^
Muscle for life

How to Get a Bigger and Stronger Chest in Just 30 Days

By
How to Get a Bigger and Stronger Chest in Just 30 Days

If your chest isn’t big enough and isn’t growing as quickly as you’d like, then you want to read this article (and do these workouts).

 

If you’re like me, you got into working out because you wanted three things:

  1. A big chest.
  2. Bulging biceps.
  3. Washboard abs.

(Our motivations may have matured since, but hey, there’s no shame in our not-so-humble beginnings.)

And if you’re reading this article, you need some help with at least number one.

Maybe you’re new to lifting and unsure of where to even start. Maybe you’re a seasoned gym rat looking to break through a plateau. Or maybe you’re somewhere in between.

Regardless, you’ve come to the right place.

Because by the end of this article, you’re going to know exactly what you need to do for more chest gains in the next 30 days than you’ve seen in the last 3 months.

(Hint: it’s more or less what you would think–train your chest a lot–but isn’t that simplistic.)

I have to warn you, though—it’s not going to be easy.

You can’t get a set of wide, thick, “armor plate” pecs by popping some pills and powders and doing some pushups and pullovers.

So if you’re looking for “weird tricks” or “workout hacks,” then this isn’t for you.

If, however, you’re ready to learn the simple science of building a big chest, and if you’re ready to put in some work, then keep reading.

Why We Want More Than Just a “Big Chest”

how to get a bigger chest bodybuilding

“Help, my chest is too small!”

If I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard this, well, I’d be making money in a really strange way.

All these guys want for Christmas, they say, is a “big chest”—something you can probably relate to.

It’s a misguided ambition, though.

It’s like “weight loss”—the phrase captures the essence of what we’re trying to do but isn’t exactly accurate, because fat loss is the real  goal. That is, while we may say we want to “lose weight,” what we really mean is we want to lose fat and not muscle.

Similarly, we may say we simply want a “bigger chest,” but accomplishing this won’t necessarily give us the look that we want.

For example, check out the following picture:

no upper chest

He has a good physique but look closer at the upper and lower portions of his chest.

Something looks kind of off, right? His pecs look underdeveloped and almost “droopy.” Why?

Well, all the mass is on the lower and outer portions while the upper and inner portions are almost non-existent.

This is very common, is the direct result of chest training mistakes, and, fortunately, is both preventable and correctable.

I’m speaking from experience here. Check out the following picture of me from a few years ago:

best chest exercises 2

Look at the upper portion of my left pec (the right looks bigger than it was because of how I was holding the phone).

As you can see, I too had a very bottom-heavy chest with a lagging “upper chest.”

I got to work on it shortly after taking that picture, however, doing the exact types of things as what I’m going to share in this article, and here’s what it got me:

best chest exercises for mass

Again, let’s focus on the upper portion of my pecs and compare them to the previous picture.

Quite a difference, no?

“But wait a minute,” you might be thinking. “Isn’t the whole ‘upper’ and ‘lower’ chest thing a myth?”

I’m glad you asked…

Use this workout and flexible dieting program to lose up to 10 pounds of fat and build muscle in just 30 days…without starving yourself or living in the gym.

The Truth About the “Upper Chest”

Many people think that the “upper chest” is an old bro’s tale, like negative-calorie foods or “muscle confusion.”

They’re of the mind that you have one large pectoral muscle that is stimulated equally by any exercise.

And they’re wrong.

Many other people think the upper chest exists but can’t or doesn’t need to be specially addressed in your training.

They’re wrong too.

To find out why, let’s start at the top.

There is a part of the “chest muscle” that forms what we call the “upper chest.” It’s known as the clavicular pectoralis and here’s what it looks like:

upper chest anatomy

As you can see, this small muscle is a part of the big chest muscle (the pectoralis major), but its fibers run at a different angle.

This “little” difference is why research shows that certain exercises, like the flat and decline bench press, emphasize the main (large) portion of the chest muscle, whereas others, like the incline and reverse-grip bench press, emphasize the smaller upper portion.

Notice that I said emphasize and not isolate.

That’s because all chest exercises that emphasize one portion of the muscle group do, to some degree, involve the others. Nevertheless, one of the most important lessons I learned about building a chest is this:

Ideal chest development requires a lot of emphasis on the clavicular pectoralis.

There are two reasons for this:

  1. It’s a small, stubborn muscle that’s easily overtopped by the pec major.

The most popular chest exercises—flat and decline presses—emphasize the larger portion of the pecs, which grows faster than the smaller, upper portion.

  1. The best exercises for the upper chest also happen to be great for overall chest growth.

Doing a lot of incline pressing is one of the best ways to ensure your upper chest doesn’t fall behind, but it’s also extremely effective for developing the rest of your chest.

(Reverse-grip bench pressing is helpful too, which we’ll talk more about soon.)

Muscle Building 101
How to Get a Bigger Chest

I used to make two major mistakes in my chest workouts:

  1. I mostly did the wrong chest exercises.

I spent far too much time on machines and isolation exercises and far too little time on compound movements like presses and dips.

  1. I did too much high-rep training.

I trained primarily to do a lot of sets and get a big pump (rather than to get stronger), and that’s one of the easiest ways to hit a plateau. (And this applies to every major muscle group in the body, not just your chest.)

When I started doing the opposite–more compound exercises than isolation, and more heavy training and emphasis on progressive overload over pump–I started seeing real changes in my chest (and entire physique) for the first time in a long time.

This brings me to one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned about weightlifting and building muscle naturally:

If you want to build muscle consistently and effectively, you want to focus on heavy (80 to 85% of your one-rep max) compound weightlifting.

In terms of chest workouts, that means your bread and butter is heavy barbell and dumbbell pressing, and your dessert is supplementary work like dips and flyes.

“But wait a minute,” you might be thinking. “[SHREDDED FITNESS MODEL] does fifteen different exercises and a billion reps in his chest workouts and he has amazing pecs… What gives?”

Well first, genetics and training history factor in heavily here, but then there’s the #dedication. All 2 grams of it that he injects every week.

I know that sounds cynical, but it’s true. Steroids change everything.

With the right drugs, you  can  sit in the gym for a few hours every day doing set after set, exercise after exercise, and your muscles will just get bigger and bigger.

(A bit of an overstatement, I know, but it’s more accurate than inaccurate.)

You’ve probably also noticed that (open or obvious) steroid users have abnormally large shoulders, traps, and pecs (and upper chests in particular).

This is because those areas of the body have large amounts of androgen receptors, which are proteins in cells that respond to various hormones (including anabolic hormones like testosterone that make muscles grow).

Thus, when large amounts of anabolic hormones are introduced into the body, the shoulders, traps, and pecs grow very quickly and can reach freaky levels of size.

Don’t be discouraged, though.

You can build a great chest–and a great body–drug-free with a bit of know-how, hard work, and patience.

And as far as chest training goes, here’s what it boils down to:

Focus on lifting heavy weights in your chest workouts.

And by “heavy,” I mean working primarily in the 4 to 6/5 to 7 rep range.

Focus on the chest exercises that safely allow for progressive overload.

how to get a bigger chest in 30 days

Here’s a simple maxim of natural weightlifting:

If you stop getting stronger, you’ll eventually stop getting bigger.

Regardless of all the variables that go into programming workouts, you can take that to the bank.

The number one rule of natural muscle building is progressive overload, which refers to progressively increasing tension levels in the muscle over time.

And the most effective way to do this is adding weight to the bar.

Certain exercises don’t lend themselves well to both heavy lifting and progressive overload, though. For example, heavy dumbbell flys increase the risk of injuring your rotator cuff muscles whereas the bench press allows you to keep your shoulders protected.

Another element of your chest workouts that you have to get right is weekly volume (the total amount of reps you do each week) for each muscle group you train.

If you do too little, you’ll gain less muscle than you should or could. If you do too much, you won’t be able to fully recover from your workouts and, in time, you’ll gain less muscle than you should or could.

Finding the “sweet spot” for volume can be tricky, and especially when you’re doing a lot of heavy weightlifting because the heavier the weights, the the lower the volume must be to avoid symptoms related to overtraining.

The reason for this is obvious: heavier weights put more strain on the body and, well, the body can only take so much before it falls behind in recovery.

I’ve tried many different workout splits and frequency schemes and what I’ve found works best is in line two extensive reviews on the subject.

Optimal training volume appears to be in the range of 60 to 180 reps per major muscle group per per week when weights are in the range of 60 to 80% of one-rep max (1RM).

The lower end of that rep range applies to heavier weights and the higher end to lighter training.

So, for example, if the majority of your sets were in the range of 80 to 85% of 1RM (as with my Bigger Leaner Stronger program), you’d want to be around 60 to 80 total reps per major muscle group per week.

If you were using much lighter weights, though, you’d want your weekly volume for each major muscle group to approach the top end of about 180 reps.

And if you were doing something in the middle, like my Thinner Leaner Stronger program for women, which has you lifting moderately heavy weights (70 to 75% of 1RM), you’d want your total weekly reps per major muscle group to be somewhere in the middle as well.

How to Get a Bigger Chest in 30 Days
The Diet

how to build a big chest bodybuilding

You probably know that exercise alone isn’t enough to gain muscle and lose fat.

Ultimately, your success or failure is going to be decided by your diet.

Think of it like this:

If your body were a car, exercise is the gas pedal and diet is the fuel in the tank.

You have to step on the gas (exercise) to get moving (improve your body composition)…

…but how far will you get without enough of the right fuel?

My point is this:

If you know how to manage your fuel (diet) properly, building muscle and burning fat will be easy and straightforward.

If you don’t, it will be ridiculously difficult …if not impossible.

That’s why it’s not enough to just give you a 30-day workout routine. We need to set your diet up properly as well.

I break it all down in my in-depth guide to meal planning, which I highly recommend you read and implement in conjunction with the workouts.

If you don’t, you simply won’t get as much out of them as you should.

How to Get a Bigger Chest in 30 Days
The Exercises

Browse the Internet for people’s opinions on the best chest exercises and you’ll quickly be overwhelmed.

I have good news, though:

Out of the hundreds you can choose from, very few are actually necessary for achieving your goals. Here they are:

  1. Barbell Bench Press
  2. Flat Press
  3. Incline Press
  4. Close-Grip Press
  5. Reverse-Grip Press
  6. Dumbbell Bench Press
  7. Flat Press
  8. Incline Press
  9. Dip

If you’re relatively new to weightlifting, these exercises are all you need. Forget cable work, dumbbell flys and pullovers, push-up variations, machines, and every other type of chest exercise out there.

As you gain more experience in the weight room, though, including other exercises into your chest workouts can help you squeeze every ounce of growth out of your pecs (which is why the workouts in this article include a couple “supplementary” exercises).

The bottom line, though, is these supplementary exercises aren’t nearly as effective and important as the core, foundation-building lifts I listed above.

So, let’s take a closer look at how to do each of the chest exercises you’ll be doing in this 30-day chest routine.

Flat Barbell Bench Press

There’s a reason why every well-designed weightlifting program focused on the bench press for upper body development:

It’s one of the best all-around upper body exercises you can do, training the pectorals, lats, shoulders, triceps, and even the legs to a slight degree.

That said, although it looks simple enough, the bench press is a fairly technical movement, which is why learning proper form is crucial.

And the first place to start with bench press form is…

Should You Bench On the Smith Machine?

No, you shouldn’t.

I don’t recommend that you bench on the Smith Machine because research shows it produces smaller gains in muscle and strength than the free weight bench press.

One of the major reasons for this is the Smith Machine has a fixed, level bar that moves on a fixed, vertical movement path. The free weight bar, on the other hand, must be stabilized by you to stay level and prevent horizontal swaying.

If you like the Smith Machine for its safety, you can have the best of both worlds by bench in a Power Rack instead.

A standard free weight bench press station is fine if you have a spotter, but if you don’t, you’re probably not going to be able to push yourself as hard as you want for fear of dropping the bar on your face.

Even if you have a lot of weightlifting experience and a good feel for your body and when your muscles are going to fail, there are going to be times where you either could have squeezed out another rep but didn’t go for it or where you do go for it and get stuck.

Enter the Power Rack.

Here’s a fantastic one made by Rogue, which I highly recommend:

bench-press-for-sale

The safety arms are what make the Power Rack so useful. If you set them at the right height, they’ll catch the weight when you fail.

Here’s how to do it:

Your bench and barbell matter too.

You want to make sure your bench is large enough to support your entire upper back and remain stable while you press (12″ wide is a good rule of thumb).

Again, I highly recommend Rogue’s bench:

adjustable-bench-for-sale

And while you might think a barbell is a barbell, but I recommend you pony up for a high-quality one with sleeves that can spin independently of the bar.

That is, the plates should be able to rotate without torquing the bar, which can put a lot of strain on your wrists.

I like Rogue’s Ohio Bar:

bench press bar

Alright, now that we have the equipment checked off, let’s learn how to bench press, starting with the setup.

How to Set Up Correctly for the Bench Press

There are five simple steps to setting up correctly on the bench press.

1. Lie down on the bench and adjust so your eyes are under the bar.

Simlpe enough.

2. Raise your chest up and tuck your shoulder blades down and squeeze them together.

You should feel tightness in your upper back, and you want to maintain this position throughout the entire lift.

3. Grab the bar with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.

Hold the bar low in your hands, closer to your wrists than your fingers, and squeeze it as hard as you can.

Your wrists should be straight up and down, not cupped (bent toward your head). This prevents wrist pain.

bench press form wrist

A good way to check your grip width is to have a friend get behind you (looking at the top of your head) and check the position of your forearms at the bottom of the movement.

You want your forearms to be as close to perpendicular to the ground as possible. That is, straight up-and-down vertical, like this:

bench press form elbows

As you can see, the position on the far left is too wide, the middle is too narrow, and the far right is correct.

4. Slightly arch your lower back and plant your feet on the ground, directly under your knees, shoulder-width apart.

You don’t want your back flat on the bench and you don’t want it so arched that your butt is floating above it.

Instead, you want to maintain the natural arch that occurs when you push your chest out.

5. Unrack the weight by straightening your arms and then moving it horizontally until it’s directly over your shoulders.

You’re now ready to press.

6. Set up the same way every time you bench press, whether you’re just warming up or going for a PR.

It’s a good technique-building habit that will pay off in consistently better lifts and a lower risk of injury.

How to Descend Correctly

The first thing you need to know about pressing is how to tuck your elbows properly.

Many people make the mistake of flaring them out (away from the body), which can chew up your shoulders. This mistake alone is the main reason why the bench press has a bad reputation as a shoulder injury waiting to happen.

A less common mistake is tucking your elbows too close to your torso, which robs you of stability and strength.

Instead, you want your elbows at a 50- to 60-degree angle relative to your torso. This protects your shoulders and is a stable, strong position to press from. Here’s a helpful visual:

bench press form elbows 2

In the bottommost position, the arms are at about a 20-degree angle relative to the torso, which is too close. The middle position is the ideal one–about 60 degrees–and the topmost is the common mistake of 90 degrees.

It’s worth noting that some people find pressing more comfortable with their elbows slightly closer to their torsos than the 60-degree position. That’s fine. Find what’s most comfortable for you, but don’t go beyond 60 degrees.

So, now that you know the proper position of the elbows, let’s get back to the movement itself.

Keeping your elbows tucked and in place, lower the bar to the lower part of the middle of your chest, around your nipples.

Yes, the bar should touch your chest–no half-repping!

You should lower the bar in a controlled manner but shouldn’t be deliberately slow about it. (Super-slow reps aren’t better for building muscle.) About 2 seconds down is correct.

How to Ascend Correctly

Once the bar has touched your chest (touched, not crashed into and rebounded off), you’re ready to push the bar up.

Although it’s called the bench press, it’s better to think of the ascension as pushing rather than pressing.

That is, picture that you’re pushing your torso away from the bar and into the bench instead of pressing the bar away from your torso. This will help you maintain proper form and maximize power.

The bar should move up with a slightly diagonal path, moving toward your shoulders, ending where you began: with the bar directly over your shoulders, where it’s most naturally balanced.

Lock your elbows out at the top–don’t keep them slightly bent lest you drop the bar on your face.

When ascending, nothing changes with anything else you’ve learned thus far about body position. Your shoulder blades remain down and pinched, your elbows tucked, your lower back slightly arched, your butt on the bench, and your feet on the floor.

How to Rack the Bar Correctly

Don’t try to press the bar directly into the hooks because if you miss, it’s coming down on your face.

Instead, finish your rep with the bar directly over your shoulders and your elbows locked and then shift the bar horizontally into the uprights.

Putting It All Together
The Ideal Bench Press Form

Alright, that’s quite a bit to visualize so a good video is in order. Here’s what it all looks like in action:

Incline Barbell Bench Press

The flat barbell bench press is a staple in many weightlifting programs but is usually accompanied by several variations.

The incline bench press is one of the best of these variations because it helps build the upper portion of the chest more than flat or decline pressing does.

It’s fundamentally the same as the flat press, but there are a few points of note:

When doing this exercise, the angle of incline in the bench should be 30 to 45 degrees.

I prefer 30 degrees, but some people prefer an incline closer to 45. I recommend that you try various settings ranging between 30 and 45 degrees and see which you like most.

The bar should pass by the chin and touch just below the collarbones to allow for a vertical bar path.

Here’s a video that shows proper form with the barbell:

Dumbbell Bench Press (Flat and Incline)

While it’s not a direct replacement for the barbell bench press, the dumbbell bench press is a valuable chest builder.

One of the things I like about it is it allows you to increase the range of motion beyond the barbell press. Here’s how I like to do it (this is incline, of course, but you get the idea):

Technically my butt shouldn’t be moving–I was trying to move up in weight here and got a little overzealous–but what I wanted to show you was how I rotate my hands at the bottom of the rep and bring the dumbbells low.

This increases the range of motion without increasing the risk of injury, and I’ve found this very helpful in progressing with the weight and developing my chest.

Close-Grip Bench Press

When bench pressing, the narrower your grip on the bar, the more work your triceps have to do.

This is undesirable when you’re focusing on training your chest, but it’s one of my favorite ways to train the triceps. And, incidentally, stronger triceps means a stronger (regular) bench press.

It’s important to know that when doing a close-grip bench press, your grip should be slightly narrower than shoulder-width and no closer.

Closer than that puts the shoulders and wrists in a weakened, compromised position.

The rest of the setup and movement are the same as the regular bench press: the shoulder blades are “screwed” into the bench, there’s a slight arch in the lower back, the feet are flat on the floor, and the bar moves down on a slightly diagonal path, touches the bottom of the chest, and then back up.

If your shoulders or wrists feel uncomfortable at the bottom of the lift, simply widen your grip by about the width of a finger and try again.

If it’s still uncomfortable, widen your grip by another finger width and repeat until it’s comfortable.

Here’s a good instructional video:

Reverse-Grip Bench Press

The reverse-grip bench press is an often-overlooked variation of the bench press that has merit.

It involves flipping your grip around on the bar (so your palms face you) and it’s easier on your shoulders than the traditional bench press and is particularly effective for targeting the upper chest as well.

Here’s how to do it:

Dip

The dip is one of the best bodyweight exercises you can do for your upper body.

It trains your chest, shoulders, and triceps, and can be loaded with a dip belt to increase the difficulty.

Here’s how to do it:

Dumbbell Overhead Triceps Press

This is one of my favorite triceps exercises.

It’s particularly good for targeting the long head of the triceps and allows you to safely press heavy weight and overload the muscles.

This video shows proper form:

Low Cable Chest Fly

The chest fly isn’t as great of a chest exercise as many people believe, but it’s ones of the better isolation exercises that you can incorporate into your chest workouts.

I particularly like it because the low pulley position minimizes the stress put on the shoulder joints.

Dumbbell Cuban Press

The Cuban Press is a little-known exercise that’s great for training the rear delts and rotator cuff muscles.

Strengthening these muscles does wonders for stabilizing your shoulders and preventing dysfunction or injury in your pressing.

Here’s how to do it:

Remember–Progression is the Key to Muscle Growth

That’s it for the exercises you’ll be doing.

The key, however, isn’t just doing the exercises–it’s progressing on them. That is, increasing the amount of weight you can move over time.

Remember: If you don’t get stronger, you won’t get bigger.

But if you do gain strength on these exercises and eat enough food to grow, your chest will respond.

How to Get a Bigger Chest in 30 Days
The Workouts

We’ve covered a lot so far—the ideal approach to chest building, the physiology of muscle growth, how to eat right, and the best chest exercises for gaining size and strength.

It’s now time to hit the gym and make some chest gains!

Step one is outlining our goal for the next 30 days, and that’s focusing the majority of our time and energy on maximizing chest growth.

As you’ll see, we’re not going to neglect the rest of the body, but we’re going to dial everything else back (reducing both intensity and volume) so we can really hammer our chest for a month.

That’s why this is a 30-day program, by the way—it’s not a balanced whole-body routine that you should do for an extended period of time.

It’s a tool you can use periodically to “shock” your chest into growing and, once that has been accomplished, that should be returned to the toolbox.

So, here’s the workout plan:

Day 1

Press A

Incline Barbell Bench Press

Warm up and 3 sets of 4 to 6 reps

Incline Dumbbell Bench Press

3 sets of 4 to 6 reps

Seated or Standing Military Press

3 sets of 8 to 10 reps

Day 2

Pull

Deadlift

Warm up and 3 sets of 4 to 6 reps

One-Arm Dumbbell Row

3 sets of 8 to 10 reps

Wide-Grip Lat Pulldown

3 sets of 8 to 10 reps

(Not sure how to do these exercises? Check out this article.)

Day 3

Rest

Day 4

Press B

Flat Barbell Bench Press

Warm up and 3 sets of 4 to 6 reps

Flat Dumbbell Bench Press

3 sets of 8 to 10 reps

Dip

3 sets of 8 to 10 reps

Day 5

Legs

Barbell Back Squat

Warm up and 3 sets of 4 to 6 reps

Barbell Lunge

3 sets of 8 to 10 reps

Lying Hamstring Curl

3 sets of 8 to 10 reps

(Not sure how to do these exercises? Check out this article.)

Day 6

Press C

Reverse-Grip Bench Press

Warm up and 3 sets of 4 to 6 reps

Low Cable Chest Fly

3 sets of 8 to 10 reps

Dumbbell Cuban Press

3 sets of 10 to 12 reps

Day 7

Rest

Take measurements, do four weeks of those workouts, and measure again. I promise you that your chest will be bigger.

(I also recommend that you take a week to deload before resuming your normal training as your body will probably need a break.)

A few points to keep in mind while you’re doing these workouts…

Rest 3 minutes in between your 4-to-6-rep sets and 2 minutes in between your 8-to-10-rep sets.

This will give your muscles enough time to fully recoup their strength so you can give maximum effort each set.

You don’t have to push to absolute muscle failure every set, but you need to come close.

The subject of whether to train to failure (the point at which you can no longer keep the weight moving and have to end the set) or not is a contentious one.

Experts disagree left and right, legit-sounding scientific arguments can be made for a variety of positions, and many people report success with many different approaches.

Well, I break it all down in this article, but here’s the long story short:

We should be training to failure, but not so much that we risk injury or overtrain.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Exactly how much that amounts to will vary from person to person.

Personally, I never train to failure for more than 2 to 3 sets per workout, and never on the squat, deadlift, bench press, or military press as this can be dangerous.

Furthermore, I don’t recommend you train to failure when you’re using very heavy loads (1 to 4 rep range).

Instead, the majority of your sets should be taken to the rep preceding failure (the last rep you can perform without assistance).

If you’re new to weightlifting, finding this point will be tricky, but as you get used to your body and your lifts, you’ll get a feel for it.

Once you hit the top of your rep range for one set, you move up in weight.

For instance, if you get on the incline bench and push out 6 reps on your first set, you add 5 pounds to each side of the bar for your next set and work with that weight until you can press it for 6 reps, and so forth.

What About Supplements?

get bigger chest workout

I saved this for last because, quite frankly, it’s far less important than proper diet and training.

You see, supplements don’t build great physiques–dedication to proper training and nutrition does.

Unfortunately, the workout supplement industry is plagued by pseudoscience, ridiculous hype, misleading advertising and endorsements, products full of junk ingredients, underdosing key ingredients, and many other shenanigans.

Most supplement companies produce cheap, junk products and try to dazzle you with ridiculous marketing claims, high-profile (and very expensive) endorsements, pseudo-scientific babble, fancy-sounding proprietary blends, and flashy packaging.

So, while workout supplements don’t play a vital role in building muscle and losing fat, and many are a complete waste of money…the right ones can help.

The truth of the matter is there are safe, natural substances that have been scientifically proven to deliver benefits such as increased strength, muscle endurance and growth, fat loss, and more.

As a part of my work, it’s been my job to know what these substances are, and find products with them that I can use myself and recommend to others.

Finding high-quality, effective, and fairly priced products has always been a struggle, though.

That’s why I took matters into my own hands and decided to create my own supplements. And not just another line of “me too” supplements–the exact formulations I myself have always wanted and wished others would create.

I won’t go into a whole spiel here though. If you want to learn more about my supplement line, check this out.

For the purpose of this article, let’s just quickly review the supplements that are going to help you get the most out of your chest (and other) workouts.

Creatine

Creatine is a substance found naturally in the body and in foods like red meat. It’s perhaps the most researched molecule in the world of sport supplements–the subject of hundreds of studies–and the consensus is very clear:

Supplementation with creatine helps…

You may have heard that creatine is bad for your kidneys, but these claims have been categorically and repeatedly disproven. In healthy subjects, creatine has been shown to have no harmful side effects, in both short- or long-term usage. People with kidney disease are not advised to supplement with creatine, however.

If you have healthy kidneys, I highly recommend that you supplement with creatine. It’s safe, cheap, and effective.

In terms of specific products, I use my own, of course, which is called RECHARGE.

RECHARGE is 100% naturally sweetened and flavored and each serving contains:

  • 5 grams of creatine monohydrate
  • 2100 milligrams of L-carnitine L-tartrate
  • 10.8 milligrams of corosolic acid

This gives you the proven strength, size, and recovery benefits of creatine monohydrate plus the muscle repair and insulin sensitivity benefits of L-carnitine L-tartrate and corosolic acid.

creatine-supplement

Protein Powder

You don’t need protein supplements to gain muscle, but, considering how much protein you need to eat every day to maximize muscle growth, getting all your protein from whole food can be impractical.

That’s the main reason I created (and use) a whey protein supplement. (There’s also evidence that whey protein is particularly good for your post-workout nutrition.)
WHEY+ is 100% naturally sweetened and flavored whey isolate that is made from milk sourced from small dairy farms in Ireland, which are known for their exceptionally high-quality dairy.

I can confidently say that this is the creamiest, tastiest, healthiest all-natural whey protein powder you can find.

whey-protein-supplement

Pre-Workout Drink

There’s no question that a pre-workout supplement can get you fired up to get to work in the gym. There are downsides and potential risks, however.

Many pre-workout drinks are stuffed full of ineffective ingredients and/or minuscule dosages of otherwise good ingredients, making them little more than a few cheap stimulants with some “pixie dust” sprinkled in to make for a pretty label and convincing ad copy.

Many others don’t even have stimulants going for them and are just complete duds.

Others still are downright dangerous, like USPLabs’ popular pre-workout “Jack3d,”which contained a powerful (and now banned) stimulant known as DMAA.

Even worse was the popular pre-workout supplement “Craze,” which contained a chemical similar to methamphetamine.

The reality is it’s very hard to find a pre-workout supplement that’s light on stimulants but heavy on natural, safe, performance-enhancing ingredients like beta-alanine, betaine, and citrulline.

And that’s why I made my own pre-workout supplement. It’s called PULSE and it contains 6 of the most effective performance-enhancing ingredients available:

And what you won’t find in PULSE is equally special:

  • No artificial sweeteners or flavors..
  • No artificial food dyes.
  • No unnecessary fillers, carbohydrate powders, or junk ingredients.

The bottom line is if you want to know what a pre-workout is supposed to feel like…if you want to experience the type of energy rush and performance boost that only clinically effective dosages of scientifically validated ingredients can deliver…then you want to try PULSE.

pre-workout-supplement

The Bottom Line on Getting a Bigger Chest

As you can see, building a bigger chest is pretty straightforward.

You hit it with a lot of heavy lifting. You do the right exercises. You eat enough food, sleep enough, and, if you want an easy boost, take the right supplements. And your body takes care of the rest.

Happy training!

Want More Workouts?

How to Get Bigger and Stronger Shoulders in Just 30 Days

how to get bigger and stronger shoulders

How to Get a Bigger and Rounder Butt in Just 30 Days

how-to-get-a-bigger-and-stronger-butt

How to Get Bigger and Stronger Biceps in Just 30 Days

how-to-get-bigger-stronger-biceps

How to Get Bigger and Stronger Triceps in Just 30 Days

big triceps

How to Get Bigger and Stronger Legs in Just 30 Days

how to get bigger legs

How to Get a Bigger and Stronger Back in Just 30 Days

bigger stronger back workout

What’s your take on getting a bigger chest? Have anything else to share? Let me know in the comments below!

admin admin

I'm Mike and I'm the creator of Muscle for Life and Legion Athletics, and I believe that EVERYONE can achieve the body of their dreams.

If you like what I have to say, sign up for my free newsletter and every week I'll send you awesome, science-based health and fitness tips, delicious "diet-friendly" recipes, motivational musings, and more.

THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE HAVE USED MY BOOKS TO BUILD THEIR BEST BODIES EVER. WILL YOU BE NEXT?

If you want a "paint-by-numbers," step-by-step blueprint for building a muscular, lean, strong body...faster than you ever thought possible...then you want to check out my bestselling books.

Here's a little sneak peek of what you'll learn inside...

  • The 7 biggest muscle building myths & mistakes that keep guys small, weak, and frustrated. (These BS lies are pushed by all the big magazines and even by many trainers.)
  • How to build meal plans that allow you to build muscle, lose fat, and get healthy with ease…eating foods you love (yes, including those deemed “unclean” by certain “gurus”)…and never feeling starved, deprived, or like you’re “on a diet.”
  • The 5 biggest fat loss myths & mistakes that keep women overweight, disappointed, and confused. (These BS lies are pushed by all the big magazines and even by many trainers.)
  • An all-in-one training system that delivers MAXIMUM results for your efforts…spending no more than 3 to 6 hours in the gym every week…doing workouts that energize you, not wipe you out.
  • A no-BS guide to supplements that will save you hundreds if not THOUSANDS of dollars each year that you would’ve wasted on products that are nothing more than bunk science and marketing hype.
  • And a whole lot more!

The bottom line is you CAN achieve that “Hollywood body" without having your life revolve around it. No long hours in the gym, no starving yourself, and no grueling cardio that turns your stomach.

My book will show you how. Get it today and let’s build a body you can be proud of.

Bigger Leaner Stronger

Bigger Leaner Stronger

Thinner Leaner Stronger

Thinner Leaner Stronger

Want more awesome stuff like this? Enter your email address to get the weekly newsletter.
LIKE MUSCLE FOR LIFE? Let Google know!
Leave a Comment!
Comment!
  • Thanks for stopping by and checking out my article! I hope you enjoyed it.

    Feel free to comment below if you have any questions. I do my best to check and reply to every comment left on my blog, so don’t be shy!

    Oh and if you like what I have to say, you should sign up for my free weekly newsletter! You’ll get awesome, science-based health and fitness tips, delicious “guilt-free” recipes, articles to keep you motivated, and much more!

    You can sign up here:

    http://www.muscleforlife.com/signup/

    Your information is safe with me too. I don’t share, sell, or rent my lists. Pinky swear!

  • Bink Natawijaya

    Hi mike. My dumbell bench(flat and incline) is much stronger than barbell one. Most gym member here are better on barbell. They said, normal people will do better on barbell.

    What is you thoughts?

    • flyjohny

      Stronger in general terms? I.e. the sum of weight in dumbbells is higher than the weight of barbell? That would be pretty strange, I must admit, as for dumbbells a lot more supportive work is required by secondary muscles to keep the dumbbells on track… But you can build great chest with both exercises, so I wouldn’t be bothered too much by that, just keep pushing yourself on both.

    • Total weight of dumbbells more than barbell? How’s your form on both lifts? Normally, people lift heavier on barbell.

      • Bink Natawijaya

        Yup. More weight on dumbell than barbell.
        I know its ‘seems’ wierd, bros in the gym lift heavier on barbell.

  • Thaynam Lázaro

    Hi Mike. Would this kind of workout split work for different muscle groups?My biceps also need some more work… And Thanks for the amazing article! I’ll put it to good use on my stubborn chest.

    • Sure can! Remember, though, your biceps are getting a workout from pullups and rows. I’d just have two days of isolation exercises for biceps.

  • Bonnie Jo

    Hey Mike,

    You should have talked about boobs in this article 😉 Is there a way to make them look bigger by growing the chest? Which part of the chest should you focus on? Missed lady market!!

    • Lol. Women boobs are fat though not muscle far as I know. Should be interesting to see what Mike thinks.

      • Bonnie Jo

        Haha of course they are! But building the muscle underneath might make them look bigger

        • Doubt it lol. The only way I can think of to make them bigger other than implants is to gain fat and I don’t know of any woman who wants to do that.

    • Developing your pecs will help a tiny bit, but not visually significant unfortunately. 🙁

  • flyjohny

    Mike, you keep insisting on lowering the bar to the chest, but what about people who tend to have shoulder issues, no matter how they position their elbows and how well they tuck the shoulders back and arch and all?
    This guy seems to know what he’s talking about:
    https://youtu.be/clBGsv573K4?t=2m23s
    and since I’d stopped lowering the bar to the chest (and I only do incline, as it seems to be safer with that regards as well), I haven’t had serious problems with my shoulders that would put me off the gym for some longer period. And that means that I can train continuously, which in the long run is more beneficial I guess.

    Or do you think that I should lower the weight and focus on lowering the bar anyway…?

    I’ll also add that I’ve stopped doing dips altogether, because they caused a lot of trouble with my shoulders as well. Maybe for some people some particular movements simply don’t work out well…?

    • I was going to ask about this too. I’ve seen another video like this on youtube where the guy says the same thing. It kinda makes me think of the squat where you can go all the way down. Instead I still go deep but not all the way down. It seems this guy is saying the same about the bench. Aside from it being a lot harder to go all the way down doesn’t it make injury more likely with both exercises in terms of your knees and shoulders?

      • It’d say it depends on your body–how your joints work, how strong your RC muscles are, how prone you are to tendon and ligament issues, etc.

        There are many, many people that have been bench and overhead pressing with full ROM for many, many years with no issues and, on the other hand, there are many people who seem to always have issues. The latter can benefit from workarounds.

        • It’s cool I did the bench press with full ROM without sacrificing any weight but I adjusted my technique a bit where I hollowed my back. That takes your chest higher so that you hardly have to go any lower. Anyway it felt good because I thought I’d have to sacrifice weight and I didn’t want to.

          How about the squat? Is that the same deal? Do you go all the way down?

          • Most definitely. Lower you go, more you engage your glutes too–but always only as deep as what you’re capable of doing.

            Here’s a great resource on the subject:
            http://stronglifts.com/squat/#Proper_Squat_Depth

          • Thanks that was helpful. I was never quite clear on the subject and now I know exactly what to do and why.

          • By the way I do stiff-legged deadlift which strengthens your hamstrings enough I think but I squat past parallel anyway. As for the glutes I feel that a lot with the leg press so I don’t need to go ATG with squats I think.

          • Great!

    • If you have shoulder issues then yes this makes sense. Remember, though, that strong RC muscles and proper form will keep your shoulders healthy.

  • Weezy

    Mike,

    I’m so glad you brought up the reverse grip bench press. I was reading about it yesterday and decided to plug it into the end of my chest routine. I was pleasantly surprised at how much upper chest activation I got, as I’m constantly trying to get my upper chest bigger. Since it was my first time doing it, it was hard for me to figure out how much weight to use. Do you have a typical/standard ratio for comparing incline or flat BB press to reverse grip BB press? I don’t want to go too light, but I don’t want to go too heavy either as the BB doesn’t feel as secure in my hands during a reverse grip.

    • Yeah it’s great. You know I’m not sure on a standard “conversion” ratio but it shouldn’t take more than a few sets for you to get a feel for what’s best for you.

  • Bullitt315

    Mike,

    I’m doing stronglifts right now because I have all the equipment for it at my house and I haven’t stalled out on progress yet. Can i continue to do that and just mix in an incline bench on the Chest workout days? I also figure I’ll have to switch on from stronglifts eventually but it does seem to be working. Thanks

    I did buy your book and I’m tracking calories and macros for the first time in my life. Seems to help but talk about a full time job.

    • You can continue on StrongLifts if you’d like. I’d only throw in the incline on weeks where you only bench press one day though.

      That’s great you started tracking your intake! To make life easier, create several daily menus and substitution items so that it can become routine.

  • SolomonBicakcic

    Hey Mike, I am happy with my chest size but I would like to grow it more in upper area. Can I adjust sligtly this program so that it consist mainly of incline presses so that I can bring that lagging upper pecs?

  • Jonathan Parry

    can i do this routine on a cut or will it be too much stress on the body?

    • You can, but for more significant muscle growth, you’ll have better results on a bulking diet.

  • aido

    hey mike, would you expect to keep all the gains once you finish the program and lower the chest weekly volume back to normal?

  • DC

    I watched the videos of proper chest dip form (leaning torso forward, looking down, and not letting shoulders shrug) but I never feel it in my chest. It is all anterior delt. My shoulder strength seems adequate that it shouldn’t be limiting me (Military shoulder press 145 for reps at 175 BW). Is there another exercise I can sub for? I currently do incline barbell, incline dumbbell, flat barbell, and wanted dips as the last exercise. Or an alternative. Thank you

    • Hmm. Fair enough.

      You can just do more sets of the 3 exercises you’re already doing or you can add in flat DB bench.

  • bandoogiemanz

    Hey Mike. Its possible im going on a cruise somewhere around middle/late september. Im wondering if a workout like this would be preferrable to the regular one in your book. Im trying to make the fastest most visible gains i can. Thanks.

    • It would work, yes. If it applies, I’d even suggest a solid cutting cycle.

  • Maru Pablo

    Thank you so much for this Mike. This is just perfect timing! Lately I’m just not satisfied with my chest development so I’m giving this a try next month. Just one concern though, I workout in a home gym, so no machines. Can I do incline dumbbell flys as an alternative to the low cable chest fly?

    I really appreciate your work. Keep it up!

  • SolomonBicakcic

    Can we expect some shoulders gaines from this type of workout cause there is lot of pressing?

  • Stephen Reyes

    Hey Mike,

    Would I be able to change to two days straight of rest instead of one in between?

    • Sure, that’s fine.

      • Stephen Reyes

        also, what’s an alternative for the lying leg curl? no machine at my gym.

  • Kurt

    So no arm work at all for a month? Counting on just the compound movements are you?

    • It takes a lot less to maintain than it does to grow. Keep in mind to focus on the growth of one muscle requires increasing the volume, and it order to increase the volume on the chest without risking overtraining, you have to reduce the trianing volume in other areas.

      Hope that makese sense! Talk soon.

  • assassinforu what do i type he

    Hey! I am relatively new and am following the BLS program, just had a question regarding chest day. I usually complete the nine heavy sets Mike suggests but my chest hasn’t being growing, and I am not strong enough to do dips soo is the following routine good enough to fill the gap?

    Incline barbell bench press x 3, 4-6 reps
    Flat barbell bench press x 3, 4-6 reps
    Incline Dumbbell press x 3, 4-6 reps
    Flat Dumbbell pres x 3, 8-10 reps

  • SolomonBicakcic

    Hey Mike,

    Am I bad person if I want to do this program for 60 days and then take deload week? :)))))

    Cheers mate!!!

    • Haha tempting isn’t it? Everyone responds differently, and some can go longer without a deload. You can see how long you can push it after the initial 30 days.

  • Rajith

    Hey Mike,

    Why Close-Grip Bench Press is not included in any of the days as of your workout plan? But in the exercise list it is included. Do you recommend to add it ? if so on which day?

    Thanks a lot!

    • It’s pretty great for triceps, but doesn’t work the chest as much as the other presses do. You can replace Dips with it.

      • Rajith

        Thanks Roger! Can I replace reverse grip bench press with close grip bench? Since both of the exercises are focus on triceps, I have more controlled form with close grip than reverse. What do you think?

  • sean_noonan

    Wait so should I try this program for now or would you recommend to stick to on the normal one?

    • Yeah, this’ll build up your chest and improve your presses.

  • sean_noonan

    hey mike quick question. about like with shifting my focus on chest/upperbody for now on did you mean to do something with my everyday training? or to just run the bench program.

    Im kinda afraid of my legs getting disproportionate to my upper body and I really wanna add size to my over all upper body

  • sean_noonan

    Hey I got a question. So I have been progressing well and then noticed I lost around 5 lbs of strength on my incline bench (I was being really stupid and impulsively lifted with a fever/flu not sure how much that could affect it) I’m not sure what to really do from now.

    would you recommend lightening the weight so I am able to get 3 sets of 4?

    Or should I drop the weight down by like 25 lbs or so then restart from there?

    Maybe increase the intake? the average has hit a plateau for a couple of weeks

    It just means a lot to improve my bench this bulk and I feel like so far I haven’t really gotten anywhere and I really hope to change that

    • If you were lifting when sick, strength would definitely not have been at usual levels. Let’s see how it goes next week. Be patient, and keep on logging your intake and weight as you have been doing. Increase your calories if your bodyweight is not moving upwards.

      • sean_noonan
      • sean_noonan

        Yeah i def learned a lesson. no wondor i felt weak the next day my temp went up to103.2 so probably best to rest now

        • Haha absolutely! Rest up and get well soon!

          • sean_noonan

            ill probably go back monday or so. not quite sure what to do with my macros probably just gonna eat around 4000 or so and just kinda maintain until im more active and back at the normal chest routine

          • You can keep the surplus at 4400-4500, and get lots of rest over the weekend so you’re ready to rock on Monday.

          • sean_noonan

            Alright then I’ll try adding 100 then or so

          • sean_noonan

            Alright. I guess add 100 calories the when I get back

          • Yup. Sounds good!

          • sean_noonan

            Ok

          • sean_noonan

            I feel like the water weight makes it confusing the way its kinda up and down but I guess just add 100 if It averages less then .5 pounds gained

          • You can stick with 185. It should look better next week.

          • sean_noonan

            ok ill try. Maybe i just needed more calories ill try and wait less time after the weight plateaus this time

          • sean_noonan

            Srength has been so weird though. I had almost 80 pounds on incline dumbbell. And only felt like I could do 60-65 today maybe the increase in cals may help.

            I just find it so odd I remember easily doing 70-75 when I was 15 pounds lighter

          • That’s normal. Even if you kept everything perfect (diet, rest, form, etc) strength varies. You’ll have good days and you’ll have bad. Overall though, if you’re doing it right, it’ll keep moving up. Also keep in mind that progress only gets slower as you become more experienced.

            Also, when was the last time you took a week off or a deload week?

          • sean_noonan

            i didnt lift for a week while i was sick so i guess like a week ago was my last deload week.

            and i know, I just wanna add enough size to have good proportions i guess my main worry is not being able to gain the 10-12 lbs your supposed to be able to gain in year two

            also how would you reccomend to get proper dealift form?

            Ive lightned the weight like 90lbs and still cant seem to keep my back straight i dont know if i should drop more weight maybe down another 50 i swear at all weight unless like 315 or lower my back cant be sraight

          • sean_noonan

            I think I might just lighten and restart again I failed on the third rep of 205 then lightened to 195 and couldn’t even get 3 I find this so odd that’s 10lbs strength loss

          • sean_noonan

            I ended up lightening it to 185 I’m hoping my strength comes back. I just find it odd especially considering I’m weighing 199

          • sean_noonan

            I just seem to be gaining fat and losing strength for no apparent reason can you help me with what to do? It’s getting kinda late in the bulk now but I hope I can still build more muscle. I just find it odd that I’m weaker then my last bulk by around 25 lb

          • sean_noonan

            My last deload was last week.

            I honestly don’t k ow what to do at this point I’m thinking it may just be best cut cut and redo considering where my bf is https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/dd3240fda304319cf521aa6bf00def202cef32915699e5b7f4628a73cc1f9428.jpg

            I lightened the flat bench around 20lbs from my last workout because I was unable to hit more then 2 reps. Even with 10 lbs lighter I couldn’t even get 3 reps. There has to be something going wrong right now. I just haven’t really seemed to have gained muscle yet.

            can you help me with another bulk to make sure I do it right? And maybe start a cut for now?

          • sean_noonan

            I took a deload around a week ago actually. I find that my strength seems a bit weaker then my last bulk though for some reason and I haven’t really been able to progress over the last 3 months Im not sure if I may be capped out for growth.

  • Marvin

    I have a question about aesthetics:

    I’m currently at about 85 kilos, 170 cm (~5’6*) and bench 115kg (~250 lbs) for 3 reps after my incline presses, which are at 105 kg (~230 lbs) for 3 reps – I was wondering when my chest will look any good – it seems like my strength is progressing (went from 80 kg x 4 to 105 x 3 in just about 5-6 months and am still progressing) but it still looks..Small? Like, I don’t ever feel like “Wow, I have a really big chest! that’s so cool!”
    What were you benching when you first thought “Wow, my chest looks big!”?

    • Hmm. That’s gonna vary person to person. Just keep focusing on gaining strength on your heavy flat and incline pressing and diet properly. Your chest will grow.

      Keep in mind that build any significant amount of muscle you need to be in a caloric surplus and gaining weight. If you’re gaining strength but not size or muscle, that’s usually a sign that you’re not eating enough.

      What do your macros look like and how much weight are you gaining weekly?

      • Marvin

        Thanks a lot for responding 🙂

        As I said, I’m progressing, I might’ve led you to believe that there was something wrong with the gains I’m (not) making, my apologies 🙂

        I was just wondering if there were magical numbers like

        “once you bench 1.5x your bodyweight your chest will look decent,
        when you bench 2x your bodyweight your pecs will put every small-chested girl to shame and after reaching 2.5x your bodyweight you can crush stoned between your chest and an ancient spartan ghost will appear in your dream to congratulate you on your pecs”
        I get that it varies from person to person, but I don’t really have anyone in my gym I can look up to in terms of chest-size, which is why I’m wondering if any of you could grant me some insight as to what you benched when you first thought “My chest looks amazing” 🙂

        • Welcome!

          Hahaha, not really, unfortunately. Again, it’s going to vary too much based off height, diet, genetics, etc. so it’s tough to give a general number that would make sense.

          That being said, I’d be surprised if anyone’s chest didn’t look good if they were lean and able to bench 2 times their bodyweight…

  • Samson

    Hi Mike,
    Please do you have a three days workout plan for biggest chest in 30 days?

  • Jeremy

    Why would you post a video of cheat reps (incline dumbbell
    press) as an example for proper form? I
    appreciate the content you provide but this seems easily rectified (new video
    or using another sites as you did with other lifts) and it seems you would want
    to reinforce to your customers that proper form trumps #s.

    • Hey Jeremy, do you mean the Instagram video? Because those reps look pretty good to me.

      Thanks for your support, and you’re absolutely right we want people learning proper technique.

      M

  • Calvin T

    Hey Mike, With the dumbell chest press, once I have moved up in weight for a set, I find that my chest can take some more punishing but my elbows and wrist don’t seem to be able to sustain the increased weight that I am lifting. Any thoughts on what do I do in such circumstances? Thanks a lot!

  • Harry Turnbull

    Hi mike,
    Can I cycle between these 30 day bigger workouts when Bulking to speed up lagging muscles, E.g. 30 day bigger Chest, Deload, 30 day bigger Biceps, Deload, 30 day bigger Triceps, rest week?? My Arms have been stuck at 14inch Flexed for over 2.5 years, did BLS then past year moved tp BBLS plus adding the extra 3 sets 8-10 for Bis after Back and Tris after Chest but no size gains 🙁
    Strength is up but, I must be doomed to the small Chest and Arm Club!

    • Thanks! Haha you’ll be a former member in no time 😉

  • Jesse Self

    Mike, not sure if you’ve written about this elsewhere, but what are your thoughts on the order of flat and incline bench when done in the same workout? If I’m targeting weak upper chest, should I prioritize and do incline then flat bench or vice versa lest that I will take away from my max weight/volume for chest?

    • Hey Jesse! It’s fine to start with incline bench and prioritize it. A lot of guys want to develop their upper chest more, so that’s how I program it in BLS 🙂

Sign in to Muscle For Life
or use your MFL Account