It’s a day in the gym many men won’t be caught skipping: chest day!
Building an impressive chest is on the list of physique goals for a lot of men, which is why the bench press tends to be one of the more popular sections in the gym.
And, the benefits of training your chest shouldn’t be understated: it turns out that having a strong chest can create more solid strength overall (especially through your upper body and core).
In truth, there are a ton of great reasons that you should be training your chest regularly, so let’s dive right into it!
Your Chest Muscles
When we talk about the chest muscles, what we’re really talking about are the pecs. Your “pecs” are made of two different muscles: the pectoralis major, which is the big “fan-shaped” muscle you can see on your chest, and then the pectoralis minor, which lies right underneath it. [*]
Many men like to put a good amount of focus on building their chest muscles because, frankly, having a big, strong chest just looks impressive. But besides just looking good, training your chest muscles is also important for building strength and supporting you through all your upper body workouts.
Anatomically speaking, the primary purpose of your chest muscles is to move your arms. The pectoralis major is connected to your humerus, aka the bone in your upper arm, which helps your arms to move and rotate. [*]
So as you can probably imagine, your chest muscles are utilized in many of your upper-body exercises, which means that training your chest regularly and building strength will add extra support when you’re working on your other upper-body muscle groups like your back and arms.
Having a strong chest is also highly functional – chest strength is required for any pushing you do, so it can be applied to movements like pushing heavy furniture around or even pushing yourself up off of the ground.
How Often Should You Be Doing Chest Workouts?
Since the goal for chest day for many men is to build bigger, stronger pectorals, most chest workouts are going to include weight and/or resistance training like bench pressing and chest flies. There are also some more functional full-body movements that are great for training the chest like pushups and dips.
If you’re looking to maximize your growth in any muscle group, studies have shown that you should be strength-training at least twice a week for the best results. [*]
You’re probably going to be activating your chest and training it to a certain degree plenty if you tend to train your upper body throughout the week. But based on the intensity of your workout, you’ll want to make sure to space your workouts out so that you’re giving your body enough time to recover.
For example, a lot of guys like to do pushups frequently throughout the week in addition to other upper-body and full-body exercises. So those will definitely work your chest, but might not be the most high-impact workout (based on your fitness level) and so you can get away with doing them more often.
On the other hand, if you have more intense chest-focused days on your schedule where you’re doing heavy workouts like bench presses, you’re going to want to give your muscles a couple of days in between these intense sessions so you can fully recover. Getting enough rest will help your body repair the damaged muscle tissues in your pecs, which will be crucial for actually growing muscle and gaining strength.
So in short, you can train your chest throughout the week, but be sure to space them out to avoid overtraining.
Chest Workouts To Try:
The next time you hit chest, try incorporating these exercises to really challenge your muscles:
The pushup is definitely a favorite when it comes to training your chest and upper body. Pushing yourself up off the ground takes a ton of force from your pecs, not to mention your arms, so it’s a great movement to master for your overall upper-body physique.
Once you’ve mastered the classic, these four different variations will keep those pecs challenged so you can continue to progress.
Here’s another great pushup variation: the archer! This advanced workout requires a ton of control, both in your chest and throughout your entire body, so it’s a great advanced move that’ll help with both strength and coordination.
Bringing your hands into a diamond shape during this tabletop press is going to make sure you’re working your chest as well as your triceps, so your upper body will get some serious work with this move.
When you want to add some weight into the mix, check out this chest and tricep workout that’s great for building muscle size and strength. You’ll need some basic gym equipment like dumbbells, a bench, and a medicine ball to get this one going.
This full workout has a lot of planks, which work out your chest as well as almost every other muscle group in your body. Put this one on to keep your heart rate high and your muscles working hard.
The Bottom Line
Chest workouts have a ton of benefits, both for your physique and for overall fitness. By putting in work and dedicating some time in your workout routine to your chest, you’re setting yourself up to have a stronger upper body, and that just leads to better progress in the gym and an easier time when you apply it to real life!