Mass Building Moves for a Lagging Chest

Photos by Charles Lowthian

Is one major muscle group any more important than another up on the bodybuilding stage?

Technically, no. But the beach and swimming pool aren’t a bodybuilding stage, and a few body parts in particular might just warrant a bit higher priority in the next couple of months—and one of those happens to be chest. Not that we’re telling you to ditch leg, back, and delt training, but before the hot months get here, make sure you’re blasting the aforementioned showstopper in the gym.

Leading the charge is Jose Raymond. Raymond shows you his favorite chest moves, designed to hit that most lagging area: the upper chest. Raymond focuses on incline-bench exercises to build a balanced chest because you’re only as good as your weakest link.

 

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INCLINE DUMBBELL PRESS

START 

Sit on an incline bench holding a pair of dumbbells resting on your thighs. Lie back and begin with the dumbbells just outside your shoulders with your arms bent, feet flat on the floor, and head resting on the bench.

ACTION

Forcefully press the dumbbells straight up to the ceiling by contracting your pecs and extending your arms. Stop just before your elbows lock out, then slowly lower the weights back to the start position.

RAYMOND SAYS

“I like to focus on my weaker areas, which would be upper pecs. And I go after it. I usually pyramid up and do a final heavy set. So I’ll do, for example, 100-pound dumbbells, 120s, 140s, upward of 160s. Not every gym has dumbbells that heavy, so if I’m training at a gym that doesn’t, I just do barbell inclines. With dumbbells, I come down until the dumbbell actually hits my chest.”

 

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INCLINE DUMBBELL FLYE

START 

Lie face up on an adjustable bench set to 30 to 45 degrees holding a pair of dumbbells over your chest with your arms extended and palms facing each other.

ACTION 

With a slight bend in your elbows, lower weights out in an arc to your sides until you feel a good stretch in your chest. Contract your pecs to return the dumbbells to the start position, maintaining the slight bend in your elbows throughout.

RAYMOND SAYS

“To make sure my muscles are doing the work, I’ll hold the peak contraction at the top of the rep for a two-count on some reps. Let’s say I’m doing 12 reps. I’ll do four reps right in a row, then I’ll do the two-count pause technique on the next four reps, and then I’ll do four more right in a row to finish the set.”

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 A MATTER OF INSTINCT 

“My training split is different every week,” says Raymond. “I train instinctively. I train whatever muscle group isn’t hurting anymore. I like to start the week with legs, when the muscle group is fresh and everyone else is doing chest. I usually try to hit each muscle group twice within 10 [training] days. I take one day off a week, either Saturday or Sunday. And then I start the rotation over again.”

 RAYMOND’S TRAINING SPLIT 

  • MONDAY: LEGS
  • TUESDAY: SHOULDERS
  • WEDNESDAY: BACK
  • THURSDAY: CHEST
  • FRIDAY: ARMS

Cycle repeats with one day of rest on the weekend.

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 RAYMOND’S CHEST WORKOUT 

Cable Crossover: 3–4 sets, 12–15 reps

Incline Dumbbell Press: 4 sets, 10–12 reps

Flat-bench Barbell or Dumbbell Press: 3-4 sets, 12* reps

Incline Dumbbell Flye: 3–4 sets, 12–15 reps

Dumbbell Pullover: 3 sets, 10–12 reps

*Dropset on the last set of the exercise, dropping the weight two to three times after reaching initial failure.