Next level: complete chest routine (5 killer exercises)


This is a complete workout routine that targets the entire chest muscle. And the good thing is: if you perform these exercises as explained below you will see results fast!

 

A chest routine doesn’t have to be difficult. I’m performing dumbbell, barbell and even some machine chest exercises for years now and I still get good results!

 

chest workout routine

This next level complete chest routine includes 5 of the most effective chest exercises that you can perform. They target every single part of the chest:

 

- the top part via incline exercises

- the lower part via decline exercises

- the central part via horizontal (flat) exercises

- the middle part via fly exercises

 

chest routine

Fitness technique

In order to gain muscle mass you have to align the most important elements of your workout schedule:

  1. Number of sets
  2. Number of repetitions (reps)
  3. Weight
  4. Rest time

These 4 elements determine your result. Align them correctly to gain muscle mass. This is how you develop a broad and muscular chest. It takes different fitness techniques to achieve other goals such as increasing muscle strength or endurance.

 

The concept of progressive overload is explained in a separate article. Click here to read all about it.

 

1. Number of sets

Perform 3 to 4 sets per exercise. Performing less than 3 exercises decreases the effectiveness of the exercise.

 

If you perform more than 4 sets you are using up all your energy at the first one or two exercises. This decreases the effectiveness of the exercises that still have to come.

 

I usually perform 4 sets for the first two or three exercises and 3 sets for the remaining exercises.

 

2. Number of reps

Perform 8 to 12 reps per set. Performing less than 8 reps means that the focus shifts towards increasing muscle strength instead of building muscle mass. And when you perform more than 12 reps you are focussing on increasing muscle endurance.

 

I try to perform 12 reps for the first set, at least 10 reps for the second set and at least 8 reps for set 3 (and 4 if you perform 4 sets).

 

3. Weight

Performing the exercises with the right weight is crucial when you want to develop muscle mass. As mentioned above you have to perform between 8 and 12 reps per set. Here is where the term 1RM comes in.

 

Maybe you have heard about this concept before. RM stands for Repetition Maximum; 1RM is the heaviest weight with which you are still able to perform 1 rep. In order to focus on developing muscle mass, you perform the exercises with a weight that’s 75% of your 1RM. Let me give you an example:

 

The heaviest weight with which you can perform 1 bench press rep is 120kg / 265lbs. In order to focus on building muscle mass you perform this exercise with 90kg / 200lbs. This is 75% of your 1RM.

 

If this 1RM concept gets a bit to complicated then just do the following: select a weight with which you think you can perform 12 reps. If you are able to perform 12 reps and still have a lot of energy left then increase the weight. If you don’t manage to perform at least 8 reps then lower the weight.

 

chest workout routine

4. Rest time

Rest time is the fourth important element. A lot of people underestimate the importance of resting the right amount of time in between sets. Pleased with the fact that they just performed a heavy set, they take out their phones and start browsing Facebook and Instagram. And four minutes later they perform their next set.

 

This is not effective and decreases the quality of your workout significantly. When you are focussing on developing muscle mass, aim to rest between 60 and 90 seconds in between sets. You want to give your body some time to prepare for the next set but at the same time you don’t want to let it recover completely. At the end of your workout your muscles need to be damaged so that your body will repair them and muscle growth occurs. 

 

Click here for more information about the right fitness technique to develop muscle mass.

 

Chest workout routine

This workout routine consists of 5 exercises that all target a different part of the chest.

 

chest workout routine

Instruction video:

Exercises

chest exercise bench press

Bench press (flat)

Put the bench in a horizontal position. Lay on your back and put your feet flat and firmly on the ground. Grab the bar slightly wider than shoulder width. Then lower the bar towards the middle of your chest. You can either press the bar back up just before it hits your chest or you let it touch your chest and then press it up again. Make sure that when you press up you don’t lock your elbows. Ensure constant tension on the chest muscle by always keeping your elbows slightly bent when performing the press.

 


machine chest fly chest exercise

Fly machine

Take a seat on the machine. Place you upper arm and a part of your fore arm against the armrests. Make sure that your elbows are on the same height as your shoulders and your arms are in a 90 degree angle. Push the armrests towards each other and just before they touch slowly bring them back to starting position.


chest exercises decline bench press

Bench press (decline)

Put the bench in a decline position, so that your head is lower than your feet. Grab the bar slightly wider than shoulder width. Then lower the bar towards the middle of your chest. You can either press the bar back up just before it hits your chest or you let it touch your chest and then press it up again. Just like performing the ‘normal’ bench press make sure to keep tension on the chest muscle during the entire exercise. Don’t lock your elbows when you press up.


chest exercise dumbbell chest press

Dumbbell press (flat)

You perform the dumbbell press in the same way that you perform the bench press with a bar. Put the bench in a horizontal position. Lay on your back and put your feet flat and firmly on the ground. Press the dumbbells up and then slowly lower them back. When your arms are in a 90 degree angle press the dumbbells up again. You can choose to lower the dumbbells a little further to stretch your chest muscle a bit extra. This is not possible when you perform the bench press with a bar.


chest exercises incline dumbbell press

Dumbbell press (incline)

Put the bench in an incline position at about 30 to 45 degrees. Lay on your back and put your feet flat and firmly on the ground. Press the dumbbells up and then slowly lower them back. When your arms are in a 90 degree angle press the dumbbells up again.