rules to building a massive chest

5 Rules to Building a Massive Chest

You’ve probably been told that all you need is bench press to build a bigger chest. And that same person will tell to you ‘Bro, just go heavy!’

But that will only get you so far. To build a massive chest you need a strategic approach in the gym. That’s exactly what you’re going to get in this post.

  • First, you’re going to get my 5 rules to help you build a massive chest.
  • After that, I’m also going to share some awesome chest workouts using these principles so that you can start making gains.
  • Lastly, I’m going to give you some more resources you can use to build muscle more effectively.

1 – Alternate Starting with Incline and Flat Presses

incline barbell press chest day chest exercises

There’s no doubt that doing good ole bench press will help you build muscle and get stronger. But if you really want to take your gains to the next level, you need to make sure you’re focusing just as much on your upper chest.

So, how do you implement this into your chest workouts? Easy…

Instead of starting every chest workout with bench press as your first, start alternating this with incline press every other week. Here’s what that looks like below:

WeekFirst Exercise
1Bench press
2Incline bench press
3Bench press
4Incline bench press

Now, if you train chest twice a week, just alternate bench press and incline bench press every other workout. That would look like the below:

Chest DayFirst Exercise
TuesdayBench press
FridayIncline bench press
TuesdayBench press
FridayIncline bench press

Of course, you’ll add in more chest exercises. But if you start alternating incline with flat bench press every other workout you can expect to see some major development in your chest muscles.

*I can’t harp enough on paying more attention to your upper chest muscles. This makes a world of difference in your physique.

If you want to learn more about how to build your upper chest, read my post: Upper Chest Workout: How to Build a Bodybuiler Chest

2 – Forget About Bench Press Strength

Jason Stallworth 405 bench

I know, I know. You hate me for saying this because everyone wants to have a big bench. How many times do people ask you ‘How much can ‘ya bench, bro?’

There’s nothing wrong with having a strong bench press. But if your goal is to build a massive chest shaped like a bodybuilder’s chest, then strength gains will need to be secondary to that.

You see, training for muscle mass contradicts strength training. Here are the differences between training for muscle size vs. strength:

Training for Chest Strength

  • ‘Heavy’ (no pun intended) focus on the bench press
  • Additional exercises are done for the sole purposes of supporting your bench press strength
  • Your goal is to lift maximum weight
  • Muscle size is irrelevant and can sometimes event get in the way

Training for Chest Size

  • You need to focus on multiple exercises
  • These other exercises will work your chest from all angles for overall chest development
  • Your goal is to make the weight feel harder by forcing your muscles to do the work (not just moving weight from point A to B)
  • Strength is only relevant to overloading your muscles so that they respond

Here’s the thing. If you’re training for strength you will experience some muscle growth. And if you’re training for muscle size you will also get stronger.

What you have to understand is that one will precede the other depending on what you’re going for. In this case, we’re talking about maximum your chest muscle size. Any strength gains will simply be a ‘side-effect’ of your training.

*If you are interested more in building a bigger bench press, read my review of Mike Westerdal’s Critical Bench 2.0 Program.

3 – Focus on Muscle Contractions

chest exercises: cable flyes crossovers

This is probably the most important part of building a massive chest. Like I mentioned earlier, it’s not about lifting max loads from point A to B – you have to force your chest muscles to do the work.

How do you force your muscles to work?

By contracting those muscles throughout each rep. You won’t necessarily contract your muscles as much on your first exercise (bench press, or incline bench press).

Although you’re not powerlifting here, you do need to move some challenging weights for the first exercise of your chest workout (I’ll talk more about that in Rule 4 below).

But for every exercise after that, you should be contracting your pecs during every set, throughout each rep.

Here are 3 key points to remember for a massive chest:

  1. As you’re pushing the weight up, put a strong mental focus on your pecs pushing that weight
  2. At the top of the rep, contract (flex) your chest muscles
  3. As you lower the weight back down, don’t just let the weight fall. Instead, use your chest muscles slowly guide that weight back to the starting position

Again, building mass is not about merely moving weight. It’s about making that weight feel harder and more intense by forcing your muscles to work.

4 – Increase Your Volume

incline dumbbell flyes for defining and shaping your chest

This is a bit of a controversial topic but most professional bodybuilders will tell you that you need adequate training volume to build a massive chest, and muscle size in general.

The whole ‘HIIT’ (high-intensity interval training, aka ‘shorter workouts’) has its place but if you’re serious about gaining more size, you need more sets and reps.

Here’s a good concept to follow with your chest workouts for mass:

  • Start with 4-5 sets of a heavy compound exercise (bench press or incline, doing anywhere from 6-10 reps
  • For all exercises to follow, do 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Do a total of 4-5 chest exercises

If you stick to these simple concepts and are consistent, you’ll build a massive chest.

5 – Post-Workout Posing

Rue 5 is only for you if you’re serious about going to the next level of building a massive chest.

In fact, it’s what bodybuilders do to bring out more muscularity and definition.

Posing, or if you just want to call it flexing after your workouts are a great way to continue to pump more blood into your muscles. This will also help define and shape your chest muscles.

hardgainer program to build muscle

Although having a mirror (and perhaps a coach!) is ideal, it’s not necessary. I’m going to give you 3 simple poses below that you can do that will really bring out your chest muscles, making them bigger.

  1. Hold both hands on your hips with your elbows flared out and squeeze our pecs
  2. Do a side-bicep pose while pushing your chest out and flexing as hard as you can
  3. Press your hands together in front of you like you’re praying while squeezing your chest muscles – this isn’t really a pose but it’s an excellent way to contract your pecs.

You can read about these and more poses from Layne Norton’s article ‘Layne Norton Peak Week: Posting’ on

*Again, this last rule is for those who really want to take things to the next level and perhaps even get into competing in bodybuilding. If that’s you, posing will be a crucial part you must master.

An alternative to creating that same intensity is to integrate different techniques into your workouts. You can read more about this in my post 7 Weight Training Techniques to Increase Intensity.

Chest Workouts for Building a Massive Chest

This post wouldn’t be complete without giving you some chest workouts to build mass! So I’m going to give you 2 chest workouts that you can start doing.

Before we dive into workouts, remember when we discussed alternating bench press with incline bench press? That’s exactly what I’m giving you below.

Chest Workout 1: Starting with Bench Press

ExerciseSets x Reps
Bench Press4 x 8, 8, 6, 6
Incline Dumbbell Press4 x 8
Dumbbell Flyes4 x 10
Cable Crossovers4 x 12

Chest Workout 2: Starting with Incine Press

ExerciseSets x Reps
Incline Bench Press4 x 8-10
Dumbbell Press4 x 8-10
Unilateral Machine Press4 x 10
Pec Dec Flyes4 x 12

Remember, you can alternate these workouts every week. Or if you’re doing chest twice a week, alternate them within the same week (ex: Tuesday: Chest Workout 1, Friday: Chest Workout 2).

More Resources for Building a Massive Chest

Lastly, I’d like to leave you with some additional resources to help you progress more in building a massive chest. One is, of course, my program (listed at the bottom), and I also want to share some other products that may help you.

*As a disclaimer, I do get compensated when you purchase through my links. On that note, I only promote products I have used and will stand behind.

  • Boost your gains by boosting testosterone with my #1 natural test booster: TestoFuel (take advantage of their BUY 3 Get 1 FREE deal)
  • If gaining strength is one of your goals, check out renowned strength coach Mike Westerdal’s program Critical Bench 2.0

I hope that you enjoyed reading this and put these 5 Rules of Building a Massive Chest into practice!

Excuses Don’t Build Muscle,


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