5 Little-Known Ways to Get a Rock Hard Chest

There are better ways to get a nice chest than old-school exercises.

Ben Greenfield
4-minute read
Episode #253

When it comes to having an impressive figure that looks good in a t-shirt, business suit, tank top, or swimwear, most men and women would rank a rock-hard, nice-looking chest right up there with chiseled abs and symmetrical shoulders. But frankly, there are better ways to build a nice chest than old-school chest workouts that involve excessive shoulder-damaging barbell bench press repetitions or an insane number of regular old push-ups. Here are five little known ways to get a rock hard chest.

1.) Change The Angle

In How To Get A Super Defined Chest, you learn that in order for a muscle group to grow, get strong, or stay toned, you need to constantly work that muscle group from a variety of different angles, using a many different exercises. How can you do this for your chest? Here are two quick and dirty tips:

a) If you’re doing a traditional gym workout, then on a weekly basis, include incline, decline, and flat chest pressing so that you attack your chest muscles from all angles. Do exercises like decline pushupsincline bench press, and dumbbell chest press.

b) Do flyes in addition to pressing. Flyes help develop the inner pec muscles that presses and push-ups simply have a hard time targeting, and there are many variations you can use, including decline flylying flyseated fly, and standing fly.

2.) Push-Ups With Rotation

In the article, Why Are Pushups Such A Good Exercise?, you learn that a simple, standard push-up requires contraction of the muscles around the knee joints, hip joints, pelvis, and spine to maintain a straight line from your head to your feet. Combine that with activation of the muscles on the back of your arms, chest, shoulders, biceps, upper back, lower back, and legs, and you get full body workout with one simple exercise.

Push-ups are very versatile, and can be used to not just build muscular strength, but also to improve power (e.g., a “clap” pushup) and increase muscular endurance (e.g., doing X number of push-ups in four minutes). By altering your hand and foot positions, you can change muscle recruitment patterns and joint stresses of the push-ups, making the movement harder, easier, or simply stressing different muscles.

But when it comes to taking full advantage of the push-up for developing a rock hard chest, there are two exercises that I like the best. One you will learn about later in this article. The other is the push-ups with rotation.

I prefer to do this exercise with a set of push-up handles like the PerFirmer handles or the Perfect Push-up handles. Simply get into a standard push-up position, do a pushup, then rotate your entire body to one side while reaching for the sky with one arm. Then rotate back until you’re facing the ground, do another push-up, and rotate in the opposite direction. When you rotate to the side, you can “stack” your feet on top of one another, or you can space them next to each other. Here’s a video to show you what I mean.


About the Author

Ben Greenfield

Ben Greenfield received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from University of Idaho in sports science and exercise physiology; personal training and strength and conditioning certifications from the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA); a sports nutrition certification from the International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN), an advanced bicycle fitting certification from Serotta. He has over 11 years’ experience in coaching professional, collegiate, and recreational athletes from all sports, and as helped hundreds of clients achieve weight loss and fitness success.

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