A big chest not only feels good to carve in the gym but also assists in performing compound movements like cleans and deadlifts. Although it’s tempting, isolating the pecs without training back muscles like lats and rear delts can cause muscle imbalances so be sure to include back exercises into your strength and conditioning routine. “Guys who train primarily horizontal pushing exercises, like the bench press, tend to have an upper body slouch in posture,” says Buck Blackwood, C.S.C.S.
To definitely avoid a hunched posture, which places extra stress on the spine, organize your training program by alternating horizontal push and pull exercises within your workout. For example perform dumbbell bench press followed by a set of bent over rows, says Blackwood. Build a big and broad upper body fast with this five-move push and pull chest workout.
Directions: Do exercises back to back without rest in between,
1A. Resistance Band Shoulder Dislocation
Grab a light resistance band and hold slightly wider than shoulder width. Position the band in front of you, at the level of your hips. Keeping your elbows straight, swing the band over and behind your head until the band touches your glutes. Return to the start and repeat.
1B. Resistance Band Pull Apart
Next, hold the band with a shoulder-width grip and your arms extended straight out in front at a 90-degree angle to your torso. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and move your hands apart until the stretched band touches your chest. Pause and return to the start.
Do this workout twice a week. Perform “A” and “B” exercises back-to-back as a super set. Rest 45 seconds between sets.
1A. Dumbbell Flat Squeeze Press
Grab a pair of dumbbells and lie on your back on a flat bench with your palms facing each other. Squeeze the weights together as you press them up. Pause and return to the start.
1B. Dumbbell Bilateral Lat Row
Pick up a pair of dumbbells, flex at your hips and knees, and lower your trunk until it’s nearly parallel to ground. Allow the dumbbells to hang at arm’s length from your shoulders. Pull your shoulder blades back as you drive the dumbbells to your hip pockets, keeping your elbows tucked close to your sides.
2A. Cable Mid-Pulley Standing Chest Fly
Set the handles of an adjustable cable-crossover machine, like the Strive Functional Trainer at shoulder height. Grab the handles, one in each hand, and stand in the middle of the station using a shoulder-width, staggered stance. Keep a 90-degree angle between your arms and torso. With elbows slightly bent, squeeze the handles together until your knuckles touch in front of your body. Pause and repeat.
2B. Barbell Lat Row
Grab a loaded barbell with an overhand shoulder-width grip. Let the bar hang from your shoulders. Using a shoulder-width staggered stance, flex your hips and knees and lower your trunk until it’s nearly parallel to the floor. Pull the bar into your belly button, pause, then return to the start.
- Dumbbell Pushup-to-Row
Get in pushup position with hands on the handles of dumbbells that are on the floor. Use a wider-than-shoulder-width foot stance. Lower your body to the floor, pause and return to the start. Next, row the right dumbbell toward your right hip pocket, pausing to squeeze your lat at the top. Return the right dumbbell to the floor and repeat on the left side. That’s one rep.