From The Desk of Maverick Brenton.
Subject: Building A Bigger Chest.
Building a big chest was never a priority of mine when I first started training, or during the early years that followed.
I just wasn’t interested in it.
The Bench press was always my weakness, and the first time I performed it – I dropped the bar on my scrawny little chest.
So all I cared about for many years, was building a monstrous posterior chain.
Thick hamstrings, a big wide cobra back, lower back muscles of steel and an impressive set of glutes.
I wanted to look like a professional strongman.
The guys that drag planes, push logs over their head and lift more than everyone else.
Their physique always appealed to me because it just looks like brute strength and power.
So I neglected training my chest for many years, focusing instead on overhead pressing work, heavy rows, squats and deadlifts.
Now I got very strong at all those movements, and I got big – but my chest was always a weak point.
It became a noticeable weak point as other parts of my body continued to grow, leaving it undeveloped and weak.
Sure enough, after a few years my physique began to look off.
I was jacked but I didn’t look aesthetic and didn’t like this because I knew I could become better.
Looking good has never, and will never, be as important to me as my performance.
As long as I am strong and fit, I don’t care what I look like.
But I wanted a big fucking chest, so I went and got myself one.
I started training it very hard, day after day and week after week.
Bench presses and weighted dips formed the base of my chest training, complemented by dumbbell flyes, dumbbell bench presses, push-ups and various other isolation exercises.
My chest then grew and it grew a lot – balancing out my physique and giving my upper body a much fuller, much stronger, and more aesthetic look.
Then I thought to myself:
“Geez. Why did I neglect training my chest for so long?”
Nowadays my chest is well developed, I get called barrel chested, I get compliments from women, and extra-large shirts are tight around it.
I focus mainly on weighted dips and a few other basic exercises that my body responds to very well.
Heavy bench pressing is not something I do anymore – my shoulders do not like it and personally I have never liked the exercise because of how my body responds to it.
With that said, the Bench Press is one of the fundamentals for building a big chest, and if you want a big chest, you should be putting some serious work into building up your bench.
Dips are just as good though, and will build your chest very well.
If you did nothing but weighted dips for the rest of your life, excellent chest development, excellent shoulder development and excellent tricep development, would soon follow.
Here I am below, hitting 3 plates (60kg) for one rep at a body weight of 100kg:
The Best Chest Building Exercises.
Below I will outline a series of exercises that you should be focusing on if your goal is to build a bigger chest.
Some of these work better for me than they will work for you.
You must experiment with them all to find what works best for your particular build.
Flat Barbell Bench.
Anyone with a swinging dick knows what the flat bench is, and they also know that it is one of the fundamental chest building movements.
The flat bench trains your entire chest, including your other pressing muscles – such as the shoulders and triceps.
From my experience, you should perform the exercise like a power lifter: pulling your shoulder blades back, maintaining a slight arch in your lower back and keeping everything as tight as possible.
This will reduce your risk of injury and increase the amount of force that you can generate.
Shoulder injuries are very common in the Bench Press because guys go too heavy, and they do not use proper form.
Therefore build it up slowly, train it like a powerlifter, and perform plenty of rear delt work to balance out the front delt work that occurs from flat bench pressing.
Incline Barbell Bench.
Same deal as the flat bench, but this is performed on an incline – meaning your upper chest and your shoulders will be doing more of the work.
This exercise is great for building a thick upper chest, and it also assists in building strength for the overhead press.
I have found the Incline Barbell Bench to be much easier on my shoulders, and I have also found that it provides a far greater stretch, and pump, in my chest – compared to the flat bench.
The weighted dip is my go to exercise for not only building a thick chest, but thicker shoulders and thicker triceps too.
It is hardcore, and it will tell you how strong you really are.
Most mortals struggle to perform this exercise using their own body weight – so if you can work up to doing reps with 2 plates (40kg), then you are doing very well.
Personally, I am aiming to do reps with 5 plates (100kg).
Once you can move over two plates however, your chest is going to be well developed and you will notice tremendous gains in your triceps too.
Warm up properly. Build up the weight slowly. And be careful.
These are a great exercise, but like everything else – they can fuck you up if you do not train them properly.
Flat or Incline Dumbbell Bench Press.
A fantastic addition to barbell bench pressing.
These work your stabilising muscles and will help you build strength in both the flat barbell bench and the incline barbell bench.
Due to the nature of the dumbbells, you’re able to bring the weight further down and get a great stretch in your chest.
I like to do paused reps with these, and really focus on the stretch at the bottom of the movement.
If you do them correctly you will experience a great deal of soreness, and a fantastic pump afterwards.
Flat or Incline Dumbbell Flye.
A classic chest exercise.
This really isolates your chest and allows you to focus on getting a great stretch.
For the best results, pinch your shoulder blades together, move the weight slowly, and pretend that you are trying to hug a big tree trunk when you bring the weights back up.
Half reps can be done, like Arnold is seen doing in the film Pumping Iron – these keep the tension on the chest and can provide a greater pump.
I like to keep the weight light, and the reps high.
This is an isolation exercise with the goal of getting you a solid pump.
It’s not something you want to be training for maximal strength, as the shoulders are not in a strong position and I simply don’t see a point to maxing out on your fucking flyes.
You can also perform the cable flye, which I have found to be superior to the dumbbell flye in providing a great pump and stretch in the chest.
Experiment with both and see what you like.
A very underrated exercise for building the chest, and a very versatile exercise for building the chest.
It can be done anywhere that a floor exists.
Mixed grips can be used, in addition to various handles that now exist on the market.
You can do them on an incline if you are a weak sack of shit, or you can do them on a decline if normal push-ups are too easy.
Weight can be added via a vest, a backpack, a petite little blonde, or simply a weight plate.
Do them for high volume to experience tremendous soreness in the chest, shoulders and triceps.
Sample Chest Workout.
Warm-up – Reverse Flye: Perform 3 sets of 15-20 reps and focus on squeezing the shoulder blades together at the top. Always work your rear delts when you are performing pressing exercises, as this will keep the shoulders balanced and it is a nice little warmup.
Flat Barbell Bench: Pyramid up to a 3 rep max, then perform drop sets to failure until the bar is empty – reducing the weight by 5kg every time you drop down. Ensure to use proper form as discussed above and rest for no less than 2 minutes.
Weighted Dip: Perform 3-5 sets of 8-10 reps. Do them in a slow and controlled manner, going down as far as you can to get the greatest stretch in the chest. If you cannot use weight, use your body weight. Rest for no more than 45 seconds.
Incline Dumbbell Press: Perform 3-5 sets of 12-15 reps. Do them in a slow and controlled manner also, focusing on the stretch at the bottom and squeezing the chest at the top. Keep your shoulder blades pulled back as you press, to make sure the shoulders remain safe. Rest for no more than 45 seconds.
Incline Dumbbell Flye: Perform 3-5 sets of 15 reps and focus on stretching the chest as much as possible – the goal of this exercise is to get a great pump in the chest. Rest for no more than 30 seconds. Also use a weight that allows you to keep your arms only slight bent, and if you must bend your arms to move the weight, it is too heavy.
Weighted Push-ups: Perform 2-3 sets to total failure. Rest for no more than 30 seconds. If you can do more than 20 reps, add weight to your back. This is a great finisher.
Final Thoughts On Building The Chest.
There you have it.
Your list of chest building exercises and a routine to get you started.
You can perform that routine once a week, twice a week or every damn day if you want to grow as fast as possible.
Put the work in to build an impressive chest and it will pay off.
A big chest makes you look jacked in t-shirts, and it completes the physique – so don’t neglect it like I did for all those years.
If you want to be the complete package, you’ve gotta build everything up together.