The Quest for the Best Chest

Ryan Kelly

Over 5 years experience in the fitness industry, Personal Trainer specialising in nutrition and weight management, Aerobics instructor and currenty studying Exercise and Sports Science Bsc at the University of Cumbria.

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Photo by Jake Davies

And so the quest begins…

Whether you aspire for pecs like Daniel Craig – Mr James Bond himself, Channing Tatum or even the wonderful Miss Jodie Marsh then this simple to follow chest workout is for you!

Warm Up (the bit nobody likes!)

The Cross Trainer is ideal as it loosens up all the major muscles that you will be using during the more strenuous part of your workout. Stick to a quite low intensity and for no longer than 8 minutes as anything more than this is going to be redundant. Stretching is essential as it allows the muscles more pliability, resulting in a greater range of movement, which will be necessary for what’s about to come!

Cardio (the fast and sweaty bit!)

Muscle and fat are two completely different things but in order to make those chest muscles visible you need to strip away any fat getting in the way. This is why cardio is so important as it is the section of your workout that’s really going to burn those calories and ultimately (over time) reduce your body fat percentage.

This is a simple programme which I devised, simply called 3/3/3 (21 mins).

Each section of this programme will be split into 3 minute intervals and goes as follows:

1st interval – Steady pace, raising your heart rate (HR) just enough to reach 60 – 70% of your maximum HR (your maximum HR being 220 minus your age).

2nd interval – Now let’s get into it! You need to maintain a sprint pace throughout, your fastest sustainable pace.

3rd interval – Revert back to 1.

4th interval – You need a fast pace which you can comfortably maintain with a small amount of incline (increasing the steepness of the treadmill).

5th interval – Revert back to 1.

6th interval – You need a high incline which you can maintain whilst jogging.

7th interval -Revert back to 1.

Chest (the important bit!)

Okay, so here are 5 chest exercises which I believe are crucial to achieving that Adonis-like chest.

1. Assume the press up position, with one hand placed slightly above your head (instead of by shoulders, although still parallel to the other hand). Complete 10 repetitions and then switch position of arms. Complete 2 sets of these (both sides).

2. Core ball dumbbell chest press, with your feet flat on the floor and your back on a core ball (bum not on the ball). Start with your arms at a 90 degree angle with your elbows no lower than your stomach, push the weights , contracting your pectoral muscles to a point where the weights meet and then lower back down to that 90 degree position. Once again, 2 sets of these with 10 repetitions each time.

3. Dumbbell flies, standing with feet shoulder width apart and knees slightly bent holding weights out in front with hands in a ‘clenched jab’ position. Take weights out to the side so that your arms resemble a slightly wider V shape. Try 12 – 15 of these, short recovery and then repeat one more set.

4. Barbell chest press, using a bench hold the barbell above your body in a comfortable position between your nipples and naval (belly button). Control the bar as you bring it down to your stomach (do not touch your stomach) and then push out so that your arms are straight, although a slight bend in your elbows. Try 2 sets of these, 8 – 10 each set is sufficient.

5. Press up position (yes,again!) this time both hands in line with your shoulders, go down into a standard press up and then as you rise lift one arm off the floor come onto your side into a side plank position. Attempt 10 of these each side, 1 set will more than suffice!

That should do you!

Don’t forget to cool down and stretch, the bike is ideal for this.

As a lot of emphasis has been put onto working the chest muscles, it is advisable to also work the muscles in the back and also the trapezius (below the neck) to avoid any muscular imbalances. I will be writing about some safe and effective back exercises in next weeks column.

After all that I must mention that it’s crucial that to supply your muscles with enough protein. When starting a new programme your body requires more protein than it normally would, 1 large egg is more than enough, it contains 57g of protein, any more than this can cause harm to your liver or kidneys (there are 80g of protein in a generic protein shake). In order to build a pound of muscle your body needs no more than 14g of additional protein per day so don’t over-do it! If you’re not in training to become the next Arnold Schwarzenegger then stay clear of any powders or bars. Eggs are remarkable things, they are a complete protein, which means they contain all 9 essential amino acids necessary for dietary needs.

As previously mentioned:

Choose Good Food!

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