One of the largest muscle groups in the body is the pectoralis major muscle group. Also known as pecs, or simply your chest muscles, they reach across the front of your entire upper torso, and they are best targeted with a pec workout utilizing heavy weights that focus on different specific areas.
Each muscle group in the body is designed with a different purpose in mind, and the pecs are muscles that push, and work with your arms and shoulders. You’ll notice that many chest exercises therefore also hit your deltoids and your triceps. The kind of results you see will vary with the kind of pec workout that you put together.
Exercises to Include in a Pec Workout
Bench Press: The most classic exercise for a pec workout and perhaps the best known weightlifting move of all time is the bench press. There are a number of different variations of this great exercise, and it still proves to be one of the single most effective muscle builders out there.
To perform a bench press, you should be using an Olympic sized barbell and Olympic sized plates, along with the bench itself.
The standard grip for a bench press is with your hands slightly wider than shoulder width apart. This wide grip forces your pecs to stretch a bit, and targets the outside pieces of the muscles, and the angle that you use to bring down the weight can vary your focus from the lower to the upper portions as well.
A close grip on the bench press will bring the triceps into play much more heavily. Lower the weight while keeping your elbows tucked into your sides for this effect, while conversely using an extra wide grip and spreading your elbows to the side for extra emphasis on your deltoids.
By raising a bench to an incline position, you will be hitting your upper pectorals, while using a decline bench will help you target the lower portions of the chest muscles.
Dips: Parallel bar dips are great for an all-over pec workout, and are a classic bodyweight exercise. Use a wide grip if you want to bring more emphasis to your shoulders, and once again narrow for more triceps work.
Pec Workout with Dumbbells: Instead of using barbells or bodyweight exercises, you can also use a variety of dumbbell movements. By isolating each arm, you can actually target your chest more effectively and incorporate more of your core, supporting muscles.
Cable Machines: Cable machines can be used with a pec workout as well, although they shouldn’t be the primary choice. Instead, try using a few cable exercises as the end to your workout, when your chest muscles are already tired and you want to push yourself even further.
Pullovers: One of the most overlooked portions of a pec workout is the pullover, and specifically the bent armed pullover. Position yourself with your feet on the floor and only your shoulder blades on a flat bench.
Raise a dumbbell and support it with both hands, lowering it behind your head and then bringing it back around and over your stomach. Be sure to squeeze your pectorals in the process and feel the strain in the ribcage area.
There are any number of different ways to target your chest muscles. Create a pec workout using the above exercises and use heavy weights, beginning with barbell exercises, then switching to dumbbells and finally bodyweight and cable moves.