Archive for the tag - pecs

Can I Turn My Man Boobs Into Pec Muscles?

Dear Davey,

I’m overweight and I definitely have a case of the man boobs. Is there any way that I can turn my man boobs into pec muscles?


perfect pecsHey Rob,

I get a lot of questions about man boobs, often called moobs. Urban Dictionary defines moobs as “a combination of the words ‘man’ and ‘boobs.’ This is what happens when fat gathers in a male’s chest area, and gives him the appearance of having breasts. Floppy, Jell-O like protrusions.”

Moobs or not, it’s important to know that fat can’t turn into muscle. Conversely, muscle also can’t turn into fat – despite the myth claiming otherwise. As such, strictly speaking from a technical standpoint, you can’t “turn” fatty moobs into muscular pecs.

Instead, you can first shed excess fat from your body. This will help flatten your chest. Then, you can add muscle to your body – and, in particular, to your chest. This two-step approach will build up your pectoral muscles and result in a strong, muscular chest.

When it comes to losing weight, there’s really no secret. Weight loss is achieved through a calorie deficit of moving more and eating smarter; decrease the calories going in and increase the calories going out. Keep in mind, fat loss is a total body experience. Though you want to lose your moobs, fat will come off your entire body including face, neck, stomach, butt and so on. It may take a considerable amount of fat loss to fully reduce your moobs.

Once a flat chest is achieved, it’s time to shift gears. Instead of focusing on fat loss, switch to a workout centered around hypertrophy – which refers to implementing a workout strategy designed to build muscle. Unlike fat loss, you can build muscle on specific areas. In this case, we’ll focus on your pecs.

Here’s the chest workout that I use:

  • 4 sets of 8 reps on the flat bench press
  • 4 sets of 8 reps on the incline bench press
  • 4 sets of 8 reps on the decline bench press
  • 4 sets of 8 reps of dumbbell pec flies alternating with 4 sets of 10 one-leg push-ups
  • 4 sets of 8 reps of pec fly machine

Once or twice per week, I complete this chest day workout.

Because you’re looking to increase the size of your muscles, it’s important to remember that you’ll need to progress to heavier and heavier levels of resistance on the bench press, dumbbell pec flies and pec fly machine. You’ll also need to give your body the fuel it needs by eating smarter.

While there’s no magic fix for moobs, the above formula is a real and lasting solution based on science. And, in addition to transforming your body, this solution will result in improved health, increased energy and better quality of life.


P.S. For more help increasing muscle size, download Size Matters: Davey Wavey’s Foolproof Guide to Building Muscle.

Top 3 Most Effective Chest Exercises!

shirtless chest pressStrong and developed chest muscles don’t just look sexy, they’re essential to a wide-range of everyday activities and can help boost athletic performance. If building chest muscles is in line with your fitness goals, it begs the question: Which exercises are the most effective?

The American Council on Exercise (ACE) enlisted the help of researchers from the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse to study the effectiveness of various chest exercises including the barbell bench press, pec deck machine, bent-forward cable crossovers, chest press machine, inclined dumbbell flys, dips, suspended push-ups, stability ball push-ups and standard push-ups.

For the study, participants included fourteen healthy men between the ages of 18 and 30 for which baselines were established. Electromyography (EMG) electrodes were placed on the pectoralis major muscle of each subject to analyze motor-unit recruitment, firing rate and synchronization. Using this data, researchers were able to determine which exercises resulted in the highest levels of muscle activation.

Screen Shot 2013-06-24 at 9.52.10 AMAfter pouring through the data, researchers concluded that the barbell bench press was the most effective exercise. The pec deck machine and bent-forward cable crossovers came in as a close second and third, respectively. (See chart at right for the full listing of exercises.)

If your goal is hypertrophy (muscle size) and if you’re able to commit a to several days of exercise per week, then the barbell bench press can’t be beat.

However, if you’re more interested in overall health, functional strength or don’t go to the gym daily, then don’t write off some of the lower-performing exercises altogether. Though push-ups, for example, don’t result in the highest levels of chest muscle activation, they’re a great exercise that works several different muscle groups and that results in real-world strength.

All of these chest exercises can play a useful role in your workout routine; it’s just a matter of customizing your regimen based on your goals and time commitments.




How to Get a Bigger Chest: 10 Tips.

People don't recognize me with my shirt on.

Because my pecs have become something of a Davey Wavey trademark, it’s no surprise that I get a number of emails about chest workouts. More specifically, most guys write asking for tips to increase their chest size. It’s a common goal and the game plan necessary to make it happen is fairly straightforward.

Here are 10 tips for getting a bigger chest.

  1. Bench press. Tried and true, there is no better exercise for building up your chest than the bench press. You can do bench press exercises with either dumbbells or a barbell – and each have their own advantage. With dumbbells, you’re able to work through a great range of motion. But with a barbell, you’re able to press heavier amounts of weight. Since heavier loads will result in bigger gains, I recommend using the barbell – though it’s fine to use either or both.
  2. Low reps, heavy weight. Doing a lower number of repetitions at a heavy weight is best suited for increases in size. I usually target 8 repetitions. On the last repetition, your muscles should feel fatigued. If you can do more than 12 repetitions without feeling fatigued, then the weight is definitely too light.
  3. Do at least four sets. It’s true that you get a ton of benefits from performing only one set, but if you’re looking for maximized results, the additional sets are important. I do four sets on the bench press, then four sets each on the incline and decline bench press.
  4. Only train your chest once or twice per week. Since I train different muscle groups each day, I usually only work my chest once per week. Sometimes twice. I don’t train my chest often, but when I do, it’s a quality workout and that’s what matters.
  5. Increase the amount of resistance or number of repetitions. If you did 6 repetitions at 180 pounds last week, try for 7 repetitions at the same weight this week. Or if you did 8 repetitions of 150 pounds last week, go for 7 or 8 repetitions at 160 pounds this week. You need to overload your muscles to increase their size.
  6. Keep a log. Because the exact number of repetitions and amount of resistance can be difficult to remember, bring a notebook and log your progress. When you go in for your next workout, you’ll know exactly where you were last week – and exactly where you want to be this week.
  7. Try drop sets. Once a month, really mix things up by doing a drop set or two. To perform a drop set, select an amount of resistance that will result in muscle failure after 8 – 12 reps. While you’ve reached relative failure, you haven’t reached absolute failure; quickly decrease the amount of weight by about 15% and continue. After 8 or so reps, you’ll hit failure again. Reduce the resistance by another 15% and continue. Keep going. It’s a great way to build size.
  8. Don’t overtrain. More isn’t better and your muscles need time to rebuild and recover. Don’t train your chest more than twice a week.
  9. Eat right. Ensure that you’re eating enough calories and getting the required amount of protein to support muscle growth.
  10. Keep good form. While the occasional cheat is acceptable, the majority of your bench presses should demonstrate proper technique. Most people cheat by not lowering the bar fully to their chest before pressing it back up. Ensure that you’re getting a full range of motion.

Building a bigger chest isn’t rocket science – but it does take a little know-how and some real effort and dedication. And if you have any other chest-building tips, share them in the comments below.

How to Work Inner Pecs.

Hey Davey,

Quick question, when working out my chest how can I gain more muscle in the inner/middle of my chest? I have pretty good pecs, but I have a little bit of a valley between my pecs and they are kinda separated so I almost have the appearance of “moobs.” Any ideas of how to fix this?


Hey Adam,

Many men strive for chiseled, balanced pec muscles – but working the inner area can be a real challenge. In fact, there’s actually some debate whether or not you can actually target this area of your chest through exercise. Ultimately, it’s going to take additional research to settle the debate once and for all.

In the meantime, I do have a few exercises and techniques for you to try.

  1. Close-grip bench press. When performing bench press exercises, changing the width of your grip changes the muscles being used. A wider grip targets the outer portions of you pectoral muscles, while a closer grip brings the focus inward. With your arms fully extended, try gripping the barbell with hands shoulder-width apart. As you lower the bar toward your chest, you’ll feel it in your inner chest and triceps.
  2. Flies. There are a number of ways to perform pec fly exercises. You can use a machine, dumbbells or a even your own bodyweight. While the machines are great, dumbbells provide more of a challenge. Recline on a flat bench with a dumbbell in either hand. Keeping your arms straight, extend them outward from your sides. Using your chest muscles (and keeping your arms as straight as possible), pull your arms straight up in front of your face. Lower, and repeat.

    If you don’t have access to weights, you can do slider push-ups on the floor. On a flat and smooth surface, press your palms against the floor in a push-up position. Place a facecloth under each palm. Keeping your body in a push-up position, slide both hands out to either side. Then, pull back in. Repeat.

  3. Cable cross-overs. Though I don’t usually do cable cross-overs, they are a great exercise – and you will feel them in your inner pectoral region. Stand equidistant between two cable towers with the handles close to the top. Grasp the handles and pull in front of you. Bending a bit at the elbows, cross one hand over the other and complete the exercise. Repeat.

Whether or not these exercises will specifically develop your inner pectoral region, they will build and enhance your chest. And fear not: Pectoral muscles are notoriously slow to develop, so keep with it! And make sure that you continue to increase the levels of resistance to keep your muscles building!


What’s the Difference Between the Incline, Decline and Flat Bench Press?

Most gym goers can ditch the incline and decline bench presses - and just stick with the flat bench press - for a complete chest workout.

If you’ve ever thrown a few free weights around at the gym, you’ve probably at least seen the tried and true bench press and its friends, the incline and decline press. The three machines are very closely related – so, what’s the difference?

When you perform a bench press, you are activating a full range of muscles. Obviously, your chest muscles are being engaged primarily. And the common belief is that the incline bench press focus on your upper pecs, the decline focuses on lower pecs and that the flat bench does a bit of each. As it turns out, this isn’t really true.

15 years ago, a study using a fancy electromyograph (EMG) set out to determine just which muscles the various bench presses actually engaged – and to what degree.

When it comes to lower pecs, the study determined that the flat bench is better than either the incline or decline bench.

When it comes to upper pecs, the study found that the incline bench is just slightly more effective than the flat or decline bench. The study also tested grips, and found that a narrower grip (just beyond shoulder width) combined with an incline bench press is the best for those upper pecs.

As I mentioned, the bench press does more than just train your chest muscles – it also works your triceps, deltoids and lat muscles. The best tricep combination was a flat bench and narrow grip. The best deltoid combination was an incline bench with a wide grip. And the best lat combination was a wide grip on the decline bench – though the degree to which the lats are engaged is fairly minimal. The bench press, after all, is a chest exercise. There are plenty of other, more powerful ways to engaged these other muscle groups.

So, as it turns out, there really aren’t any huge pectoral advantages to the incline or decline machines. The bottom line: The flat bench press is the ideal chest-training machine for most gym goers.

Davey Wavey Spills the Beans: Chest Workout Secrets. [Video]

Okay – so it’s one of the most common questions that I get: “Davey Wavey, what do you do for your chest workout?” I decided it would be easiest to answer that question once and for all through a post on my Davey Wavey Fitness YouTube channel: