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Natural Bodybuilding w/Monica Ewing


Target Area: Chest

We at Body Builders Network welcome your requests for advice. Go ahead, ask us for advice by emailing us at You will find our advice replies to you requests here, in our Chest Column.

Q: What can I do to get huge pecs?

Pectoralis Major & Minor:

The chest muscles are made up of the pectoralis major and the pectoralis minor. The pectoralis major is the bigger of the two and spans most of the clavicle and sternum and attaches to the upper arm. It has several important functions at the shoulder: flexion, adduction (towards body), and medial (inward) rotation. The pectoralis minor is a thin triangular muscle that lies beneath the pectoralis major and is responsible for similar functions.

Pec Training Routine:

One of the oldest and most effective chest exercises is the standard dip. Check out the old photos of Arnold, Franco, and Robby Robinson training chest at Gold's Gym, Venice, Ca. In many of these photos, you'll see these champs grinding out set after set of dips. Their chest muscles look as though they are about to explode and rip the skin to shreds!
So, the first exercise we recommend for chest is the standard dip. Make sure to keep your elbows pointed out on this movement. Keeping the elbows pointed out isolates the chest muscles and only a small bit of the triceps are used.
Perform the dip in a slow controlled fashion. If possible take about 15 seconds to lower yourself and about 15 seconds to raise up. Perform 3-4 sets, 8-15 reps with a two-minute break between each set. If you've never done dips in this fashion you'll be shocked at how intense this method is and how sore your muscles will be the following day. You'll wake up saying, "What the @#$%^&#* did I do to myself?"
Now that you're warmed up, it's time to kick your training intensity into a higher gear with Barbell/Dumbbell Bench Presses. After dips, your chest muscles will already be exhausted so you will not be able to use as much weight in the pressing movements. Remember—your goal is to build muscle, not inflate an ego. When performing the pressing movements, complete the set in a slow controlled fashion taking about 3-5 seconds to lower the weight and about 2-3 to raise it. Immediately following this press drop down and crank out 12-15 push-ups (again in a slow controlled fashion). Rest two minutes and repeat the process for 3-4 sets of 6-12 reps.
The final exercise is the incline bench press. If your bench allows, change the pin in the bench so your chest muscles are stimulated at different angles. While performing this exercise, don't lock out at the top. By not locking out, you'll keep the muscles under tension and stress; two of the main factors that make muscles grow. Do 3-5 sets of 6-12 reps (again in a slow, controlled fashion).

 Upper Pec  Barbell, Dumbbell, Smith Machine Incline Press, Cable Crossovers
 General Pec  Barbell, Dumbbell Machine Press, Dips, Flat Bench Flyes
 Lower Pec  Barbell, Dumbbell, Decline Press
 Inner Pec  Pec-Deck Flyes, Cable Crossovers, Narrow Grip Bench Presses

If you have an injury or don't like a particular exercise we mentioned, here are a few other chest movements and the region of the chest they effect:

Pec Training Frequency:

The frequency of training for a muscle group is an integral part of designing a strength-training program. The recuperation period must be sufficient enough to allow for total muscle recovery, maximum development, and prevent overtraining.
Our basic weight training philosophy is maximum efficiency with minimum effort. It's vital to get the absolute most out of your workout without overtraining. The most important thing is to listen to your body. Try to unite your mind and body as one. For example, during your next chest workout, you may need up to 15 sets to get the feeling of a good workout. However, during your subsequent chest workout your body may "tell" you that only 6 sets are needed. Again, listen to your body.

We welcome your comments and suggestions. Please feel free to e-mail us and tell us what you would like to see, here on Body Builders Network.

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