Okay, so you’ve finally decided to hit the gym and build that massive Schwarzenegger-sized chest that you’ve always coveted, but as you step into the weight room for the first time, you realize: you’re completely lost. Building is no easy task, and doing so takes some strategizing regarding your training and diet. Sure, you could sit down at the bench like any other gym bro and rep out some weight that you’ve randomly selected, but don’t be surprised in six months when you still don’t look like the Terminator.
In order to add some size to your pecs, you’re going to need a chest workout that stimulates muscle hypertrophy. Hypertrophy is basically a fancy word for the process of tearing down your muscle fibers and rebuilding them. How does one accomplish this? By lifting heavy things, duh.
Classically, we are told that training with lighter weight in higher rep ranges will prioritize an increase in muscle strength over size, while training in the lower rep ranges at a higher weight will have a greater impact on increasing strength rather than size. However, research shows that muscle hypertrophy can be accomplished through both rep schemes, so it’s important that we incorporate both when training to look like Zeus incarnate. Besides, what good is it just looking like a Greek god if you can’t bench like one?
Another question that often arises is:
The go-to answer is 3-5 minutes for strength and 60-90 seconds for hypertrophy. According to research published by NCBI, 3 to 5 minutes of rest seems to produce the greatest recovery for heavy lifts and 60-90 seconds may actually create a larger release of growth hormone and testosterone, which results in, you guessed it: a bigger chest.
Here is a simple chest & triceps workout template that you can follow; it incorporates elements of both strength and hypertrophic training:
As discussed before, this workout incorporates both elements of a hypertrophy and strength program, so you get the most bang for your buck.
Now, all of this work will be for nothing if your diet is lacking in quality nutrients. To gain muscle size, you need to eat in a moderate caloric surplus of around 200-500 calories. To estimate your calorie needs, you can use a calculator like this handy-dandy one here.
So there you have it, your plan for building a strong, massive upper body. What are you waiting for? Get under the bar, get in the kitchen, and get bigger!