Best Chest Exercises to Build Masculine Square Pecs

July 29, 2007

So why would a guy want to concentrate on building square pecs instead of rounded pecs? Well…the more rounded a guy’s chest muscles look, the more they look like breasts. That probably isn’t the look most men are shooting for.

There are several chest exercises to focus on to make this happen & some chest exercises you will probably want to avoid as well. Here is a photo of Brad Pitt, which shows what to shoot for.

Brad Pitt Fight Club

So you will notice that he has the same thickness of his pecs all the way up to his collar bone. This is what causes that well defined line down the middle of his chest.

The big mistake beginners make is that they concentrate too much on the basic flat bench press. The problem with the flat bench press is that although it is a great mass builder, it develops the lower chest quicker than the upper chest.

The key to develop square pecs is to focus on building the upper chest. There are several basic chest exercises to choose from.

1) Incline Barbell Press
2) Incline Dumbbell Press
3) Incline Machine Press
4) All variations of Incline Flyes

Do you notice any similarities between these exercises? Obviously it is all the incline lifts that will build up your upper chest.

Almost every guy you see in the gym starts their workout with the flat bench press. The reason why is that you can lift the most weight on that exercise while you are fresh.

I would recommend the opposite approach…prioritize your chest workouts so that you do a few incline lifts before you ever hit the flat bench…or drop the flat bench from your workout until your upper chest development catches up with your lower chest.

Here is a tip that I rarely here anyone in the personal training world talk about…If you are having a tough time feeling your upper chest contract in incline exercises, you need to increase the mind-to-muscle link in your upper chest. The best way to do this is through a high volume of lifting for that lift. You are going to want to lift a lighter weight and higher reps to really feel a burn in that muscle. Over time you will be able to contract that muscle hard and then lift with heavier weights in a more traditional manner.

profileNote:I blog less these days & save my most up-to-date info for my free exclusive newsletter.

Click Here to Subscribe.

Rusty Moore

----> (New) Facebook Comments..."Cause all the cool kids are doin' it!"

{ 237 comments… read them below or add one }

aaron January 30, 2012 at 4:50 pm

5 sets by the way

Harsh February 9, 2012 at 9:22 pm

hello im 18 and from india. i have started working out a year ago and im not happy about the way my pecs look. the part that is connected to my armpits is very well defined which i like but there is almost no muscle in the middle part of the chest. how can i isolate the upper chest so that my pecs are even. cause they look droopey from the side :( ??

MR B March 19, 2012 at 6:50 am

IM 33YRS OLD 5.7′ AND I BLEW UP TO 390 LBS!!! I WORKED OUT ALWAYS OFF AND ON SINCE I WAS 13 SO IM A LITTLE EXPERIENCED BUT ABOUT 6 YRS AGO I STOPED SMOKING HAD SOME KIDS THEN I STARTED MY OWN BUISSNES SO I DID NO MORE MANUEL LABOR SO I BLEW UP FAST HELP ME OUT!! I STARTED WORKING OUT AGAIN A MONTH AGO I WANT TO BLAST OFF THIS BIG BELLY I HAVE BIG ARM ALREADY I WANT THEM BACK I WANT A BIG CHEST NOT INTERESTED IN A SIX PACK I JUST WANT TO SHOOT FOR 200 LBS ID BE HAPPY I ALREADY LOST 47LBS IM DOWN TO 338 SO NEED DIET ADVICE AND WIEGHT TRAINING ADVICE TO MAX OUT RESULTS

tom March 22, 2012 at 11:21 am

Wow. You assumed that the workout to gain muscle does not burn calories. Weight training for an hour, in one study, burnt as many calories as running a 6 min mile for an hour. You burn , you get the muscles that burn more just resting, you get stronger, faster, leaner than the counter part that just does cardio. Which way is faster? Which end result is towards your goal?

prevas April 21, 2012 at 11:54 am

hi Aly

I have exactly the same problem like you do. i saw your second picture that you posted and I have the same problem too. Would you tell me if the flat bench press you did with wide grip helped you get past the problem?

Thanks!

rohit April 22, 2012 at 10:15 am

i am 19 yrs and i have a little just a little bit of extra fat on the lower chest ,i have just started doing gym . also my lower back is really small .i want to know the routine and exercises to follow to get a square shape fatless chest and wide lower back and back.please help as i have seen most of my friends doing wrong chest exercises and ultimatly making their chest look more like a breast.sir please help me out .

Peeyush May 2, 2012 at 6:25 am

I am presently doing incline press as well as decline press for my chest. But my upper chest has not developed sufficiently. Please suggest whether I should stop doing decline press altogether and focus on incline press and pushups with legs on chair?

Svevo June 3, 2012 at 10:59 pm

The development of upper chest and the general shape is all about genetics. The lower chest looks bigger because the gravity. Doing flat or incline bench don’t change the upper chest development. It’s a myth and i really don’t understand how it’s became so popular. Even if you work the upper fibers, “Upper chest” grow together with “lower”.
You say “Drop the flat bench from your workout until your upper chest development catches up with your lower chest.” But is only a matter of time, the upper chest catches up with flat bench too, because it’s impossible to grow “upper chest” without grow the “lower”.

P.s. Please do not delete comments.

Rage June 6, 2012 at 6:23 am

Guys i have a problem,my nipples are below my chest.How can I fix this?

Mark Thomas June 19, 2012 at 11:39 am

Hi Rusty,
Thanks again for a great post.

But I need your help though on how to (flat) bench press correctly.
Could you please give me some tips on how to maximize tension on the pecs with the bench press?
(Your advice will really help me with the incline bench press as well :-) )

Thanks.

P.S. – It’s easy for me to target other muscle groups like the shoulders, biceps, triceps, etc… but the hitting the pecs hard has always been a challenge for me.

teja June 26, 2012 at 12:21 am

im doing flat bench with 22lb from past 1 month but my chest has not increased i’ve maintained the same with inclined bench etc…
yesterday a person came n said ‘reduce the weight you will get a better chest’ but my coach says to increase the weight … now im in a dilemma to reduce or increase weight plz someone help me :/

Trey LeCLair July 26, 2012 at 9:39 am

For Chris hey man i was a pretty big dude around a year ago and im not talking muscle, i was chunky and i joined the military but after basic i was really skinny and i wanted to be muscled instead of small so i asked around and started working out with a few of my friends and noticed i started to gain weight. not fat however it was all muscle. when you work out try not to use alot of protein because taking too much burns calories and then fat. work out in the morning and i would recommend pushups to hit your pecs completely. flyers and inclines are also a very good way but if u want to gain weight but in muscle i would also try eating less meals a day cut down to at least 3. the more you eat the faster your metabolism goes and that will result in loss of weight period. dont eat greasy foods alot try to limit to 1-2 meals with alot of grease a week. try grilled chicken with white rice, potatoes, fish, but not fried grilled, try not to drink alot of milk and soda. too much milk will pack fat. drink water before workouts and after drink alot of gatorade, powerade, etc. to replace electrolytes. this will decrease the amount of sugar taken in. if you are going to take protein i would stay away from powder. i use nitrous oxide stimulate(its not actual nitrous oxide it just provides your body with energy to work out and build muscle easier and faster. its a pill that u take before and after workout. use it till u get those pecs and abs u want then wean off of it slowly to where u r using no proteins. then wait a week and start to usethen use small variations of proteins. i would recommend some sort of whey(however i dont use any protein anymore and im still keeping my stocky build) hope this helps, and if u have any questions email me at tleclair.anthony@gmail.com also let me know if it works for ya. have a good day keep up the work!!

Trey LeCLair July 26, 2012 at 9:41 am

and for teja increasing the weight will only build mass with muscle if u would like to make them more toned reduce the weight. more reps. doing that will tone instead of just building muscle under the fat. after u tone it then u can add weight.

sobol August 6, 2012 at 7:22 am

Hey rusty, thanks for your tips but why i think upper chest is all about genetics and i hope it’s not true since my upper chest is lagging if it compared to my lower chest but am working on it, hopefully it will grow

Mark September 3, 2012 at 12:25 am

Great article. Common sense and paying attention to your body. I’d figured out the mind/body/muscle connection thing on my own accord and it was great to see someone else mention. I feel good about that. The importance of paying attention indeed…

JIESON A MORGA September 17, 2012 at 8:56 pm

hi. i started gym about 1 year and the result is not good and I deside to stop about 4months and I came Back to gym. Can you gave me some ideas of what I Really What To do to improve my Chest.
”THANKS BY THE WAY I’M STAYED FROM PHILIPPINES”

Mike Foze September 25, 2012 at 10:43 am

This is really a great article, Rusty.

When I read this a while back it really did give me a different perspective on training for a great chest. Even though I had already built a decent chest. Upper chest workouts really took it to the next level.

I definitely think upper chest exercises are the best chest exercises

Eddy October 11, 2012 at 8:53 am

This is an interesting article. Many of who commented here including Rusty had always advice building the upper chest first for a better look.
That’s completely right but you missed that not doing especially the lower chest will leave you with an incomplete overall chest look, moreover it leads to fat be found at that lower area.
Even professionals who advice exercises for bodybuilders who have the gyne or gyno problem(or it might be fat probelm at end not small tissue..) advice upper chest exercises.
From my experience, for BB’s with the gyno or maybe its actually chest fat(overall body too) problem, you must first lower your body fat to 10-15% and see how your chest look, then you can determine if it’s gyno or not.
Even if it’s gyno or excessive fat problem, in both cases just doing the upper chest exercises will not work and will not solve your problem.
Because as my upper chest muscles grew strong and big, I could still find most of the fat in my lower chest to the outer sides of chest area.
Meaning, after a BB had grown his upper chest well, must add more pecs exercises like flyes in different angles and also decline exercises.
How do you discover what part of your chest is lacking growth?
Sit in a posture position, shoulders and chest straight.. then squeeze your chest muscles, then touch your chest and see what parts you find have muscles and what parts have more fat like loosing skin or tissue.
As much as I concentrated on my upper chest and mostly presses as much as I found and felt when I sqeeze my chest that muscles of my upper chest are strong with less fat while the lower part with the pecs are the ones soft and needs build up.
In other meaning, if want to measure it from the inside or middle point of the chest(in bt. left and right sides), I’ll say from the middle of the chest to half of each side my chest is strong and developed but what’s lacking is the rest half of both sides of chest till the outside(pecs).
Hopefully, pictured it right!

Jason October 22, 2012 at 11:00 pm

If I really wanted to focus on my upper chest, should I do a tricep workout first (to wear them out) and then move to my chest workout? Or is that counter-productive?

Alex October 23, 2012 at 6:39 pm

I’m not really into the whole muscle thing right now. I want your advice on how I can lose fat efficiently from my chest as well as my and belly?

wezz June 27, 2013 at 3:26 am

yep i use the dragons breath on this too,,

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: