10 Secrets For Huge Pecs
Many people tell me my pecs are WAY too huge. Many people comment that I should do legs instead of chest (Does Scooby Doo Legs?). Many say I should wear a bra when running. To these folks I say – You jealous haters! If you dont want a muscular, powerful chest then skip this page. I have obviously got chest figured out and I am going to let you in on my TEN secrets to building huge pecs. I’m also going to share with you why people who do Starting Strength (SS) and 5×5 stronglifts typically have lagging pec development. OK lets get to my TEN secrets for huge pecs.
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Patience! There is so much hype from magazines, supplement makers, and eBook writers about what reasonable expectations are for adding muscle that much of the public has completely distorted sense of how fast it is possible to add muscle. Building muscle is a *very* slow process – YEARS slow. If you want huge pecs this year or next year then I cant help you – I suggest you checkout the $97 bigmuscleshortcuts.com program. If you are willing to work on it long term, stick around and I will tell you how to do it for free.
Dont neglect squeezing. The biggest mistake people make when training chest is that they only do pushing exercises like bench press and dumbbell presses. The world seems bench-press crazy. Even people who have never lifted a weight in their life can tell you how to do the bench press because its in all the movies. Its no wonder that beginners are unhealthily biased towards bench press and curls, its all they have seen done in the movies! To build a massive, powerful chest you gotta do squeezing exercises! 5×5 and SS make this huge mistake. I have found that a mix of about 50/50 is optimal. What I typically do in my chest workouts is alternate squeezing and pushing exercises. A squeezing exercise is an isolation exercise like flys where you squeeze rather than push.
Dont overtrain or undertrain! Many people do pushups every day thinking that is the way to huge pecs, WRONG, it isnt even the way to strong pecs. Doing pushups every day optimizes your pecs for doing pushups every day. The body adapts to whatever tasks you want it to accomplish. After you get past intermediate stage, optimal for mass gain is working out pecs every 4-6 days. There are two groups of people who benefit from training chest more often than this: steroid users and newbies. Steroid users have chemically enhanced recovery times so that they are ready for another chest workout much faster than natural bodybuilders, they can take advantage of more multiple chest workouts a week whereas in a natural bodybuilder it would just result in overtraining. The other group that benefits from more frequent chest workouts is beginners and intermediate bodybuilders because they have not yet developed the ability to workout with enough intensity to cause serious muscle building micro-tears. For beginners and intermediates, hitting chest 3x weekly as part of a full body workout is optimal. More training is not better!! Less training is not better.
High volume AND go to failure. People get this weird idea that you cant both go to failure and have high volume – you can and its one of the secrets to maximizing chest mass. There are two ways to both go to failure and maximize volume – with drop sets, supersets, or both. Choose a big weight that lets you fail at about 6 reps, now drop 30-40% in weight and crank out as many reps as you can. After just doing a drop set of bench press your pecs are decimated and there is no way you could do another pec exercise now and get anything out of it, thats why you superset in another muscle group! Note that in Monday superset 1 of the advanced volume workout at LeanMuscleSystems.com the first exercise is dumbbell press on the flat bench and the second is bent over barbell rows. While your pecs are resting, your lats are burning. The traditional workout style where you do three sets of 8 reps of bench press then move on to the exercise is stone age technology, not only does have low workout volume but it lacks intensity because the rest between sets isnt adequate. Building a big chest takes intensity and it takes volume. No you CANT do half your chest workout in the morning and half at night – do it all at once!
Vary rest and rep range monthly. Vary rest from month to month. In powerlifting this is called periodization, a much better way to think of this. You create a cycle and start with some percentage of your 1RM, say 60% on week one so you are doing gobs of reps. Each subsequent week you move up in weight until at the end of your periodization cycle you are hopefully at a new personal best. Most people are afraid to lift light. They are afraid that if they are not always pushing for a new personal record that they are going to shrivel up and blow away. You have to mix things up! Try this, for just one workout. If you always lift heavy skip your chest workout and just do pushups for an hour. Every variety of pushup you can think of. Keep cranking out those sets and reps – try for 20 sets of 30 reps. I guarantee you that you will get DOMS like your heavy bench never, ever gave you. Mixing things up WORKS! Periodization WORKS! You don’t have to use periodization. Its OK to randomly change the weight, rep range, and rest time as long as you DO vary it. Many think I am crazy with this suggestion because it means you will be doing a massive number of sets when you are only doing a minute between sets and it means you will only be doing 10 sets when you are going heavy. Trust me, I’m a scientist!
- Shoulder packing. Shoulder packing is important for two reasons. First because it helps prevent shoulder injuries. NOTHING is more detrimental to bodybuilding progress than an injury, remember this! Keeping the shoulder in the packed position makes it more stable and less prone to injury. As an added bonus, the packed position gives you additional mechanical leverage which allows you to lift more weight but this is secondary. Please read about shoulder packing.
Dont workout shoulders or triceps in the 2 days before your chest workout. This is another reason why people who do 5×5 and SS have lagging chest development – every other day they are either doing chest or shoulders. Thats too much pushing and the tired shoulders and triceps interfere with their ability to give chest workouts the maximum intensity required for strength and mass increases.
Good nutrition. Many people seem to get the silly notion that good nutrition means taking a protein shake after their workout, NO. You need good, high protein nutrition not only on your workout day but also for the next 5 days after the workout. The rebuilding of your pecs can take up to 5 days after you have decimated them in a workout. You need to get enough protein each daty during that entire time.
- Hydration. You are up to 19% stronger when you are fully hydrated. Stronger means that you will lift more weight. Lifting more weight means you will grow more muscle. If you wait till you arrive at the gym to start sipping water then you are wasting your time. I get a good laugh at people who show up at the gym with their gallon jug of water and take a few sips over their workout, a jug of water is NOT a fashion accessory! If you are having to pee every 15-30 minutes and the pee is clear then you are hydrated sufficiently for maximum performance in your workout. Hydrate *before* starting your workout!!!!
Limit your Range Of Motion (ROM). This goes against what everyone else is saying. I say, dont let your elbows go behind the plane of your back and skip the “stretch”. Why? Building huge chest requires consistency – strong workouts every week for years and you cant do this if you screw up your shoulder. This is one of the reasons that I strongly recommend that you do your chest workouts on the floor, it limits your ROM to the perfect range. The slightly better results you get from going full range of motion on chest exercises but the slight additional better results are not worth the risk of shoulder injury.
- Get enough sleep. If you are using an alarm to get up in the morning, you are not getting enough sleep. If you want to learn how you can still make it to work or school without an alarm clock, please watch my 3 part time management video series.
- Have good genetics. Pec shape is genetic. If you have a gap between your pecs you will have it no matter how huge your pecs become. There are no exercises for the “inner chest” despite what the eBook hawkers promise. Not everyone has Arnold Schwartzennegers genetics, some people have Woody Allen’s. In my opinion though, pecs like a Men’s Fitness Cover Model are within the reach of 99% of men. If I had to rate my genetics, I would say I am in the top tenth.
That it, my ten secrets for huge pecs. OK, the astute here have noticed that there are actually TWELVE secrets – consider that a 30% bonus! “TWELVE secrets” just didnt have a good ring to it :) If you want some examples of a good chest workouts then checkout these videos:
Complete Chest Workouts
Chest Workout For The Complete Beginner Video
In my opinion, pushups are the #1 best exercise you can do! They are simple to do and are a great upper body workout. Start by doing knee pushups. If you can do more than 20 of these then they are too easy for you and you should do full pushups.
We want to start slowly to avoid injury. If your joints and muscles feel ok, you can slowly increase the frequency and duration of your pushup workouts until you are doing pushups 3x/week for 20minutes. When you get to the point where you can do more than 20 pushups in all your sets, then its time to move on to a more advanced workout.
Killer Advanced Chest Workout Video
Here is an advanced chest workout you can do at home with a cheap dumbbell set. Big gyms are nice but when you can get a killer workout at home without the overhead of getting to and from the gym. This workout is a complete 70 minute workout and consists of four superset:
superset 1: incline dumbbell press and flys
superset 2: dumbbell press from the hip and thumbs up flys
superset 3: incline flys and ultrawide pushups
superset 4: pushups, flys, and dumbbell press
We will do each superset three times and take 2-3 minutes rest between