Chest muscle and strength gains

by Jason Stallworth

June 17, 2020

There are two things we all want when it comes to chest:

  • An awesome bodybuilder-shaped, huge, ripped chest
  • A good, or at least decent bench press

Let’s be honest – we all care about how we look. But at the same time, you don’t want to be ‘all show but no go.’ In other words, you don’t want to look jacked up only to have a tiny bench press!

The problem is that we get caught up in training for one or the other. Muscle size vs strength.

In this blog post, I’m going to show you how to get the best of both worlds and develop an amazing chest while also building strength on those core exercises like the bench press.

You’re going to learn about a workout strategy that will have you training chest twice a week. This is going to build your chest muscles and your strength should also go up on your pressing movements.

**If your primary goal is a big bench press, you will definitely want to check out Mike Westerdal’s Critical Bench 2.0 program.

In fact, Mike’s program will help you get strong on other lifts as well, like your squat and deadlift. You can read more about this program here.

Why Train Chest Twice a Week?

heavy incline dumbbell press

Many typical bodybuilding routines have you training each muscle once a week. That’s actually a great method and many bodybuilders have created awesome pro physiques using this strategy.

However, sometimes you may want to focus more on a specific muscle. Especially is that muscle is lagging behind.

One of the ways to blast through that plateau and start making serious gains is training that muscle twice a week. And we’re focusing on your chest in this muscle-building blog post.

Here are a few reasons why training chest twice a week is going to work for you:

  • Allows you to work your chest more dynamically, from different angles
  • Gives you more overall training volume for that muscle, which can ignite growth and muscle development
  • Two workouts will allow you to focus one workout on bodybuilding (muscle gains) and another on strength gains

As I mentioned earlier, this strategy is going give you the best of both worlds (btw, that’s a cool Van Halen song from the 5150 album – oh, and if you like heavy metal workout music, click here).

Your Two Chest Workouts

Jason Stallworth 405 bench

Now we’re going to dig into what I like to call the ‘meat and potatoes.’ Your workouts.

Here are some important notes that pertain to these workouts:

  • Have at least three days between these workouts (ex: workout 1 on Wednesday, Workout 2 on Sunday)
  • Workout 1 is going to be a bodybuilding-style workout, which is probably similar to what you’re already doing
  • Workout 2 will be a shorter chest workout and will focus mainly on building strength on your bench press
  • Be sure to stretch your chest muscles after each workout

Sample Workout Routine:

Here’s a way you can fit these two chest workouts in your routine:

  • Monday: Back
  • Tuesday: Legs
  • Wednesday: Chest Workout 1
  • Thursday: Shoulders
  • Friday: Arms
  • Saturday: Rest
  • Sunday: Chest Workout 2

**This is similar to my current workout routine at the time of writing this post. Although I throw in biceps after chest (1), triceps after shoulders, and use Friday as a 2nd leg workout.

Chest Workout 1 for Building Muscle

ExerciseSets x Reps
Incline Bench Press5 x 6-8
Decline Bench Press4 x 8-10
Dumbbell Press4 x 10-12
Cable Flyes4 x 12-15

This is pretty much a typical bodybuilding chest workout. You’ve got exercises that target your chest from different angles. This will help shape your chest, although I strongly suggest focusing more on incline movements if you lack upper chest development.

You’re also doing an adequate amount of volume (sets and reps) for this workout. This is going to pump more blood into your muscles, which will help you gain more muscle.

TIP: Flex your chest muscles for a few seconds after each set, especially during those last two exercises.

Chest Workout 2 for Strength Gains

ExerciseSets x Reps
Bench Press7 x 8, 8, 6, 6, 5, 3, 3
Incline Dumbbell Flyes or Dips4 x 10

You can clearly see that this workout has you focused on the bench press. It’s all about going heavy and maximizing how much you can lift.

Again, if strength is your ultimate goal, I encourage you to check out Critical Bench 2.0.

The strategy for this workout is:

  1. The multiple sets gets your chest muscles conditioned for bench press
  2. You’re going to end with some heavy weight, which will make you stronger

Here are some things you need to know about this specific workout:

  • You’re not going to failure or anywhere near failure on those first few sets (sets 1 – 5)
  • You’ll go heavy and go all-out on those last two sets
  • You will be wise to get a trusted spotter for those heavy sets
  • Your rest between all sets should be about two minutes

You can also throw in some flyes or weighted dips after bench press. This is just to get that extra pump. But if all you did for this workout is bench press, that’s okay too.

Building Chest Muscle & Strength – Muscle Talk with Jason #3

Here’s a short video of me explaining this exact workout strategy for your chest to build both muscle mass and strength.

This is a series I started on YouTube called ‘Muscle Talk with Jason.’ It’s basically like us riding home together from the gym after a tough workout talking about muscle.

*Make sure you click on the video to go to YouTube and subscribe to the channel).

HOW TO GIVE YOUR STRENGTH A BOOST: One thing to consider real quick…

You’re not going to gain as much strength if your hormone levels aren’t up to par.

The most effective way to ensure your levels are optimized so that you can build muscle and get stronger is by taking a natural testosterone booster.

My recommended test booster is called TestoFierce (by TruFierce). I proudly promote this product and brand – you can learn more about TestoFierce here.

Building a Big and Strong Chest

Building and developing your chest isn’t rocket science. So make sure you don’t overcomplicate it. Just make that commitment to yourself, and get in there and train hard.

There are a few things you can do that will make building muscle a little easier, especially for your chest. And some of these I mentioned earlier, but it’s worth it to do a quick recap:

  • Stretch your chest muscles after every chest workout
  • Flex your chest muscles between sets for the first ‘bodybuilding’ chest workout (especially for those last two exercises)
  • Make sure you’re eating enough quality calories to gain both muscle and strength – you can get some great meal planning ideas for mass here
  • Take creatine monohydrate before and after your workouts – this is a ‘low hanging fruit’ for gaining strength and muscle, so don’t miss it
  • Make sure your energy is up before your workouts – you can take something like PreFierce (from the same brand I recommended earlier)
  • Consider taking a testosterone booster like TestoFierce
  • Make sure you’re getting enough rest to recover

Those are just some basic ways you can ensure muscle growth and strength gains.

If this post helped you, please copy the link to this blog post and share it on your social media.

Also, feel free to tag The Muscle Program on Facebook when you do that. You can leave any questions on that post too – I’ll be happy to answer once I see that The Muscle Program is tagged.

Excuses Don’t Build Muscle,

Jason

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