Building bigger chest muscles should be an important goal of any fitness enthusiast, whether your goal is to simply look good or to compete in bodybuilding competitions. To build bigger chest muscles, you’ll need to increase the size of your pectoralis major and pectoralis minor, the two major muscle groups that make up your chest muscles. To do this, we have created this definitive guide to help you build bigger chest muscles faster and more efficiently.
Why You Need to Build a Bigger Chest
There are plenty of reasons why you might want a bigger chest. From improving your appearance and boosting confidence to training for sports and helping protect against some common health conditions, there’s no shortage of reasons for wanting a larger pec region.
If you are someone who has been trying to build a bigger chest for sometime but you seem to be struggling to build them pecs then we should touch on some reasons why this may be.
Why Isn't My Chest Growing?
One of the most common questions beginner bodybuilders ask is why their chest isn't growing. If you aren't making progress with your chest training, there are several potential causes.
First, be sure that you are eating enough food overall and consuming high-quality calories at regular intervals. There is a reason why the experts say, muscle gains and weight loss is made in the kitchen. I would encourage you to write down your eating habits for one week, literally everything you eat plus the macros. This way, you will be able to see if you really are eating enough quality calories or not.
Second, make sure that you are actually pushing yourself when you work out. You can have all of your supplements in check, but if you are just going through the motions during your chest workouts without really pushing yourself then you won't be making much progress in the way of muscle gains.
Third, consider whether or not the exercises you're performing are muscle building exercises. Pec flyes might look nice on paper, but they're not nearly as effective as a set of bench presses or chest dips for building muscle mass in your pecs. Compound exercises are the holy grail of exercises when it comes to building muscle mass.
Fourth, give genetics some credit! Some people are simply genetically built for growth where others are more destined to stay leaner—this shouldn't hold anyone back from lifting weights though! There's no reason you can't build a big chiseled chest with hard work and persistence.
And lastly, many lifters make the mistake of overtraining their chest muscles. Two or three heavy sets of 6-8 reps per exercise is plenty for strength and muscle gains. Once these gains plateau you should focus more on volume (total reps performed) to spur muscle growth using higher rep ranges (8–12 reps).
It is important to train correctly. A study of 66 men who lifted weights found that those who trained each muscle group twice a week built up larger chest muscles than those who trained each muscle group three times a week.
By working out less, you allow your body time to fully recover and get stronger; then when you do hit it hard again, you'll get more out of your workout—and over time, be able to lift heavier weights at each session.
Working Out At Home
If you’re not a gym-goer, that doesn’t mean you can’t build a muscular chest. When you’re starting out as a beginner, it’s much easier to workout at home.
If at all possible, find a friend or family member who is in good shape and has healthy eating habits. Ask them if they would be willing to train with you for at least 30 minutes, three times a week.
It helps when you have an extra set of eyes on your form. Also, when people are taking care of their health, they’ll usually try to encourage others around them to do so as well!
There are plenty of compound exercises that require nothing more than your bodyweight and gravity.
Different variations of push ups are obvious choices but make sure to throw in some chest dips which can be done between chairs, if you don't have the money to buy a dip station. Do these on a regular basis and add in some dumbbells when you feel comfortable with the movements.
Before long, you should see your chest start to grow provided you are eating properly and getting enough rest.
Tips On How To Get A Bigger Chest
Below are some of the best tips on how to get a bigger chest. Make sure to add some of, if not all, of these tips into your chest workouts.
One of the best ways to build bigger chest muscles is by lifting heavy weights. Make sure that whatever exercise you choose (preferably compound exercises and whatever equipment you use), is heavy enough that you can only do 6-8 repetitions before muscle failure begins to set in. Give yourself 30-60 seconds rest and perform up to 3-4 sets.
If you need help figuring out what exercises will target your chest properly then keep reading this article until the end as we have a collection of exercises which are great for building chest muscles after these tips.
While isolation exercises do have their place in a chest workout, right now we're going to focus more on compound movements.
The reason? They build muscle mass more effectively and they require more strength and coordination while also requiring less rest between reps because they work several different areas of each muscle group being trained at once.
This makes them ideal for beginners and advanced weightlifters looking to add size while not sacrificing form due to fatigue from other targeted areas.
Don't Neglect Cardio:
As cardio doesn't build chest muscles, it's tempting to skip cardio when you first start working out so that you can spend more time doing weightlifting, but don't fall into that trap.
Cardio is great for burning fat stores throughout your body—including those on your chest. Too much fat covering up those hard-earned muscles will make it tougher for you and other people to see them anyway.
Eat Protein & Vitamins After Your Workout:
After any workout session, especially one where you're trying to bulk up, make sure you eat something within an hour after finishing exercising—especially if it's longer than an hour workout—to restore depleted energy levels.
It is also important that you eat enough protein throughout your day also. If you want to add muscle mass onto your frame, including chest muscles, then you need to be consuming enough protein.
The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for protein is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight—this is 0.36 grams per pound of body weight, or about 54 grams for a 154-pound person.
If you are trying to lose weight or are very active, you may want to consider consuming more than that amount. You can do so through your diet or by taking supplements, but if it’s not coming from food sources then aim for about one gram per pound of body weight each day if possible.
Eat the Right Foods:
When you’re trying to build bigger chest muscles, it’s a good idea to stick with foods that support muscle growth. Animal proteins are a smart choice, as they contain a great deal of leucine, an amino acid that helps with muscle growth.
It also contains arginine and other BCAAs, which may have similar benefits. While animal proteins are good for building bigger chest muscles, plant-based proteins can be just as beneficial—it all depends on what type of protein food you eat.
In addition to animal and plant sources of protein, research suggests whey protein is effective at stimulating muscle growth as well as reducing body fat when combined with exercise.
You can’t build muscle without food, so make sure you include plenty of foods in your diet that are high in protein. These foods include chicken, fish, eggs, low-fat dairy products, nuts, seeds and other meat sources.
Don't Forget The Carbs!
It's no secret that proper nutrition is key when it comes to gaining muscle. The old adage no pain, no gain isn't just true for gym workouts—it can be true for your plate as well.
Make sure you're eating enough carbs every day. No matter what kind of exercise you're doing, your body needs adequate fuel in order to perform at its best.
If you haven't been consuming enough food overall or have been going hard on cardio without also increasing your carb intake, muscle growth will likely suffer as a result.
Recovery Days Are Important:
When it comes to muscle growth, you’re only as good as your recovery. The days where you can’t get in a workout should be seen as opportunities for some fun.
And while staying on top of your diet is an obvious way to facilitate recovery, you need more than protein shakes and chicken breasts if you want to grow bigger muscles.
Sleep is important—for adults it should be 7-9 hours per night—but there are also other things you can do like foam rolling (which eases soreness) and active recovery (light cardio after lifting helps flush lactic acid out of your muscles).
Also, make sure you recover from any injuries that could be holding back your gains. A big chest won’t matter much if you have a torn rotator cuff holding you back from benching heavy weight.
Try Drop Sets:
Lowering your weight by 10-20% after reaching failure and trying to squeeze in more reps—and supersets—doing two exercises back-to-back without resting between sets—these techniques have been shown to help build muscle more quickly than traditional strength training workouts.
And Finally, Relax:
It's important to remember that weight lifting isn't a competition and nobody else will judge you on your progress. Don't beat yourself up over little aches or a poor workout.
Stick to a program for at least a couple of months before seeing results, and understand that it'll take time for each new inch of muscle to show up. Resist all urges to change your workout plan—or quit altogether—if you haven't started noticing results after six or eight weeks. Go easy on yourself and stay positive.
Exercises For A Bigger Chest
If you want bigger chest muscles, start with one of the best exercises—the bench press. This exercise works several muscles in your chest at once, including your pectoralis major, anterior deltoid and triceps.
To perform a bench press properly, lie on a flat bench holding dumbbells at arm's length above your chest. Bend your elbows so that they are positioned directly above your shoulders. Extend your arms, pushing the weights up while exhaling. Hold briefly at full extension before lowering slowly to your starting position while inhaling.
Perform three sets of eight repetitions each chest workout to build bigger chest muscles.
You can also increase resistance by adding more weight or use barbells instead of dumbbells for an even greater challenge.
Use caution when performing bench presses; form is crucial because it helps prevent injury.
Incline dumbell bench press
One of my favorite chest-building exercises is incline barbell bench press. It helps to build up your upper chest and improves overall chest development, two important goals for anyone looking to increase his or her pectoral size.
Begin by positioning yourself on an incline bench and grab a set of dumbbells using an overhand grip that’s just outside shoulder width. Lower it toward your sternum, then lift it back up.
Start out doing three sets at 8–12 reps per set until you get used to it. Once you can do 12 reps comfortably, move on to three sets at 6–8 reps per set at a heavier weight.
If you do incline bench press using a barbell and find your wrists bothering you while performing the exercise, try dumbbells instead so your wrists are not bent awkwardly throughout the motion.
Incline Press Ups
Resistance training will allow you to build bigger chest muscles, but it’s not just about lifting weights. Incline press ups are a great way of challenging your pectoral muscles.
In order to perform these properly, place your hands on a bench or similar object with your arms at a 30-degree angle from your body.
Your feet should be on the floor and your back straight with eyes focused forward.
Push up and hold for one second before returning slowly to starting position; repeat 10 times.
This exercise works best if performed three times per week, doing three sets of ten reps each time (30 total).
Decline Bench Press
If you’re looking for a way to build more muscle and strength, try adding decline barbell or dumbbell bench presses into your chest workout.
The declined angle of a standard bench press focuses more on the lower chest and tricep muscles more than traditional flat-bench pressing.
Working your pectoral muscles from different angles builds more muscle fiber cross-section and lets you lift heavier weights for bigger gains in size and strength.
Add these declined bench presses to your usual upper body routine once or twice a week, along with standard flat and incline bench pressing exercises.
You’ll soon have bigger, stronger chest muscles!
If you want to build bigger chest muscles from home, it's a good idea to begin your workout routine with exercises that work your chest muscles.
Decline press ups should be added to your home chest workout routine as well as the standard press up and incline press up. This way, you are hitting your chest at all angles for a complete chest workout.
This exercise will strengthen and firm up your pectoral muscles—the ones that surround and frame your chest—as well as engage your triceps.
Decline press ups requires you to elevate your feet on a chair or bench so that you are performing what is effectively an overhead press.
When performing this exercise, your body should be in one straight line from shoulders to ankles. Lower yourself toward ground by bending at the arms until elbows are bent at right angles, then return to starting position by pushing off with arms.
The cable fly exercise would be recommended after you have completed all of your compound exercise for your chest.
Cables allow you more control over your range of motion and give you an opportunity to increase the weight while decreasing the risk of injury.
Using a machine like a cable fly is also considered precision training, which means it will target certain muscles (your pecs, in particular) better than other exercises.
Start with 3 sets of 8-12 reps and work your way up from there.
If you’re looking for a new way to build muscle, chest dips could be just what you need.
Dips target your chest muscles and your triceps.
When performing chest dips, slowly lower yourself down until your elbows are at 90 degrees and then press back up, focusing on getting that chest area contracting as you lift back up. This increases time under tension in that area of pecs, resulting in better overall growth potential.
A benefit of chest dips is that it also works on stabilizing your core muscles, which will strengthen as well as give you more strength and endurance in other lifts like squats and bench presses.
Dumbell Chest Flys
A great exercise for pectoral muscle growth, dumbbell chest flys work in conjunction with dumbbell bench presses.
Dumbbell chest flys can be done on a flat bench or in an incline or decline position on a bench.
This exercise is an isolation exercise, meaning it should be performed after completing all compound exercises.
Perform by holding two dumbbells at shoulder level in front of your body. Keep your arms straight but loose.
Slowly lower them outwards, making sure that they are facing directly outwards at all times. Stop when your elbows are about 90 degrees or when you feel a strong stretch on your pecs, whichever comes first.
Then raise back up slowly to starting position and repeat for one set of 10-12 repetitions per side.
A couple things to remember: keep your torso still throughout movement and don't lean back too far during exercise or you'll put unnecessary strain on shoulder joints.
A clap press-up is a more challenging variation of a standard press-up.
If you want to give your chest muscles some extra stimulation, then these are for you.
When performing a clap press-up, lower yourself down until your upper arms are parallel with your shoulders, before explosively pressing up through your arms and clapping your hands together beneath your chest.
At first, clap press-ups will be difficult so lower yourself slowly at first, but as you get stronger, you'll be able to build up your explosive power on each rep.
Well, there you have it! Our guide on how to get a bigger chest. We have supplied you with our best tips and the best exercises to build a bigger chest, at home or at the gym.
It is important to concentrate on compound exercises when your goal is to increase muscle growth. Isolation exercises have their place in any great workout but put your focus and energy on compound exercises first.
We encourage you to log your diet for reflection, Make sure to increase your proteins as well as your vitamins and minerals. Don't ignore them carbs either!
We hope you have enjoyed our article and you was able to gain some good tips for your fitness journey.