Image by: Ian Carroll
By Jake Bradshaw
A big chest is one of the most sought after looks all men want. Not only does it make us look more masculine, but it also gives the illusion of a flatter stomach and stronger physique. But unfortunately for many of us, no matter how hard we try it seems nearly impossible to get our chest to expand.
If we want to have the chest of our dreams, it takes more than just push ups and protein shakes. To get you killer definition around your pecs, you have to understand how the body works. Let’s break it down.
#1) Balance The Back
Muscle building is all about cause and effect. In other words, your chest will not grow if the body senses imbalance so you must do as much work for your back as you do for your front. This also goes for upper body and lower body. Everything is connected in a very strange way, and the less you think about it, the better. Here are a couple good regiments:
- Dumbbell Rows – Bend over a bench with one knee on the surface and the other leg flat on the floor. Place one hand flat on the bench (the same side of the knee), and pull a dumbbell up from your free hand as if you’re starting a lawn mower. 10 – 12 reps, 3 times each, and switch sides.
- Pull Ups – Simple army-like pull ups from a hanging bell. Pull yourself up from the ground with your legs curled under for extra tension. This strengthens the sides of your back, making you more likely to have a nice side angle cut around your pecs.
#2) More Calories = More Muscle Synthesis
Here’s a fun fact: 3,500 calories equals 1 pound. According to BodyBuilding.com, if you want to gain 1 pound of muscle per week you need to add 3,500 calories into your weekly diet, i.e. 500 extra calories a day.
Stay away from processed foods and fake sugar. These chemicals will react may increase your hormones, and since you will be doing a lot of chest exercises they will likely target that area. Meaning, you might grow man boobs instead of pecs.
- Proteins – Chicken, lean beef, fish, egg whites, and whey.
- Good Carbs – Brown rice, sweet potatoes, barley and oatmeal.
- Good Fats – Fish oil, avocado, and nuts.
A combination of all these foods will work with your body’s natural ability for muscle synthesis, henceforth, nourishing the areas you’re working out most.
#3) Extension Routines
Extension is the most important thing when it comes to chest exercises. You want to stretch your chest as much as it can so it gets a full contraction every time you pull it back to its original position. Regiments which involve extensions are always going to bring fast results.
- Bench Press – Lie flat on the bench and keep your back flat, not arched. Bring the bell down to where it’s almost touching your chest and push back up, getting a nice extension. Change the bench to an incline or a decline to place more emphasis on your upper or lower back.
- Peck Deck – This is the machine where two pads exist on either side as you press them in together. Your arms each form an L-shape while you extend to the side and pull inward. This gives a nice stretch, extension, and release.
One of the main reasons why doing routines that require no weight brings great results is that it forces you to have correct angles and extension, while creating more muscle fatigue.
- Push Ups – The classic has never disappointed yet. Make sure your back is straight and your focus straight forward (not looking at the floor). This opens up your chest much more.
- Chest Dips – Holding yourself up on a dip bar, lower yourself by bending your elbows and coming back up to a starting position. The lower you go, the more extension you will give to your muscles.
#5) Ab Stretching
Having a flatter stomach will naturally make your chest bigger. Make sure you combine both ab workouts and chest workouts together during your routines. The best way to a flatter stomach is by doing ab workouts which stretch and contract.
- Ab Lifts – Hold yourself up on a dip bar with your legs dangling beneath you. Pull the legs up to a 90 degree angle, then drop them back down, and repeat. Make sure you get a full extension and really feel the burn in your lower abs.
- Yoga – Yoga stretching is fantastic for your abs as well as all your other muscles. The more your muscles stretch, the more blood flow you give it. This targets them head-on for muscle building.