Best Workout for Chest

Spartacus Body

Every guy I have talked to about training wants a bigger and better developed chest. The truth is that a great chest is something you earn…. Not something you are born with. For most guys building a great chest is a long and daunting task. It takes a long time and results come slow. Well that is when you train like 99% of the people out there.

You see many guys are making the same mistakes over and over again.

Mistake #1 – Only Hitting Chest Once Per Week

Most guys follow basic bodybuilding programs that dedicate equal amounts of time to each muscle group. Now if your chest is something that comes slow (for most guys this is the case) than it is a wise idea to allocate more time towards training your chest. So instead of working your chest once per week add a second workout into the mix. By doing this you will guarantee consistent increase in the size and strength of your chest.

Mistake #2 – Not Increasing Strength

In order for your chest to get bigger it has to get stronger. This is called progressive overload. By increasing the weight you can lift overtime your muscles adapt by increasing in size.

The problem is that 99% of the guys out there aren’t training in way that is conducive to strength gains. They slap on a 45 pound plate onto each side of the bar and perform 12 reps. They add more weight and try and do another high rep set to failure. They burn out their chest long before they even get to their ‘work set’. Instead what they should be doing is building up to their work set without coming close to failure. This can be accomplished by performing each warm-up set for 3-6 reps explosively.

For example lets say that somebody wants to perform 5 reps with 200 pounds. Here is what they should do:

95 lbs x 8 reps

135 lbs x 5 reps

165 lbs x 3 reps

185 lbs x 3 reps

200 lbs x 5 reps

This method wakes up your bodies central nervous system without causing fatigue. Chances are you will feel super strong when you get to your work sets.

Mistake #3 – Not feeling their chest during the workout

Several guys I have talked to never feel their chest during their chest workouts. This is because they don’t know how to bench press properly.

By rolling your shoulders back and squeezing your shoulder blades together you transfer the tension from your shoulders to your chest. As you press the weight up you should focus hard on squeezing your chest and developing the mind to muscle connection.

Here’s a little tip – during all of your chest exercises have your workout buddy place their fingers where your trying to work your chest. This helps increase the mind to muscle connection as it gives you a reference point to work with.

Ex: during incline presses have your partner place their fingers on your upper chest. If your performing machine flies for your inner chest have your partner put their fingers on your inner chest.

Mistake #4 – Selecting the wrong exercises

Exercise selection is extremely important in determining how your chest grows. Most people perform way to many flat presses and flat flies instead of incline presses and flies. This results in an under-developed upper chest which gives the pectorals a droopy look. For a complete look into the Best Chest Exercises click here – 10 Most Effective Chest Exercises for Button Popping Pecs

The Best Workout for Chest:

Make sure to check out the Best Chest Exercises so you have an understanding of the following exercises that will be included into the workouts. You can perform these chest workouts with any split that you would like. I recommend working chest with back. However you can perform chest and biceps or chest and triceps.

Cable Cross Overs

Chest Workout #1:

Incline Barbell Bench Press: 4 x 4-6 reps (2 minutes rest – explode up, control down)

Gironda Neck Press: 3 x 6-8 reps (90 seconds rest – controlled tempo)

Low Incline Dumbbell Squeeze Press: 3 x 8-12 reps (60 seconds rest – slow and controlled, focus on squeezing the dumbbells together as hard as possible on the descent)

Chest Workout #2:

Incline Dumbbell Bench Press: 4 x 4-6 reps (2 minutes rest – explode up, control down)

Gironda Dips or Regular Bar Dips: 3 x 6-8 reps (90 seconds rest – controlled tempo)

Machine or Cable Flyes: 3 x 8-12 reps (60 seconds rest – slow and controlled temp0)

Chest Workout #3

Flat Barbell Bench Press: 4 x 4-6 reps (2 minutes rest – explode up, control down)

Incline Dumbbell Bench Press: 3 x 6-8 reps (90 seconds rest – controlled tempo)

Low Incline Dumbbell Flyes: 3 x 8-10 (60 seconds rest – slow and controlled)

Workout Notes:

  • Work your chest 2x per week alternating between the 3 workouts
  • Record your weight and reps every workout and focus on improving every single week
  • Controlled Tempo means 2 seconds up and 2 seconds down
  • Slow and Controlled Tempo means 3 seconds up and 3 seconds down

The Thinking Behind This Workout?

When it comes to building masculine square pecs these workout are really as good as it gets. First off you are going to be hitting your chest 2x per week. By working your chest 2x per week you can drastically speed up progress. In fact after a few weeks you should notice a bigger, fuller and more complete chest.

The first exercise of the workouts are dedicated towards increasing your strength. This is super important because progressive overload is crucial when it comes to building muscle. The first exercise we are going to perform only 4-6 repetitions with 2 minutes rest which is great for building strong and dense muscle. This is because lower reps trigger myofibrillar hypertrophy which is an increase in the size of muscle fibers – leading to stronger, denser and slightly larger muscles. Higher reps trigger sarcoplasmic hypertrophy which increases the fluid like substance in the muscles – this makes the muscle larger but not necessarily stronger.

For the second exercise we are going to increase the reps to 6-8 and decrease the rest time to 90 seconds. This is a great set-up for a balance of myofibrillar and sarcoplasmic hypertrophy. Meaning you will add nice size from this with an increase in strength too.

For the last exercise we are going to increase the reps to 8-12 and decrease the rest time to 60 seconds. This is where your going to get the best muscle building effect since this will target mostly sarcoplasmic hypertrophy. You will actually notice your chest looking bigger for the next couple hours due to the ‘pump’ effect.

Build Muscle Mass Like a Greek God:

If your looking to build the perfect lean and muscular physique than I highly recommend you checkout Visual Impact Muscle Building by Rusty Moore. This is my favorite muscle building workout book I have ever read. This book will teach you how to gain lean muscle properly and how to maximize muscle definition and density.


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  • Wibikurus

    could please give me weight and reps example? if i just can do 5 reps @20 lbs (max). Sorry i’m newbie :)

    • admin

      In the next chest article I will discuss those topics. What exercise are you talking about btw? Dumbbell Bench Press?
      If your just getting into weight training I recommend performing about 3 sets of 8-12 reps per set. This will give you a base to build upon. You should use a weight that challenges you for the given rep range. So the last few reps should be a struggle

  • Wibikurus

    I’m skinny guy, do i need decline bench press? confused :)

    • admin

      Nope! The most important thing is to build your upper chest. So start your workouts with incline bench press. Decline is definitely not necessary. I prefer dips to work my lower chest anyways.

      Greg O’G.

  • Pac

    So you’re saying that the best way to develop a strong chest is to focus primarily on the upper chest? So cut back on flat bench and cut out all decline?

    • admin

      Well you definitely want to focus mostly on the upper chest but you don’t want to neglect the other areas of your chest. So I did include some flat bench movements and bar dips. I find bar dips to be way better for building the ‘sweep’ (lower pecs) than decline bench.

  • Pac

    Good stuff, thanks!

  • wibikurus

    I’ve already followed your workout. My pecs get thicker, but not wide enough

    hmm… what exercise that would make my chest wider? so i’m gonna hit that exercise more, aiming for wider chest.

    thank you

  • Camilo

    Hey Greg, Wouldn’t it be better to do this? Flat bench press, Incline bench press and Decline bench press for a full workout?

    • admin

      I encourage you to try out the chest workouts I provided and I guarantee you will love them. The method you mentioned is what most people do and more often that not it leads to overdeveloped lower pecs. This doesn’t look good and it doesn’t look masculine. In addition when growing the chest I feel it important to include some flye or cross over exercises. Most people have trouble truly activating their pecs during regular bench presses and incline presses. Flye and cross over variations teach you how to activate your chest properly.

  • Bob

    What exercise would you for someone with a chest like the guy of the “dieting for fat loss” section (

    His right pectoral seems to have fiber running down the side and nothing in the upper inner part. My chest development starts looking a bit similar and I don’t like it so much.

  • Mark Thomas

    Hey Greg,

    I was wondering what were your thoughts about the range of motion we would need on the bench press (and even the military press).

    Should we press the barbell/dumbbell till lockout to emphasize the tension on the target muscles more?


    • Greg


      I opt for using a full range of motion on pretty much all movements. This is more effective for strength building. If you are doing high rep pump training then it’s okay to shorten the range of motion to keep constant tension on the muscle.

  • Mago

    Hey Greg,
    I was wondering if you could give me your expert advice on what I should do regarding my chest. I feel like my chest has that rounded look (lower and outer) even though I am relatively low body fat (11%-12%). The outer and lower pecs seem to be over-developed and way ahead of of my inner and upper pecs even though I stick to incline dumbbell/barbell benching (2 X warm up sets + 3 X max of 5 reps, 3 min rest periods). My upper chest just doesn’t not seem to develop from these exercises, not sure why. I’ll admit, I haven’t put enough emphasis on flyes, which is what I’m doing now (as well as Gironda Neck Presses) to help develop inner and upper pecs. These exercises, I can tell, are having an affect. I’ve completely dropped incline benching in hopes to shrink my outer pecs and make my chest more even. Do you think that is a good idea? I really don’t want my lower or outer pecs to grow anymore, just wanted to be more angular and defined. I haven’t done flat benching in a long time, since I’ve always wanted to focus and develop my upper chest. I’ve been focusing on my upper chest for almost a year.

    My goal is to have a chest similar to yours – angular and defined. Do you have any suggestions on how I should even out my chest and make it more angular without making my lower and outer pecs bigger?

    Thanks, I appreciate your help, I’ve been a fan of your blog for awhile now!


    • Greg

      Keep things simple! Do at-least 2x more volume on incline benching than flat.

      Use a medium grip for benching (slightly wider than shoulder width). Get your incline bench press up. This is what will help fill out your upper pecs and bring the chest line up to the collar bone. You should be looking at incline barbell bench press – 1.2x bw for 5 reps.

  • Juan

    Hi Greg,

    I know I have my inner chest underdeveloped… I was thinking on working my chest twice a week following these 2 routines:

    A) Strength day
    5×5 BB Incline Press (closer than normal grip) + 4×8 DB Incline Press (the same)

    B) Inner focus day
    4×8 Cable Crossovers + 4×8 Peck Deck

    How do you see it? Some feedback would be appreciated.

    • Greg

      Looks like a good routine. I actually don’t do any cable cross overs, flyes, or machine peck deck anymore. Heavy incline and flat benching will build your entire chest. Flyes are really overrated and don’t help much at all. Flyes only help to feel your chest but once you can hit your chest hard with incline benching and flat benching you no longer need any isolation chest movements.

  • Mago

    For barbell/dumbell incline benching, what angle should I set the bench to? (Relative to the flat position)



    • Greg

      30-45 degrees. I like to go pretty much 45 degrees or slightly below but some people find it doesn’t hit their chest very well if they go above 45 degrees. Since I keep my chest really high and back arched this has never been a problem.

  • anssi


    I’m teen and I’ve just started working out. My problem is that I have a bad body structure and bad genetics. My waist is wider than my chest and I have kind of bulky legs and big ass even though I have never trained my legs. My whole upper body is smaller and quite skinny. Today I did bench press and incline DB bench press but i didn’t feel my chest after. Should I start to follow that workout above? How do I get my chest wider and upper body bigger?

    • Greg

      It will take time to transform your physique. This workout is more of an advanced routine for people with a lagging chest. I would recommend one of my other routines. Maybe your form was wrong. Ask for professional help to see if you are exercising properly.

  • Jon

    Hi Greg,
    Really impressed by your work and advice about intermitted fasting and it has help me shed loads of fat and gained me more free time.

    But Just have a quick question, I am currently training 3 times a week with the following:
    Work out A – Chest & Triceps
    Incline Barbell Bench Press: 6 sets – 12, 10, 8, 6, 6, 12-15
    Incline DB or Machine Press: 6 sets – 12, 10, 8, 6, 6, 12-15
    Skull Crushers: 6 sets – 12, 10, 8, 6, 6, 12-15
    Rope Extensions: 6 sets – 12, 10, 8, 6, 6, 12-15
    HIIT – Kettle bell swing + Press ups

    Work out B – Back & Biceps
    Pull ups : 6 sets – 12, 10, 8, 6, 6, 12-15
    Cable Rows: 6 sets – 12, 10, 8, 6, 6, 12-15
    Bent Over Flyes: 6 sets – 12, 10, 8, 6, 6, 12-15
    Incline DB Curls: 6 sets – 12, 10, 8, 6, 6, 12-15
    Cable Rope Curls (hammer grip): 6 sets – 12, 10, 8, 6, 6, 12-15
    HIIT – Rowing + lat pull down

    Work out C – Shoulders & Legs
    DB Shoulder Press: 6 sets – 12, 10, 8, 6, 6, 12-15
    Hang Cleans: 6 sets – 12, 10, 8, 6, 6, 12-15
    Lateral Raises: 6 sets – 12, 10, 8, 6, 6, 12-15
    Pistol squats or Bulgarian Split Squats: 6 sets – 12, 10, 8, 6, 6, 12-15
    Standing Dumbbell One Leg Calf Raises: 6 sets – 12, 10, 8, 6, 6, 12-15
    HIIT – Pushup position knee lifts + prison squats

    As it stands I want to include doing my chest twice a week as you advised so I can fill it out and what I’m really asking is where would you recommend I include it…

    I’m pretty sure I’m just being greedy here and If it turns out that I cant add in the additional chest days would you recommend I just go through the phases in Rusty Moore’s book?

    (Last question)
    Would it also go to reason if my back is rubbish (no “wings”) that I should also train that twice a week?

    sorry for the longer then expected question…

  • Lucas

    Hi Greg
    I’m thinking about this 2 times per week routine. How should I do that?
    My schedule
    Legs+shoulders+shrugs +forearm

    My question – where I should put second workout with chest, you say that working it out once a week isn’t enough. So what should I do?

    • Greg

      You can do chest again the day after back and biceps.