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How To Work Your Pecs | 5 Essential Chest Exercises

How To Work Your Pecs | 5 Essential Chest Exercises
Writer and expert8 years ago
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When it comes to attaining the perfect body, most males tend to focus more on the chest. Everyone wants the perfect shaped and sized pec muscles, right? In fact, a perfect chest shows the hard work you have done because bringing up chest takes time and effort.

Building a rock solid chest isn’t an easy task but it’s not a mammoth task, either. Here we pin down some of the most famous and commonly used exercises that should start adding chest definition in just 6-8 weeks.

Anatomy of the Chest Muscles

The chest region is divided into three different areas. The muscles of chest are called pectoral muscles (major and minor) and I would use pecs for defining those muscles in this article.

how to work your pecs
The chest consists of these 3 main areas:

  1. Upper pecs: The top most area of the chest. Gives a bulgy appearance when pumped, the muscles around the collar bone to be precise
  2. Middle pecs: The area around the nipples and the sides of the arm armpit.
  3. Lower pecs: The area below the nipples.

Exercise Methodology

It's time to ditch the old school methods of training. By old school, I mean doing individual muscle exercises, taking a long break between sets and then moving onto the next set.

This exercise methodology is a bit different and I would not advise it for beginners. The exercises and techniques written below need experience and definitely a spotter’s assistance. I am talking about going heavy and hard with the volume on the pecs. The recovery might be delayed once you perform the exercises mentioned below but it would be worth the pain.


Take this seriously. This is the most important thing in the workout. Warm ups are essential because while you work on chest , apart from pecs , shoulders , triceps , biceps gets involved so there is a need of a very good warm-up to have blood inflow in the muscles.

how to work your pecs

Push-ups – Do incline, decline, flat pushups with a medium, wide and normal grip in one go. Perform 10 reps each without taking a break.

Shoulder Roll/Rotate – Roll the shoulders-clockwise and anti clockwise, keeping your arms very close to the body, with straight elbows. Perform 50 reps in both the directions.

Note: Don’t do warm-up until failure and use a pre-workout for better pump and energy.

how to work your pecs

Dumbbell Incline Press & Dumbbell Flat Bench Press (Superset)

Incline Dumbbell Press

Equipment Used: Pair of dumbbells, adjustable bench

Post warm-up, head straight to an incline bench and grab a set of dumbbells. This is a superset, so try to start with a weight where you can go heavy or pick up the heaviest dumbbells which you think you can lift for 10-12 reps.

The whole idea of going the heaviest in the first set is to utilize the power and harness the full potential of the body.

You might be able to push a 80 pound dumbbell for 10 -12 reps if it is your fist set. Keep reducing the weight for the next sets by 20 %.

Note: For every single set you perform, change the angle of incline bench. Start with an adjustable bench and keep the angle to 15 degrees and as soon as you are done with the first set, change the angle to 30 degrees. Changing the angle will hit upper chest from every angle.

The last set would be performed on an angle of 45 degrees.

how to work your pecs

Flat Dumbbell Bench Press

Equipment Used: Pair of dumbbells, bench press setup/flat bench

Once you finish your first incline set, go to Dumbbell Bench press. Your aim should be to do 12 reps with weight that is 60 % of your 1 RM.

By 1 RM I mean the max weight you can lift for 1 rep without help. So if my 1 RM is 120 kg, my 60% of 1 RM is 72 kg.

Bench press is the complete chest builder. It should be performed very well and every repetition should be felt.

It is advisable to do it with dumbbells as these provide a great range of motion and put less pressure on elbows and shoulders.

Note: You might feel fatigue during the Bench press. Always keep a spotter to get assistance to finish those last few muscle building reps. Try to finish the mentioned rep range.

how to work your pecs
how to work your pecs

Bodyweight Dips and Pec Dec Machine/Flat Dumbbell Flyes

Body Weight Dips (with Optional Added Weight)

Equipment Used: Chest Dips Machine/Double Bar, Chains/Belt with weights

Dips are an excellent exercise for bringing up the middle as well as lower chest. The exercise works great when done with some added weights over a belt or a chain.

Make sure you don't go too deep as you would not like to push up through your shoulders. If adding weights is not possible, bodyweight dips are also fine.

Note: To feel the maximum stretch, perform the range of motion very slowly and stretch at the starting and the ending position as the set progresses.

how to work your pecs

Pec Dec Machine/Flat Dumbbell Flyes

Equipment Used: Pec Dec Machine/Dumbbells and flat bench

Choose any one of the available options. Machines can be safer and you can go heavy with a controlled range of motion. If you are doing it with dumbbell, pick up a light pair of dumbbells and try to squeeze out at least 12 reps. Keep increasing weight and decreasing rep counts. Keep the movement controlled and slow.

how to work your pecs

Decline Dumbbell Press

Equipment Used: Pair of dumbbells and adjustable bench (decline)

Decline dumbbell press is what we end this chest workout on. It focuses on the lower chest development creating a strong look and a triangular shape and size for overall growth.

how to work your pecs
Take an adjustable bench, grab a pair of light dumbbells from which you can manage 10 reps. adjust the bench to an angle of minus 30 degrees (-30 degrees). Perform 10 reps; do take the help of a spotter in case you need assistance.

For the next set, adjust the bench to minus 15 degrees (-15 degrees) and perform 10 more reps.

For the final set, perform first 5 reps at minus 15 degrees (-15 degrees) and the remaining ones at minus 30 degrees (-30 degrees).

how to work your pecs

Take-Home Message

Compliment this workout schedule with a high-protein, moderate carb diet. If you have not performed supersets before, feel free to start with light dumbbells. The workout uses dumbbells only as both the pecs will be hit with the same intensity for an overall pec development.

If your training regime has 2 chest days, rotate this with the other day. Try to perform this for 6-8 weeks and your gains are sure to be insane!

Writer and expert
View Myprotein's profile