Pectoral Exercises: Get Them Bigger than Ever

Pectoral Exercises: Get Them Bigger than Ever

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.

While pec training is already a favourite for many, noting and marking Monday as International Chest Training Day, we can’t forget that its work also conditions other muscle groups in an indirect way, such as the triceps.

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.
In other words, we need to understand how its anatomy is constituted:

Anatomy of the Pectorals

Pectoralis major

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.

Pectoral

The pectoral muscles are one of the largest muscles in the human body and generate the most force in the upper limb.

Pectoralis minor

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.

It does not have a mobilising function as such, but rather intervenes in scapular stabilisation and participates in the movements of the ribs when breathing.

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.

Decline bench press

It can also be worked as a dumbbell or barbell pectoral exercise.

The recruitment of muscle fibres is usually maximised by these exercises, and, therefore, one of the ways to increase both the volume and strength of the pectoralis.

Isolation exercises

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.

Pulleys

Pectoral Training on Pulleys for a “pumping” workout.

If your aim is to maximise your rib cage, the best thing to do is train thoroughly with the corresponding exercises.

Bodyweight exercises

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

Chest dips on parallel bars.

Of course, more advanced users can incorporate a higher intensity by adding weight belts in any variant.

Exercises for pectorals

We can plan a chest training session through a strategic sequence of exercise types executed in a variety of ways.

Bench Press

Bench Press - Pectoral exercises

What to say about the ‘must’ of chest training.

In this guide we explain the correct way to perform the bench press in full detail.

Bench Press with Barbell on Incline Bench

Bench Press with Barbell on Incline Bench

A widely used variant of the previous one.

Unilateral Bench Press

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.

Thus we can say that this exercise would be functional, as it is necessary to have postural and proprioceptive control throughout the movement phase.

Inclined flyes

Inclined flyes - Pectoral exercises

A good workout to develop the pectoral, both in volume and strength, in addition to achieving a good “congestion”.

I would consider it an aesthetics exercise.

Pulley Crossovers

Pulley Crossovers

This would be another great exercise with a direct focus on aesthetics, as well as being one of the most widely used.

Working it in high repetition ranges, keeping the tension at the end of the concentric phase, and slowly performing the eccentric, will lead to great results.

Pullover

Pullover - Pectoral exercises

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.

Before starting with this move, it’s advisable to assess our range of shoulder mobility in order to avoid possible injuries.

Dips with a weight belt

Dips with a weight belt

You can choose to use a weight belt if you want to increase the tension.

Add chest dips to your routine.

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 - Pectoral exercises

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.

Plyometric push-ups

Plyometric push-ups.

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.

Suspended push-ups

Suspended push-ups.

Pectoral exercise routine

Training A

  1. Activation: Every 45″ perform 5x Clap push-ups.
  2. Bench Press: perform a pyramid of 15-12-10-8-6 repetitions, increasing the load with each new set.
  3. Inclined Flyes: perform 3 sets RiR-1, increasing the load in each new set.
  4. Pulley Crossovers: perform 3 sets RiR-1, increasing the load in each new set.
  5. Finisher: Drop Set of Unilateral Bench Press*.
*Explanation:
  • 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.

Training B

  1. Activation: Perform 3 sets of 12x Resistance band push-ups.
  2. Incline Bench Press: perform a pyramid of 15-12-10-8-6 repetitions increasing the load with each new set.
  3. Pullover: perform 3 sets of 12-15x, increasing the load in each new set.
  4. Chest Dips: perform 4 sets of 15-20x
  5. Finisher: Perform 2 attempts of Maximum push-ups with elevated feet in 1 minute (1min rest).

Tips

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.

Pectoral Exercises

If we plan our training throughout the year, we’ll achieve better gains, both at aesthetic and strength levels

Although they are different types of training with different guidelines, we can benefit from both:
  • 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)

Related Entries

  • 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!
Review of Pectoral Exercises

Muscule Development - 100%

Strength Gain - 100%

Variety - 100%

Results - 100%

100%

HSN Evaluation: 4.5 /5
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About Javier Colomer
Javier Colomer
Under the motto “Knowledge Makes me Stronger”, Javier Colomer clearly expresses his intentions to share his knowledge and experience within the world of Fitness. His BPT training system is proof of this.
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