Try this intense workout to develop your chest from all angles

June 15, 2018

The chest is one of the most visible muscle groups when looked at head on. Working it from a variety of angles can make a night and day difference in size, shape, and even strength.

It’s easy to think that the chest muscles only really assist in push movements, such as within a bench press or push up, and a fly-type movement, such as dumbbell flys, but there’s a lot more to the muscles in the chest than first meets the eye. Understanding the muscle structure, the various movements that work such muscles and areas, and how to piece all of these together, can really make a big difference in not only how you look, but how you train.

rob riches chest intensity workout

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Hand & Elbow Position

You’re at your strongest when your hands, wrist and elbows are all vertically aligned as you push the weight up. Typically, this means your arm is bending at a 90-degree angle as you lower the weight down, and allows for the maximum amount of force to be generated as you push back up. Whilst this is ideal for strength gains it can limit the variation of the muscles getting worked.

The change in grip width doesn’t have to be anything extreme. I’m not talking about taking the widest grip you can, which in my experience I’ve found to not only weaken you but can also place unnecessary stain on the chest and elbows. You only need to space out your grip by a few inches to feel the difference. Try this on your next chest workout after having performed a few standard-grip presses. You can also rotate your elbows slightly inwards (especially when using a wider grip), which will feel like more of the outer and deeper chest fibers are being worked. After I’ve reached my heaviest weight for standard presses, I’ll often lower the weight by 15-20% and continue with a further 1-2 sets of wider presses with my elbows rotated slightly inwards. Try super-setting push ups or even pull ups after this and you’ll soon start to feel the difference.


Stretch & Repeat

There may be a lot of discussions about weight training and stretching – especially within the workouts, but I for one really see a benefit in this. After all, if you’ve seen many of the old-school bodybuilders in their day training, they are always stretching the muscles in between sets. I find it helps to open out all of the muscle fibers, which can help increase blood flow along with oxygen and nutrients. I’m not doing this after every set, but certainly within the first few exercises after my warm up. I will also make use of a variety of different stretch and mobility techniques, from static to dynamic stretching, as well as through resistance bands, massage trigger balls, and foam rollers.  Performing a pull up (with a slightly wider grip than you may usually use), gives the chest a great stretch – especially after some heavy chest presses.

Press-To-Fly Movement

You can see within my program below, I alternate a pressing type movement with a fly type movement. This isn’t always the case, but with the focus being on  training intensity and working the muscles through a variety of different movements, I’ve found this approach to deliver the best results. Not only does it give me a great pump in the chest, with the muscles filling with blood and oxygen-rich nutrients, but it allows me to keep the intensity (and stresses on the muscles) high as each movement allows for somewhat of an active recovery from the other movement.


Weekly Variables

The structure of my workouts can go unchanged for months. By that I mean that the type of movements often don’t change, but how I perform them, and sometimes the order at which I perform them, can. Performing a chest press on with a barbell can give you a very different feeling than if you perform it on a machine press, with dumbbells, or even through using cables – whether standing or on a bench. These are all great variables to work and stress the chest muscles in very different ways, but cannot realistically all be performed within the same workout, so alternating them in different weeks will ensure plenty of variation as well as stop your routines from becoming stagnated and boring. You don’t need to change every type of exercise every workout, but try to switch up at least 1-2 movements each week, as well as make use of different training methods and shocking principles.

rob riches high intensity chest workout

Exercise 1

4 sets of 10 reps

Exercise 2

4 sets of 10 reps

Exercise 3

3 sets of 12,10,8 reps (use spotter to reach failure)

Exercise 4

3 sets of 20-15 reps (keep weight moderate)

Exercise 5

3 sets of 15,12,12 reps

Exercise 6

3 sets of 15,12,12 reps (*perform push-ups to failure)

*(Performed as a super-set with previous exercise)