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The Basics of Chest-Mass Exercises

Reduce frequency as volume goes up. As a rank beginner, your routine probably consisted of 1-2 chest exercises as part of a full-body routine you completed three times a week. You’ll outgrow that kind of training fast, but to continue making further gains, you’ll start increasing the volume (number of total sets) you do for each muscle group, training fewer body parts per day. But there’s a catch: Adding exercises and sets requires a greater amount of time off before training chest again, to account for the greater muscle damage, so you’ll do it once every 3-4 days instead of three times a week.

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Train in the muscle-building rep range. If you use a light weight, you can do a lot of reps; with a heavy weight, you can’t do many. According to exercise scientists, the key for beginners to optimize muscle growth is to rack up lots of quality volume with a weight that allows you to do 8-12 reps. Now, that doesn’t mean you just pick up any old weight and arbitrarily stop between 8-12 reps. That last rep has to be super tough—so tough that it would be nearly impossible to complete another with good form.

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