The Armor Plated Chest

I've gotten a couple questions on chest training, which I'll answer with a paraphrased excerpt from my upcoming book Strength and Physique: High Tension Exercises for Muscular Growth:

Question #1  I don't seem to get much out of doing one exercise on my chest. I feel like I need to do more. I am at 44 inches on my chest but want it much bigger. Any suggestions? I'm completely struggling. 


Question #2  James, How are you doing? I am still being ginger about my mcl’s, but I am training again and going into my 7th week where I will be doing volume decompression. The workouts are great and keep me going. 

I am having issues with my upper inner chest. I want to get that armor plated look, and well, that part is lacking. I have been using dumbbells at the 20° angle and squeezing at the top. I will be going on vacation, so I am going to seek out a gym get a couple workouts in while I enjoy the sun and sand in 2 weeks. 

My question is about supplementation. I have run out of my whey protein I get from GNC. I have no other supplements I am taking. I am 41 now, and I still want to achieve a natural bodybuilder physique. Can you assist me in what I should take to help me achieve my goal? 

Thanks always, 

My Answer: The chest is, arguably, the muscle most loved by bodybuilders. Aside from the arms, no other body part is given as much attention in the gym. Most newbies overemphasize the importance of the bench press and the pectoral muscles in their training programs. They put the bench press first in their workouts. They focus on getting stronger on this particular lift, because everybody asks, “How much you bench?” as if the bench press is an accurate indicator of real world strength.

With all this emphasis on chest training, people tend to fixate on chest size as opposed to chest shape. An overdeveloped chest can detract from muscle symmetry. An overdeveloped chest will give you 2 things:

  1. Man-boobs
  2. Poor posture 

In other words, you’ll look like a Neanderthal woman!

What you want to do is give your pecs a more angular look. You want to develop just enough thickness in the chest so that there’s a horizontal shadow line below your lower pecs. This shadow line should go up the outer edges of your pecs and feed into your deltoids.

Instead of man-boobs (_|_) you want a wide tapering chest which resembles armor \_|_/.

Neo-Classical Bodybuilding has a chest specialization routine, so follow that for a few weeks. Instead of dumbbell presses in Workout #3, however, substitute Gironda dips instead. Gironda dips will give you the shadow line and give you the wide angular look.

As far as supplementation for bodybuilding, I would suggest the following:

Like I've said in a previous post, I don't normally talk about supplementation, because too many people want to use supplements as a crutch for really shitty discipline in the gym and poor attention to detail. Take the time to do your own research on supplements, diet and training and test things out in the gym. Ultimately everybody has different results from different supplements, so you have to find your own answer by testing them out. You still have to put in the hard work when you're on supplements, so don't forget that.

GET BIG and order the Strength and Physique E-books

“This book is terrific. It distills years of experience and research into short sections laying out specific, creative programs for the major body parts, using the best science and advanced training techniques. Some of them created by the great 'masters' of bodybuilding like Larry Scott. Almost every section has a 'eureka' idea that I'm craving to try, like the back trifecta! The book is much more useful than subscriptions to all the muscle mags. I only wish I had it when I was a kid."

- Bob Vastine, world record holder in powerlifting

"Your arm blast routine from Volume One that you pointed me to is phenomenal. Maybe it's just the pump, but I'm measuring 16 inches compared to 15 inches before - after just 2 trainings!"

- Steve Murphy, Australia

"Sticking to your principles to the letter has helped me improve immensely. When I started lifting over two years ago I was 125 pounds and now I'm over 170.

"What I'm trying to say is that reading your books helped me understand what I needed to do to gain [muscle]. My dedication plus your expertise really worked out well for me."

- Mike Crothers


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