Building a powerful upper body is important for athletes to increase their pushing, throwing, tackling, and hitting ability. Based off my best-selling program Brick, here’s the best chest workout for athletes.
Oftentimes when it comes to aesthetics, guys are concerned with the size of their chest. While this is definitely important based on your sport, I’m preferential to making the upper body efficient and powerful.
Best Chest Workout
The best chest workout for athletes is one that has a direct focus on building overall strength which translates over to your game.
Using this routine, follow the reps and sets I’ve laid out for a great pump that you can go back to time and time again.
Bench Press 2×3
On your bench press there’s a couple ways I try to differentiate my positioning depending on whether I’m working on strength or size.
When hitting it for strength, I make sure to keep my feet underneath and almost think of squeezing the bench with your legs. In the upper body, think about wrapping the shoulder blades underneath you.
While I don’t necessarily want that huge arch in my back like powerlifters go for, this positioning will bring the sternum up just enough to give you that extra bit of power during your bench.
Another piece to strengthening your bench press is based on hand positioning.
Since the goal of this workout is to build strength, you’re going to break down the muscles of the chest, to build back more efficiently.
Think about bending the bar in half by pulling the elbows in and focusing on external rotation through the shoulders and wrists.
2. Board Press 2×3
In a board press you can bring up the intensity a bit since you’re working with a smaller range of motion.
What I mean by this is to increase the weight you’re using on the bar so that each repetition is more difficult.
You’ll want a partner for this one to stand to the side of your bench and hold a board anywhere from 3-5 inches thick on your chest.
Un-rack the bar just as your would for a normal bench press, and lower the bar down on so much that it taps the board.
Power back up to the top.
A smaller range of motion should allow you to hit high numbers on the bar and therefore increase the intensity of your workout to ultimately build more strength.
3. DB Press 3×15
We’ve got a lot of reps here so check this out:
You’ll first take on a DB press for three sets of 15 reps, all through your normal range of motion.
Next, you’re going to complete a second round, doing two sets of 3, super slow reps. Once again you’re moving through the full range of motion, but doing it very slowly both eccentrically and concentrically.
In other words, you move slow on the way down and slowly as you push back up to the top.
Finally, you have 2 more sets of 8 reps.
I like to call this last one a “partial explode” in which you slowly, eccentrically lower the dumbbells. Once you reach the lowest point of the rep, you’ll explode and quickly push them back to the top.
4A. Dips- 3xMax
Super sets are an important part of completing the best chest workout for athletes.
This super set absolutely kills if you’re doing it right.
For these dips you’re going to want to challenge yourself and hit as many reps as possible within each set.
Another tip for strength building is to focus on getting as much volume into your workout as possible.
An easy way to do this is by cutting your rest times down to keep the muscle under pressure longer and encourage more blood flow to the area.
For more on upper body super sets check out How To Program Upper Body Training For Athletes.
4B. Resistance Band Push-ups – 3×10
These push-ups get progressively more difficult as you move back and forth with the dips.
I like to start with a heavy band for my first set of 10, then move onto a medium band for the second set and just burn it out with bodyweight for your final set.
Supersets are one of the best ways to keep your heart rate up and intensity up. By quickly moving back and forth between dips and push-ups (two exercises that focus on the triceps), we’re really ripping that area up.
Overtime, this signals the body to develop more strength in that area.
5. Incline DB Fly – 3×20
It wouldn’t be the best chest workout for athletes if we didn’t through DB Fly’s in the mix.
I like to maintain a modified position for these by bringing the elbows down in order to protect the shoulders.
A lot of guys go crazy deep on these and don’t realize just how easy it is to tear a muscle or damage with your rotator cuff while performing flys.
Finish your workout strong by choosing a weight you can handle for all 20 reps.
Elite Upper Body Training
Want more sessions like the best chest workout for athletes?
As an athlete you know that it take more than just one workout for elite strength, power, and speed.
You need a scientifically backed, and athlete proven training.
The workout I’ve shared with you is just one of many my from Athlete Built Brick program.
This program was designed off a three phase approach to build lean mass:
Train athleticism and explosive movement
Increase absolute strength
Stimulate hypertrophy using a combination of specific training protocols.