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The Workout to Fine-Tune Your Chest in Four Weeks

With minor tweaks and subtle changes to your exercise form, you can be sure to finish your chest training on a high note.

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Fine-Tune Your Chest in Four Weeks
Westend61 / Getty
Fine-Tune Your Chest in Four Weeks
Westend61 / Getty

In this four-week program, you’ll blister and bruise your pecs with several familiar moves. However, we want you to slow down and take critical note of your training form. Making small adjustments will mean big changes in your progress. Within certain exercises, we’ve zeroed in on particular elements common to training mistakes—flaws that need the most minor of tweaks but could mean the most major of muscular improvements.

Follow the program, paying close attention to workout volume and intensity so you fail at the rep ranges given. In Week 1, this training plan is geared toward your overall chest development. Then, in Weeks 2, 3 and 4, we focus on the middle, lower and upper pecs, respectively. Even though each week focuses on a particular region of the chest, the program still includes exercises that target all areas.

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Finally, we’ve provided an intensity menu from which you’ll choose certain techniques to take your training to the next level. Follow the instructions carefully, and use one of the intensity-boosters listed only on your last set and when you see this symbol *. However, you should wait to use the techniques until after you’ve mastered the fine-tuning points laid out in this program. Intensity tactics such as these work best when coupled with stellar form and impeccable technique. Choose just one per workout.

Intensity Techniques

Drop Sets

After completing your reps in a heavy set, quickly strip an equal amount of weight from each side of the bar or select lighter dumbbells. Continue repping until you fail, then strip off more weight to complete even more reps.

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Forced Reps

Have a training partner assist you with reps at the end of a set to help you work past the point of momentary muscular failure. Your training partner should help lift the bar with only the force necessary for you to keep moving and get past the sticking point.

Partial Reps

Do reps over only a partial range of motion—at the top, in the middle or at the bottom—of a movement.

Rest-Pause

Take brief rest periods during a set of a given exercise to squeeze out more reps. Use a weight you can lift for 2-3 reps, rest up to 20 seconds, then try for another 2-3 reps. Rest again briefly, then try for as many reps as you can handle, and repeat once more.

Negatives

Resist the downward motion of a very heavy weight. For example, on the bench press, use a weight that’s 15%-25% heavier than you can typically handle, and fight the negative as you slowly lower the bar to your chest. Have your partner assist with the positive portion of the rep.

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Routine

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Week 1: Overall Chest Development

Exercise
Equipment
Sets
Reps
Rest
Exercise 1 of 23

Barbell Bench Press

Equipment
Barbell, Bench
Sets
2
Reps
15-20
Rest
--
Perform as a warmup. If possible, perform 3 sets.
Exercise 2 of 23

Barbell Bench Press

Equipment
Barbell, Bench
Sets
3
Reps
6-8*
Rest
--
*Choose 1 intensity technique and utilize it only on the last set.
Equipment
Barbell, Bench
Sets
3
Reps
8-10
Rest
--
Exercise 4 of 23

Incline Dumbbell Flye

Equipment
Bench, Dumbbells
Sets
3
Reps
10-12
Rest
--
Exercise 6 of 23

General Pushup

Equipment
No Equipment
Sets
3
Reps
to failure
Rest
--

Week 2: Middle Chest Focus

Exercise
Equipment
Sets
Reps
Rest
Exercise 7 of 23

Barbell Bench Press

Equipment
Barbell, Bench
Sets
2
Reps
15-20
Rest
--
Perform as warmup. If possible, perform 3 sets.
Exercise 8 of 23

Dumbbell Press

Equipment
Bench, Dumbbells
Sets
3
Reps
8-10
Rest
--
Exercise 9 of 23

Bent-Over Cable Crossover

Equipment
Sets
3
Reps
6-8*
Rest
--
*Choose 1 intensity technique and utilize it only on the last set.
Equipment
Bench, Dumbbells
Sets
3
Reps
10-12*
Rest
--
*Choose 1 intensity technique and utilize it only on the last set.
Exercise 12 of 23

General Pushup

Equipment
No Equipment
Sets
3
Reps
to failure
Rest
--

Week 3: Upper Chest Focus

Exercise
Equipment
Sets
Reps
Rest
Equipment
Barbell, Bench
Sets
2
Reps
12-20
Rest
--
Perform as warmup. If possible, perform 3 sets.
Exercise 15 of 23

Dumbbell Press

Equipment
Bench, Dumbbells
Sets
3
Reps
8-10
Rest
--
Exercise 16 of 23

Low-High Cable Crossover

Equipment
Sets
3
Reps
10-12*
Rest
--
*Choose 1 intensity technique and utilize it only on the last set.
Exercise 17 of 23

Incline Dumbbell Flye

Equipment
Bench, Dumbbells
Sets
3
Reps
15-20
Rest
--
Exercise 18 of 23

Decline Pushup

Equipment
Box
Sets
3
Reps
to failure
Rest
--

Week 4: Lower Chest Focus

Exercise
Equipment
Sets
Reps
Rest
Equipment
Barbell, Bench
Sets
2
Reps
12-20
Rest
--
Perform as warmup. If possible, perform 3 sets.
Exercise 21 of 23

Upright Cable Crossover

Equipment
Sets
3
Reps
8-10*
Rest
--
*Choose 1 intensity technique and utilize it only on the last set.
Exercise 22 of 23

Barbell Bench Press

Equipment
Barbell, Bench
Sets
3
Reps
10-12
Rest
--
Exercise 23 of 23

Bodyweight Dip

Equipment
Dip Station
Sets
3
Reps
to failure
Rest
--
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