do at home.

STANDARD DECLINE PUSHUPS

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bodyweight decline pushup

HOW TO DO IT:  To perform this exercise, elevate your feet on a bench or a piece of furniture of similar height. With your legs straight behind you and your core tight, bend at the elbows, lowering your upper body towards the floor. Pause then squeeze the chest muscles to return to the starting position.

WHAT MAKES IT EFFECTIVE:  This exercise is particularly effective for targeting the upper chest fibers due to the feet-elevated position.

STANDARD FLAT PUSHUPS

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bodyweight pushup

HOW TO DO IT:  Begin in a high plank position with hands and feet on the floor. Make sure your core is tight and your hips aren’t dipping. Bend your elbows at a 45-degree angle, lowering your body towards the floor. When your upper arms are parallel to the ground, stop, and push back up to the starting position.

WHAT MAKES IT EFFECTIVE:  Standard pushups are highly effective as they target the mid chest area, making them an essential bodyweight exercise for chest development.

TRIPLE PULSE AND ECCENTRIC DIPS

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dip with eccentric lowering

HOW TO DO IT:  From the dip station, lean forward slightly to place the emphasis on your chest. Instead of going down all the way, perform three dip pulses. This is when you lower yourself a quarter of the way down and quickly go back up to the starting position. On the fourth rep, slowly lower yourself all the way down, focusing an intense contraction in the chest. Push back up and start again with three pulse dips.

WHAT MAKES IT EFFECTIVE:  Incorporating a slow and controlled eccentric portion during every fourth rep of the exercise generates an intense metabolic burn.

THE SAW

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banded saws exercise

HOW TO DO IT:  Begin by securing the band to a stable base like a piece of furniture or gym equipment (e.g., weight rack) at chest height. Grasp the inside of the band and maintain a locked elbow as you forcefully bring the arm across the chest, engaging in adduction.

WHAT MAKES IT EFFECTIVE:  By keeping the arm close to the chest instead of extending away, you can isolate the chest muscles effectively. This positioning will elicit a strong and powerful contraction in the chest, allowing you to feel the targeted muscles working intensely.

CROSSOVER PUSH-UP

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crossover-pushups

HOW TO DO IT:  To start, secure a band to the side and behind you. Assume a Pushup position with the palm of your hand inside the band. Perform a pushup, and as you return to the top position, reach across with the band to cross over the opposite palm. Once you finish with your reps, repeat on the other side.

WHAT MAKES IT EFFECTIVE:  This exercise engages your muscles in a dynamic manner, adding an extra resistance challenge and promoting muscle activation throughout your chest and arms.

RESISTED PUSH-UP / BENCH PRESS

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band resisted pushups

HOW TO DO IT:  Secure a band around your back and insert your palms into it while assuming a Pushup position. Proceed to perform a Pushup, paying attention to the resistance offered by the band as you push back up. Forcefully push back up, fully extending your elbows for maximum effectiveness.

WHAT MAKES IT EFFECTIVE:  This exercise is essentially a resistance-enhanced push-up, but its effectiveness is heightened by executing quick and powerful upward presses. By focusing on a speedy and forceful movement during the upward phase, you can maximize the benefits of this exercise.

To check out more of the best resistance band exercises for pecs, check out my article, Resistance Band Chest Workout.

I’ve given you some of the best exercises for the lower, middle, and upper chest muscles that you can start doing today. Best of all, it doesn’t matter what equipment you have access to.

When aiming to build a well-defined and strong chest, it’s important to focus on more than just the three areas of the pectoral muscles.

You also want to overload each of the muscle fibers, and then incorporate exercises that engage the chest across its midline.

 
 

No matter what type of chest workout you do, be sure to focus on the eccentric portion of the lift and hit those muscles twice per week.

If you’re looking for a complete strength training plan to build lean muscle and strength in every muscle group in the body, find out which of our ATHLEAN-X programs best suits your goals and equipment possibilities.

PEC WORKOUTS FAQS

The best type of exercise for pecs is two-fold. First, you want to choose an exercise that overloads the pecs. Then you want to pair that with an exercise that allows for your hands and the weight to go across your midline.

Here are some of the best pairs of exercises for the pecs – upper, mid, and lower:

To target the upper pecs, overload with the Dumbbell Incline Bench Press then cross the midline with the Low to High Cable Crossover.

For the mid pecs, start with the Barbell Bench Press and follow that up with the Horizontal Cable Crossover.

Finally, to activate the lower pecs, overload the muscle with Weighted Dips and cross the midline with High to Low Cable Crossover.

If you want to get pecs fast, there are several things you can do:

Start by focusing on the eccentric or lowering portion of the pec exercises. Lift at normal speed but take more time, about three to six seconds, to lower the weight.

Next, change up your workouts by reducing the weight. Despite the common misconception, lighter weights with a higher repetition count, over 12 reps, can improve muscle flexion and range of movement, which is key for both strength and aesthetics.

Finally, aim to do pec workouts twice a week for an optimal balance between training and recovery.

Getting pecs in two weeks is an ambitious goal! While you might not be able to achieve huge pecs in two weeks, you can certainly start to lay the groundwork for what will become a head-turning chest.

The thing you want to focus on is achieving a high level of muscle protein synthesis, which can maximize your potential for growth.

To optimize muscle protein synthesis, aim to do chest workouts twice a week, focusing on overloading the muscle then going across your midline. Be sure to slowly lower the weight up to six seconds and reduce the weight you use in order to do so. Do this for every single rep.

Most importantly, don’t forget about nutrition, especially protein. Try to eat between 20 and 30 grams of protein with each meal.

Building pecs can be a challenge for the following reasons:

  • Lack of targeted training
  • Insufficient volume and intensity
  • Inadequate nutrition
  • No emphasis on recovery
  • Lack of consistency and patience

To develop your pecs at home, you can focus on bodyweight exercises like Push-Ups, Chest Dips using chairs, or Band Resisted Pushups using resistance bands.

Aside from these exercises, you’ll also want to emphasize the eccentric or lowering portion of the exercise and extended time under tension.

Move slowly as you lower, counting from three to six seconds.

It depends on the type of exercise you are doing for the chest muscles.

If you want to overload the pec muscles, the Barbell Bench Press is one of the most effective exercises for targeting the chest.

But if your goal is to take the weight across the midline or center of your body to engage in adduction, then you’ll want to stick with exercises like Cable Crossovers, One-Arm Bench Presses, and Resistance Band Side Presses.

To tone your pecs, you should emphasize three things:

First, you want to move through a full range of motion. That means taking the exercise to the point where there is a good stretch on the muscle at the bottom of the repetition.

Second, incorporate exercises that focus on adduction of the pectoral muscles. This means you need to move your arm across the midline.

Third, maximize time under tension by moving slowly during the eccentric portion of the exercise.

Yes, Pushups are an excellent exercise for developing the pecs. Be sure to focus on explosively pushing up and slowly lowering yourself to a count of three to six seconds in order to maximize the peak contraction. Also, try out pushup variations like Incline Pushups and Scapular Pushups.

To build your pecs, you want to focus on choosing the right exercises. You should select one exercise that overloads the chest muscles and one exercise that brings the weight across your centerline.

For example, you can pair the standard Barbell Bench Press with a High to Low Cable Crossover.

During each repetition, focus intently on the lowering portion of the movement and be sure to take the muscle through its complete range of motion.

The time it takes to build pecs depends on things like how hard you train, what you eat, and how consistent you are.

If you follow a good training program and do things right, you can start seeing serious changes in a couple months.

To see huge results in muscle size, it can take several months. Just be patient, stay consistent, and stick to your plan, and you'll get the chest size you want.

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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Have you ever felt that no matter how much you trained your biceps you’re left saying… “My Biceps STILL Aren’t Growing?” I believe I know...
The Perfect Abs Workout
4
The Perfect Abs Workout
By Jeff Cavaliere MSPT, CSCS
July 31st, 2019
We’ll be following my ‘Six Pack Progression’ sequence as we choose each of the beginner and advanced ab exercises for each abdominal movement...
incline bench press avoid mistakes for upper chest
5
How To Incline Bench Press Correctly
By Jeff Cavaliere MSPT, CSCS
January 16th, 2024
The Incline Bench Press is one of the best upper chest exercises there is, but there's one major problem preventing us from getting the maximum...
best dumbbell exercises for chest
6
The Best Dumbbell Exercises for Chest
By Jeff Cavaliere MSPT, CSCS
November 6th, 2023
Today I’m going to share my favorite chest exercises… but there’s a catch. We can only use dumbbells! I’ll show you what to do whether you...
long head triceps exercises
7
Long Head Tricep Exercises
By Jeff Cavaliere MSPT, CSCS
December 19th, 2023
The triceps make up two-thirds of the size of your arm so the bigger your triceps, the bigger your arm muscles. But not all muscle heads of the...
cable chest workout
8
Cable Chest Workout
By Jeff Cavaliere MSPT, CSCS
November 2nd, 2023
Today, we're diving deep into the most underrated piece of equipment in your workout arsenal for chest workouts – the cable machine. The constant...
cable shoulder exerciees
9
Cable Back Workouts
By Jeff Cavaliere MSPT, CSCS
December 12th, 2023
If you want a versatile back workout that hits every angle, challenges muscle recruitment patterns, and provides consistent tension, then you can’t...
cable shoulder exerciees
10
Cable Shoulder Exercises
By Jeff Cavaliere MSPT, CSCS
November 30th, 2023
Unlike barbell or dumbbell shoulder workouts, cables offer consistent tension throughout the exercise, a key factor that can lead to better...