Powerful pecs send the message that you can take care of business. Our six-week plan builds them.
Call it the superhero stance—the way guys like Batman or Superman stand proudly with their arms folded in front of them as they push out their massive chests. Nothing displays strength and power better than big, chiseled pecs. If it’s long been your dream to have an upper body reminiscent of a comic book hero, this workout is the answer. This chest workout will inflate your chest like a bladders from a wine cask—and it’ll do it fast, in just six weeks for most guys.
HOW IT WORKS: You need do this chest workout twice a week for six weeks, alternating between two different chest workouts. The first uses heavy weights, low reps, and lots of sets to build your strength—the foundation of muscle size. The other has you doing an enormous number of reps to get a huge pump, which contributes to growth by rushing blood into the muscles (but also looks cool for an hour afterward).
FREQUENCY: Perform each chest workout (Day I and II) once per week, training other muscle groups on the other days. Allow at least three days between chest workouts, and take at least two days completely off from lifting.
TIME NEEDED: 30–40 min
FREQUENCY: Perform each workout (Day I and II) once per week, training other muscle groups on the other days. Allow at least three days between chest workouts, and take at least two days completely off from lifting.
DO IT Perform the exercises as straight sets, completing all the prescribed sets for one move and resting as needed before going on to the next. Day II’s workout will take less time than Day I’s, so if you have time, you can do some extra back work when you finish. This will help to keep your body balanced and improve your posture, which will allow you to show your chest off even better.
1. PLYO PUSHUP
- Sets: 6
- Reps: 6-8
● Get into pushup position and lower your body until your chest is about an inch above the floor. Explosively push yourself up so that your hands leave the floor and your body rises into the air. Clap your hands in midair, “catch” yourself on the way down, and use the momentum to begin the next rep.
2. DUMBBELL BENCH PRESS
- SETS: 5
- REPS: 8–10
● Lie back on a flat bench with a dumbbell in each hand. Explosively press the weights straight over your chest, squeeze the dumbbells together at the top for a second, and then take three seconds to lower the weights down to shoulder level.
3. FEET-ELEVATED PUSHUP
- Sets: 4
- Reps: 10-12
● Elevate your feet on a box or step and get into pushup position. Take three seconds to lower yourself down, pause at the bottom, and then explosively push yourself up. If that’s too easy, have a friend place a weight plate on your back or wear a weighted vest. Don’t let your lower back sag at any point.
1. CROSSOVER PUSHUP
- Sets: 3
- Reps: 20-24
● Get into pushup position placing your right hand on an aerobics step. Perform a pushup, then quickly push over the step, switching hands so that your right is on the floor and your left is on the step. Perform another pushup.
TIP: keeping your elbows closer to your sides during push-ups (not flared out 90 degrees) can help prevent shoulder injuries.
2. BENCH PRESS
- Sets: 2
- Reps: 20-25
● Hold the bar with an overhand, outside-shoulder-width grip. Your shoulder blades should be squeezed together and your back arched. Lower it to just below your sternum. Push your feet hard into the floor to help you press the weight back up.
3. INCLINE BENCH PRESS
- Sets: 2
- Reps: 15-20
Set an adjustable bench to a 45-degree incline, grab a dumbbell in each hand and sit on the bench, holding the weights at the sides of your chest. Press the dumbbells straight overhead. Do not bang the weights at the top.
4. PUSH UP
- Sets: AS MANY AS NEEDED
- Reps: 100
Perform as many push-ups as you can at a time until you get to 100 total reps. Rest as needed between sets.
Muscle-Up Meal Plan
Meal Plan to Accompany Chest Workout
By Shelby Starnes
Carbs are the key to gaining muscle. Unfortunately, eating too many just makes you fat. A better approach is alternating high-, medium- and low-carb days. You get the carbs you need, but in just the right amounts to add muscle, not flab. Follow the table below to determine how many grams of carbs, protein and fat you need to eat for your size, then plan your weekly menu (a sample high-carb day for a 82kg guy appears below). Your high-carb days should coincide with your toughest workouts, so the two chest workouts should occur on high-carb days. Other workout days can be medium-carb days. Any days you don’t train are low-carb days. Start with two high-carb days per week and add more if you aren’t gaining weight. If you’re getting softer around the middle, have fewer high-carb days.
A lean, 82kg man might structure his diet like this:
450g carbs, 200g protein, very low fat (no added fats)
225g carbs, 270g protein, 30g added fats
90g carbs, 270g protein, 60g added fats
Sample High-Carb Day for Chest Workout
Meal 1: > 1 cup oatmeal mixed with a scoop of whey protein, 1 large banana, 3 cooked egg whites
Meal 2: > 1¾ cups cooked brown rice, 110g chicken breast with soy sauce to taste, 1 cup broccoli
Meal 3: > 280g sweet potato, 110g turkey breast with mustard to taste, 1 small green apple
Meal 4: (post-workout meal)
> Protein shake (buy your favourite prepared or make your own with 2.5 scoops waxy maize, 1 scoop whey protein and 2 tsp branched-chain amino acids)
Meal 5: > 1¾ cups cooked brown rice, 110g chicken breast, soy sauce to taste, 1 cup asparagus
Meal 6: > 350g sweet potato, 110g lean ground beef