Exercise Training Made Simple: Chest

Training Chest

Back To The Gym?

Training Made Simple: Chest

Gyms have either started re-opening or soon will, and some of us will have decided to go to the gym for the first time after being cooped up in lockdown conditions. Others will be returning to a long pursuit of greater fitness after a frustrating hiatus from training. You might be wondering if a fresh start is in order. And if so, where to begin?

I’ve written a series of guides on training with you in mind, with each one essentially being the TL:DR walkthrough. This one focuses specifically on training your chest, what to do, how much to do, how often, and where to begin. I hope it helps!

That’s the bare-bones basics of what you need to do in order to develop your chest either for athletic performance or aesthetic reasons. Stick within these guidelines, bearing in mind the below further details, and you can’t really go wrong.

The clavicular head and the sternal head of the chest both stretch quite significantly under load, so a very deep range of motion can be trained. Sadly you most often see people not touching the bar to their chest during barbell presses and half repping dumbbell work. Don’t do that- you may be able to use less weight to start with but in the end, you’ll thank yourself for good technique when you’re bigger and stronger.

Generally speaking, the barbell bench press is held up to be a necessity in chest training.

But truthfully, you don’t need to bench press at all to train chest. You can live a full and complete life never having benched. And you can achieve great balanced physique goals using dumbbells and machines only. You don’t need to do any decline work. As long as you train incline, the horizontal and do some isolation work you will get great results. And doing a lot of compound chest movements will often completely eliminate the need for front delt work which will save you having to do front raises etc, leaving more time to focus on your side and rear delts.

Do not rush into the maximum sets per week. Start at the bottom of the range and work up over time. You can add a set per workout when you are not sore more than 24 hours after you finished your last workout if performance did not decline from the previous week’s results.

I have some recommendations for chest exercises to choose from for you below.

Bear in mind all the bench press variations can be trained using machines or in a smith machine. You aren’t limited to having to use a flat bench:

I hope that helps. If you want to talk about chest training, I’m more than happy to chat with you- just DM me on Instagram and ask me any questions you might have. If you’re interested in online coaching or personal training, you can hit me up here

Previously published Training Made Simple Guides can be found here:

Training Made Simple: Glutes

Training Made Simple: Biceps

Take It easy

Mike Billington

Empower Training Systems

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