The picture-perfect image of a male chest is the Batman costume. A barrel chest gives the illusion of invincibility. Unfortunately, a barrel chest is not east to accomplish without genetics or drugs. The information in this article will help make it as easy as possible.
A barrel chest begins with the ribcage. The internal intercostals muscles pull the ribs together and the external intercostals muscles elevate the chest. The chest muscles will not look big without well-developed intercostals.
The second layer of chest development is the serratus anterior. This muscle nestles between the chest and back. It sits on top of the lower ribs. Its function is to pull the shoulder blades away from the spine. When developed, the serratus anterior looks like fingers.
The third layer of the chest is the pectoralis minor. This muscle originates on the upper ribs. It inserts itself from the shoulder joint, moving it. The pectoralis minor is not visible.
The pectoralis minor is not visible because the last layer of the chest, the pectoralis major, lies on top of it. The pectoralis major, better known as the pecs, originates at the sternum (breastbone) and clavicle (collarbone).
The “pecs” are a fan-shaped muscle, inserting from the shoulder. This shape draws the arm in toward the body and rotates the upper arm inward. People use their pecs every time they twist the cap off of a bottle.
While bench press is a good exercise, a barrel chest can be build without it. Far too many people perform barbell bench, incline and decline presses for their workout. Eventually, progress slows and people look for answers.
The answers are not adding more weight, sets or reps to the same three exercises. The answer is to include more exercises. Another answer is to do heavy weights and light weights on the same day.
The basic movements are flys and presses. Use different modalities of these exercises. Hitting the chest muscles with different angles is good, so continue flat, incline and decline movements.
Only from now on, grab dumbbells once in a while instead of barbells. Throw in some flys instead of presses. Do this because flys isolate the pectoralis major more than any other exercise. Use the cables for crossovers and standing presses once in a while.
Do pushups. If possible, elevate the feet onto a bench or stability ball to increase the load.
Pullovers grow the serratus anterior. Again, use the barbell, a dumbbell or cables. Don’t be afraid to try new things.
To build the intercostals muscles of the ribcage, do the impossible – add a few days of yoga or pilates. If a person has never attempted pilates and does an hour, the next day the ribcage will be more sore than ever thought possible – guaranteed.
As the “How To Build Big Legs” article pointed out, hockey players have huge hips, running backs in American football have huge thighs and sprinters have big calves. What athletes have barrel chests? Swimmers.
Muscles grow according to specific adaptations of imposed demand (SAID principal). So if the chest muscles are important to an activity, like swimming, the chest muscles will grow. While the chest muscles can grow without it, swimming can be the secret weapon to accelerating growth.
To build the chest muscles fast:
- The next time you workout the chest, don’t bench press. Just try it once – it won’t kill you.
- Vary the angle, modality, weight, sets and reps.
- Work the chest muscles once every five to seven days.
- Add swimming to the exercise program.
- Be sure to follow a well-balanced nutrition plan.
- Include shoulder-saving rotator cuff exercises because no one can train while injured.
- Last but not least, work hard.
- The Human Body Book by Steve Parker
- Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding by Arnold Schwarzenegger with Bill Dobbins