Build a Full Chest with Gavin Matthews

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Pumping his pecs at one of the most iconic outdoor gyms in the world, Muscle Beach Nutrition athlete Gavin Matthews takes you through his full chest workout.
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If you want pecs that stand out like a Roman breastplate, you need to train like Muscle Beach Nutrition-sponsored athlete Gavin Matthews. As he explains, the M.O. of this chest workout is to start off getting a nice stretch, then build up in weight to work a little bit on strength, then finish off with a nice pump in the chest.

“We’re going to finalize this workout by breaking our muscle down,” explains Matthews. “And finish off by pumping as much blood in the chest as possible.”

| Gavin Matthews Full Chest Workout |
1. Bent-Arm Dumbbell Pullover: 4 sets, 12-15 reps
2. Incline Dumbbell Press: 4 set, 12-15 reps
3. Incline Dumbbell Flyes: 4 sets, 15-20 reps
4. Dumbbell Bench Press (Iso-Lateral): 4 sets, 15-20 reps
5. Decline Dumbbell Flyes: 4 sets, 15-20 reps

| Technique Tips |

Dumbbell Pull-Over
Although pull-overs can also work your lats, this variation keeps all the focus on the chest. As you’re pulling the weight over, imagine squeezing and pressing it away from you. It may take some practice, but this will keep the work in the front of your body. You don’t feel it as much in your lats—but this is a chest workout, not a back workout.

Feel that contraction at the top. Hold it as long as possible as you extend your arms back. Just don’t let your arms go any farther than your ears.

“You want to really focus on squeezing your chest and contracting,” says Matthews. “If you go too far, you’re going to activate your lats, and that’s what we don’t want to do.”

If you have to, slow down or reduce the weight until you feel a complete contraction in your chest throughout the pull-over.

Incline Dumbbell Press
Use the first set as a warm-up so you don’t overdo it. Save the heavier weight for those next three sets. A benefit to using dumbbells instead of a bar on this movement is it allows you to go a little bit lower, stretching the muscle between each contraction.

“This really activates the chest,” explains Matthews.

Incline Dumbbell Fly
You’ll be going lighter with the weight, but all the better to get a nice deep stretch on every rep. Resist the temptation to immediately add extra weight on every set. As Matthews explains, increase the weight only as long as you’re landing in that 15-20 rep range in each set.

The incline fly works the upper portion of the chest as well as the front delt. If you’re feeling it too much in your biceps, rotate your hands inward or outward, depending on which way lets you feel it the most in your chest.

Iso-Lateral Dumbbell Press
Another benefit of using dumbbells is you can work each side independently. For this exercise, you’ll press both dumbbells, then hold one arm up while the other one comes down, rotating your hands as you lower the weight so you bring the top of the dumbbell to your nipple line right before you press back up.

You can go a little bit heavier as long as you still complete 15-20 reps. “Pick the weight that’s appropriate for you,” urges Matthews.

Doing this exercise one arm at a time also will enlist your core stabilizers, so go nice and slow with this move. Maintain perfect form.

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