It takes a lot of hard work and targeted exercises to gain muscle in any area of your body. If you're looking to build your pecs, you need the right combination of cardio to burn fat from your body, along with specific strength-training exercises for the chest to build toned, defined muscle. Do your strength-training workout at least three times a week, using enough weight so that you're creating resistance. As long as you're willing to keep up with your workouts, you can see results in as little as a couple weeks.
The Anatomy of the Chest
The chest is made up of four separate muscles. The pectoralis major muscles are the largest and most visible muscles in the chest, two fan-shaped muscles that cover the majority of the chest region, spanning from the collarbone to just above the ribs in length. The pectoralis minor muscles are the smaller muscles in the chest, a set of muscles that sits largely below the pectoralis major muscles.
Cable Chest Press for Big Pecs
To get big muscle gains in your chest, include the cable chest press as part of your workout. This compound exercise works the pectoralis major and minor muscles, as well as the deltoid muscles in your chest and your triceps. Start in a seated position, your arms bent at chest-level, hands grasping onto the stirrups. Keeping the rest of your body rigid, push your arms forward, extending them until they're straight in front of you. Return to your original position, then repeat for a total of three sets of 12 reps.
Give the Dumbbell Fly a Try
The stability ball dumbbell fly exercise works the muscles in your chest, as well as your abs. Rest your upper back on a stability ball, your back straight with your legs bent on a 90-degree angle, feet flat on the floor. Extend your arms straight above you, hands aligned with your shoulders, a dumbbell in each hand with your palms facing one another. Slowly and simultaneously, bring your arms down at your sides until they're both on a right angle, before returning to your starting position. Do three sets of 15 reps.
The Chest Dip is Hip
The chest dip is one of the most effective exercises for the chest muscles, targeting the pectoralis major muscles but also working the smaller pectoralis minor muscles. Stand between a wide dip bar, one foot crossed over the other, hands on the bars with your body mounted, using the strength in your arms to hold yourself up. Slowly flex your arms, lowering yourself down until your arms form right angles. Don't alter the position of the rest of your body during the movement. Return to your starting position. Do three sets of 12 reps.
Make Cardio a Priority
No matter where you're looking to gain muscle, you're not going to get the best results unless you include some cardio in your total workout plan. Although strength-training exercises do burn fat, moderate to intense cardio activity is even more effective, helping those muscles underneath show through. Aim for four to five 30-minute sessions of cardio a week, including exercises such as jumping jacks, jumping rope, rowing, cycling, walking, running and swimming as part of your cardio exercise regime.
The Importance of an A+ Diet
Don't forget to follow a proper diet too. When you're trying to build muscle, you're not going to get results unless you're giving your body what it needs to keep up with your workouts. Focus on protein-rich foods such as egg whites, chickpeas and lean meats to support muscle growth.