Muscular bodybuilder doing cable flyes in the gym

Best Chest Workout Routine (Ultimate HIT For Rapid Muscle Growth)

I’m going to get straight to it.  If you are looking to add a ridiculous amount of size and strength to your chest in the shortest time possible, then this is simply going to be the best chest workout routine to get the job done.

There are many other routines that will work, but none of them will produce results half as quick as the one you will learn about in this article.

As you are probably well aware of from reading the title of the article this is a HIT (high-intensity training) based routine.  However, please don’t get this confused with HIIT (High-intensity interval training).  They are both very different things.  HIIT is more associated with cardiovascular and circuit training.

HIT training is by no means new and has been used by some extremely successful professional bodybuilders. 6 time Mr Olympia Dorian Yates and Mike Mentzer the two most noticeable.

Although I have adapted it to suit both beginners and advance weight lifters, I did not come up with the idea of HIT.  I do however train using this chest routine often and have had some of my best results from it.

Like most useless bodybuilding workouts you will find on the internet, you will not be doing a ton of volume. With this routine, you will be in and out of the gym in 45 minutes max.

So let’s see what it’s all about.


HIT – An Extremely Aggressive Approach To Bodybuilding

Before I carry on, I do have to warn you, this type of training is not for the faint-hearted.  If done right, it’s both physically and mentally draining, and you need to be able to take yourself to a special place to perform the work sets properly.

If you can’t, then it will be a waste of your time doing this routine, and you will get about as much muscle growth as you would from just sitting on the couch.

I always advise having a gym buddy to train with if you can.  As long as you are both motivated to succeed,  it will make pushing yourself to the absolute limit much more achievable.  However please don’t worry if you train alone, just be prepared to work hard and you will soon have the shirt stretching chest you’ve always wanted.


Set-Up Of Your HIT Chest Workout Routine

Today I will be taking you through a HIT chest routine.  However, this workout must be included in a full bodybuilding plan.  The principles and techniques you learn today can be transferred over to every muscle group.

Let’s take a look at how this chest routine will be set out.

Exercises

  • You will be doing 3 to 4 exercises on major upper body muscle groups (chest shoulders and back).
  • You will be doing 2 to 3 exercises on smaller upper body muscle groups (biceps and triceps).
  • You will not split your legs up into separate sessions.  Both hamstrings and quads will be trained on the same day.
  • you will be doing 5 exercises on legs day.

Sets

  • On most occasions, you will do 2 warm-up sets per exercise.  An easy light set (not to failure) followed by a moderate to hard-set (not to failure)
  • On the odd exercise, you will only do one warm-up set. (I always advise to at least do one warm-up set per exercise.  This just allows your muscles to adapt to the movement pattern of the new exercise).
  • Per exercise you will do one all-out work set to failure, using the techniques taught in this article.  This is the part where many people struggle to get their heads around.  However, if you do this set properly, you physically and mentally wouldn’t want to do another work set on that exercise.

Reps

  • Warm-up sets will typically be done in the 10 to 12 rep range.
  • The reps on your work sets will vary, depending on what exercise you are doing.

Rep Tempo

  • Each rep should be done with good form.
  • Focus on squeezing the muscle at the top of each rep
  • Make sure the negative (lowering) phase of the rep is slow and controlled.  Roughly 3 to 4 seconds.
  • Make sure the concentric phase of the rep is as explosive as possible but still controlled

Rest

  • You will aim to keep your rest time down to around 1 minute between all sets.

Training Frequency

  • You will train only 4 to 5 days a week
  • You will train each muscle group just once a week.

Muscle Building Techniques You Will Be Using

Bodybuilder training chest in the gym

So you now know you are only doing one work set per exercise.  This may not sound a lot but when you use the techniques shown below, you will be taking your muscles to pure failure, and adding in too much volume using these techniques whilst training as intensely as this will eventually lead to overtraining.  Especially if you are a natural weight lifter.

Let’s take a look at some of the proven bodybuilding techniques you will be using.

Oh, one more thing.  If you are doing either a decline, flat or incline bench press, please make sure you have a spotter there with you.  Remember you are taking your muscles to pure failure which means you will need someone to help bring the weight back up.

Drop Sets

When it comes to HIT drop set fit perfectly into this style of training.  Although not easy on the muscles, they are very simple to do.

Once you reach positive failure (the point you can no longer do a rep on your own) you simply drop the weight slightly and again go to a point of positive failure again.  You can also do multiple drops.

Drop sets are always best done when using machines due to being able to quickly move a pin in and out to change the weight.

When trying to do these with a barbell, you waste time having to take weight plates off both sides of the bar.

When using dumbbells you will have to line up multiple sets on the floor and hope no one comes and takes them away.

Rest/Pause

This technique can be done using both machines and free weights.

Again, it’s very taxing on the muscles but is incredibly simple to do.

Once you reach positive failure, put the weights down and rest for 10 to 15 seconds.  You then pick the weights back up and squeeze out some more reps until you hit positive failure again.

Partial Reps

This training technique will naturally occur each time you keep on trying to push reps out after you have hit positive failure and can no longer do a full rep on your own.

In most situations, you will not suddenly go from doing a full rep to not being able to move the weight even a centimetre.  You simply keep trying to move the weight as much as you can after you can no longer perform a full rep.

Forced Reps

Without a doubt the most taxing not only on the muscles but on the nervous system as well. If you have a training partner, this technique will be used on most of your working sets.

This is why it is vitally important to stick to the plan and only do 3 working sets per muscle group.  Any more volume using this technique and you will more than likely outstrip your bodies capabilities to recover.

With this technique, once you hit positive failure, your training partner will come in and help you just enough so you can move the weight.  As long as your training partner isn’t doing too much of the work a forced rep will be incredibly slow and challenging.

Extra Negative Reps

Like forced reps, these are very taxing on the body.  Once you reach positive failure, your training partner will help you get the weight back to the top as quickly as possible.  You will then as slow as you can lower the weight back down.

You can do multiple reps using this technique.


Exercise Selection

I am a firm believer that the basic exercises have always been and are still the best.  If you look at any training videos of professional bodybuilders, they all stick to the basics and variations of them.

The problem we have this day and age is with all the Instagram fitness models, both female and male competing for fans, they have to do more outrageous and weird and wonderful things to get attention.

Apparently holding a weight plate out in front of you and turning it like a steering wheel is by the far the best way to build muscle now.  That’s why you will find tons of videos of top bodybuilders, powerlifters and professional strength athletes doing this exercise (said in a sarcastic tone).

Below I am going to show you some videos demonstrating the basic and best exercises that you should be doing for the chest.  However, remember there are many variations of each and I will list these below each exercise.

Flat Bench Press

Variations – Flat Smith Machine Press, Any Flat Machine Press

Incline Bench Press

Variations – Incline smith machine press, any incline machine press

Decline Bench Press

Variations – Decline smith machine press, any decline machine press

Dumbbell Press

Incline Dumbbell Press

Dumbbell Flyes

Variations – Pec Dec machine Flyes, incline Dumbbell flyes, decline dumbbell flyes

Cable Flyes

Variations – Cable flyes, done lying on a flat bench.

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Your Chest Day Routine

I’m going to start off by taking you through the routine I have adapted to suit people new to the gym, or anyone who is not used to training this way.

Beginners Routine

Within this routine, most of your work sets you will only be going to positive failure (the point to where you can no longer do a full repetition yourself).

However, you will be using one of the overloading techniques on the final work set of your last exercise.

Both the beginners and advance program will be written for you assuming you are training on your own.

Once you see what the chest day on both the beginners and advance program looks like, I will then explain how to progress using this style of training.

Let’s do it

Cardio Warm-Up

  • Chose any machine you like in the gym.  Personally I prefer an elliptical machine with the moving handles.  This will help loosen up your shoulders
  • Perform 5 to 10 minutes of low-intensity cardo.  This will warm your body up and help loosen some of your joints.  As long as the intensity is low, it won’t be taxing on your muscles.

Rotator Cuff Exercises

If you only follow one thing from my experience, then let it be this.  “Make sure you warm and strengthen those rotator cuffs.

As you build and strengthen your chest and delts, you need those small stabilising muscles to follow suit.  If you ignore them, then you massively increase your chance of injury.

Check out this routine below for warming up your shoulder stabilisers.

Exercise 1 – Flat Dumbbell Press

Warmup Set 1 – 12 reps (light to moderate weight)

  • This should be fairly easy and you should be able to get around 18 to 20 reps if you carried on going

Rep Tempo – Explosive Up – Squeeze the muscle at the top – Control down for 3 to 4 seconds

Rest for 1 minute

Warmup Set 2 – 12 reps (moderate to heavy)

  • Increase the weight from your first work set. You should be able to get around 15 reps if you carried on going
  • If you fail before or even on the 12th rep, you have gone to heavy.

Rep Tempo – Explosive Up – Squeeze the muscle at the top – Control down for 3 to 4 seconds

Rest for 1 minute and 30 seconds

All Out Work Set – 6 to 8 reps (heavy)

  • This should be a weight you can get at least 6 reps with but no more than 8 reps.
  • Take this set to positive failure only. (where you can no longer lift the weight by yourself)

Rep Tempo – Explosive Up – Squeeze the muscle at the top – Control down for 3 to 4 seconds

Rest for 1 minute

Exercise 2 – Incline Smith Machine Press

Please note if you have a training partner you can do the incline bench press using a barbell.

Warmup Set 1 – 12 reps (light to moderate weight)

  • This should be fairly easy and you should be able to get around 18 to 20 reps if you carried on going

Rep Tempo – Explosive Up – Squeeze the muscle at the top – Control down for 3 to 4 seconds

Rest for 1 minute

Warmup Set 2 – 12 reps (moderate to heavy)

  • Increase the weight from your first work set. You should be able to get around 15 reps if you carried on going
  • If you fail before or even on the 12th rep, you have gone to heavy.

Rep Tempo – Explosive Up – Squeeze the muscle at the top – Control down for 3 to 4 seconds

Rest for 1 minute and 30 seconds

All Out Work Set – 6 to 8 reps (heavy)

  • This should be a weight you can get at least 6 reps with but no more than 8 reps.
  • Take this set to positive failure only. (where you can no longer lift the weight by yourself)

Rep Tempo – Explosive Up – Squeeze the muscle at the top – Control down for 3 to 4 seconds

Rest for 1 minute

Exercise 3 – Pec Dec Flyes

Warmup Set 1 – 12 reps (moderate to heavy)

  • You should be able to get around 15 reps if you carried on going
  • If you fail before or even on the 12th rep, you have gone to heavy.

Rep Tempo – Explosive in – Squeeze the muscle as your hands come together- Control back for 3 to 4 seconds

Rest for 1 minute and 30 seconds

All Out Work Set – 10 to 12 reps (heavy)

  • This should be a weight you can get at least 10 reps with but no more than 12 reps.
  • Take this set to positive failure only. (where you can no longer lift the weight by yourself)

Advanced Technique –3 x drop set (A great machine to do drop sets on due to being able to do such a quick weight change)

  • Once you hit positive failure on your first set, drop the weight one or two plates and push as many reps out as you can to failure again.
  • Repeat this a further 2 times.

Rep Tempo – Explosive in – Squeeze the muscle as your hands come together- Control back for 3 to 4 seconds

Advanced Routine

Here is the advanced routine.  The only difference to the beginner routine is you will be using advanced techniques on every single work set.  If you have a training partner you can go even further with this routine and add in things like forced reps and extra negatives.

Exercise 1 – Flat Dumbbell Press

Warmup Set 1 – 12 reps (light to moderate weight)

  • This should be fairly easy and you should be able to get around 18 to 20 reps if you carried on going

Rep Tempo – Explosive Up – Squeeze the muscle at the top – Control down for 3 to 4 seconds

Rest for 1 minute

Warmup Set 2 – 12 reps (moderate to heavy)

  • Increase the weight from your first work set. You should be able to get around 15 reps if you carried on going
  • If you fail before or even on the 12th rep, you have gone to heavy.

Rep Tempo – Explosive Up – Squeeze the muscle at the top – Control down for 3 to 4 seconds

Rest for 1 minute

All Out Work Set – 6 to 8 reps (heavy)

  • This should be a weight you can get at least 6 reps with but no more than 8 reps.
  • Take this set to positive failure only. (where you can no longer lift the weight by yourself)

Advanced Technique –3 x Rest/Pause with partial reps

  • Once you hit positive failure (where you can no longer do a full rep on your own) carry on doing as many partial reps as you can at the bottom of the movement.
  • Once you can no longer lift the weight, rest for 10 to 15 seconds and go again to positive failure followed by as many partials as you can do.
  • Repeat another 2 times.  You may find by the end you are only able to push out one or two more full reps.  This is fine.

Rep Tempo – Explosive Up – Squeeze the muscle at the top – Control down for 3 to 4 seconds

Rest for 1 minute

Exercise 2 – Incline Smith Machine Press

Please note if you have a training partner you can do the incline bench press using a barbell.

Warmup Set 1 – 12 reps (light to moderate weight)

  • This should be fairly easy and you should be able to get around 18 to 20 reps if you carried on going

Rep Tempo – Explosive Up – Squeeze the muscle at the top – Control down for 3 to 4 seconds

Rest for 1 minute

Warmup Set 2 – 12 reps (moderate to heavy)

  • Increase the weight from your first work set. You should be able to get around 15 reps if you carried on going
  • If you fail before or even on the 12th rep, you have gone to heavy.

Rep Tempo – Explosive Up – Squeeze the muscle at the top – Control down for 3 to 4 seconds

Rest for 1 minute

All Out Work Set – 6 to 8 reps (heavy)

  • This should be a weight you can get at least 6 reps with but no more than 8 reps.
  • Take this set to positive failure only. (where you can no longer lift the weight by yourself)

Advanced Technique –3 x Rest/Pause with partial reps

  • Once you hit positive failure (where you can no longer do a full rep on your own) carry on doing as many partial reps as you can at the bottom of the movement.
  • Once you can no longer lift the weight, rest for 10 to 15 seconds and go again to positive failure followed by as many partials as you can do.
  • Repeat another 2 times.  You may find by the end you are only able to push out one or two more full reps.  This is fine.

Rep Tempo – Explosive Up – Squeeze the muscle at the top – Control down for 3 to 4 seconds

Rest for 1 minute

Exercise 3 – Pec Dec Flyes

Warmup Set 1 – 12 reps (moderate to heavy)

  • Increase the weight from your first work set. You should be able to get around 15 reps if you carried on going
  • If you fail before or even on the 12th rep, you have gone to heavy.

Rep Tempo – Explosive in – Squeeze the muscle as your hands come together- Control back for 3 to 4 seconds

Rest for 1 minute

All Out Work Set – 10 to 12 reps (heavy)

  • This should be a weight you can get at least 10 reps with but no more than 12 reps.
  • Take this set to positive failure only. (where you can no longer lift the weight by yourself)

Advanced Technique –3 x drop set (A great machine to do drop sets on due to being able to do such a quick weight change)

  • Once you hit positive failure on your first set, drop the weight one or two plates and push as many reps out as you can to failure again.
  • Repeat this a further 2 times.

Rep Tempo – Explosive in – Squeeze the muscle as your hands come together- Control back for 3 to 4 seconds

How To Achieve Progressive Overload

This is the most important part of any training routine, and the only way to see improvements both in strength and size.  Below I have listed exactly how you will achieve progressive overload.

  • Progressive overload will only be measured on your reps where you are aiming to achieve positive failure on your own.
  • Do not include the reps you do when doing the advanced technique portion of the set.  These will be far too hard to measure accurately.
  • Your aim from week to week is to hit the target number of reps on your own.  Once you hit the target, you will then move your weights up by the smallest amount possible the following week.

There you have it.  Achieving progressive overload is as simple as that.

How Long Should You Perform This Routine

This is a very taxing routine both on the muscles and nervous system.  Eventually, if you kept going and going with it you will hit the old overtraining wall.

  • Do this routine for 5 to 6 weeks
  • On your 7th week, you will be doing a de-loading week.  Drop your weights on all sets by around 20% and follow the exact same routine and reps listed, but do not use the advanced techniques.
  • No sets on the de-loading week should be taken to failure
  • Now follow the full routine for another 5 to 6 weeks.  However, make some small changes.  This could be as simple as changing the exercise order or swapping one of the exercises out for a new one.
  • DO NOT, change every single exercise.  You want to keep some level of consistency.
  • After you complete your second lot of 6 weeks, take a full weeks rest of no weight training what so ever.
  • Either repeat the routine again or move onto a different training program.

The Best Chest Workout Routine Take Away

There you have it.  You can either follow a different program but just add this routine in for your chest, to really push the muscles, or you can set up your entire program like this.

If you do decide to train each muscle group like this, I would recommend only training for 4 days a week.

This is not for the faint-hearted and is extremely draining on your body.  It’s hugely important to get your nutrition and recovery right.

Check out our nutrition guides below

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