5 Ways To Make Your Chest Workout Harder

 Rope climb
(Image credit: Future)

A number of recent surveys have found that a big chest trumps abs, arms and shoulders as the biggest turn on for the fairer sex. But don’t get all excited and start pumping out endless sets on the barbell bench press, there are a number of less common chest workout moves you could be doing to really get those pecs popping.

1. Rope climb

This is likely to be the most surprising of the lot for many of you. But rope climbs place quite a serious demand on the chest muscles. Chest presses can often lead to tendinosis, so it’s a good idea to mix it up from doing push-pull movements, by incorporating a move that activates your pecs in a different way, by targeting the lower fibres of your pecs in a whole new way.

2.  Work on your co-ordination, balance and flexibility with TRX

Whether you’re doing push-ups or presses, doing them with a TRX will force you to use far more balance and co-ordination to complete the move. TRX push-ups in particular require a unique loading pattern that will work your chest in a way that it isn’t use to, which is exactly what you want if you’re trying to grow your pecs. For more core involvement, try TRX atomic push-ups: slip your feet into the handles, perform a push-up, bring your knees to your chest, and get back into the start position. Repeat.

The best TRX workout for maximum balance and flexibility.

3. Swap dumbbell press for dumbbell crush press

This is a dumbbell press with a never-ending contraction. It targets your hard-to-hit inner pecs, which means more definition and a deeper cleavage. But it’s not just your physical form that will be more honed, it will also force you to concentrate throughout every rep, so when you do eventually head back to the bar, you’ll power through your old personal best with ease.

4. Switch to a wider grip on your bench press

Change up your barbell grip from the standard shoulder-width grip to a wider hand position, this will help to reduce triceps involvement which will force your pec muscles to produce more force as the triceps will be activated far less in the upward movement.

5. Use a Swiss ball

Don’t worry about appearances. The Swiss ball might look slightly awkward and a touch on the funny side, but it’ll be you that has the last laugh when your chest growth accelerates as a result of swapping the bench for the ball. Using a Swiss ball to perform dumbbell press will help you to avoid shoulder injuries and promote a greater range of movement, which will recruit more muscle fibres. Don’t go too heavy with the weights at first though, it requires a strong core to keep good balance on the Swiss ball with such heavy weights about your head, so start light and measure the amount of weight you can handle. 

Former web editor

Between 2014 and 2015, Andre Jackson was the web editor of Men’s Fitness UK, which predated and then shared a website with Coach. A love for climbing ropes and boarding slopes, he doesn’t have the most traditional of workout plans but he’s obsessed with finding out how much protein he can get from everything. His favorite gym move is double wave battle ropes, his favorite sports are football and snowboarding, and his personal best is conquering a V6 bouldering climbing wall.