Workout Routines

The Amped-Up Chest Workout for Bigger Pecs

If you like pain and great pecs, you’ll love this workout's varying reps routine.

6 Ways to Finish the Year Strong
Duration 45 min
Exercises 5
Equipment Yes

In the December 2012 issue of M&F, we gave you a Straight Up-branded chest workout that kept the exercises straightforward with the rep ranges running the gamut from low (4-6) to high (15-18) and something in between (8-10). We like that concept of meat-and-potatoes movements and varied rep ranges that promote both strength and hypertrophy, so we’re sticking with it.

But this time, instead of going low reps on one exercise, moderate on the next, and so on, we’re throwing all ranges at you with each of the first three exercises in the workout—an incline press, a flat press on a machine, and a cable crossover targeting the upper pecs. The exercises remain straight-forward (though subtly different than the first time around), but the stimulus changes from set to set to keep the muscles dazed and confused, not to mention highly fatigued and thoroughly pumped.

SEE ALSO: The Big Chest Workout

Incline dumbbell press

Level up difference: Inclines again lead off the workout, since most guys need more upper pec than lower pec work, but this time dumbbells are subbed in for the barbell. Be aggressive with your weight selection; the dumbbells can always be dropped if need be.

Hammer strength chest press

Level up difference: Moving to a machine early in the workout is great for promoting mass. Because the path of motion is dictated by the equipment, stabilizing muscles won’t have to work as hard, meaning the pecs (the target muscle) will take the brunt of the overload.

LOW PULLEY CABLE CROSSOVER

LEVEL UP DIFFERENCE: This version of crossover targets the upper pecs, just as dumbbell flyes did in the Straight Up workout. With the pulleys at the lowest setting (near the floor), pull the handles upward as well as in toward each other, finishing with your hands straight out in front of your face at the top of each rep. Crossing your arms is optional—just make sure you squeeze your pecs hard at peak contraction.

Pushups

Level up difference: Nothing creative here—just a brutal way to finish off the pecs with a multi-joint movement and your own bodyweight taken to complete muscle failure. No need to count reps here, since you may be discouraged by how few you’re able to get compared to when you’re fresh. You’ll know when the set is over.

Cable flye (pec deck)

Level up difference: Flyes on a pec deck hit the chest without specifically targeting the upper, or lower areas. However, the outer and inner portions of the pecs are emphasized in the beginning of the rep (outer) and at the end (inner), provided you squeeze hard when your hands come together.


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Straight Up Chest

Exercise 1

Incline Barbell Bench Press You'll need: Barbell, Bench How to
Incline Barbell Bench Press thumbnail
3 sets
4-6 reps
2 min rest
*Precede these working sets with one warm-up set of 8-10 reps.

Exercise 2

Dumbbell Bench Press You'll need: Bench, Dumbbells How to
Dumbbell Bench Press thumbnail
3 sets
6-8 reps
1-2 min rest
*Precede these working sets with one warm-up set of 8-10.

Exercise 3

Incline Dumbbell Flye You'll need: Dumbbells, Bench How to
Incline Dumbbell Flye thumbnail
3 sets
8-10 reps
1-2 min rest

Exercise 4A

Cable Crossover You'll need: Adjustable Cable Machine, D-Handle Attachment How to
Cable Crossover thumbnail
2 sets
15-18 reps
1 min rest

Exercise 4B

Hammer Strength Chest Press
Hammer Strength Chest Press thumbnail
2 sets
15-18 reps
45-60 sec rest

Level Up Chest

Exercise 1

Incline Dumbbell Bench Press You'll need: Bench How to
Incline Dumbbell Bench Press thumbnail
3 sets
15, 10, 6 reps
2 min rest
*Precede these working sets with one light warm-up set of 15-20 reps, stopping well short of failure.

Exercise 2

Hammer Strength Chest Press
Hammer Strength Chest Press thumbnail
3 sets
20, 12, 8 reps
1-2 min rest

Exercise 3

Cable Crossover You'll need: Adjustable Cable Machine, D-Handle Attachment How to
Cable Crossover thumbnail
3 sets
20, 15, 10 reps
1-2 min rest
*Low pulley

Exercise 4A

Cable Chest Flye
exercise image placeholder
2 sets
15 reps
1 min rest

Exercise 4B

General Pushup You'll need: No Equipment How to
Pushup thumbnail
2 sets
to failure reps
1 min rest
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