A big, giant, gorilla chest.
Everyone wants one.
Monday rolls around and all you can see in your gym are dudes desperately trying to grow their chests.
Heavy ass bench presses, heavy dumbbell presses, dudes pushing as much weight as they can possibly bare on the pec deck.
For being such a sought after bodypart, there’s a huge problem.
Most Guys Cannot Grow Their Chests!
Tell me if this sounds familiar…
You’ve been benching consistently. The weight is increasing. You’re getting stronger.
You hit your chest from several angles. Incline, flat, decline, but for some reason…
It just won’t grow!
Trust me, I’ve been there myself going from barely being able to bench with two 25’s on, to pushing the 110lb dumbbells for chest presses.
My strength would go up every week. I was always making progress. But my damn chest was flatter than a pancake.
In this article, I’m going to explain to you why your chest isn’t growing, and how to make it grow like a weed…
The Problem With Chest Development…
Let’s talk about the big problem first.
Think of the bench press….
Ever noticed that some super skinny kids at the gym can throw around decent weight… yet remain flat chested?
How many skinny dudes do you see in the gym smashing out benches of 225lbs+ no problem?
How many skinny dudes with no chests do you see picking up 100lb dumbbells and chest pressing them?
There are a lot of strong guys who stay small and do not grow muscle.
The problem here lies in the correlation between strength and size.
There is a relation between the two, that’s very obvious.
Where most bodybuilders get caught up is thinking that more is better when it comes to increasing their strength and adding more weight to the bench press.
If you want to be a powerlifter – great!
If you want a big strong chest that drops jaws – listen up and pay attention!
When your only focus is adding more and more weight, you will likely reach a point where your chest itself (more on that later) can no longer take the majority of the load, and your other muscles will kick in to help.
When the weight gets too heavy, your shoulders, triceps, and chest all kick in to help press the weight.
This takes necessary strain and focus off of your chest, thus hindering your growth.
I know, I know, it’s fun to smash around heavy weight. It feels good. It strokes your ego.
There is a time and place for heavy lifting, but if you want to grow your chest you need to put your ego aside and make some changes.
How To Properly Work Your Chest
People always talk about how wicked their pumps are at the gym.
Do you notice that they are almost always exclusively referring to their biceps?
Why don’t more guys brag about the insane chest pump they got from their workout?
You guessed right – they are hardly working their pectoral muscles properly!
When I switched up my routine, dropped the weight significantly, and started performing the exercises I’ll share below, my chest started to finally grow.
Get A Proper Squeeze in Your Chest…
You’ve probably heard dudes around the gym talk about “making sure you squeeze”.
This is making sure that you are properly utilizing the muscle that you are trying to hit.
The problem with chest (benching and dumbbells in particular) is that most dudes have no idea how to properly fire their chest muscles and drive through their chest.
Next time you bench, before you add any weight try this…
With only the bar, perform your bench press and focus all of your energy on only using your chest muscles as best as possible.
Feel your chest doing the work and when you reach the top of the rep, fire your chest muscles and give them a good squeeze.
It should only take a handful of reps before you can get a really good burn going in the chest.
Now you’re using your muscles properly!
Most guys realize instantly and have a huge “a-ha! moment” that they have been benching wrong.
You can even try this right now by putting your arms out in front of you, hands together, and squeezing and flexing your chest as hard as you can. Feel the burn? That’s what you want when exercising your chest.
This is commonly referred to as a “mind-muscle” connection and a lot of seriously accomplished bodybuilders place great importance on the connection. One of these being Frank Zane – one of the most aesthetic humans to have ever walked this earth.
Make sure you get a proper squeeze and are properly firing and activating your pecs while training chest.
For benching as a mental cue, you can think of “breaking the bar apart” on the way down and “putting the bar together” on the way up. There’s many mental cues that allow you to use your chest the best way possible.
I would also recommend warming up your triceps prior to any chest exercise. This can help drive the mind-muscle connection even further. Check out the guide to tricep stretches here.
Getting that squeeze is crucial to growing lean muscle tissue, and it’s the basis around my upper chest training. If you want to grow your upper chest or it’s really lagging behind, read my article on The Ultimate Guide to Growing Your Upper Chest. There’s no bullshit, check out the progress pics at the end of that article.
Hit It With More Volume & Rest Less…
Another tip that exploded my chest was to hit it with more volume.
Most dudes are lifting way too heavy, resting way too long, and not properly activating the muscle.
This is a trifecta of bullshit if you’re trying to grow a big chest.
Drop the weights, perform more reps, more sets, and keep your rest times no longer than a minute or a minute and a half.
If you’re worried about lower weight not being able to grow muscle, go read the last half of my Rich Piana Feeder Workout article for an explanation.
I guarantee your growth will be massive and your pumps will be unlike anything you’ve ever felt before.
Perform Exercises That Better Isolate The Chest…
When you think of chest exercises, what comes to mind are the typical ones.
Bench press, incline bench press, decline bench press, dumbbells for all the same variations, and maybe the odd isolation exercise such as flyes, cable crossovers, etc.
I’ve found that these majority of exercises people perform for chest are incredibly easy to mess up by using too much tricep and shoulder.
Add these exercises into your next chest workout to properly isolate the chest and make it grow. You can click each exercise for an explanation video. You will see how these are very hard to use any muscle except your chest when using proper form.
Flat Dumbbell Flyes
Incline Dumbbell Flyes
Wide Grip Bench Press (Moderate Weight)
Wide Grip Incline Bench Press (Moderate Weight)
Take my advice from this article, put your ego aside, learn to properly fire and activate your chest, and I guarantee it will grow like crazy. Remember, your chest is just one part of your body to build a full featured, strong physique. If you want to look big from any angle, check out my other article on Growing Your Traps. Until next time!