Pectoral Exercises are possibly the most sought after by those wanting to develop a prominent torso.
Having a developed pectoral automatically correlates with a powerful upper body strength.
How to work the pecs?
To properly train the pectoral we first need to know:
- How it is inserted and what its function is;
- What are the best angles to attack it; and
- What are the progressive intensity techniques to apply.
Anatomy of the Pectorals
This is the largest and is shaped like a fan.
It’s made up of two muscle bundles, with one originating in the clavicular region (clavicle) and the other in the costo-sternal region (ribs and sternum).
These bundles join and cross over to insert into the subtrochyteric crest of the humerus.
The functions of the pectoralis major depend on the different directions of the muscle fibres, so the humerus will perform different movements depending on their activation:
- Rising fibres (Clavicular): Flexion.
- Horizontal fibres (Sternal): Abduction and internal rotation.
- Descending fibres (Sternal-Abdominal): Extension.
The pectoral muscles are one of the largest muscles in the human body and generate the most force in the upper limb.
This is the smallest.
It’s located below the pectoralis major and its fibres are arranged perpendicular to it. It originates on the anterior aspect of the 3rd, 4th and 5th ribs and ascends to insert into the coracoid process of the scapula.
Exercises to strengthen the pectoral
One of the top reasons to train your chest is to improve upper body strength, as indicated in the prologue.
The bench press stands out above the rest as the best exercise for strengthening the pectoral muscles. We can vary the angle of the bench, and work in three planes: flat bench, incline or decline.
Simply increase the workload, and thus the intensity of the exercise.
It’s the ultimate chest workout.
It can also be worked as a dumbbell or barbell pectoral exercise.
However, when it comes to aesthetics, there’s no doubt that adding isolation exercises to our pectoral exercise routine will produce some pretty amazing results.
Pectoral Training on Pulleys for a “pumping” workout.
Working with calisthenic on the pectorals seems to me to be one of the best options for maximising both the development and functionality of the upper body.
For this, we can use either parallels, or, if we want to add a new stimulus and an extra difficulty, dips on rings.
Chest dips on parallel bars.
Exercises for pectorals
We can plan a chest training session through a strategic sequence of exercise types executed in a variety of ways.
What to say about the ‘must’ of chest training.
Bench Press with Barbell on Incline Bench
A widely used variant of the previous one.
Unilateral Bench Press
Excellent unilateral exercise that forces us to constantly keep the middle zone active, otherwise we will not be able to execute the exercise correctly.
A good workout to develop the pectoral, both in volume and strength, in addition to achieving a good “congestion”.
This would be another great exercise with a direct focus on aesthetics, as well as being one of the most widely used.
Although it generates some controversy when thought of as an exercise to work the chest directly, there’s no doubt that we can include it perfectly well in our routine.
Dips with a weight belt
You can choose to use a weight belt if you want to increase the tension.
How to work on your pecs at home?
At home, with limited equipment, the range of pectoral exercises that we can train with will be limited to using body weight.
Pectoral exercises at home
First of all, we can get a great ‘pump’ using the resistance bands. I assure you it’s real! Try doing 3 or 4 sets of 15-20 reps and let me know….
Resistance Bands Push-Ups
For the more daring, we have jumping push-ups or clap push-ups, within the so-called “plyometric push-ups” category. I recommend it if you’re looking to increase pectoral power.
Another option would be to add a hanging element to insert the feet and thus keep our lower body in suspension, emphasising the pectoral work.
Pectoral exercise routine
- Activation: Every 45″ perform 5x Clap push-ups.
- Bench Press: perform a pyramid of 15-12-10-8-6 repetitions, increasing the load with each new set.
- Inclined Flyes: perform 3 sets RiR-1, increasing the load in each new set.
- Pulley Crossovers: perform 3 sets RiR-1, increasing the load in each new set.
- Finisher: Drop Set of Unilateral Bench Press*.
- Reach muscle failure on one side, and, without rest, do the same on the other side.
- Repeat the above, without rest, using a lower load.
- This last one will be repeated one last time with an even lower load.
- Activation: Perform 3 sets of 12x Resistance band push-ups.
- Incline Bench Press: perform a pyramid of 15-12-10-8-6 repetitions increasing the load with each new set.
- Pullover: perform 3 sets of 12-15x, increasing the load in each new set.
- Chest Dips: perform 4 sets of 15-20x
- Finisher: Perform 2 attempts of Maximum push-ups with elevated feet in 1 minute (1min rest).
When we dedicate our day to chest training, we have to plan the routine to be developed.
Among the number of training strategies we can use, select the one that best suits you, or even alternate depending on the phase and season.
So, depending on the objectives, we can have in mind: Hypertrophy or Strength.
If we plan our training throughout the year, we’ll achieve better gains, both at aesthetic and strength levels
- Firstly, perform a mesocycle to increase our strength;
- Then in another mesocycle orientate these gains for hypertrophy (we’ll be able to handle loads with a higher intensity and number of repetitions)
- In este post we tell you all about the Bar Row: technique, execution and muscles involved
- Do you know the Rest&Pause method? Click here and find out all about it!