The Complete Guide To Training Your Chest

This article covers Basic Anatomy, The Chest Exercises, some Good Articles and worthwhile Videos.

Page two covers the Key Rules of Chest Training and Sample Workouts.


The Pectoralis Major is made up of two heads: the Clavicular (upper, near the clavicle) and the Sternocostal (lower, near the sternum).

pectoralis major muscle

Beneath those muscles lies the Pectoralis Minor.


  • The Clavicular head is also known as the “upper chest.”
  • It’s active during horizontal flexion and shoulder flexion-type movements, which bring the arm from your sides to overhead.
  • The Sternocostal head makes up the middle and lower chest, and is much larger in size than the Clavicular head.
  • It’s actually made up of a layer of individual muscles that are collectively referred to as the Pec Major.
  • The primary movement of the Sternocostal head is horizontal flexion, but is also active during shoulder adduction (arms to side of body).
  • Around 60% of the Pec Major is fast twitch (type II) so it’s best to use heavy weight for low rep

New Lifters

If you are new to lifting I recommend quickly visiting this page to understand the basic terminology of words like barbell, reps, and supersets.


The following are links to Articles on Chest Training that could be of interest. The main points of each article are below in Bullet Points.

Article 1 – The 10 Best Chest Exercises @
  • BB Bench Press, Flat Bench DB Press, Low Incline BB Bench Press
  • Machine Decline Press, Seated Machine Chest Press, Pec-Deck Machine
  • Dips (forward lean, elbows out), Incline Bench Cable Fly, Incline DB Press,  Incline DB Pull-Over
Article 2 – The Best Chest Training Tips @ T-Nation
  • Flat Bench Press with 22-32 inches between index fingers is best
  • Incline Bench Press at 30-50 degrees, emphasises clavicular head. Shoulder width grip.
  • Isolation exercises should be done with more reps – Pec-Deck, Bent Over Cable Raise, DB Flye
  • Pec-Deck is best isolation for chest, as it allows constant tension throughout the movement.
  • High chest activation in both heads with BB Bench Press.
  • Wider Grip = Low/Mid Chest, Narrow Grip = Upper Chest.
  • Flat or 15 degree decline = Low/Mid Chest, 30-50 degrees = Upper Chest.
  • Press-ups with hands touching is more efffective for the chest than a wider grip.
Article 3 – 4 Week Chest Specialisation @ T-Nation
  • Clap push-ups to activate the chest 48 hours before strength session.
  • Strength day: Bench Press (1 x 3-6), BW Dips or Decline Push-ups 3 x 6-8) + two isolation moves (3 x 8-10)
  • Hypertrophy day: DB press (4 x 8-12), Cable Crossover/Machine Flyes (4 x 10-12)
Article 4 – Best Full Gym Chest Workout @ Men’s Fitness
  • See Workout 5 at the end
Article 5 – The Best Methods For Building A Massive Chest @
  • 1. Instability Training (DB Flye on swiss ball)
  • 2. Partial Reps (Bench Press, or Machine Press – bottom 3/4 of motion)
  • 3. Eccentric Training (use a spotter to exert more pressure on the bar as you lower each rep)
  • 4. Max Out First (1 rep of your 2 rep max to prime the CNS, then 6-8 reps, repeat)
  • 5. Explosive reps (regular bench superset with clap push-ups)
Article 6 – Best Chest Exercise Workouts @
  • Heavy progressive overload – DB Bench Press, BB Bench Press, DB Incline Bench Press, BB Incline Bench Press
  • Don’t seek a chest ‘pump’ until the end of the workout
  • Heavy dips, no pec-deck, no decline bench press.
  • Hit the upper chest – most people who don’t actively target upper chest are likely doing 90% of training for lower and mid pecs.

Video 1 -Dips To Emphasise Chest (Forward lean, legs behind)

Video 2 – Simeon Panda “How To Build A Big Chest”

(Flat Bench 3/4 rep – heavy 1-3 reps and some rest pause ~8 sets, Incline bench same reps, Flyes, cable crossover flyes)

Video 3 – Lazar Angelov Chest Workout

(BB Bench Press, Incline DB Bench Press, Tri-set, Cable Crossover)

Video 4 – 3 Keys To Building Chest Muscle

(Retract Shoulders, Don’t Rack While Finishing Last Rep, High Volume Bench Press)

Video 5 – Rob Riches Chest Workout

(BB Bench Press SS DB Pullovers, Incline BB Bench SS Pec Deck, DB Flyes SS Weighted Chest Dips, Cable Crossover SS Decline Pushups)



Go to the Key Rules of Chest Training and Sample Workouts.

About Fraser_9to5 206 Articles
Site owner. I'm a graduate in Sports Science and have an MSc in Sports Biomechanics. I set up 9to5strength in 2015 as a resource for people interested in strength training, nutrition and fitness. I consider myself a fitness blogger and enjoy creating YouTube videos and trying out workout programs.