Franco ColumboThe key to training each of your muscles is to understand their function and how they work. Your chest is no different. Here, we’ll go over your pectoral muscles, how to train them, and we’ll even dispel a few myths along the way.

Chest Anatomy:

The pectorals are your chest muscles. They begin at your sternum and connect to a tendon that attaches to the humeris bone in your upper arm. Each time your chest muscles contract, they essentially pull your upper arm bone forward and in front of you.

To get a feel for the full range of motion of your chest muscles, straighten your arms out to each side of you. Move your arms forward in front of you until your forearms cross. This represents the full and complete range of motion for your chest muscles.

We’ll just skip the rest of the anatomy lesson and get to what you really need to know. For your training, your pecs are essentially trained as a whole using exercises like the bench press, or you can use exercises that focus on your upper chest such as the incline bench press.

Aside from the upper chest exercises, there isn’t really as much specialization for the chest as one might think. Let’s take a look at the different chest specialization areas you might have heard of.

  • General Pecs: You will train your chest muscle group as a whole using the flat level bench. This includes the flat bench press, flat bench flyes, dumbbell bench press, etc. Dips will also train your pecs with somewhat less emphasis on the upper chest.
  • Upper Chest: You train the upper portion of your chest using an incline bench. Exercises such as the incline bench press, incline flyes, and incline dumbbell bench press will all emphasize the upper chest.
  • Lower Chest: The lower chest muscle is a myth. It’s simply not there. The decline bench press will work your chest from a different angle, yes. But there is no such thing as a lower chest muscle that is distinct or separate from other chest muscles.
  • Inner/ Outer Chest Muscles: Again, there’s no such thing as focusing on your inner or outer chest muscles. Many people believe that flat bench flyes will work your outer chest while the peck deck flyes work your inner chest. This is more of an illusion that comes from the fact that each exercise places greater stress on your chest at different points in the range of motion.

The whole idea of working the inner/outer chest is flawed because it assumes that you can flex one end of a strand of muscle and not the other end. When you muscles contract, the whole entire muscle contracts, not just one end or the other. You cannot contract the bottom of your bicep without the entire bicep muscle getting shorter. It’s just not possible.

There are generally two main types of movements that work your chest muscles:

Pressing Movements: These include the bench press, incline bench press, and all of their variations and different angles. Dips are also included in the category. Pressing movements tend to directly involve the pecs, triceps, and deltoids in the movement. Secondary stabilizer muscles include your lats, posterior delts, and other back muscles.

Leverage Movements: This means chest flyes. Flyes can be done using dumbbells on a flat bench, using a peck deck machine, or using the crossover cables. Flyes are an isolation exercise. Do your pressing movements first in your workout, and add in flyes only when you’ve progressed to the point where you’re ready for more.

A training program that uses a flat bench pressing movement, an incline movement, and some dips will fulfill your chest training needs for quite a while. Stick to these basic movements before you get too carried away doing cable crossovers or other flye movements.

And of course, I know I probably don’t need to keep saying this to you, but don’t get too carried away with working only your chest and your arms. If you want to be a bodybuilder, train your whole body. Don’t be a boobie-builder.

Focusing only on your chest and arms is bad for your body’s balance and posture. Paying attention to building a strong back will balance you out and even give you greater stabilizing muscles that will increase your bench press and strengthen your pecs even more.

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62 Responses to “Know Thy Pecs”

  1. Jason, this is great info about pecs. I just love the fact that you’re really starting to put like a bodybuilding bible up here – soon your blog archive will be invaluable! Just keep it up man! :)

  2. Lol I love the “boobie builder” comment! Good way to put it. Like you said the basic compound movements will fulfill all the training needed for the chest (as well as the rest of the muscles). It’s funny seeing guys doing crossovers and flyes when they haven’t even developed any real pectoral muscles yet. The bench press is really all you need til you get to the advanced level.

  3. Alex- Thanks man. I’ve been thinking about the archives lately and will have to make a guide so things are easier to find. That’s next on the list.

    Sean- True, the flat bench is the basis of your chest workouts. I like to throw in incline benches as well. I think the reason some people do so many flyes is probably because the muscle mags or other materials hype up the idea of always changing your routine and using a variety of exercises. There are so many more machines and variations of isolation exercises than the basic movements… maybe that’s why. A good reminder to stick to the basics

  4. So, I am brand new to weight lifting and trying to keep in shape.

    My first goal is to lose body fat, increase lean muscle mass and then to gain strength and stamina. I am not looking to be ripped like I should be on a magazine cover, downing my protein shakes 3 times a day.

    I am starting out with dumbbell chest-presses and dumb bell chest flies. Is that a good point to start at to try and tone and build some upper body strength (doing other things also but this is specific to the chest). basically I would love to not need a “manziere” anymore ;)

  5. Mike- Those goals go right together. Eat enough food to feed the muscle. As you add more muscle, the muscle burns more calories. But even if you do try everything to look like the guy on the magazine cover, it will give you modest gains in the short term. The amount of muscle you build will never be faster than you’re ready for.

    Focus on those dumbbell chest presses. That is probably the best exercise for building chest muscle mass. More muscle mass also burns more fat. The flyes aren’t going to harm you, but the multi-joint exercises (the pressing movements) are the best use of your time for where you’re at now. Build the muscle first, shape it once you have it. Best of luck.

  6. Wait a sec, how can there be an “upper chest” muscle group that is trained by specific exercises/lifts you listed when the “lower chest”, “inner/outer chest”, or any other grouping is a myth??? I am thoroughly confuzzled.

    Made the connection while reading your latest “Prevent an Arching Back on the Incline Bench Press” article.

  7. Witmonger- Happy to explain.

    We don’t really refer to flat bench presses as training the lower chest, but they train the chest as a whole. Your chest does have distinct muscles on the upper chest that can be specifically trained on the incline, but there’s no distinct or separate muscle group that is trained on the decline bench press. In other words, you have your general pecs (including all chest muscles), your upper pecks which can be isolated, but no separate lower chest muscle that can be isolated.

    Similarly, there is no exercise you can do that will isolate either the inner or outer portion of your chest for the reasons explained above. You do have strands of muscle that extend from the inner chest to the outer, so the inner portion of your chest is there… of course. But there is no exercise that can contract the inner part of the muscle without contracting the entire muscle strand (including the outer) as well. So there’s really no such thing as training inner or outer chest, but it can feel that way because some types of flyes are hardest at the top of the movement (peck deck) while others are hardest at the bottom (dumbbell flyes).

    Hope that helps to de-confuzzle ;)

  8. hello!

    first of all ,i got here because i was looking for “inner” and “lower” chest exercises.

    the problem is that my chest seems to be growing only from the uper/outer section, i can see a real diference there, but honestly i dont see any changes in the lower and in the inner part of my chest, so i really wanna know if that is normal or if i am doing something wrong.

    tnx!

  9. Jason,
    I was happy to read your post because my chest/tri day is exactly what you prescribe. I do flat bench, then incline bench, then weighted dips. I have a question, though: Since these are 3 high intensity compound lifts, do you think I need to add anything else to isolate my tris or do you think they get worked enough with those lifts? I’ll be honest, they’re pretty tired after dips but I suppose I could burn out doing pushdowns or something. Thoughts?

  10. @Joe – unless you are a competition level bodybuilder, you won’t need to do any additional work for your tris.

  11. How can one overcome the challenge of one side of the chest growing bigger than the other though he does barbell bench press?

  12. @tomsea – that’s a tough call. First off, are you really sure one pec is growing bigger? Or did it start off bigger? Or are you saying the bench press is causing one side to get bigger? I’m not sure how that would be possible from the barbell bench press. In fact, barbell presses should even out any natural differences from side to side. If you are sure that one side is getting bigger, then perhaps it has to do with something else – job related maybe? The best thing would be to eliminate the thing that is causing the imbalance.

    And how much bigger? Everyone has natural imbalances and unless you are competing in a bodybuilding contest, it really doesn’t matter. And you could do some real damage trying to “over-correct” and doing some really stupid exercises.

  13. Dear sir
    Please see this site (www;ahsan-bodybuilding.itgo.com) and see my chest.
    This chest is not balance please tell me good advice balance chest

    Regard’s
    Ahsan

  14. @M. Ahsan Alahi – what about your chest do you feel is not balanced? Nobody’s chest is perfectly balanced. You seem to have good muscle mass in your chest but could stand to lose some body fat so that you could show off the muscle you do have. Is that what you mean? By the way – this would probably get more people commenting if you posted this to the forums at http://worldfitnessnetwork.com/forum/ .

  15. I too love that “boobie builder” comment. Those guys coming into the gym working solely on their vanity muscles focusing on only their chest and bicepts for years and years. So sad.

  16. I’m an experienced lifter, but I don’t look like one. My main problem is imbalances that ensure I keep the “pencil” look, even when I do gain weight. I’ve been training for over a year the “World Fitness” way, which is much like the “Scrawny to Brawny” way, except, in the latter, which is specific for ectomorphs, more emphasis is on eating more calories (which has not given me more relative strength). Since going to these basic movements (only), my imbalances are even worse. My upper body (from the front) starts to taper larger from the waist well until my pec minors; but, then my chest starts disappearing at about the point that my pectoral majors begin and I shrink up to my clavicals. If I stand with my side towards the mirror, my ribcage area is the most developed part of my upper body. This doesn’t look good.

    From the posterior, however, I’ve developed pretty well, except my lats are rather small relative to my upper back muscles.

    With respect to my lower body, it’s quite the opposite. I’ve developed pretty good quads and inner, front leg muscles, but my glutes and hams are almost nonexistent, even though I’ve tried to focus on squats and deadlift techniques that should stimulate these areas. W/o these major core areas developed, I stay weak on full body movements, especially squats.

    This article confuses me, because I’ve been doing the basic, compound benches and dips recommended, and I’ve really gotten strong with respect to dips and flat dumbell benches (I weight 148 and d.b. press 140 for eight reps and dip with 210 including my weight for 8 reps), yet my pec-majors continue to decline relative to the rest of my upper body.

    With respect to my upper body, this loss of upper chest development was not apparant until I reached 40. I’m now 45. Could this be age related? With respect to my legs, the glute/ham weakness has always been my case.

  17. @gregsfc – It’s hard to know exactly what’s going on (we don’t have a picture or anything) but I doubt it is age related. Some possibilities:
    - are you overtraining? if you aren’t giving your chest time to grow, because you work it too many days a week, it could stall. same for your hams/glutes
    - conversely, are you doing enough for your chest? enough for your hams/glutes? don’t be afraid of flyes just because they aren’t a compound movement. for hams/glutes, I like Romanian Deadlifts.
    - for muscle size, the best rep ranges are usually 10 to 12, where you are lifting weight heavy enough to be failing on reps 10 to 12 – are you doing this range?
    - for muscle growth, rest periods between sets should be about 60 seconds and you should to at least 3 sets per exercise

    For more discussion of your particular case, we should take it over to the forum ok?

  18. Thanks for the reply and sorry for the long post. I just searched for a specific article dealing with my specific weaknesses, and thought I’d weigh in. I’m not too familiar with the forum (I’m a new member), but I’ll check it out.

  19. Excellent guide. The only thing is saying that lower chest doesn’t exist…

    I agree with the idea that only the middle chest and upper chest exist, but ‘lower chest’ might just be what people are calling the middle chest, since it is lower than the upper chest, I guess?

  20. Many people are under the impression that doing decline bench will increase the shape of only your lower pecs. This isn’t true, that is what he was getting at.

  21. Hello sir
    My chest pecs is not balance, left pecs is down and good loocking and right pecs is up and small.
    Please tell me good advices of my chest muscles

    Regard’s
    Ahsan

  22. Hi I read your chest workout article wondering about my own pectorals and part of my pectoral on my left side is bigger than part of the pectoral on my right side, would it be possible to fix that? I read another article that explained since I am right side dominant, whether I do dumbell presses or bench press my right tricep will do more work, limiting my right pectoral’s growth.

  23. @Ahsan and @Anonymous,

    This issue comes up from time to time. We are all asymmetrical to some degree. The question is “how much is normal” where “normal” could mean regarding strength or appearance. It sounds like you both are very concerned about the appearance because you describe size and shape. So the first thing I’d ask is that you test some strength comparisons. To keep it simple, let’s go with 3 exercises. Pick a weight where you think you can get 6 to 10 reps done and do:
    - 1 arm dumbbell front raises (works the front delts)
    - 1 arm dumbbell overhead triceps extensions (works the triceps; make sure you go full range, behind head)
    - 1 arm dumbbell bench press (works the pecs; these are tough on balance so do a light warm up set first to get the feel)

    In each case, go to form failure: keep going until you can’t do another rep without sacrificing form. Write down how many reps you get for each side and post back here. Then I can possibly give some advice.

  24. Fantastic article. I think explaining the anatomy and bio-mechanics of the chest in such a coherent way as you have done is very important. It really helps beginners understand WHY certain exercises must be done for their chest.

    I also love your quote “If you want to be a bodybuilder, train your whole body. Don’t be a boobie-builder.” haha.

  25. plz help plzzzzz .,my left side of chest is bigger(means more strength) then left side of chest…
    and right side of chest is also not good ,.plz
    this is my – Schedule
    monday > chest and solider
    tues> bycyps and tricyps
    wed > back (lats) and legs
    thursday .>,again chest and solider
    fri,.,> byceps and tri
    sturday > rest or abs
    plzzz help

  26. @vicky

    It sounds like you are overtraining a bit…I think that you would be better off doing something like

    Monday > Chest & Shoulder
    Tues> Biceps & Triceps
    Wed> Back (lats) and Legs
    Thursday>Rest (cardio)
    Friday>Chest & Shoulder
    Saturday> Biceps & Triceps
    Sunday> Back (lats) and Legs
    Monday>Rest (cardio)

    Any comments?

  27. thanx nathan for help.,.,plz any special (cardio) exercise for chest .,.sry my english is not good like u plz rply.,.can i take storide for shape .,.or any exercise plz

  28. For cardio, I would do varying intensity…if you are on the elliptical, do 20-30 min

    2 minutes of low intensity
    2-3 minutes of med intensity/resistance
    2-3 minutes of high intensity/resistance
    2-3 minutes of med intensity/resistance

    keep switching up every couple of minutes and then on your final, do a cool down of low intensity.

    You could also try fitting in some cardio after your bicep/triceps workout…

  29. Nice guides!! thumbs up!! :)

  30. hiii nathan i m vicky again .,.frnd nothing worked :( ( ::( no improvement in chest plz help me :( sry my english is not good :(

  31. Hi. I was a fat kid most of my early childhood ( I peaked at about 160lbs at the age of 10). I eventually lost the fat and now weigh 160 lbs at my current age 20 and height of 5’8.
    I began weight lifting back in high school when I signed up for weight training classes.
    I’d say I’ve come a long way. I have definition now and a pretty good physique.
    I’m both benching and decline benching 205 lbs; however, I have a small bit of man boobs left , and I’m seriously pissed and tired of all the self-consciousness about it. My top pecs are lined up and cut, but the bottom part is semi-squishy. There is muscle there, but that damn squishy part is bugging the hell out of me. I’m 20 years old, and I still have friends and coworkers flicking them. Please, is there any advice you have with regards on how to get rid of it? Thank you for you time. I appreciate it.

  32. Correction: Incline benching 205. Not decline. I have a bench set at home thy only converts from Incline and flat bench.

  33. @Jesse – 95% of the time, those last bits of “man boobs” are just bodyfat. You probably do have decent muscle there, but we all collect bodyfat in slightly different places (for guys, it’s usually lovehandles and manboobs that are last to get “lean”). My guess (and this is purely a guess because we have no photo) is that you would look awesome at your height and muscle mass, if you lost another 8 to 10 pounds of fat. But the key is to lose that without losing any muscle (because it’s not like you have slabs and slabs of muscle you can give up). I might have the facts off slightly, but in the first Rocky movie, for the final fight, Sly was looking both big and lean right? Well, he was around 5’10″ and 165 lbs. Yes, 165. At first I didn’t believe that but I recently watched the movie again and it makes perfect sense when you study physiques. In your case, I’m guessing if you lose 8 pounds of pure fat, you will actually look BIGGER at the beach. It’s an optical illusion, but that’s what physique is often about.

  34. Sounds good. How do I go about losing pure fat without sacrificing any muscle?

  35. @Jesse, I haven’t written an article specifically on this but a few high-level pointers:
    - eat less than you burn (duh); do this by gradually reducing your calories (cut out all junk right away; if you are already very clean in your eating, then just slightly reduce your portions)
    - shoot for no more than 1 to 2 pounds a week; losing more than this will likely mean you are losing muscle too
    - lift, and lift heavy; you want your body saying “I am using all my muscle so I better retain it”
    - if needed, and only if needed, you can help the caloric deficit by doing some cardio but to minimize any chance of muscle loss from cardio (which is generally overplayed) keep the cardio short and intense (like interval training)
    This topic could take it’s own article so for brevity keep these in mind and search/read more articles on the site.

  36. Hey,
    First of all this is a great site! I am very impressed with the information here!. Anyways, I am just starting into the workout trend and, similar to one of the previous posts, my first goal is just to lose some fat and tone up. My main problem is that when I am doing my chest workouts(bench, flies, cables, etc…) my arms give out before my chest and I honestly don’t feel like they are getting any work. Any advice? Thanks

  37. @Aaron – how long have you been lifting on a regular, consistent basis?

  38. Hello everyone.

    I have injured badly something in my left chest side a few years ago by falling into a covered pit while holding something in my arms. That stick pushed against my muscles upwards and made great damage. I did not go to the doctor at the time but now I know by the symptoms I tore something badly. I almost fainted. Now I would like to know if by doing smart exercises I could somehow rebuild these. The upper muscle disappeared and I still have something in the armpit that feels strange. It must be an insertion that recovered but I need major reshaping and hard work. I am ready for intensive recovery on that. Could you give me some advice? I appreciate all your comments.

  39. @dan – damaged tissue is nearly impossible to give advice on over the internet. seek a physical therapist in your area (preferably one who is in favor of weight training, as there are a few who thing “all” weight training is bad and they are completely ignorant so avoid them).

  40. Thank you, I will. There was this question which I wanted more for self assurance that it is possible to reshape muscles over time with proper exercise for the damage muscles. I believe is possible. Right now scar tissue has probably replaced what was damaged and since I started working out at the gym I feel it grow. However there is a place under my armpit which feels strange and I guess the insertion of the tendon might be weird there but I want to teach it and nourish it back. I kind of know it is a titanic work but I am determined to do it. I wanted some words on this.

  41. Hey Dan,

    It sounds like you just need to start breaking up the scar tissue. I tore my pec a few years ago and the lump of scar tissue mass has definitely gotten smaller, but it is still there and is only noticeable if I touch it. There is no pain. You can certainly reshape muscle with hard work, so best of luck in the process.

  42. Thank you Joe,

  43. i have a problem, no matter how i search im at a loose end.
    Due to an accident and now injury im unable to lift weights with my arms for the near future as i need them to heal fully.
    I however want something i can do to keep building my chest(pecs) as much as possible.
    Is this possible. If so what can i do?
    Please bear in mind the only weight i can (just about) lift is 2kgs at the moment.
    Any help much appreciated. Cheers

  44. @Nathan – I’m not sure what you can do other than isometrics (I have heard Bruce Lee did this a lot but can’t verify). That said, how much time off are we talking about? Even if it’s many months, the best thing is to heal. If you eat right and stay mobile in other ways, that’s the best plan.

  45. Nathan

    I had injured both muscles in my pectorals, the last one occured while bench pressing had a partial tear of right pectoral muscle of 9mm, the other was a much more severe and was due to fall and happened by hitting it against something, I lost mostly all the muscle. I did not know at the time what happened and did not realize how much I have lost because after pain got away, months later, I had limited ability to move and it felt strange in the armpit. I did not have the muscle there. It is hard to rebuild it because you don’t have a muscle to exercise with.
    My advice is to see what happened there, what was torn, see the doctor to tell you whether to repair it by surgical or leave it heal naturally through scarring. While you are healing after a certain time you should start a mild massage of the muscle, feel it by hand and massage it every day several times, make slow movements as much as you feel is comfortable. After initial healing you can work on rebuilding the muscle but you have to expect very little improvement. It take very long but I believe is possible. My muscle, the worst one started to regrow, I work out doing specific movements for that specific muscle that was destroyed. I massage it, I do inclined bench press with a dumbell, butterfly, many different directions. Remember, that muscle was grown over many years doing many kinds of movements, it was destroyed in a second and you have to make a lot of training to recover that. That scar that forms when the muscle repair itself is not as good as the original muscle. I believe you can change that through mild massage, progressive training and determination. This is what I have applied to my own experience. I did not have the surgical repair which in my situation would have been better and would have given better results.

  46. hello there.. whats your take on protein stuff? i have never bothered with it and i seem to be in a pretty good physic. is it really necessary for workouts?

  47. !aleks – check out all the articles on the site about this: http://worldfitnessnetwork.com/tag/protein/ . Short answer — necessary for workouts? no. Very helpful? yes.

  48. I have a question, I have read some of the responses before, and questions, but I am still not sure, I am a month into working out, and I am working on my entire body, I already see very good results indeed, and I have gained weight. I have gone from 130lbs to 141lbs, all muscle.
    I am growing, and everything seemed fine, until I finally took a very good look at myself in the mirror, and noticed that the left side of my chest is bigger than my right side, and I am very concerned. I’ve asked some friends who train, and they haven’t given me a “proper” answer, I was wondering if I should lift more weight on one side?
    It seems, I am stronger on the left side, I usually carry a bag on my hand, on the left side, and yesterday I did an experiment, I carried my bag (well, tried to) with the right hand, and my entire arm was in pain, and as I walk, it felt as if I were pulling up, and perhaps walking inclined towards the left.
    I wonder if by doing front pull dumbells, with 5 extra lbs on the right side, I could fix this problem?

    Please help! I feel so uncomfortable, and it is noticible. The left side, let’s say is very well “developed,” bottom and upper side of the chest is defined, looks nice, etc. But the right side is still “chicken size,” a somewhat decent development on the lower part, but the upper part of the chest is nothing in comparison to the left side. It is as if I only had one “boob,” or to make it sound “funny,” the left side is a D cup and the right side is a B, you can tell, by looking at me, that one side is simply just bigger.

    Thanks!

  49. @geoXge – I’m sorry to hear about your concern. Figuring these things out over the internet is nearly impossible. You should probably talk to a physical therapist to make sure there isn’t something structural or impingement. But a quick test – do alternating dumbbell bench presses with some really heavy weight – something you could only do 5 or 6 times. Keep going until one side fails, then keep doing more reps with the side that doesn’t fail. If that’s more than 1 extra rep, then I would say you have a serious strength imbalance, which would lead to a size differential. But this won’t tell you WHY – only a professional in front of you can do that.

  50. @Darrin
    Thanks for such quick response!
    But let’s say, I keep on doing this for a little while, would this balance me out? And balance my chest as well?

  51. what a crap of an article.
    there is an upper chest,no there isn`t. there is,but…no there isn`t.
    how can you say that flyes don`t stimulate the inner portion of pecs?
    did u ever do dips for triceps,to see how the short head is stimulated,and how the whole triceps change its shape?
    i think you practice this sport,but ur observation spirit is equal with 0.worse,you desinformate other young guys who need real advices.

  52. @geoXge – I honestly can’t say. I was just suggesting it for a test, not a solution. sorry!

  53. Hey,

    I am relatively new to gymnasium (been there for only 2 months now) but have been doing push/pull ups pretty much for over 3 years now. Is there some way we can tune our chest to look some particular way or is it purely genetics that decides the shapes and curves of your chest. I do decline dumbbell press, flat barbell press and decline dumbbell flies basically for my chest. The size increase, i am happy with, a bit confused with the shape/curves however. I aim for a well rounded chest but I seem to develop a taut curved chest that comes out like a S pulled at both ends on the outsides closer to my arms. Is there something i need to do particularly for a well rounded chest? My biceps too does not seem to grow as faster as my chest does.

    Thanks for your reply,
    AB

  54. @AB – well, both genetics and environment play a role in how your chest looks. You will not be able to change the insertion points and length of your pecs – meaning, where there is muscle vs. tendon vs. ligament vs. bone. You can increase the size of your chest with targeted routines and nutrition. Obviously I can’t see your chest, but usually people think they look “weirder” than other people think.

  55. @Darrin:
    Thanks, I realized I was stronger on one side. I have been using the dumbells, and my chest has balanced. I still think the right side is a tiny bit smaller, but I am sure the problem will correct itself with the hard work I am putting into it.
    Cheers!

  56. @geoXge – awesome!

  57. Hey plz help me.i hav chNgd m Schedule..and d way..initiaally i usd to do 3 sets per xercise.15 12 and 10 counts..bt nw i kept d weights lightr and do the same thng wd 50 40 and 30 countz.wil dis worknout fr cuts..and lil bulk

  58. @sameer – if you are doing sets of 50, 40, and 30 then I would not call that strength training. Essentially, that’s just loaded cardio. You may lose fat, and if you’re a total skinny beginner, then you might gain muscle, but I’d move to much heavier weight if you really want to gain strength and bulk.

  59. Hi, I enjoyed this article. I do have a question though. I have a bench press at my house. And I use it often but how often should I really be working my chest. I see my strength has increased a lot but my size isn’t getting any bigger. Well I mean my chest is getting pushed out my but im not seeing any added width to it. The whole reason I got into lifting was because I was way too narrow and wanted to become wide. So besides bench presses, what can I do to increase my overall width of my upper body? Are deadlifts something that would help? thanks.

  60. Hi Dave – I have somewhat the same issue. The more I work my chest, the deeper it gets, but not wider. Flyes seem to help a tiny bit, but the fact is you can’t change your insertion points or the size of your ribcage… However, to appear wider, you should think about shoulders. Your front deltoids will get worked with bench press but your side delts will make you look wider. Recommendation: military press or Arnold presses. I really don’t recommend standard flat benching more than once a week anymore.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Incline Bench Press Form: Prevent an Arching Lower Back | World Fitness Network
  2. Weighted Dips For the Chest And Triceps | World Fitness Network

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