Truth be told, it is every man’s dream to have a strong solid physique that speaks volumes of his inner macho persona. Rocking some Van Diesel bulky arms to flaunt during the warm summer season would definitely magnet beautiful ladies your way. A pair of perfectly curved abs will additionally earn you jealous stares from your counterparts.
However, as much as this is a juicy fantasy, it isn’t so for most men out there. Every supermodel or celebrity that seems to have it all together has actually had to put in some work. Transforming your body from zero to hero calls for a lot of discipline as far as food and workouts are concerned.
While at home, you will need to make smarter food decisions. While at the gym, you will need to engage in only the necessary workouts and equipment that will effectively pump your upper body. With the proper routine, you should start noticing some changes after a short while. Smart workout choices at the gym start with planning. Workout a specific muscle group on a particular day. Ensure that you rest in-between these workouts in order to give your body ample time to recover.
The Ultimate Workout Guide to Get the Perfect Chest
Since every Monday is the unofficial “National Bench Press Day” with every bench station in every gym occupied, it’s obvious that guys everywhere are trying to build their pectoral muscles. Unfortunately, not too many are not getting the results that they’re after. Too often guys are making some common and easy to fix chest training mistakes.
The most common chest training mistakes is focusing on the bench press and how much weight they can use to build their pecs. Not that benching is a bad thing, it’s a great exercise, but it might not be the best choice if you’re focused primarily on physique development and not just strength.
“Benchers Chest” is a real thing, usually seen among long time powerlifters and other strength sport athletes. Essentially, “benchers chest” is an over development of the lower and outer edge of the pecs combined with a relatively underdeveloped upper and mid chest. This happens through years of heavy, low rep training, with a big lower back arch and wide grip.
While this style of benching is the most effective for benching the most weight, it’s probably not the best for stimulating the most muscle growth through the pectorals. Powerlifter technique benching not only has a limited range of motion but it’s only stressing the pecs through one angle. To have the thickest, most evenly developed, chest you must stimulate different areas of the muscle preferentially so that you can bring up your weak areas. This means using many angles to press and perform fly exercises from.
Getting Rid of Man Boobs and Working On The “Chiseled Chest”
While many used to think preferential stimulation was bro-science and an exercise either stimulated the whole muscle or not, we’ve found through recent research that muscles, “can be regionally targeted through exercise selection” (Schoenfeld). So you’re going to need to do more than a flat barbell bench press if you’re going to hit all the muscle fibers of the chest and build the best chest possible.
But don’t get me wrong, the bench press can be an effective chest builder. It just shouldn’t be your only chest exercise and you need to use the correct technique to maximize muscle stimulation.
Make sure you use a minimal (natural) lower back arch and a smooth consistent motion with no lockout or bounce off the chest. Keep the reps between 8- 20 per set. This will keep the stress on the muscle the whole time and maximize muscle fatigue.
Remember to keep your shoulders “packed” tight, scapula pinched together and pulled down and elbows angled back at 45 degrees or so. Not only does this pre stretch the pecs so they receive more stimulation, it’s also a safer position to press from.
Or maybe you should just ditch the barbell altogether?
While I wouldn’t do it right now, because I’m still very focused on strength gains in my training, if I was to begin training exclusively for a bodybuilding show and concerned only with building the best chest possible, from a physique standpoint, I would switch exclusively to dumbbells for my pressing movements.
While some muscle EMG studies show the barbell bench press to activate the pectorals more than dumbbells, in the real world, most high-level bodybuilders and physique coaches find dumbbells provide better stimulation and recommend using dumbbells for the majority of chest pressing.
There are a few other reasons for this:
- Dumbbells allow for a greater range of motion. Which means more stretch and activation/ stimulation of the pecs.
- Dumbbells allow for more freedom of movement. With a barbell your line of press is fairly limited, with dummbells you can play around with the angle of the elbows and wrists some and find the line of press that best works for you.
- With dumbbells you can also add rotation to the motion. Rotating the pinkies towards each other at the top of the press may activate more of the upper chest musculature
- Dumbbells tend to be easier on the shoulder and elbow joint long term. Again, you’re not fixed into a certain position, like with the bar. You can find the exact angle that works best for you.
Another chest training mistake I see is not varying the angle of pressing enough. I think most guys would agree that they want more “upper chest” but they never focus on incline movements or they use too much incline. In my experience it’s usually best to stick to a slight to mid range incline. This is usually 15-45 degrees. Any higher and you’ll probably find your shoulders begin to take over the movement.
Keep in mind, chest training isn’t just about bench presses and flys. One of the keys to building a well-rounded chest is to hit the pecs from all angles and in novel ways. Here are some other, less conventional, movements that can really effectively train the pecs.
Upper chest workout
Single Arm Dumbbell Floor Press: This exercise can really hammer the upper chest. Make sure you keep the shoulders down and packed the entire time. Actively press both shoulders into the floor the whole time to make sure you don’t rotate. The movement should be smooth and soft to the floor. Make sure you’re not relaxing at the bottom and always crush the dumbbell handle.
Dips are one of the most effective chest builders when done correctly. Unlike the triceps dip which uses a more upright torso, the chest dip has a great deal of forward lean at the torso. Remember to keep your joints healthy, pull the shoulders back (pinch the scapula) as you lower yourself and don’t drop lower than you can maintain tension on the muscle (chest/ triceps). This is usually around a ninety degree angle at the elbow or when the elbow and shoulder are parallel.
To do Squeeze Press take a neutral grip on the dumbbells and press the heads of the dumbbells together as you’re performing the movement. Begin with a weight that is substantially lighter than what you would use for normal dumbbell bench presses. Using a lighter weight will allow you to focus more on pressing the dumbbells together hard the whole time and really activating the pecs. These can also be done with a reverse grip at the bottom and rotating the wrist while pressing.
A mainstay exercise back in the golden era of bodybuilding, this exercise has really fallen out of favor and should be brought back. The dumbbell pullover is often thought of as a lat exercise, but it’s also a tremendous chest exercise as a 2011 study found. The pullover, “emphasized the muscle action of the pectoralis major more than that of the latissimus dorsi” (Marchetti). Pullovers hit the pecs in a much different angle than pressing movements or flys do so they’re worth doing if you’re trying to maximize your chest development.
To do the pullover effectively, lay with the shoulders on the bench, the rest of the torso and hips off the bench. With the knees at ninety degrees and the hips up into full extension. The glutes and abs should be “on” the whole time. Reach back overhead with the dumbbell, keeping the ribcage down, as far as you can maintain tension on the muscles.
Ring pushups are a great chest builder for two reasons.
- The instability of the rings forces the pecs to be activated the entire time to help stabilize the shoulder joint.
- They allow for a slightly larger range of motion than traditional pushups and really stretch the pecs at the bottom of the movement.
I think these work best as a finisher at the end of a chest hypertrophy workout. If done earlier you’ll notice your shoulders and triceps will often fatigue before your chest does and you’ll limit your chest development. But later in the workout, when you’re chest is already fatigued, your shoulders and triceps won’t be as fatigued as the pecs and probably won’t be the muscles that limit the movement by reaching failure first.
If you’re doing all of these and still having trouble building your chest you may have overpowering shoulders and triceps, and that can limit the effectiveness of your chest training.
If this is the case, I recommend using the pre-exhaustion method. Pre-exhaustion is using a single joint exercise to fatigue the muscle then moving to a compound movement. Doing dumbbell flys followed by a barbell bench press would be an example of the pre-exhaustion method in a chest workout. While recent research has said the pre-exhaust method doesn’t work. Previous research found that it did, many top level bodybuilders and coaches still use it. They’ve gotten good results from it for decades and still swear by it today.
Another important factor in chest training is focus! Too often we focus only on moving as much weight as possible and not the muscle we’re trying to work. While this is fine, and preferential when training for maximal strength, it’s limiting when training for maximal muscle growth. instead of simply moving the weight, focus on the muscle, how it’s performing the movement and how it feels. Building this “mind-muscle connection” over time will help you activate the muscle more than simply going through the motions and moving the weight.
If you have trouble squeezing your pecs and feeling the muscle work you can do isometric pec squeezes to help activate the muscle and build that mind-muscle neural connection. Simply take your palms place them together and focus on pressing them together by bringing the inner part of your pecs together. Hold the squeeze for 5-10 seconds and repeat.
For the next few months, when you head to the gym to train chest, try some of these exercises and strategies. You’ll be surprised how much effective your chest workouts have become by how much “fuller” and evenly developed your chest is.
MONDAY- Deltoids, Triceps, and Biceps
The deltoids are considered the most important muscles for the formation of a well-sculpted upper body. For those wondering, deltoids are muscles that are located at the upper top part of the arm, just before you get to the shoulders and training the is an important part of bodyweight workouts. These are responsible for the manly V-shape that begins to broaden your upper body. If not properly engaged, you may end up gaining your muscles but still maintain a lean physique that honestly looks awkward. Deltoids and biceps can be paired up and engaged on the same day.
Workout 1- Dumbbell Side Lateral Raises
With your feet at shoulder width, stand with your torso firm and straight. Hold on to dumbbells in each hand with the palms facing the torso. Gently but firmly lift the dumbbells sideways until your arms are parallel to the ground. Hold the position for a few seconds and exhale while at it. Lower the dumbbells back to the starting position while inhaling.
Lifting the weights require precision otherwise, you will not experience the result. Avoid swinging your torso while lifting the dumbbells. Lift the weights while tilting the dumbbells slightly forward as if pouring tea into a cup. This exercise can perform while sitting down.
Workout 2. Front Dumbbell Raises
Stand with your feet steadily planted on the ground for stability. Grab hold of two dumbbells in each hand and let them rest at your sides. Compose yourself, exhale and lift the weights forward until your arms are parallel to the ground. Hold the dumbbells in this position for a few seconds then lower it back down to the starting position. Avoid swinging your torso while lifting the weights for maximum efficacy of the workout. If you are a beginner, it is best that you lift one dumbbell at a time. However, if you are up for a challenge, lift both arms at the same time. You can increase the resistance weights with time.
Workout 1: Overhead Press
Lay flat on a bench with the barbell overhead on a rack. Grab hold of it with your palms at shoulder-width. Unrack the barbell with your hands perpendicular to the floor, brace your abs and lower it up to your mid-chest. Hold the bar for a second then push the bar overhead with an energy explosion as you shrug your traps.
Workout 2: Pull Up
Hang on a pull-up bar with your hands at shoulder-width apart and the palm of your hands facing away from you. Lift your own bodyweight upwards until your chin is above the bar. Hold the position for a few seconds then lower yourself back down to the starting position. Reap for a set of 10-12 reps.
A strong ripped chest is a focal point whenever someone facing you. The major muscle groups in this area are the pectorals. If properly worked, it adds volume to your torso.
Workout 1- Bench Press
Lay flat on a bench with your eyes directly under the bar. Your feet should be flat on the ground for stability. Squeeze your shoulder blades and grab hold of the bar in your palm with your wrists straight. Deeply inhale and unrack the bar by pushing your arms straight. Lift the bar above your shoulders and lock your elbows. Lower the bar towards your chest as the elbows tucked at 75 degrees. Finally, lift the bar back up above your shoulders and lock your elbows at the top. Your butt should remain on the bench at all times.
Workout 2- Close Grip Bench Press
Lay flat on a bench and grab hold of the bar with your hands at shoulder width. With your arms locked, lift the bar off the rack and hold it over you. While breathing in, lower the bar downwards until it gets to the mid chest. After a slight pause, lift the bar back up to the starting position and repeat. It normally takes twice as long to lower the bar to your mid chest than it does pushing it up.
Keeping the elbows close to your torso maximizes the involvement of the triceps.
Want more quality insights that work? Read our Ultimate Workout Guide to Get the Perfect Chest.
FRIDAY WORKOUT- ABS
There’s something about a rock hard six pack that defines a fit man. Although pleasant to look at and even brush with the tips of your fingers every now and then, these require work! Although the manly physique is all about bulk, a six pack will not add volume to your upper body. In fact, it trims down the belly fat hence peeling off a few inches off your waistline. This is what draws more focus to the V-shape formed by the pumped chest and wide shoulders.
Workout to Build Ab size and Separation
Workout 1- Hanging Leg-Raise
This is a density focused superset that will lay the foundation to defined and ripped abs
Grab onto a chin-up bar with your hands straight ahead of you at shoulder width. Your legs should be straight too but slightly arch your pelvis. Raise your legs forward until it forms a 90-degree angle. Lower them to the starting position while breathing in and repeat. Perform a set of 10.
Workout for Upper Abs Workout
Lay flat on the ground with your feet planted flat for stability. Lightly place the palm of your hands under your head with your fingers behind your ears. Be careful not to lace your fingers as this will make you push yourself up instead of engaging your ab muscles for the activity. Tilt your chin in and then pull your abdominal in. Propel yourself forward until your head, shoulder blades and neck lift off the floor. Come back up with your back forms a right angle with the floor and then hold the position for a few seconds before lowering the torso back to the starting position.
If after a while this workout starts feeling too easy to perform, you can incorporate weight plates. Hold these at the chest then lift your torso. The plates increase resistance hence better results.
You can workout minor muscles for an hour or two on Saturdays for instance, your neck. Use the days in between as rest days. Your body will get the chance to repair and rejuvenate itself. This way, you will have a steady supply of energy to enable you to endure and perform the workouts efficiently. You stand a chance of realizing faster, better and speedy results this way.
7 Effective Fat-Burning Foods for Gym Freaks
Getting fit isn’t only about exercising and working out. Everyone who is a gym freak or understands the value of fitness knows that you also need to have a healthy and nutritious diet if you want to lose fat and build muscle.
Eating to build muscle is understandable, but many people who are working out to lose weight and burn fat believe that dieting means to stop eating overall. This is not true at all. There are many foods that you should eat that will increase the rate of your metabolism and make you slimmer. Here is a list of some of the best foods that should be a part of your diet if you are looking to burn fat, build muscle and get super fit and healthy.
Carbs are usually the go-to food element for people who are adopting healthier eating habits. Now bread, pastries and donuts also have tons of carbs, but they aren’t good for you at all. You should cut back these kinds of carbs and opt for whole grains, which are a different story.
The carbohydrates obtained though whole grains are super rich in fibers and they digest at a slowe pace while giving you energy and nutrition at a steady rate for a longer time. Whole grains also keep you full for a long while, and you get less hungry. In a recent study, which was published by The Journal of the American College of Nutrition, it was discovered that people who began their day with an oatmeal breakfast felt more satiated throughout the day and they took in lesser calories later in the day as compared to those who had other breakfast cereals.
There are many types of tea that are revered in ancient cultures for their amazing health benefits which include fat burning, weight loss, better digestion and heightened metabolism all of which are great for health nuts and gym freaks.
In ancient cultures, herbal teas were also used to cure many diseases. Now, most people these days approach the concept of herbal medicine with skepticism, but there might actually be some truth behind these miraculous claims about green tea.
According to a report in 2014, green tea demonstrated a significant part in decreasing the fat absorption of the body and increasing the energy. Scientists declare EGCG, which is an antioxidant to be the major reason for the health benefits of green tea. EGCG also improves heart and brain function according to scientists.
Nuts, in general, are an amazing snack. They are full of lots of healthy proteins and heart-healthy fats. Walnuts especially are an excellent choice for healthy snacks as they contain a high level of omega-3 fatty acids. Many people believe that you can only get omega 3 fatty acids from fish, but this is a wrong conception. Walnuts also work as an effective fat-fighting food.
In a study, which was published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, it was found that a high-fat diet rich in walnuts was super effective for losing fat and building muscle and it also improved the cholesterol levels of the people following the diet.
Bright green fruits and vegetables usually get a lot of attention from gym freaks because of their benefits. One of these amazing foods is pears. This sweet and delicious fruit has quite low calories and it has a whole lot of fiber. One serving of pears can actually provide about 6 grams of fiber, which is super healthy, and it will help keep you full for a long time. This property makes the pear a perfect food for people who are trying to lose weight.
In fact, according to a study that was published in the Journal of Nutrition & Food Sciences, it was found that people who had pears as a part of their regular diet were less likely to get obese and they tend to weigh less than people who don’t consume the fruit at all.
Squash is, without a doubt, one of the best foods for health nuts and gym freaks, especially if you are trying to lose some weight. The amazing vegetable has a high content of vitamins A, B6, and C. It also has a lot of healthy fibers as well as magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium.
And, the amazing thing is that this super, nutritional, and energy-packed vegetable has very low calories. Yellow squash is also quite rich in manganese, which is a very healthy mineral; it helps to increase the strength of your bones and increases the body’s natural ability to process fats. There are many types of squash with respective health benefits.
This isn’t for everyone, but for the people who like spicy chillies, they can really help you stay thin. Chillies have an element called capsaicin, which is what makes them spicy. Capsaicin can really help you burn a lot of calories a it speeds up your metabolic rate, burning more calories than normal food.
Eggs are a morning favorite of many people, and they are an excellent and effective way to get enough protein in your diet. Increasing your protein intake through eggs helps speed up and improve the performance of your metabolic system and eggs also force the body to burn extra calories during the digestion process.
Eggs are a super low-calorie package with a lot of super healthy nutrients. A large boiled egg has around 72 calories only, but it gives you an ample amount of proteins and other vital nutrients.
I hope the list given above helps you lose those extra pounds in days as well as stay healthy and fit at the same time. Good Luck!