When most of us think of a typical bodybuilder physique, the first thing that comes to mind is a set of well-developed chest muscles. The chest muscles are the first ones to be noticed due to their positioning on the body and their sheer size. Almost everyone who goes to the gym is focused on building a huge chest along with shoulders like that of Atlas and arms like that of Zeus.
While the usual splits recommended by every gym-bro are sufficient to promote muscle growth, some people want more. If you’re one of those people who have an underdeveloped chest then you might think that you can tailor your workout to make your chest muscles grow faster. This is both right and wrong at the same time.
It’s right because you can definitely customize your workouts to suit your physique and goals. However, most of the time, it’s wrong because people don’t understand how muscles work. Some overenthusiastic people end up overworking their chest muscles which leads to poor results.
In this article, we’re going to take a look at what you should be doing if you want to get a huge chest. We’ll see why you shouldn’t try and work out your chest more than twice a week- a very common mistake among gym-goers. So without further ado, let’s get started and get you a chest as swollen as a gorilla’s.
How Do Muscles Grow?
Since you’re reading this article and have managed to get this far, you must have at least some idea of how muscles work. What we’re concerned here with is how muscles break down, rebuild themselves, and grow larger.
Whenever you exercise any muscle group, you create several tears by damaging them. When you step out of the gym and take a rest, your body starts the process of rebuilding. To many people’s surprise, muscles aren’t built in the gym, they’re built while you sleep.
This is why many people automatically assume that if they damage their muscles more, they’ll make them grow faster. While this is true up to a certain point, you’ll do more damage than good if you overexert your muscles. You need to balance the intensity of your workout sessions along with the frequency so that you damage your muscles just enough for muscle growth.
Frequency vs Intensity
Frequency and intensity are two of the most commonly thrown-around terms in the fitness community. While most advanced athletes will know what they mean, it’s okay if you don’t. However, you need to learn about them so that you can better customize your workouts.
The frequency of exercising means how often you exercise a particular muscle group. Most people tend to focus on overall muscle development rather than an individual muscle group. If you want to exercise all the important muscle groups for a balanced physique, you won’t be able to exercise a single muscle more than twice a week. However, advanced bodybuilders who use steroids often tend to ramp up the frequency as well as intensity for a single muscle group that they want to shape up.
The intensity of an exercise is quite simple to understand as it basically depends on the number of sets and reps you do. If you want to develop muscular endurance, you’ll want to exercise at high intensity with a high number of reps per set. If you want to build muscle mass then you’ll perform a low number of reps with higher weights. This means that intensity is a function of your reps, sets, as well as weights.
How Many Times to Exercise Your Chest?
If you’re exercising any muscle group more than twice a week, you must want to increase its size or endurance. In any case, you have to understand that your body can only handle a certain intensity before it starts to tire out.
If you try and exercise your chest 3 times a week, go ahead and see the results. However, we wouldn’t recommend working out any muscle more than twice a week for multiple reasons. First of all, you won’t be giving your body adequate time to recover which means that you’ll be damaging your muscles much more than your body is able to rebuild. This can result in a loss of muscle mass which is something that you don’t want at all when you’re trying to increase muscle mass.
Another reason why you don’t want to focus too much on your chest is that it’ll create imbalances. If you exercise your chest way more than other muscles, you’ll end up with a chest that’s stronger than your back muscles. This is how posture problems are created and trust us, they’re not very pleasant to deal with.
Lastly, you’ll be exposing yourself to the risk of injuries due to overexertion if you exercise a single muscle way too much. If you end up injuring yourself then you’ll be unable to work out for long lengths of time. This means that you’ll end up losing your strength, muscle mass, and the potential gains you could’ve had if you were able to exercise.
Well, the answer to this question is- do nothing. No, no, no. We’re not saying that you should stop working out. All we’re trying to convey is that you’re better off sticking to your current plan than making a drastic change.
If you’re wondering whether increasing the frequency to 3 times a week will benefit you more, you might not be at an advanced stage yet. Right now, your workout plans need not be customized for you since you’ll witness better results with a generic split routine. These increments in frequency and intensity are intended for advanced athletes who have stopped progressing with the usual splits.
For now, you should focus on other more important things like your form, endurance, and conditioning. These will yield much better results than overexercising your chest muscles and you’ll be able to make much more gains as well!