How to build pecs

  • Pectoralis major is a thick muscle located at the chest of the body. It is shaped like a fan and makes up the bulk of the chest muscles. Pectoralis major consists of the anterior lamina and the posterior lamina. The anterior lamina is thicker than its posterior counterpart.
  • Under the pectoralis major you will find the pectoralis minor. This muscle is thin and triangular. It depresses the point of the shoulder, drawing the scapula inferior och medial towards your thorax.

Build chestTogether, these chest muscles are commonly referred to as pecs.

You use your pectoralis major for many different types of movements; when you lift something up, when you flap your arms, when you throw a ball side-arm, when you arm-wrestle, and when you breathe deeply. Also, your pectoralis major keeps your arm attached to the trunk of your body.

Examples of activities that can be used to exercise the pectoralis major are bench pressing, pushups, dips, cable crossovers and flyes. Generally speaking, fly and crossovers are used to shape and increase striations rather than build muscle mass. Swimming is another way of training your pecs since pectoralis major is involved in swimming styles such as front crawl, breaststroke, backstroke and butterfly.

Pushups

This is a well known exercise that comes in several different variants. The targets the chest muscle, but will also involve your shoulders and triceps.

  1. Position yourself lying on the floor face down.
  2. Hold up your torso from the floor at arms length with your hands spaced roughly 36 inches / 90 centimeters apart. You will be balancing yourself on your hands and your feet. This is your starting position.
  3. Carefully lower yourself downwards. Do not stop until your chest almost touches the floor. Breath in while doing this part of the exercise.
  4. Raise your upper body back into starting position while exhaling. During this part of the exercise, it’s important to squeeze your chest muscles.
  5. Make a short pause at the top.
  6. Carefully lower yourself down again, almost to the floor.
  7. Repeat.

Tips!

If you are a beginner, balance yourself on your hands and your knees instead of on your hands and feet. If you do not have the strength to do this either yet, carry out the exercise against a wall instead of doint it against the floor.

If you on the other hand want to make this exercise even tougher and target the upper chest, place your feet on a high surface instead of on the floor. This is recommended only for those who have perfected the basic pushup already.

Push Up to Side Plank

This is a combination of the classic pushup and the popular plank. You do not need any equipment to train your chest using this exercise. As a bonus, your abs, shoulders and triceps will also get some exercise.

  1. Position yourself lying on the floor face down.
  2. Get into pushup position. Your hands should be placed just outside of shoulder width, and you should be balancing your body on your hands and toes. This is your starting position.
  3. Flex your elbows to carry out a pushup. On your way down, make sure your body is straight.
  4. When you are on your way up again, shift your weight to the left side of your body and twist to the side while bringing your right arm up towards the ceiling (side plank). Your stomach will no longer be facing the floor; instead it will be facing the wall. You will be supporting yourself on your left hand and the sides of your feet (mostly your left foot).
  5. Lower your right arm and twist your body back into starting position.
  6. Do another pushup.
  7. When you are on your way up again, shift your weight to the right side of your body and twist to the side while bringing your left arm up towards the ceiling. Your are doing the side plank again, but with the other side of your body.
  8. Lower your left arm and twist your body back into starting position.
  9. Repeat as desired.

Isometric Chest Squeezes

This is not a very common exercise in gyms, but it can be handy in situations where it wouldn’t be socially acceptable to get down on the floor and do pushups, e.g. when waiting in line at the grocery store. This exercise primary targets your chest, but will work shoulders and triceps too. Continue to breathe normally as you carry out this exercise.

  1. Bend your arms at a 90 degree angle. It doesn’t matter if your sitting or standing.
  2. Position the palms of your hands together in front of your chest. Your fingers should be pointing away from your body, not upwards.
  3. Push both hands together while contracting your chest. Start with slow tension and increase gradually. Keep contracting during the desired amount of seconds.
  4. Slowly and gradually decrease the tension.
  5. Rest during the desired amount of seconds before repeating.