Looking to add some mass to your chest? I’ve got you covered, here’s an incredibly effective mass workout for chest, plus two chest workout variations to help you maximise hypertrophy no matter what equipment you have access to. Here’s everything we’ll be covering:
- Your ‘Go To’ Mass Workout for Chest
- Chest Workout With Machines
- Chest Workout At Home
- Best Exercises for Chest Hypertrophy
- Chest Workout Equipment List
- Chest Workout for Mass Routine
- Chest Workout Program Questions
- How many chest exercises per workout?
- Is 3 chest exercises a week enough?
- How many sets of chest per workout?
- Is 4 sets enough for chest?
- How often chest workout?
- Is 2 chest days enough?
- Is chest day once a week enough?
- How do I start chest day?
- Should you lift heavy for a bigger chest?
- How to grow chest fast?
- Next Steps
Let’s jump right into it.
Your ‘Go To’ Mass Workout for Chest
Here’s what I would call your number one, ‘go to’ chest workout for mass. It uses a mixture of hypertrophy rep ranges and some of the most effective chest exercises around.
- Barbell Chest Press: 2-3 sets of 5-10 reps @ 2RIR
- Dumbbell Flyes: 2-3 sets of 10-20 reps @ 2 RIR
- Incline Dumbbell Press: 2-3 sets of 20-30 reps @ 2 RIR
Here’s a quick video courtesy of the guys at Renaissance Periodisation going over how to really target your chest with the bench press…
Mass Gain Chest Workout Explanation
This chest workout is simple but incredibly effective, and at times downright brutal! You start with the barbell bench press as it’s a classic compound exercise that allows you to deliver a tonne of stimulus to your pecs in a short amount of time (especially if you use the tips in the video above)
Next up you move onto dumbbell flyes as an isolation exercise, these are great for letting you achieve a deep stretch in your chest under load, which is a factor in hypertrophy signalling and great for really putting some mass in your chest.
Lastly, you’ll finish off with sets of 20-30 reps in the dumbbell bench press. These will provide some additional work to your upper chest so that you get a full chest workout, and since you’ve already pre-exhausted your chest, your shoulders won’t be the limiting factor. Plus, the higher reps will create a bunch of metabolite build up, which potentially adds to the muscle building stimulus.
You perform 2-3 sets of each exercise, and you should each set leaving a couple of reps in the tank. There’s no need to train to failure in order to maximise muscle growth (Grgic et al. 2021) especially when hard chest workouts create plenty of fatigue already.
Chest Workout With Machines
This mass gain chest workout takes the exact same principles and structure of the first workout we looked at but uses machines instead of free weights.
- Machine Chest Press: 2-3 sets of 5-10 reps @ 2RIR
- Machine / Pec Dec Flyes: 2-3 sets of 10-20 reps @ 2 RIR
- Machine Incline Press: 2-3 sets of 20-30 reps @ 2 RIR
Here’s everyone’s favorite bodybuilder John Meadows demonstrating seated cable flyes…
Chest Workout At Home
This mass building bodyweight chest workout takes the exact same structure from the first workout and adapts it so that you only use your bodyweight. No fancy equipment required, but you still get a full chest workout.
- Deficit Tempo Press-Ups : 2-3 sets of 5-10 reps @ 2RIR
- Slider Chest Flyes: 2-3 sets of 10-20 reps @ 2 RIR
- Pike Push Up: 2-3 sets of 20-30 reps @ 2 RIR
Bodyweight Chest Workout for Mass Explanation
The slider chest flyes are a solid alternative to dumbbell flyes. You can either purchase a set of sliders for about £8/$10 or you can even use a couple of old bits of cloth/towel on a slidey floor like laminate or wood.
Then the feet elevated press ups provide a solid upper chest workout by creating a body angle similar to an incline bench press.
Best Exercises for Chest Hypertrophy
Here’s a quick list of some of the best chest hypertrophy exercises. Remember, the trick is to experiment and find which ones are best for YOU.
- Barbell Bench Press
- Barbell Incline Press
- Dumbbell Bench Press
- Dumbbell Incline Press
- Deficit Press-Ups
- Dips (With a Forward Torso Lean)
- Machine Chest Press
- Machine Incline Press
- Dumbbell Flyes
- Machine / Pec Dec Flyes
Chest Workout Equipment List
Here’s some of the basic equipment you can use for your chest workouts:
- Weighted Vest
- Resistance Bands (Less Ideal)
Chest workout gym machines
Here are some of the most common leg workout machines you’ll find in the gym:
- Machine Flat Chest Press
- Machine Incline Press
- Pec Dec Machine
Chest Workout for Mass Routine
Okay so now that you’ve got a few mass gain workouts for chest that you can use, you might want to put them together into chest workout plan or routine so that your training week has a bit more structure. Here’s an example of what that could look like:
Monday: Chest Workout 1
- Bench Press
- Dumbbell Flyes
Thursday: Chest Workout 2
- Incline Dumbbell Press
Weekly Progression On Your Chest Workout Plan
Here’s a simple table showing you how you can progress your chest workouts throughout your training plan. Notice how there’s an extra set in week 2, and then another extra set in week 3? You would only add these sets if…
a) You were not getting a good pump from the current sets
b) You were fully recovered going into your next workout
So weekly progression in your chest hypertrophy workouts all depends on how you individually respond to the number of sets.
Chest Workout Program Questions
How many chest exercises per workout?
Typically anything from 1 to 4 chest exercises per workout is a good number of exercises to use. Personally I tend to use 2 chest exercises in any single workout, one isolation chest exercise and one compound exercise.
Is 3 chest exercises a week enough?
Yes, 3 chest exercises a week is absolutely enough to build mass in your chest. It mainly comes down to making sure you perform enough sets of each chest exercise to get a good pump and some soreness the following day.
How many sets of chest per workout?
Typically anything from 2 to 10 sets of chest per workout is a good number of sets in order to build mass. Anything less than 2 sets and you’re unlikely to get enough stimulus, anything more than 10 sets and you’re likely going past the point of diminishing returns. The exact number of sets you should perform depends on your training level and sensitivity to training.
Is 4 sets enough for chest?
It depends, 4 sets is enough for chest for some people, whilst for others it might not be enough sets to stimulate growth. You need to consider your training level and your sensitivity to training. A good rule of thumb is, do enough sets that you get a decent pump in the muscle, plus a some disruption/soreness the next day.
How often chest workout?
You can do a chest workout as often as 1 to 3 times per week. This range tends to provide the best muscle gain results for chest.
Is 2 chest days enough?
Absolutely, 2 chest days per week is enough for most people to add plenty of mass to their chest. In fact, I personally find that 2 chest days per week offers me the best balance between volume and recovery.
Is chest day once a week enough?
Chest day once per week is totally fine, and is usually enough if you’re big, strong and male. However, if you’re less big, less strong or female, then you might want to consider more sessions per week, as its highly unlikely that you need a full week in order to recover from a chest session.
How do I start chest day?
I recommend that you start chest day with a compound exercise such as the bench press, incline bench press, machine chest press or deficit press-ups. After that you can move onto isolation work such as flyes or pec dec work.
Should you lift heavy for a bigger chest?
You do not have to lift heavy for a bigger chest, that’s just an old bodybuilding myth. Hypertrophy research conclusively shows that anything from heavier sets of 5 reps up to much lighter sets of 30 reps lead to similar muscle gain outcomes. My advice when you’re looking to gain chest mass is to use the weights and rep ranges that give you the best pump and disruption.
How to grow chest fast?
There’s no magic trick to grow chest fast, instead you need to focus on hard and consistent training over multiple months and years. Aim to get a good pump in every single session, with some amount of disruption or soreness the next day.
Alright, that’s enough reading for today, time for action…
1) Give one of these hypertrophy leg workouts a try, or consider having a look at custom programme options if you want something a bit more personalised.
2) If you want more training tips, workouts and programmes, feel free to join my mailing list.
3) And if you’re looking for 1:1 strength and conditioning coaching, you can find more information about my services here.
‘Til Next Time
Alex Parry, MSc, BA
Alex is the Head content writer and Coach at Character Strength & Conditioning, as well as an Assistant Lecturer and PhD Researcher at the University of Hull.
His experience includes 8+ years within professional strength and conditioning, as well as working as a tutor & educator for British Weightlifting.