Add Inches to Your Pecs with these Total Gym Exercises
The warmer weather is approaching and that means most of us are ramping up the frequency and intensity of our workouts. We are all striving to build the type of body we can feel confident about when we go to our summer pool parties and beach days. With this in mind, one muscle group to focus on, especially for the men reading this, will be the chest or pectoral muscles.
If muscle hypertrophy (muscle growth) is a goal of yours, it’s a smart strategy to include a full-body training approach. Too many folks (men are probably more guilty than women on this), focus too much time on the “mirror muscles”; muscles you can only see when you look in the mirror. Unfortunately, targeting only the biceps, abs, and chest muscles can lead to structural imbalances and potential injuries down the road. Include movements that target the lower body and upper body posterior chain as well. Not only will it aid in injury prevention, it will give you an overall healthier looking physique as well. And you won’t be afraid to wear shorts at the beach.
Now that we understand the importance of a full-body routine, how do we get a muscle to grow? To increase the size of muscles, we need at least one of three things to occur:
1. Muscle tension
Constant tension (time under tension), with extra focus on the eccentric portion of the movement.
2. Metabolic stress
Commonly known at “the pump”. There is research to support the meatheads “chasing the pump”. This increased blood flow to the area of focus leads to an increase in muscle size.
3. Muscle damage
Achieved with heavier loads, multiple variations, and/or an eccentric focus.
Our sample routine below includes these muscle-building factors. It also has movements that will target the back muscles and the lower body, while giving a little “extra love” to our primary target muscle group. It’s a 6-movement routine, with three of the exercises targeting the chest (chest press, chest fly, and pushup) and the other three targeting the rest of the body.
You will perform five sets of the two ‘A’ movements, then 3 sets of the two ‘B’ movements, and then finish with the ‘C’ group.
A1. CHEST – Chest Press
5 sets of 10 reps
A2. PULLING – 2-Arm Row
5 sets of 10 reps
B1. CHEST – Chest Fly
3 sets of 15 reps
B2. LOWER – Static Glideboard Split Squat
3 sets of 8 reps per leg
C1. CHEST – Pushup *
C2. PULLING – Pullup *
* These two movements will be done in a “10-1 ladder” fashion. For example, you’ll perform 10 pushups, then 10 pullups. Next, perform 9 pushups and 9 pullups, and count down from there. Your last set will be 1 pushup and 1 pullup.