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How to build a massive, shirt-stretching chest

Jun 6, 2008
You wouldn't believe how many questions I get each and every week about chest exercises. Everyone wants to build a bigger chest, but not everyone knows the best way to go about it. In the interests of providing some information on this topic (and everyone wants to know "what's your secret, Caleb?") I'm going to provide a little help with this article. While I may not be ready to give all of my secrets away, here are a few of my favorite chest exercises.

First, for the newbies out there (hello and welcome!) I'd like to share a little general information. The familiar term "pecs" is short for what consists of the Pectoralis major and minor muscles. The Pectoralis major attaches to the arms and clavicles; the minor is a thinner, roughly triangular shaped muscle which is beneath the Pectoralis major.

What I'll do is start with the upper chest exercises and we'll work our way down from there -- sound good playa? Two exercises that have solidified their place in the "tool chest of effective upper chest exercises are Flyes and push-ups because they are very effective for building this part of your chest. Without further ado:

Inclined Dumbbell Flyes - Start by Lying flat on your back on an incline bench. Take a dumbbell for each hand (if you have a spotter, have them hand those to you). Gripping one in each hand (duh!) and with your palms facing each other... raise the dumbbells up towards each other, meeting over your head. Then you want to squeeze your pecs for a one count (really squeeze em!) while the dumbbells are at their peak. Lower the weights under control and repeat as many times as you can.

Declined Push-Ups - You may be familiar with a regular pushup and this is the same except for one thing: your feet will be elevated by resting on a low bench. As always with push-ups, keep your back as straight as possible. Also, to get the greatest benefit and to make sure you work every part of your chest, vary your hand widths. Now there's a lot of different exercises for the middle chest -- but I've chosen one which provides a lot of benefit to bodybuilding newbies and pros alike.

Dips: these are pretty much my favorite exercise for building the mid-chest. I'll explain using a set of dip bars (even though (any two parallel surfaces off the ground and parallel to it will do as well), raise yourself to straight arm height with knees bent and legs crossed at the ankle below you. Lower yourself with control, leaning slightly forward (you should feel it in your mid-chest) until your chest touches the bar and then return to your starting position. Repeat as many times as you can.

Now the final part of the chest - the lower chest. This is a variation on the bench press - something which I KNOW you know how to do, but this is even more beneficial to the lower chest.

Declined Barbell Bench Press -You do pretty much the same thing as any bench press except you're going to be doing it on a decline bench. It's ok to touch your chest with this exercise, as the bar goes down, just remember to lower the weight slowly and under control... and you should always be working out with a spotter for safety. Repeat as many times as you can.
About the Author
Fitness expert Caleb Lee will teach you a lot about building muscle. His website will teach you ways to build muscle fast.
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