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4 Chest Cheat Codes For A Fuller Chest (No Bench Press Needed)

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4 Chest Cheat Codes For A Fuller Chest (No Bench Press Needed)

Let’s face it— Every guy wants a bigger chest.

Building admirable pecs is nearly impossible, ESPECIALLY if you stick to the conventional bench press and push-up mentality. Guys do them for months (even years) and still can’t even fill out a medium shirt!

That’s because these movements just aren’t optimal for chest growth!

But I’ll give you 4 chest cheat codes along with 3 pec-specific movements to add into your routine with ease. Unlike the bench press or push up, these hacks will wake up those dormant pecs and have them firing on all cylinders—all by simply modifying your current routine!

1. Don’t Just Press—SQUEEZE!

While most chest exercises involve pressing movements, people often neglect the “squeeze”. The pecs are responsible for a few movements, including horizontal adduction or pulling the arms toward the midline of the body.

While most people do chest flys and bench press, other muscles [shoulders & triceps] often assist too much, taking the focus off the chest unless you really find exercises that put you in the best position to squeeze the chest.

Most people have a hard time feeling their chest activate during bench press. I know it took me over a year to even get a subpar contraction when bench pressing.

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Try this exercise for a great chest contraction:

I call them the Napoleon Press as Napoleon always had his hand in his suit, similar to the position of this exercise. Grab a single cable at nipple level. While squeezing your elbow into your ribs, press away for the weight stack, keeping your arm as close to your body as possible. Be sure to stand upright with a proud chest and don’t round your backer shoulders. You will feel your chest squeeze tighter than ever.

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      Do 3-4 sets of 10-12 reps one to two days a week with moderate weight and focus on the squeeze.

      2. Think Outside the Box with Equipment

      If you do what you’ve always done you will get what you’ve always got. It’s time to change up some of your exercises.

      Using different equipment will allow your chest a new stimulus to grow from, breaking you out of that pec-plateau. Changing up your exercise angles will give you a better ability to contract and, honestly, doing the same thing over and over expecting different results is insanity.

      Try Using Back Equipment for Chest:

      Find your gym’s T-bar row machine or set up and grab the end of the bar with one or both hands. Pressing with this set up and angle will really get you chest fibers firing. For an extra squeeze, rotate your body slightly so your are single-arm pressing across your body and upwards for the craziest chest contraction you’ve ever felt. You can also use the V-bar attachment on the end of the bar and squeeze your elbows in for a more time-efficient pump.

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              Try doing 3-4 sets of 10-12 reps one to two days a week.

              3. Quit Cutting the Motion Short!

              So why exactly do the bench press and push up just not deliver optimal chest growth? Aside from form needing to be perfected (Check out this article to perfect your bench), these exercises do not train the chest’s full range of motion.

              That means you are missing an opportunity to build a bigger chest.

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              The chest muscle brings the arms across the chest, but If you try it right now you can bring your arm pretty far across your chest, right? Now, try doing it with both arms at the same time. Pretty much impossible.

              Bench press and chest flys stop the chest contraction short. Now, that doesn’t mean they are bad exercises, but that does mean you may want to train the rest of the motion with a different exercise that can pick up the slack. More contraction equals a bigger chest.

              Try this single arm cable or machine fly:

              Set the cable to shoulder height and stand perpendicular to the weight stack. Use a single rope attachment or even grab the cable itself over hand. Keeping your body facing forward, arm almost locked out, and your shoulder blades together, bring the cable horizontally across your body. Think about touching your opposite shoulder with the inside of you elbow and you will feel your chest tighten almost to the point where it cramps.

              single arm cable chest excercise-1

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                  Use a lighter weight for this exercise and stick to the 12-14 rep range for 2-3 sets, being sure not to round your shoulders.

                  4. Contract with Intention

                  The biggest problem with people’s lifting programs is the lack of intention.

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                  Most people lift with the intention of moving weight rather than contracting the muscle. For powerlifting, that might be okay, but not for people who want a bigger chest.

                  If you are doing chest exercises and can’t intentionally contract your chest, I question the effectiveness of that exerciser towards your goal. Simply moving the bar up and down without proper form or intention of contraction will more than likely result in no chest growth at best and an injury at worse.

                  Some may call it the mind muscle connection, I call it intention. It’s a necessary component of building the muscles you want. Certain exercises put you in a better position to contract the chest which will inevitably help you in other lifts like bench press.

                  Try this exercise and do it with intention of really squeezing your chest:

                  While seated on a high incline bench, use a 10-35lb weight plate and press it between your hand tightly, allowing the only grip you have on the plate to be the pressure you apply to the plate. By squeezing your hands tight and keeping your elbows tight to your body, your chest is firing through that horizontal adduction we mentioned earlier. Now, keeping the pressure, press the plate toward the roof and back down. This maximizes the chest contraction and really wakes up those sleeping fibers.

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                      I personally like to start my chest days with this exercise. Try doing 2 sets of 12-15 reps, squeezing tight.

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                      Put Your New Cheat Codes to the Test

                      Using these 4 principles and 4 new exercises, you should be able to maximally contract your chest while adding variety to your preexisting program. Coupled with the right diet, your chest will grow and you’ll get an amazing chest pump every single time you train.

                      Don’t just move things— squeeze with intention, think outside the box, and watch your shirt size and compliments increase as you finally earn the chest you want.

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                      Last Updated on September 8, 2021

                      10 Fitness Excuses You Need to Stop Making Now

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                      10 Fitness Excuses You Need to Stop Making Now

                      “You can have results or excuses. Not both.” – Anonymous

                      Human beings tend to only ever do as much as they absolutely need to.

                      Motivational speakers call this innate trait laziness, biologists call it efficiency. Either way, the fact remains: we are evolutionary wired to minimize time and energy wherever possible.

                      And this is not necessarily a bad thing. If we weren’t wired this way, we probably wouldn’t have survived this long as a species.

                      Back in our caveman days, before supermarkets, calories were worth their weight in gold. For cavemen, trying to actively burn off calories would have spelled certain death.

                      In this light, our fitness excuses make total sense. Our reptilian brain comes up with believable sounding rationalizations to stop us from burning off our precious calories; to minimize time and energy.

                      Unfortunately, due to our present access to highly calorific foods, the fitness excuses that once ensured our survival, now send us to an early grave.

                      Below I’ve provided the 10 most common fitness excuses our reptilian minds trick us into believing and why, ultimately, they’re all nonsense.

                      1. I don’t have enough time.

                      This is probably the most common fitness excuse of them all.

                      First off, when you say you don’t have enough time, what you’re really saying is “I don’t have enough time for that”. 

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                      Do you really think that if you were to add up all the time you spend watching TV and surfing the web throughout the average week you couldn’t replace any of it with a workout?

                      A 30 minute workout takes up 2% of your day.

                      Don’t ask yourself how much time you’re going to waste by working out a few times a week. Ask yourself how much of your life you’re going to waste being unfit and overweight.

                      2. I’m way too tired to workout.

                      Your mind, when it comes to exercising, is like a spoiled child. If you give in to its demands without a fight, it will see weakness and prey on it often.

                      If you miss one planned session, you’re much more likely to miss the next. The biggest journey always starts with one step and the biggest failings always start with one step backwards.

                      You need to show your mind who’s boss. You won’t always have lots of energy when you go to the gym but that doesn’t matter. The only thing that counts is showing up and giving it a shot.

                      If you’re too tired to workout, change your sleeping habits, not your workout habits.

                      3. But exercise is so boring!

                      You don’t want to exercise because it’s boring?

                      So you find brushing your teeth, taking showers, styling your hair and getting dressed highly entertaining? No. We do these things because we have to. We accept them as part of life.

                      The people who never miss a workout are the ones who view it just like brushing their teeth. Complaining about it is just pointless. To be successful sometimes you’ve got to do things that aren’t as fun as watching your favorite TV show. That’s just life.

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                      If don’t enjoy your workouts, you don’t stop working out, you just workout differently. Try crossfit, martial arts, hiking, body building, powerlifting, running, or swimming. Try music. Try anything, but keep showing up.

                      4. I have no motivation to workout.

                      If you think you need motivation to train you’re already half beat.

                      What you really need is meta motivation: the motivation to train even when you’re not motivated. If you rely on your feelings to decide whether to workout or not, you never will. As you know, your feelings are designed to keep you caged up in your comfort pit.  Your feelings want you to be safe, not successful.

                      That said, there is a trick you can use to get yourself motivated to workout, and it’s  backed up with research. It’s called ‘the few minutes’ principle.

                      The basic idea is that procrastinators often put off doing certain things because the size of the task in front of them seems too overwhelming. By deciding to just go to the gym for a ‘few minutes’ you’ll often see the workout through to completion.

                      Are you motivated enough to train for two minutes? That’s all you need.

                      5. I have kids to look after.

                      One day your kids might have someone to look after too: you.

                      Don’t burden them with an ill parent when they have their own kids to look after. And don’t be the kind of parent who tells their kids exercise is good for them but doesn’t follow their own advice. Kids are smarter than that.

                      If you’re really struggling with managing your fitness and your kids, combine the two. Find a field and play frisbee for a few hours, go swimming, take a walk around the lake and feed some ducks. There are so many fun and cheap ways to exercise with your kids, the only limits are your imagination.

                      You kids should be your biggest reason to exercise, not your biggest excuse.

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                      6. I don’t have anyone to train with.

                      What you’re really saying with this fitness excuse is that you don’t have anyone to talk with while you train. If you’re training properly, you won’t need to talk.

                      Don’t get me wrong, having a training partner is great but here’s what you’ve got to understand: most people first meet their training partners at the gym. The reason you probably don’t have anyone to train with is because you don’t have many friends who train. Like attracts like.

                      By becoming someone who regularly trains, you’ll start attracting people into your life who also value health and fitness. You have to earn your training partners, they don’t come free.

                      7. I don’t feel very well.

                      After you get into the habit of overriding your fitness excuses and working out regularly, the thought of missing a workout starts to drive you insane. When I broke my jaw in two places the doctors told me I couldn’t lift heavy weights for three months. What did I do? I lifted light weights instead. Train smart, not hard.

                      At some point in our lives we’ve all pretended to be ill so we could skip a day of school. Some of the better actors among us probably blurred the lines in their mind between real symptoms and those imagined. It’s easy to exaggerate things when it fits our agenda.

                      If you’re really sick, I don’t recommend you train. But feeling a bit tired or achy – that’s no reason to skip a workout.

                      8. The gym is too expensive or far.

                      If you think you need a gym to achieve your fitness goals, you’ve been seriously misled.

                      The world is your fitness playground. Ever watched a training scene from a Rocky movie? He chases chickens, runs up steps, punches meat, and chops wood. Many people cite these scenes as their favorite.  Something about training dirty and raw resonates deep within us.

                      There are whole fitness subcultures dedicated to working out outdoors, and without formal equipment. Ever heard of Calisthenics, Tai Chi, Yoga or Parkour? Look them up.

                      If you want to put on muscle, try some typical strongman training like chopping wood, flipping tires, lifting barrels. Remember, if it’s important enough to you, you’ll find a way. Arnold Schwarzenegger made his own gym equipment out of chairs and sticks for the first year he trained. He claims he gained 25 pounds of muscle from doing this.

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                      9. I don’t know how to train properly.

                      If you’re reading this article, you’re obviously more than capable of figuring this out. The internet is brimming with routines and training tips. This site alone will give you more than you need. Read these 10 tips for better workouts, perfect for beginners.

                      However, it’s important that you don’t get too engulfed in the theory of ‘training properly’. Like most things in life, you learn best on the job. Ask people in the gym to show you how to use proper technique, then practice through action.

                      People love giving out tips. You might even get a training partner out of it.

                      10. I feel intimidated by the fit people there.

                      This is normal and everyone has this when they first start out. The environment is new, everyone there looks like they know what they’re doing. You feel like you’re in someone else’s home.

                      The number one reason you feel intimidated when you go to the gym is because you don’t go enough! If you started going regularly you’d get used to the place, the people and your fitness would improve. Everyone knows training improves your confidence. Just stick with it. It’s something you’ll laugh at a few months down the line.

                      Anyone can get in great shape. Anyone can become fit. But very few people ever do because they give in to their natural inclination to minimize time and effort.

                      Stop making excuses and just stick with it for two months. After that you’ll be finding excuses to workout even when you do have important stuff to get on with.

                      Featured photo credit: United Artists, Chartoff-Winkler Productions via Rocky (1976)

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