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 Personal Trainer - Free Fitness Tips  Article By Chris Chew,  Singapore based AMFPT  Certified Master Trainer

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So You Want To Build A Gladiator's Chest? Huge big Pecs or Chest Muscles that Commands Respect And Adoration?

These free fitness tips will show how you can be the proud owner of a broad and powerful chest.

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Many people actually think that there are 2 separate chest muscles, well there aren't. The chest muscle  or pecs  that you see on each side of your chest is a fan shaped one continuous muscle although they may be called by different names such as pectoralis major, minor and clavicle head to differentiate the different parts of the same muscle. All chest exercises work your chest muscle but from different angles which places different stress on your chest.

You need to use a variety of chest exercises to hit your pecs at various angles to effectively stimulate lean muscle mass growth. Each different angle you use with any chest exercises will reach into various different fibers in your pectorals for effective stimulation of different areas of your pecs so that your entire chest will grow muscle fast and symmetrically giving you that broad and powerful chest that threatens to rip through your t-shirt.

For achieving best results in chest and upper body muscle building, use free weights rather than machines ( see this article Build Muscles Fast ). Chest workout that use any chest machine should be avoided as it has many disadvantages like it will not only produce the desired results and also may cause injuries because of its narrow range of movements and the lack of involvement of synergistic muscles.

As with any weightlifting workout, proper lifting form and techniques are of paramount importance.

Many people use only 1 or 2 types of chest exercises and almost invariably, it's the flat bench press and flys . Well, to build a powerfully broad well chiseled chest, that is a fatal mistake as you do not adequately hit the pecs from all angles so as to stimulate muscle growth in your entire chest muscle.

Here are some common but effective exercises that you can perform to build that massive gladiator's chest! All chest exercises will not only work your chest but also your delts, biceps and triceps to a lesser extent. But you need to focus, visualize and to concentrate the force on the chest. Mind and your chest muscle connection is vital here so as to make your chest work harder instead of using your triceps, delts or biceps to power your chest workout. Also work on the full range of motion and squeeze your chest hard at every top of each movement. Never never bounce or use momentum with the weights as that may not only cause injuries but nullify your efforts. Lower your weight slowly and deliberately fighting gravity to provide more resistance to your chest muscles and therefore elicit more muscle fibers for more lean muscle growth. 

A word of caution though. You will need a spotter or a personal trainer for safety reasons because you must lift heavy for excellent muscle gain especially so for chest muscle development. Your spotter or personal trainer will also be able to correct your mistakes and help you with forced reps to reach into the deep tissues to elicit maximum muscle fiber stimulation.

  • Flat bench press

    You may perform this exercise with dumbbells and barbells.

    To start any flat bench exercises, lie on a flat bench and firmly position your feet flat on the floor. Never at any time lift them off the floor as you will see many people doing that in the gym. Do not copy them. Make sure that your butt, back, shoulders, and head are firmly in contact with the bench! Never arch your back!

    Using a grip wider than your shoulder width, place your arms straight up with your hands gripping the bar with your thumbs wrapped around the bar.

    Hold the barbell/dumbbell above your body then lower slowly to the lower part of your chest about the same area where your nipples are. Then drive the barbell/dumbbell up until your arms are straight and your elbows are almost locked, then squeeze those pecs hard. Repeat for the next rep.

  • Incline bench press

    Exercises like the incline bench press will target your muscle fibers from the upper chest area. A broad upper chest and a pair of solid deltoids or shoulder muscles will give you that much coveted V shape upper body ( see this article Get Your V Shape ).

    For the more mature readers, this incline bench exercises are recommended because with age, your muscles and skin may sag and so developing the upper portion of your chest will make it broader and hold chest muscles up. Doing flat bench press emphasizes on the lower part of the chest and so may result in the drooping chest look. In bodybuilding terminology, droopy chests are called bitch tits. You want a massive chest, not tits.

    Your form, methodology and equipment will be exactly the same as the flat bench press described above except that you are doing so on an incline bench. The incline should not be more than 45 degree as anything more, the emphasis will be on your delts, biceps and triceps muscles.
  • Dumbbell fly

    For this exercise you will need a flat bench and a set of dumbbells.

    Sit down on the edge of a flat bench with a dumbbell in each hand. Lie back, keeping the dumbbells close to your chest. Then lift the dumbbells over your chest by extending your arms.

    Maintain a slight bend in your elbows. Keep your hips and shoulders flat on the bench and your feet planted firmly on the floor. Again, as with other chest exercises, do make sure that your butt, back, shoulders and your head are firmly in contact with the bench.

    Your arms should be lightly bent and slightly wider than shoulders and your palms should be facing each other. Keeping a slight bend in the arms, slowly lower the dumbbells to the sides of your body in an arc-like motion.

    At the lowest point, your bent elbows should be on a horizontal plane, even with the bench. Slowly bring the weights back up over your chest in an arc. Imagine that you are circling your arm just like hugging a tree trunk. The bend in your elbows should remain constant throughout the exercise. As with the other exercises, remember to squeeze those pecs hard  and focus on your pecs doing most of the work instead of your biceps, triceps and deltoids.
  • Incline dumbbell fly

    For this exercise you will need an incline bench and a set of dumbbells.

    Incline fly exercises follow the same principles as that of the flat bench fly chest exercise and the incline bench press.
  • Flat bench dumbbell press

    For this exercise you will need a flat bench and a set of dumbbells.

    This exercise will work on many synergistic muscles and is excellent for overall upper body muscle gain.

    Sit on the end of the flat bench with one dumbbell in each hand resting on your knees. In one smooth motion, roll onto your back while bringing the dumbbells up to a position slightly above your shoulders.

    With your palms facing out and elbows bent at a 90-degree angle so that your upper arms are parallel to the ground. Press the weights out over your chest in a single movement.

    As you lift, concentrate on keeping the weights balanced and under control. Then follow the same path downward as you lower the weights until your arms are slightly below parallel to the floor.

    As usual, keep your butt, shoulders, hips, back and head firmly on the bench.
  • Incline dumbbell press exercises

    For this exercise you will need an incline bench and a set of dumbbells. This exercise will work on the upper portion of your chest muscle.

    Form and techniques are exactly the same as the flat dumbbell press except that the bench is now inclined at not more than 45 degree angle. You can also experiment with various inclines less that 45 degrees.

  • Dips

    The dip bars should just be outside shoulder width.

    A forward leaning dip will work your chest , triceps and shoulders. You will look like a plane taking off or if you prefer, like Superman flying from the phone booth towards the sky. In using the dip as a chest exercise, instead of for your triceps, your hands should be slightly wider than shoulder width. Make sure as you lower yourself that you let your elbows flare out and lean your body forward.

    Lower your body down until your shoulder joint is below the elbow joint and try to avoid locking your arms at the top. When you gain strength in time to come and able to do more than 10 reps per set, you may wish to add on a weight belt for greater resistance.

Summary

Remember that you need to lower slowly and in a control manner for your exercises to be effective. Otherwise its just plain gravity that pull your weight down and thus you are cheating yourself of tremendous muscle gains.

There are many other chest exercises, for example, the pec deck, cable cross-over machine, etc. But if it is having  big huge chest muscle mass that you want, stick to chest exercises like the ones discussed here. You can perform the other exercises for the sake of having more varieties though.

When you perform these exercises meticulously and eat sufficiently with the right supplementation coupled with enough rest for muscle recovery, in 3-4 months time, you may be able to tell Hercules to buzz off for by then, you will have such massive chest muscle that you will be making heads turn. SFO

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