Building A Chest Like King Kong Takes A Solid Chest Workout Routine

It is officially November and “bulking season” is officially here.  During this time most lifters want to build muscle mass during the cooler weather.  So for most of you, a chest workout routine is a big part of your fall and winter training routine. 

Before you hit the iron, try to think about what makes a great chest workout routine.  Is it performing 20 exercises of 8-12 reps?  Or is is working your chest until it’s numb?

If you don’t know the answers to these questions, don’t feel bad.  Most people don’t. 

In this article, I am going to show you how to design a chest workout routine that doesn’t suck!

Without waiting any longer, let’s begin!

The Anatomy Of The Chest

The chest is divided into 2 major muscle groups, the pectoralis major and pectoralis minor.

Pectoralis major mainly is responsible for horizontal adduction and arm flexion.  This is anatomy talk for bringing your arms in front of your body. 

Pectoralis Major

However, the elbows must be “tucked in” close to your body.  Otherwise you are not training your chest.  You are just working your shoulders.  Which always leads to injury. 

The pectoralis minor lies underneath the pectorailis major and is mainly responsible for movement at the scapulae.  With that said, the remainder of this article will focus on the pectoralis major. 

Oh……. I almost forgot to mention.

The pectoralis minor is rarely used in everyday life as a standalone muscle group.  It is mainly used with the shoulders and triceps. 

Pectoralis Minor

Therefore, we have to be a little creative when designing our workout routines. 

The Problem With Your Typical Chest Workout Routine

Here’s a look at your typical chest workout routine:

  • Dumbbell Bench Press 4 X 8-12
  • Dumbbell Flys 4 X 8-12
  • Cable Chest Flys 3 X 10-15
  • Machine Iso Chest Press 3 X 10-15
  • Machine Flys 3 X 10-15

I could go on and on but you get the idea. 

To sum it all up, most people just don’t have any strategy, they use the shotgun approach and just hit the chest with a lot of volume and random exercises that look good. 

In mathematics, this strategy is called guess, check and revise.  There is nothing wrong with this, except absolutely nobody is revising their workouts.

They are just repeating this same bad tactic over and over again. 

Ask yourself right now if that describes you.  If it does, why do you keep repeating the same mistakes? 

The Goal Of Any Workout Program

The main goal of any workout program is simple: RESULTS.

If you are performing a workout routine of any kind and you are getting better, stronger and faster, then you are getting results.  In this case, just keep doing what you are doing. 

If you are not getting results, or minimal results, then you need to stop what you are doing and revise your approach!

This is what separates success from failure. 

An “Improved” Chest Workout Routine

Ok, back to chest workouts. 

At the beginning of this article, I mentioned that the chest works in synergy with the triceps and shoulders to produce movement. 

Obviously, that is not so much the case with flys, but it is true for just about every other chest exercise.  Especially the bench press and dips!

Logically, the more muscle groups you use during a workout, the more weight you can lift! 

Pretty straight forward.

Now with that same logic if you want to build more muscle mass, you want to load a muscle group up with as much weight as possible.

With that said, isolating the chest will NOT lead to the most muscle growth. 

You want to be using heavy compound movements involving the most muscle groups possible to train your chest. 

Bench Press

Here’s a list of some great compound exercises: 

  • Bench Press
  • Dips
  • Explosive Push Ups
  • Dumbbell Bench Press
  • Incline Bench Press
  • Board Presses
  • Floor Presses

Sets, Reps & Structure Of Your Chest Workout

So you are now familiar with the exercises.  Let’s go over how to structure your chest workouts.

Structure

When you design your chest workout, you want to start with a heavy compound exercise, like the ones in the list above.  These are called “core” exercises.    

These exercises are going to make your chest grow bigger and stronger more than any other exercise.

So do them FIRST!

After you perform the main exercise, you want to perform several (~2-4) smaller exercises with lighter weight and higher volume that will support the “core” exercise.

Dumbbell Bench Press

Smaller exercises can be thought of as assistance exercises

Reps

Before we talk about sets, let’s talk about reps.

Here’s the visual on rep schemes:

  • 1-3 reps (Power)
  • 4-6 reps (Strength)
  • 8-12 reps (Hypertrophy)
  • 12-20 reps (Endurance)

For our “core” exercises, we want to build as much strength as possible.  Therefore, we want to perform around 1-6 reps for these exercises. 

This will build maximal strength for your chest and help it grow nice and big!

For the smaller exercises, perform around 6-12 repetitions with as much weight as possible. 

Do not ever sacrifice form for lifting heavier weight.  That’s how injuries happen.

Always pick a weight that you can do for all of the repetitions. 

Sets

Finally let’s talk about how many sets you should perform.

For the “core” exercise, the sets should correlate to how many reps you are doing.  For these heavier exercises, you should be doing at least 9-25 reps total for the workout. 

This will develop maximal strength. 

If you are doing 25 total reps, then 5 sets of 5 reps will work for the workout. 

Other variations include:

  • 8 sets of 3 reps (24 reps total)
  • 6 sets of 4 reps (24 reps total)
  • 12 sets of 2 reps (24 reps total)
  • 10 sets of 2 reps (20 reps total)
  • 4 sets of 5 reps (20 reps total)

Any of these variations will work for you core exercise. 

For the smaller exercises, you want to perform anywhere from 3-6 sets total for each exercise after the core exercise. 

You may need to adjust the reps depending on how many sets you do. For example, 3 sets of 10 reps, 4 sets of 8 reps or 5 sets of 6 reps. 

It doesn’t matter which one you choose, just pick one that works for you. 

Again, you want to make sure that you pick the heaviest weight possible for your smaller exercises. 

The smaller exercises will build up the core exercise, which will ultimately build a bigger and stronger chest. 

The Ultimate Chest Workout Routine Template

Here is a portable template you can use to start making gains right away.

Perform any of the following consistently at least 2x per week.

First Version

 

Core Exercise

  • Bench Press
  • 5 sets of 5 reps

 

Smaller Exercises

  • Dumbbell Bench Press
  • 5 sets of 6 reps
  • Dips
  • 4 sets of 8-10 reps
  • Dumbbell Flys
  • 3 sets of 10-15 reps
  • Chest Press Machine
  • 3 sets of 10-15 reps

 

Second Version

 

Core Exercise

  • Weighted Dips
  • 8 sets of 3 reps

 

Smaller Exercises

  • Floor Presses
  • 4 sets of 8 reps
  • Incline Dumbbell Bench Press
  • 3 sets of 10-12 reps
  • Cable Flys
  • 3 sets of 10-15 reps
  • Pec Dec Fly Machine
  • 3 sets of 10-15 reps

 

The combinations and possibilities are really endless.  Just remember you are only limited by your own imagination. 

Conclusion

My goal was to give you a clear, concise and brief article about not only chest workouts or a chest workout routine, but how to actually build one for yourself.

I can confidently say that I accomplished my mission with this article.

Too many article online always try to throw all kinds of big fancy exercises at you.  The latest “cutting edge” exercise is more often than not a fashion statement.

Always remember something, the basics and classics are there for a reason. 

THEY WORK!

Stick with what works and don’t worry about looking cool.  Achieve success and get awesome results and you will be cool no matter what.       

I have given you all the information necessary to start kicking ass and taking names. 

All that’s left for you is to do it.  So get out there and get it!


Tony G
Tony G

Anthony is a fan of all things gym related. Growing up very overweight and out of shape, Anthony whipped himself into shape and stunned his entire community becoming a "fitness guru". Tony then set his sights on strength sports (Weightlifting/Powerlifting/Strongman) and learned all about body mechanics, mobility work and injury prevention. Tony found his true love in the strength sports, particularly Olympic Weightlifting. He earned a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree from Fitchburg State University in Exercise and Sports Science. He is also a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the NSCA.

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