You must have spent countless hours in the gym and done many exercises to train your chest muscles. Unfortunately, these training hours have not yet ensured that you have just as symmetrical and trained chest as Arnold Schwarzenegger. Now it will be very difficult to achieve perfection, but whoever doesn't dare, who doesn't win! You can train your chest muscles by including the 7 exercises we have collected for you in your training schedule. We will also tell you exactly what the chest muscles are, so that you not only know what you have to do, but you also know exactly why you make which movements and which muscles you put to work with these movements. Wet your chest!
What are your chest muscles?
At the level of your chest there are various muscles that together form your chest muscles. We will briefly discuss them with you. First you have the musculus pectoralis major or the large pectoral muscle, and in addition there is the small pectoral muscle or the musculus pectoralis minor. Maybe they are better known to you as pecs.
The large chest muscle is a superficial muscle that consists of three parts;
- Pars clavicularis;
- Pars sternocostalis;
- Pars abdominalis.
The three parts actually run from the breastbone and the collarbone to the humerus, and have different functions in different combinations. One of the functions of the large chest muscle is that you can move your arm towards your body. A second function is also that the muscles help you if you want to lift your arm in front of your body, and finally this muscle also helps if you want to turn your shoulder towards your chest.
In addition to the large pectoral muscle, the small pectoral muscle or the musculus pectoralis minor is also located at the level of your chest. This muscle is located on the front of your chest and is under the large chest muscle. Thanks to the small chest muscle you can pull your shoulder down and forward. In addition, the small chest muscle also provides for media rotation. This actually means that you can turn your shoulder blades towards the spine.
How do you get chest muscles like Arnold Schwarzenegger?
You can train your chest muscles with different exercises. In the one case these are isolation exercises where you really only train your chest muscles and in the other case it is compound exercises where you train multiple muscle groups. The emphasis, however, will always be on the chest muscles.
Before you start training it is of course wise to warm up your muscles first by means of a warm up. Then you can get started with the heavier work and you really train your chest muscles well. Many of the exercises that we have listed require the use of weights. We leave it entirely up to you which weights you choose. Make sure that you do not opt for overweight weights. It is probably better to do a few more repetitions of an exercise with a lower weight than to sustain an injury, because you have carried out the exercise with too much weight.
Exercise 1: Push-up
The first exercises is one to get in a little bit. You do not need any additional weights for these exercises. Your own body weight is more than enough.
We are of course talking about the push-up. You probably already know how to do this exercise and you also regularly perform it when you are training, but we still want to explain it to you again.
To start with, you train both the small and large chest muscles when performing a push-up. As a true bodybuilder you should definitely perform this exercise.
When performing a push-up, you first lie down on the floor and then stand in the starting position. For this you only support with your toes and hands on the floor. Your hands are shoulder width and your arms are straight. Make sure that your body is from your heels to your head as much as possible in a straight line. Then bend through your arms until you get as close to the ground as possible without touching it. Now extend your arms so that you are back in the starting position. You can then repeat this as often as you want.
When performing the push-up, make sure that your body remains as straight as possible throughout the exercise. Only your arms are allowed to bend, not the rest of your body. You can optionally perform the push-up with push-up stands.
Exercise 2: Bench press
Now it's really time for the heavier work: bench press. During this exercise you mainly put one specific part of the large chest muscle to work, namely the pars sernocostalis, or the middle part of the chest muscle.
To start with bench press it is important that you first hang the correct weights on the barbell. Again: do not exaggerate in the weight that you hang on the barbell. It is better to do more repetitions with a slightly lower weight than to overload yourself and end up for weeks with an injury.
When you have chosen the right weights, you lie down on a pressure bench. Your head is of course under the barbell and the backrest is horizontal. Place your feet firmly on the ground and grasp the barbell with an overhand grip slightly wider than shoulder width. Then you push the barbell out of the rack it has supported so far and lower it just above your chest. As you do this, breathe in. Hold this briefly and push the barbell from your chest and triceps up while you exhale. You also hold this briefly, then repeat the exercise.
When bench pressing, make sure that you only move the barbell straight up and down, not forwards or backwards. If you do, there may be weight on the wrong joints, which can cause injuries. And that is of course something that you naturally want to prevent at all costs.
Exercise 3: (Incline) dumbbell press
The following exercise is basically a lot like the bench press, but is not quite the same. In contrast to the bench press, the dumbbell press requires extra strength from your muscles, because you not only have to push the dumbbells up and then lower them again in a controlled manner, but you also have to keep them well balanced. An extra challenge, which you will undoubtedly handle with ease!
To perform the dumbbell press, grab the dumbbells and lie down on the couch. Next, place your feet firmly on the floor and allow the dumbbells to rest on your legs. As you lie back on the bench, move the dumbbells from your legs to just above your chest. Next, stick your elbows out so that they are at right angles to the rest of your body. Your forearms, in turn, are at right angles to your upper arms.
Now lower the dumbbells until your elbows protrude slightly below the fitness bench and the dumbbells are slightly above the height of your chest. Now push the dumbbells upwards by stretching your arms. Make sure that the dumbbells do not touch each other and try to keep them as straight as possible. If you want to lower the dumbbells again, tighten your chest muscles well. Repeat this until you have reached the desired number of reps.
For extra variation you can also perform this exercise as a inclined dumbbell press. Here you do not perform the exercise on a horizontal bench, but on a bench where the backrest is approximately at an angle of 30 degrees.
Exercise 4: Cable crossover
We have had enough of the barbell and dumbbells and make a short trip to the cable station. Here you can, as you probably know, also train your chest muscles. In this exercise all three parts of the large chest muscle are covered, so you train it extra well.
Go to a cable station and set the correct weight. Then grab both cables and stand in the middle, so that there is the same amount of tension on both cables. Put your legs apart and place one leg in front of the other. You keep your back straight and your palms face forward. Next, pull the cables towards you by moving your arms forward from the sides of your body. As you do this, breathe out gently. As you breathe in, move your arms out again so that the weights drop again. Repeat this as often until you have reached the correct number of reps.
When performing this exercise it is important that you take it easy. The point is not that you perform the exercise as often as possible very often, but that you perform the exercise calmly and with the right technique.
Exercise 5: (Incline) dumbbell flyes
When performing dumbbell flyes, you train both the large and small chest muscles.
To execute dumbell flyes you naturally need dumbbells. Choose the right pair and sit on the end of the fitness bench. You can have the dumbbells rested on your thighs. Make sure you hold them so that your palms face each other. This is important for the rest of the exercise. Now lie back on the bench and stretch your arms above your head. Then you move your arms outwards and downwards. When you have lowered the dumbbells to your chest height, push them up again by tightening your chest muscles.
While performing the entire exercise, it is important that you do not fully strengthen your arms and do not lock your elbows. Always keep your arms slightly bent and you will be able to perform the exercise like a true champion.
Tip: Do you especially want to train the upper part of the large chest muscle, the pars clavicularis? Then choose not to carry the dumbbell flyes on a flat bench, but on a bench with the backrest up. The procedure of the exercise is basically the same, but you appeal to other parts of your muscles just a little bit more.
Exercise 6: Dips
Dips can be executed in various ways. So you have a variant that especially you triceps trains, but the variant that we are going to discuss naturally focuses primarily on the chest muscles.
To dip, go to the dip station, set a weight and grasp both handles properly. Then raise your legs so that they do not lean on the floor or on the supports. Next, lean your chest slightly forward until it hangs approximately at a 30-degree angle. Because of this change you have transformed the triceps dip into a version that mainly trains your chest muscles. Now lower yourself until your shoulders and elbows are at the same height. You probably already guess the next step: push yourself up again until your arms are stretched again. You can now also repeat this until you have reached the desired number of reps.
Do you want to make the exercise a little harder? Then you can get one dipping calls with extra weights around your waist. Because you now have to push an extra weight up and lower it, the exercise automatically becomes heavier.
Exercise 7: Chest press
Finally, a final exercise to train your chest muscles. This exercise must be performed on the chest press machine and will particularly appeal to the large chest muscle.
To perform the exercise, it is important to attach the correct weights to the machine and adjust the seat to the correct height. You want to train your chest muscles, which is why it is important that the handles are at about the same height as the center of your chest. Take the time to set up the machine. It is better to make a few more adjustments than not to do the exercise properly. That is a waste of your training time.
Once the machine is set up properly, take a seat. Make sure that you rest well with your head and back against the backrest and that your feet are firmly on the floor. Now grasp the handles and make sure you keep your wrists straight throughout the exercise. Next you have to push the weight forward by stretching your arms. As you do this, you exhale deeply. If you then lower the weight again by bending your arms, you breathe in so that you have enough air for the next repetition. Perform this exercise as often as you wish.
To make the exercise a little heavier and keep your muscles constantly working, you can choose to never lower the weight completely, so that it can never really rest on the other weights. Your muscles must always keep on applying force in this way to keep the weights up.
Did you go through all the exercises? Then it's over! You now know exactly which exercises you train your chest muscles with. Of course you don't have to do all these exercises every time you come to the gym, but you can include them in your training program, so that you may one day approach the perfection of Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Which exercises do you like to train your chest muscles with? And which exercises provide the most results?
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