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

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

                single arm cable chest excercise-2

                  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.

                  chest squeezing excercise-1

                    chest squeezing excercise-2

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

                      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 January 5, 2021

                      15 Fitness Goals That Will Help You Live a Healthier Life This Year

                      15 Fitness Goals That Will Help You Live a Healthier Life This Year

                      Starting a journey with fitness goals is never easy, and you must remember this is not a crash diet; it is a lifestyle. Don’t panic and think you have to do it all at once, as this will most likely overwhelm you. You may also find yourself giving up because crash diets are not sustainable.

                      The best approach is to make simple changes to your daily habits, and over time, you will notice all your bad habits have turned into good ones.

                      Accordingly to a study by Phillippa Lally, a health psychology researcher at University College London, on average, it takes more than 2 months before a new behavior becomes automatic — 66 days to be exact.[1] And how long it takes a new habit to form can vary widely depending on the behavior, the person, and the circumstances.

                      Here are 15 fitness goals to help you on your journey:

                      1. Drink More Water

                      W.H. Auden said it best when he said,

                      “Thousands have lived without love, not one without water.”

                      With any diet, the most important thing to remember is to stay hydrated. Drinking water will support your body with digestion, transporting nutrients to your bones and muscles, and even improving cognitive function.

                      Ideally, you want to drink about half your body weight in ounces per day, i.e. if you weight 150 pounds, you should drink 75 ounces of water a day.

                      2. Add Some Lemon and Apple Cider Vinegar to Your Water

                      It is recommended we sleep for about 8 hours a day, but this means we spend about 8 hours per day dehydrated. Therefore, hydrating your body first thing in the morning is absolutely necessary.

                      The best way to achieve hydration is by starting your day with a glass or even two of water. For that extra boost, add lemon juice and ½ teaspoons of apple cider vinegar. The lemon and apple cider vinegar will help your body with detoxifying, cleansing, and digestion.

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                      3. Stop Drinking Your Calories

                      Yes, keeping hydrated is important, but try to avoid high-calorie drinks, such as soft drinks, specialty coffee, and juices as they are full of fast-acting sugar.

                      Really push yourself to stop drinking such drinks, and before you know it, you will notice the benefits.

                      4. Start Stretching More Often

                      The benefits are vast and the repercussions of failing to stretch can be dramatic.

                      Do yourself a favor and always stretch before and after a workout. This will promote a healthy cool down, improve flexibility, and reduce next day aches. Failure to stretch can lead to injures and muscle damage.

                      Here’re some simple stretching exercises to get you started: 15 Static Stretching Exercises to Totally Enhance Your Workout Routine

                      5. Add in Some High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

                      You may have heard about HIIT training because it is the big thing right now, and believe me when I say that it works and should absolutely be included in your fitness goals.

                      The benefits include lower body fat, increased stamina, leaner muscles, and fantastic hormonal benefits.

                      HIIT is where you perform an intense exercise for a very short time frame (about 30 seconds), followed by a slower exercise for about 90 seconds.

                      Performing a HIIT routine for 1-3 times a week will lead to great results.

                      6. Focus on Your Breathing When You Work Out

                      For the most part, breathing is second nature, but when exercising, you may find yourself holding your breath, and this can have negative consequences.

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                      It is important to consciously take deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth, as this will fill your lungs with oxygen and give you the necessary energy to continue your workout.

                      7. Build More Lean Muscle

                      We all want to have lean muscles. Not only does it look good, but it also has great health benefits, including:

                      • Improved posture
                      • Reduced body fat
                      • Improved metabolism
                      • Strong bones
                      • Protects and improves joint health
                      • Improved stamina

                      You can build lean muscle by lifting weights or through other specific exercises. Learn more about building muscle in this guide: How Long Does it Take to Build Muscle and Increase Fat Loss?

                      8. Decrease Body Fat

                      This may seem like an obvious one, but it is one of the most important steps to a healthier you. Reducing your body fat has a lot of benefits such as:

                      • Improved joints and tendons
                      • Lowered risk of diabetes
                      • Reduced risk of heart disease
                      • Reduced inflammation
                      • Better performance and endurance
                      • Improved appearance and confidence
                      • Better hormonal profiles in your body

                      Remember, it is not a race to see how quickly you can decrease your body fat. Healthy weight loss is around 1-2 pounds a week for your fitness goals.[2]

                      Crash dieting or pushing yourself too much in the gym can lead to you achieving an unrealistic target, and you may find yourself gaining all the weight you have lost.

                      Think of it as a lifestyle, and take it slow and steady.

                      9. Eat More Greens

                      What you eat is the most important factor in a healthier living plan. It is important to ensure you are getting as many nutrients and vitamins from the food you are eating as possible.

                      Focus on dark, leafy greens, as they will provide you with a wide array of vitamins, minerals, nutrients and antioxidants—all of which you body needs!

                      Don’t forget to avoid processed and manufactured food. They are usually high in fat and have minimal vitamins.

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                      10. Start Eliminating Sugar

                      Another top goal you can start immediately is reducing the amount of sugar you consume. It also won’t cost you anything, and will save you money and improve your health in the long run.

                      There’s no surprise we eat too much sugar, and this should be one of your top fitness goals moving forward. Cutting out liquid calories is a great way to start. If you’re looking for something sweet, turn to fruits or even dark chocolate.

                      Be careful to eliminate sugar from your diet slowly. Cutting it out all at once can cause symptoms of sugar withdrawal, which can drive you back to sugary snacks[3].

                      Common symptoms of sugar withdrawal

                        11. Allow Yourself to Rest and Recover

                        The workout is where you go to break down muscle tissue, and it builds back through proper nutrition, rest, and recovery[4]. It might be tempting to go to the gym for two hours every day as hard as you can to achieve your goals, but that’s not the most effective approach.

                        If you don’t allow for proper rest and recovery, it can set you back a few steps. Your body is more prone to injury and even illness as you can weaken your immune system from all the progressive intensity the body is facing.

                        12. Get More Sleep

                        When you are deprived of sleep, you make it next to impossible to achieve your health and fitness goals. Lack of sleep can increase stress hormones in your body, and over time these can lead to inflammation and chronic diseases.[5]

                        Make sleep a priority to let your body heal and rejuvenate. A good approach is 7 to 8 hours. Also, allow yourself some wind-down time and a pre-bed routine to help get more consistent sleep every night.

                        13. Focus on the Habit, Not the Result

                        It’s easy to get caught up in trying to achieve a certain look or shed time off of your mile, but the more important focus is on the habit that will bring you closer to those fitness goals.

                        Don’t look at the scale, the tape measurer, or the body fat percentage. Focus on the habits that will lead to those achievements.

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                        Don’t compare yourself to where others are; you’re right where you need to be.

                        14. Take Your Fitness Outside

                        This may be hard depending on the weather you experience, but the more you can be outside exposed to fresh air and sunlight, the better.

                        Being stuck in the gym doing cardio while staring at a wall won’t do much for your mental stimulation.

                        Try to challenge your body more by getting outside. Hiking is great and also just running and walking. Give yourself more access to nature and a constantly changing environment. It also beats breathing in that recycled gym air.

                        15. Do at Least One Pull Up

                        This is a great last goal to focus on because it’s a great test of strength and to see how you are progressing with your fitness.

                        If you haven’t been able to do one, you know what a challenge it can be. Having the goal of doing at least one pull up will not only show you how far you’ve progressed, but it is a great way to become dedicated and motivated.

                        The Bottom Line

                        These fitness goals will become more attainable through the year if you’re consistent with your fitness. Set yourself a concrete timeline for when you want to accomplish some or all of these in order to create realistic goals in the short term. In fact, start making one of these goals happen this month!

                        More on Setting Fitness Goals

                        Featured photo credit: Ivan Torres via unsplash.com

                        Reference

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