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Building up your chest can improve your appearance, and it can make everyday tasks like opening a door, getting up off the floor, and lifting heavy objects much easier. Not only is the chest one of the first things that people notice about your physique, but it’s also one of the largest muscles in your upper body so it highly influences overall upper body strength. Unfortunately, many guys are stuck and unable to add muscle to their chest, especially the upper chest so today I want to go over some solid tips that are proven to help your chest grow.
The first one is to use a bodybuilding bench press style rather than a powerlifting one. Now I know I may get some flack for this since bench pressing like a powerlifter seems to be very trendy lately, but I’d like to go over some of the differences. The main difference between the two bench pressing styles is that with the powerlifting bench press, you focus on keeping the range of motion as short as possible because that helps you lift the most amount of weight possible. The two main ways you can decrease your range of motion are by either using a wider grip or by creating a more pronounced arch in your lower back to bring your body closer to the bar. On the other hand, a bodybuilding bench press style would require you to still keep your back arched, but much less of an arch in order to increase the range of motion. That’s because, for maximum muscle growth, it’s simply better to train your muscles through a full range of motion, thanks to three main benefits. The first is that a full range of motion on the bench press will produce higher levels of muscle activation. Second, different parts of a movement emphasize different parts of a muscle, and by going through a full range of motion you’re able to train the muscle in its entirety. And third, it’s beneficial to overload your muscles in their stretched position, and going through a partial range of motion isn’t able to do that quite as well as a full range of motion. So, if your goal is to maximize muscle growth, a bodybuilding bench pressing style is more effective than a powerlifting one.
Another thing that’ll help is to focus on pressing Your Hands Inwards During Barbell Bench Pressing and dumbbell hex pressing movements. This is a simple technique adjustment that you can use to maximize chest growth. When you’re bench pressing imagine that you’re trying to bring your hands together. This obviously won’t happen because the barbell is fixed and it won’t bend. But by focusing on squeezing your hands together, it’ll increase chest activation because one of the primary functions of your chest is to perform shoulder horizontal adduction. This is basically a fancy way of describing bringing your arms from really wide out at your sides in together towards the midline of your body. (2) So by squeezing your hands together on the bar, even though your hands will stay in a fixed position, it’ll increase the tension placed on the chest
The next thing you should do if you’ve consistently been training for some time now is to increase chest workout frequency or in other words simply train Your Chest More Often. This doesn’t apply to beginners because If you’re new to the gym, research shows that you only have to train each muscle just once per week for optimal gains. (3) So as a beginner you can follow a typical “bro split” by for example training chest, shoulders, and triceps on Monday… legs on Wednesday… and back and biceps on Friday. You can also spread the training volume out over more sessions and just focus on one muscle group per day. The point is that as a beginner hitting each muscle just once a week is enough to grow. However, once you’ve passed the beginner stage, and you can no longer increase the weight you use almost every workout, you’ll need a higher training frequency to maximize gains, as shown by a 2016 systematic review and meta-analysis.(4). The researchers concluded that “training twice a week promotes more muscle growth compared to once a week.” (5) And another analysis found similar results attributing much better muscle and strength gains for each additional workout per muscle per week (6). Even when total training volume was similar between the groups, the groups that trained each muscle more frequently outperformed the ones that crammed the same number of sets and reps into fewer sessions throughout the week. Now, whether you should train your chest two, three, …