Many people in the gym come to me and ask one of the most interesting questions, how to shape chest muscles? Everyone who comes to the gym to gain muscles wants to build muscles in an attractive shape, especially chest, arms, back, and traps. People try all the possible ways to build their muscles in an attractive shape. But is it possible to shape our muscles or we can only build and develop our muscles?
Unfortunately, we can’t change the shape of our muscles. Our muscle shapes are genetically predetermined. Thus, we can’t change the shape of our muscles. But we can gain our muscles and can change our body shape and size overall. So, it is clear that we can’t change the shape of the chest muscles, but we can develop it by following right chest exercises.
Pectoralis major is a large fan-shaped muscle in chest that composed of clavicular (upper chest) and sternocostal (lower chest) muscle fibers. Working on chest muscles means working on these pectoral muscles. It requires proper exercise selection and of course proper nutrition and rests for recovery.
So, the following are some most important chest exercises that will help you to develop chest muscles.
The bench press is one of the most common and effective exercises for chest muscles. Bench press includes incline bench press, flat bench press, and decline bench press. The bench press is done by using both, dumbbell and barbell. I see many people in the gym who used to do both, dumbbell and barbell bench press. Like people perform dumbbell incline, flat, decline bench press, and then the same with a barbell to achieve the maximum result. But it’s nothing more than a waste of time and energy. You do not need to do bench press with both, use either dumbbell or barbell and train your muscles with intensity.
Let’s have a look into which bench press works better for which pectoral muscle.
Incline bench press
The incline bench press focuses more on the clavicular (upper) chest. The main purpose of performing incline bench press is to develop the upper portion of pectoral muscles. To perform incline bench press, the bench is set at an incline 30 degrees angle. At this angle, our clavicular (upper) chest is more active and it put more stress on clavicular muscles.
Decline bench press
Decline bench press focuses more on the sternocostal (lower) chest. The main purpose of performing a decline bench press is to develop a lower portion of pectoral muscles. To perform a decline bench press, the bench is set at -15 degrees angle. At this angle, our sternocostal (lower) chest is more active and it put more stress on sternocostal muscles.
Flat bench press
As mentioned above, the pectoralis major is a large muscle in chest that composed of clavicular (upper chest) and sternocostal (lower chest) muscle fibers. Thus, while performing flat bench press both (upper and lower) chest muscle fibers are involved. According to some fitness experts, it is not necessary to perform flat bench press if you perform incline and decline bench press with good intensity.
Pec deck is a seated fly machine, commonly found in almost every gym to train chest muscles. The target muscles that are involved in pec fly exercise are pectoralis major, pectoralis minor, and serratus anterior. Bench press exercises also target some supporting muscles like anterior shoulder and triceps. But pec deck exercise mainly targets pectoral muscles and less target supporting muscles.
Cable cross over
We are almost done with the chest exercises. It’s all enough to build a great chest muscle. But to maximize a result you need to work with a mixture of exercise. So here we add one more exercise, which is cable cross over. Cable cross over is an isolation move exercise that directly targets the chest muscles. Cable cross over is as effective as the pec deck. The additional benefit of cable cross over is, it targets both chest muscles individually.