ALL men and even some women want a chest (pecs) to impress — strong, powerful, well-built and defined. But how do you train your chest efficiently for maximum growth? Personal trainer and fitness instructor at Hard End Fitness Factory, Gisel Harrow, shares below some of the best exercises that will help you to train and build your chest fastest.
Barbell bench press
To do this you will lie on your back with the bar of weight above you, roughly in line with your nipples. Now grip the bar firmly, both hands aligned with your shoulder, and push the bar up off the holsters, then slowly bring it down until it is a few inches above your chest. With a smooth, fluid motion, push the bar up until your arms are almost fully extended. Repeat this for three sets of eight (maximum 12) repetitions.
Dumbbells, chest flies
With a dumbbell in each hand, lie on your back and extend your arms out to your side as if you were forming a cross. Now with your palms facing up slowly, with your arms still extended, curl your hands together until the dumbbells meet above the centre of your chest, then slowly return your arms to your sides. Repeat for three sets of eight to 12 repetitions.
Side note: Always remember to keep your elbows from dropping below your shoulder joint so you don't hyper-extend it. Putting your elbows too low can result in a shoulder injury.
Incline chest press
Lie back on an incline bench. Now plant your feet firmly on the ground and make sure your glutes are in direct contact with the bench. Place your hands on the bar an inch or two wider than shoulder-width apart and unrack the bar, then pull it down to the top of your chest. Keep your elbows close to your body and lock your shoulders down and press firmly up so the bar is over your eyes, then repeat for the desired number of repetitions.
Place the pulleys of a cable machine to a high position (above your head). Select your resistance and hold the handles of the pulley in each hand using an overhand grip. Then come into an athletic stance so one leg is in front of the other, there's a soft bend in your knees, and you're leaning forward a bit. With your arms outstretched toward each pulley, curl and pull them together in an arc so your hands nearly touch. Slowly resist the tension until your arms are about to straighten, then repeat.
Position your body so your wrists are aligned under your shoulders, arms straight, abs tight, and fingers spread wide to support your weight. Now lower your body until your chest is an inch or two above the floor, then push away from the ground until your arms lock. Repeat this for your desired number of repetitions. You can focus on increasing the numbers as you get stronger.