Deload Chest Workouts to Recover and Maintain Muscle

5 Deload Chest Workouts

You’ve been pushing your chest hard in the gym for several weeks and have made some awesome gains. But you’re starting to hit a sticking point.

In fact, you’re starting to feel a little tired and sluggish. So there are 2 things you can do:

  1. Take a short break from training chest
  2. Deload

In this post, we’re going to go with the 2nd option and I’m going to give you 5 deload chest workouts that you can do.

You’ll also learn when to deload and the advantages of deloading vs taking a break from the gym.

What are deload workouts?

Deloading is working out with decreased intensity and volume. It’s basically showing up to the gym and going through the motions, getting a little pump.

The purpose is to give that muscle a break and allow for recovery.

If you’re new to deload workouts, you can learn more in this post: Deload Workouts: Back Off to Build More Muscle.

How to Know When to Deload for Chest

cable flyes crossovers for shredded chest

If there’s one muscle everyone aspires to develop, it’s chest. This is especially true for dudes.

The greatest reason is that your chest most visible muscle. It’s the first thing that stands out when you ditch the shirt. And jacked-up movie stars and bodybuilding heroes are all known for their massive chests.

Because of that, we tend to focus more on our chest. But there’s a problem…

Your chest is not a large muscle (although, yes, we want our chest to be huge!). For that reason, you may end up burning your chest out sooner than later.

So how do you know when you need to deload for chest? Here are some signs…

  • You’re getting weaker on bench press (or any compound exercise for chest)
  • You’re not getting the same pump in your chest
  • You’re starting to do less and cut your chest workouts short
  • Your intensity has gone down for your chest workouts
  • You’re just feeling tired, sluggish and burnt out
  • If you’re on vacation and just want to do some short, quick workouts

Of course, this applies to any muscle and sometimes you may need to deload for a week or more entirely, not just your chest.

If you’d like to learn more about deload workouts and how to integrate deloading into a program, read my post: 8 Week Bodybuilding Workout Plan for Mass Gains

Deload Chest Workouts

incline barbell press chest day chest exercises

Here are some notes about your deload chest workouts below:

  • Most workouts will have a reduced number of sets per exercise than a normal bodybuilding chest workout
  • Some workouts will have a reduced number of exercises
  • Your rest period between sets for all deload chest workouts below should be 45 seconds to 1 minute
  • Each workout should only last 15-20 minutes
  • Your goal is to not go all-out; just get a pump
  • You’ll typically stick with about 60% of your max on all exercises
  • Choose the deload workout below that appeals to you the most!

Deload Chest Workout 1

This is a very simple chest workout that can be done with just a pair of dumbbells. The way it’s designed is so you could even use the same weight for both incline and regular (flat) dumbbell press. Then you can drop down in weight for flyes.

The other advantage is because all exercises are done with dumbbells, you’ll perform all of your exercises in one spot in the gym. You’ll be in and out of the gym in no time.

ExerciseSets x Reps
Incline Dumbbell Press3 x 10
Dumbbell Press3 x 10
Incline Dumbbell Flyes3 x 10

Deload Chest Workout 2

With this deload chest workout, you’re doing a more traditional bodybuilder workout. It almost looks like a beginner’s workout, hitting the regular bench press first following by incline and some flyes.

ExerciseSets x Reps
Bench Press3 x 8
Incline Bench Press3 x 10
Cable Flyes3 x 12

Deload Chest Workout 3

This workout is awesome if you’re joints need a break. You’re doing all machine-based exercises and no free weights.

You’ll also start out with flyes instead of presses. This is a great way to pre-exhaust your pecs and will give you a great pump throughout the rest of your workout.

ExerciseSets x Reps
Pec Dec Flyes3 x 12
Machine or Hammer Strength Press3 x 10
Smith Machine Incline Press3 x 10

Deload Chest Workout 4

Here you’ll add a 4th exercise (this sort of worked out well since this is ‘deload chest workout 4’). But you’re only doing 2 sets for each exercise, so the volume of work is still fairly low.

And you’re sticking with old school chest exercises. The good ole barbells and dumbbells, which can’t be beaten.

Just be careful not to overtrain here. Remember, this is a deload workout. So if you think you’ll have a tendency to push harder then substitute some or all of these exercises with the machine version.

ExerciseSets x Reps
Bench Press2 x 8
Dumbbell Flyes2 x 8
Incline Bench Press2 x 10
Incline Dumbbell Flyes2 x 10

*This workout also hits multiple angles of your chest. You can learn more about targeting certain areas of your chest muscles in this post: How to Define and Shape Your Chest: Hitting Chest from All Angles

Deload Chest Workout 5

This chest workout is similar to the ‘deload chest workout 3’ you read earlier. You’ll pre-exhaust your chest with some flyes.

The difference here is you’re going to pump out more reps for flyes. But when you move on to presses, which are all free weight exercises, you’ll do fewer sets (and reps).

ExerciseSets x Reps
Cable Flyes4 x 15
Incline Bench Press2 x 8
Dumbbell Press2 x 8

Deload Schedule for Chest

heavy incline dumbbell press

So that you don’t reach burnout point, you may choose to schedule your deload workouts.

Below is an example of a deload schedule for chest. You’re training everything hard for 6 weeks before you deload.

**You’ll also see the schedule includes a plan for other major muscles.

This schedule is effective because it gives you a chance to deload one muscle at a time. Though there may be times when you want to just deload for an entire week, as mentioned earlier.

  • Week 7: Deload chest workout
  • Week 8: Deload back workout
  • Week 9: Deload leg workout
  • Week 10: Deload shoulder workout
  • Repeat 6 weeks starting at Week 14

*I still recommend taking your normal supplements during any type of deload training, or even when you’re taking a longer break.

Remember, supplements are about muscle recovery, and that’s what muscle growth is all about.

Here are some of my recommendations for recovery supplements and making sure you’re getting the essentials for muscle growth:

Animl Pak (potent vitamin/training formula)
Xtend BCAAs
TestoFuel (best natural test booster)

These links go to my product review pages on this website (there are links to purchase within those pages)

Deloading VS Taking a Break from the Gym

Are there times when you should take a complete break from the gym? That’s a question only you can answer and often depends on your situation.

Let’s compare deload workouts vs taking time off.

Advantages of Deload Workouts

  • Allows you to maintain your gym schedule
  • May keep you motivated without burning out
  • Doesn’t make you feel like you missed a workout

Disadvantages of Deload Workouts

  • Your muscles may need absolute recovery
  • Deloading may not give your muscles proper time to heal

Advantages of Taking a Break

  • Gives you a complete break, possibly allowing for better recovery
  • You may be more refreshed when you go back to the gym
  • Your body (and muscles) may need that time off to repair and grow

Disadvantages of Taking a Break

  • Getting off your normal gym schedule may cause you to take a longer break than expected
  • You may lose motivation by not training

At the end of the day, it depends on you and how disciplined you are. For example, if you’re prone to get too relaxed and taking a week off might turn into 3-4 weeks, deloading may be a better option.

If you have the discipline and rarely miss workouts, taking a week or more off could be extremely good for you and your muscles.

Those are just a couple of examples.

I hope you enjoyed this post! I include a full deload workout plan in my premium training programs (the deload is done at the end of the program). You can check those out below:

Excuses Don’t Build Muscle,


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