Workout Routines

The best full-gym chest workout routine

Add inches your chest fast with this high-volume, muscle-building workout.

by
Chest Dips
GCShutter / Getty
GCShutter / Getty
Duration 30
Exercises 10
Equipment Yes

Bodybuilders of the ’70s liked to stretch and flex the muscles they were training between sets, believing it enhanced growth. What they stumbled upon has been refined into a formal muscle-building protocol by Hany Rambod, trainer to many of today’s top champions, including Mr. Olympia winners Phil Heath, Jay Cutler, and Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson.

Here, we use Rambod's FST-7 method to pack new meat on your pecs. It's the easiest way to build a more imposing upper body and transform the way you look in everything from t-shirts to sweatshirts. Plus, if it works for guys like Magic Mike's Joe Manganiello and X-Men's Hugh Jackman, it'll work for you.

WORKOUT A

HOW IT WORKS
After pounding the pectorals with some conventional chest exercises, we finish them off with seven sets of FST-7, which stands for “Fascial Stretch Training.” Fascial refers to the fascia, the web-like connective tissue that envelopes each muscle. Picture that thin layer of tissue that covers a skinless chicken breast—that’s the same stuff. In theory, by stretching the fascia, you create more room for the muscles to grow. By flexing, you’ll drive more nutrient-filled blood into the muscles to enhance gains.

DIRECTIONS
Every set should be taken to near failure. For the cable crossover, alternate stretching and then flexing your pecs between sets. So you’ll complete a set and then stretch for 30 seconds, then do another set and flex for 30 seconds. After the stretch/flex, you can rest up to 45 seconds. For the stretch, rest your forearms against a doorframe, or use the beams of a power rack, and lean forward. To flex, tense your pecs isometrically.

WORKOUT B

If you’ve been working out for a while, this routine will probably remind you of some of the chest sessions you did in the early days. It’s good, old-fashioned hard work and provides a lot of pec isolation. If you’ve gotten more scientific with your training since and noticed fewer gains, this simple and direct approach may be what you need to get growing again.

HOW IT WORKS

When a muscle contracts, the whole thing contracts. So when you hear trainers talking about exercises for the “upper” pecs and “inner” pecs, this isn’t entirely accurate. However, while the whole pectoralis major muscle is involved in any kind of press, dip, or flye motion, different parts of it are indeed emphasized depending on the angle of resistance. So while an incline dumbbell press will work the whole chest, it’s making the fibers that attach to your clavicle work harder than the ones that attach to your ribs. We’ve given you exercises that work every part of the chest and with varying degrees of isolation. If you don’t normally feel your pecs working on barbell presses, you’ll love what dumbbell and machine work does for you.

DIRECTIONS
Stop each set a rep or two short of failure. Feel free to combine the workout with Option A, shown previously. The two routines fit well together but should be spaced three days apart.

 

Workout A The best full-gym chest workout routine

Exercise 1.

Smith Machine Incline Press You'll need: Smith Machine How to
Smith Machine Incline Press  thumbnail
4 sets
10-12 reps
60-90 sec. rest

Exercise 2.

Dumbbell Bench Press You'll need: Dumbbells How to
Dumbbell Bench Press thumbnail
3 sets
10-12 reps
60-90 sec. rest

Exercise 3.

Incline Dumbbell Flye You'll need: Dumbbells How to
Incline Dumbbell Flye  thumbnail
3 sets
10-12 reps
60-90 sec. rest

Exercise 4.

Bench Press You'll need: Barbell How to
Bench Press thumbnail
3 sets
10-12 reps
60-90 sec. rest

Exercise 5.

Cable Crossover You'll need: Cable Machine How to
Cable Crossover  thumbnail
7 sets
10 reps
30-45 sec. rest

Workout B The best full-gym chest workout routine

Exercise 1.

Incline Dumbbell Press You'll need: Dumbbells How to
Incline Dumbbell Press thumbnail
4 sets
8 reps
60-90 sec. rest

Exercise 2.

Hammer Strength Chest Press How to
Hammer Strength Chest Press  thumbnail
4 sets
8 reps
60-90 sec. rest

Exercise 3.

Dummbbell Flye You'll need: Dumbbells How to
Dumbbell Flye thumbnail
3 sets
8 reps
60-90 sec. rest

Exercise 4.

Low-Cable Crossover You'll need: Cable Machine How to
Low-Cable Crossover  thumbnail
3 sets
8 reps
60-90 sec. rest

Exercise 5.

Dip You'll need: Dip Station How to
Dips thumbnail
4 sets
8 reps
60-90 sec. rest
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