Chest Workout For Ectomorphs: Target Every Muscle

By Ire | Workout

Oct 25

We all want big chest, since it is a sign of confidence,masculinity and it just looks great.
In this article I go into details on why your chest is not growing. Chest workout for ectomorphs is designed to give more structure and purpose to your chest workouts.  Make sure to give it a thorough read and that you understand why I structure it that way.



Before we go into details of actual workout, we must first go into anatomy of our pecs. When we discus “pecs” we refer to two muscles.

1. PECTORALIS MAJOR is a a big muscle which originates from clavicle and sternum and inserts on the humerus.

2. PECTORALIS MINOR is way smaller muscle which lies underneath her big brother (pec major). Its function is to stabilize the scapula.

These two work together which means that there is no point of trying to only isolate one of them.


If you have been unsuccessful with adding mass to your pecs, it is because you have no understanding and structure behind your workout planning. No worries, we can change that in one short article. So, let’s change the way we approach our workout. Every chest workout for ectomorphs consists of three parts: ACTIVATION, LOAD and OVERLOAD.

Muscular man with big chest mucles.
Scapula contracted down and up

1. Activation (Scalp Pulls)

Before every workout, do this. Grab a pullup bar and lift up your body up without bending your arms. So, try doing a pull up without bending the arms. Go up, hold for 5 second and repeat. 


Now that we activated our traps, we got rid of the first problem. Now, let’s focus on loading our pecs. We do this by adding exercises that stretch, flex and load the pecs.

STRETCH: Resistance is applied during a negative when chest is stretched (dumbbell fly)
FLEX: Resistance is applied during a peak contraction when chest if flexed (plate press)
LOAD: Load on the entire chest when chest is ready to do the work (bench)

Chest workout for ectomorphs. Bench press performed in a competititon


Wondering why your bench max is so low? Probably because you never dared to go heavy. Chest workout for ectomorphs should always include heavy loads in addition to everything else. Your body needs to get used to heavier loads in order to lift it. Without going heavy you will never have big bench max and you will never have big chest if you do not have a big bench. So let’s go heavy!



For first exercise, we will just be unracking the bar, hold it there for  a couple of seconds and put it back. I know, people are gonna think you look confused. Fuck them, you are there to build massive chest, so keep doing your thing. 

Pin bench press
Set up pins so that the bar is resting about 10cm (4inch) above your chest. Put on about 120% of your working set and do about 3-5 reps with that weight. Overload part shouldn’t be majority of your workout. It only acts as a confidence booster for your body to get ready to start using heavier weights.

Male unracking barbell from the rack


1. Eccentric

Remember, not focusing on the down phase of the movement means that you are losing 50% of the rep. Focusing on eccentric might force you to drop your ego and lower the weight. You have to embrace your situation and lit weights that you can control both up\down. With focused eccentric you are on a great way to build massive chest. 

2. Train through failure

As a hardgainer, we need have to break through to what we think our limits are. When you are feeling like you cannot do any more reps on a giving set, do not stop. There is always more that you can do. Let me introduce you to the DROP SET. As soon as you cannot do any more reps, lower the resistance and do more reps. FEEL THE BURN! Go all the way to transcendent rep. 

3. Transcendent Rep

BREAK THROUGH the threshold! The threshold that will transform you to a huge chested monster you aspire to be. That threshold is what seperates boys from men and it  is found in the last rep. (shout out to Elliot Hulse)

Male performing dumbell flies in the gym for chest growth


1. Activation:
Scalp pulls 5×8 (5 second holds)
2. Load
Stretch: Dumbell Fly 5×10
Flex: Plate Press 5×12
Load: Bench Press 5×8
3. Overload
Racking Bench press 3×5
Pin bench press 3×3


There are so many misconceptions about how to chest muscles work. That is why I felt it is important to write about it as well.

People believing that they are training their inner chest (isolating and adding mass close to the sternum).
If you want to hold and squeeze a pen between your chest when standing up, you will need to add enough mass throughout the whole pectoralis major in order to do that. There is no such thing as an inner chest exercises only.

People that do not believe there is upper/lower chest.
A fact that
pectoralis major is one big muscle and not two small muscles (lower/upper), is enough for people to conclude that there is no distinction between upper/lower chest. That is not correct, due to pectoralis major attaching both to sternum and clavicle. Muscle fibers that attach to sternum have different function & direction compared the ones that attach to the clavicle. Therefore, there is a distinction between lower/upper chest and there is a way to isolate one or the other. Long story short keep using different variation with different angles of exercise

Bearded man doing crawler


Now you should  have a good idea  of how chest workout for ectomorphs should be structured.

Remember to perform activation exercises so the pushing motions is actually working your chest. What is more, do not be afraid to go heavy and push through the limits all the way down to transcendent repetition.

In addition, eat good, sleep great and you will grow huge chest muscles. LIFT, EAT, SLEEP, REPEAT!

About the Author

Hey, my name is Ire.I am a Personal Trainer/ Strength Coach based in Stockholm, Sweden.When you don't find me in the gym, I will most likely be on a Track and Field stadium throwing around a discus.

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