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Chest - Exercise Guide for a Killer Cleavage!

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Exercise Guide for a Killer Cleavage!

Training Guides for Print Out

Summer 2007

Well, given that I don't have a cleavage - that is a great one. Unfortunately this area gives in quickly when losing weight and getting older doesn't help either. So far not a lot of people know my way of cheating.

I once had a chat with a friend who is in her late 20s about aging and the way things tend to go south. She was astonished that I claimed this to be something I have experience in. So I told her that what she saw was not the usual material that nature uses to form a cleavage, but muscle. When she still wouldn't believe me I made her touch - and she shrieked back...

So whether you are a flat chested chicken or a chick come to age, a bit of muscle in that particular area does work wonders, the rest is ... to use Trinny's way of putting it (she is the flat chested chick from T&S) ... the rest is to be done by 'gather and thrust'.

The chest muscle (pectoralis) is a big one consisting of several parts - thus it needs more than one exercise to train it properly.

This is a left chest muscle, shoulder and upper arm of someone who would be standing facing you.

The bony bit can't change, so it will stay flat. However, when the muscle grows and becomes a bit bulky it is as if you would pump up a flat cushion under the skin and thus creating a cleavage.

The middle part of the muscle is big and needs a lot of weight to respond well, the upper part is small and only can carry less weight.

There is a small lower part which is lying underneath the middle part, as shown in the picture below.

I don't train it as it is hidden away and only needs special attention if you wanted to go on stage.

The diagonal bits next to it which are attached to the ribs and the back and which point towards the upper arm are called serratus anteriour muscles. They are rather important. They are working as connectors between front and back and enable smooth movement and give a balanced appearance.

And the exercise used to train them looks just too cool to miss out on.

These pictures shows nicely how closely the chest is connected with the shoulders. This will become important when establishing a training schedule.

Exercise Guide for a Killer Cleavage!

For the chest there are loads and loads of exercises, what is good as it keeps the training interesting, but it is a bit confusing as well. So I will cut down to only four in this place. They are the ones I love doing and which work best for me.

I like to distinguish between training the main muscle and exercises which work as a combination between chest, shoulders, arms and neck. The shoulder is one of the most sophisticated joints and all those muscles meet there. So it is fair enough to have exercises which makes them work together, despite the fact that usually the aim in Bodybuilding is to isolate muscles in an exercise as much as possible. This for me is the big exception.

Exercises for training the main muscle - get the cleavage

  • Bench press (middle part pectoralis)
  • Incline bench press (upper part pectoralis)

Exercises for bringing it all together

  • Cable fly (mainly chest, neck, front shoulder, bit of biceps)
  • Pull over (mainly serratus, a bit neck and triceps)

Numbers, Numbers, and a few things more!

It's time to get started now. So here is the number of sets and repetitions and whatever else you need to know.

Muscle size:
  • Pectoralis middle part: big
  • Pectoralis upper part: small
  • Serratus and other connecting musles: small
Number of exercises:


  1. Bench press
  2. Incline bench press
  3. Cable fly
  4. Pull over
Order: Work from big to small muscles, meaning in the above order.
Importance: High: for 1 and 2

If you are short of time or a station is occupied then you can do either cable fly or pull over. They tackle about the same muscles from a different angle and put the focus a bit differently. You can as well alternate between sessions.

Number of sets: These differ with each exercise and will be listed in the exercise description.

If in doubt stick with the Three/12 Rule.

Number of repetitions: These differ with each exercise and will be listed in the exercise description.

If in doubt stick with the Three/12 Rule.

Duration: 45 min
weight up breath out
weight down breath in
Progress: This differs with each exercise and will be listed in the exercise description.

If in doubt stick with the Three/12 Rule.

Train together with: Back
DON'T train with: Shoulders

back to Index

How to determine the width of the grip?

Hold the upper arms parallel to the floor and bend the lower arms up.

With the bar held in your hands it should form a rectangle

Once the weight is taken out of the stand, the back tends to arch in order to counter the weight.

I have a round back anyway and to avoid strain I trained to keep the balance even with heavy weights while holding the legs up. This way it is easier to keep the back as flat on the bench as possible.

The other extreme is to put the feet on the ground. This is a very stable posture. However, especially when concentrating on pressing up a heavy weight, the back gets easily forgotten and I have seen people even lifting the rear off the bench and starting to trip around with their feet while pressing, causing enormous strain on the back.

And this actually is a way of cheating. In arching the back the angle between the arms with the weight and the upper body changes and becomes smaller. This way the lower part of the pectoralis and the serratus muscles are called in for help which makes it easier to push up the weight.

That wouldn't be a problem if the exercise weren't designed to train the middle bit of the pectoralis. To get the other muscles trained there are other exercises which don't kill the back.

A good middle way for the position of the feet is to put them flat on the bench. That gives stability and helps to keep the back flat.

And here are some numbers:

Bench press
Number of sets:
  • 2 warm up
  • 3-4 sets
Number of repetitions: Warm up 1: Just the bar 15 - 20 reps

This is more to stretch, to get settled on the bench, to feel if there is some leftover muscle ache.

Do the first ones very slow and feel the stretch of the chest muscle.

Warm up 2: chose a weight where you can do 10 reps easily (70-80%).

This is to get a feeling for weight, how good your are at that day, to check if the muscles are working smoothly under weight - basically to tell them that they are 'ON'.

Now it becomes complicated with some 'if and then'.

If 'warm up 2' feels easy

Set1 - Set?: - as heavy as possible, probably even raising the weight.

If you can do 3-5 reps per set, then do as many sets that alltogether you have 10 reps.

Do 1 more set with a bit lighter weight to finish the muscle off.

If you did less then 3 reps than reduce weight in the next set, and so on.

If warmup 2 feels heavy

Set Repetitions Weight

1 6-10 100 % with spotter
2 6-10 100 % with spotter
3 5-8 100 % with spotter
(4 5-8 100 % with spotter)

In bench press I go for 100% whenever I have a spotter. Only on days where I'm training alone I take it easy what is a good recovery for the muscle.

When training on the limits like this, be prepared to skip one or even two sessions every 2 month or so to avoid overtraining.

Duration: 20 - 25 minutes
you will need rather big breaks to get the heart rate down. Walk around a bit.
You may need a bit more time when you are training with a partner and slipping into each other's breaks.
Progress: 10 is absolute cut off.

Using the second warm up to explore the shape of the day and then either going for the purple or the orange version enables me to acknowledge that I'm not at the hight of my performance every day, but nevertheless gives me the best workout I can have.

From Up to Down and Up again!

Get yourself in position and grab the bar at the right width as described above.

Push slightly against the bar to test the weight, and to test the grip of the hands - sometimes some skin of the palm gets pinched in what can be very hurtful.

Take a deep breath in, push the bar out of the stand while breathing out.

Balance it out and breath as you like

Take another deep breath in while lowering the bar down to your chest. It should touch the skin only 'just' ...

... and then push it out while breathing out.

You will have to keep the breath for a brief moment to have maximum power build up by the time the upper arms are parallel to the floor. That is when the weight feels the heaviest.

Above that you will have to breathe out as controlled as you move the weight up. It is absolutely appropriate to do so with some huffing, puffing, or screaming. You have to get rid of the pressure that you've built up in the first part of the up-movement in a very controlled way. Otherwise you won't reach maximum performance and you might even harm yourself.

Bench press is a rather technical exercise and breathing is essential. You should only move on to really heavy weights when you are feeling comfortable with the breathing technique.

On a side note: The rhythm is rather slow, so if you have the opportunity to have the music switches off or tuned down, than do that. It is rather hard to deliberately tune your heart rate down so that you can sustain a slow and long breathing rhythm when music at 180 beats is messing with your head.

This is true for all of the Bodybuilding. Music is OK, but it should not force you into a rhythm that goes against your training needs. Bodybuilding is about concentration and meditation. The energy comes from within yourself as opposed to aerobic classes where the music is supposed to raise your heart rate and thus give you a drive you wouldn't have otherwise.

Pictures by Babul

To come soon

  • Incline bench press
  • Cable fly
  • Pull over

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Copyright 2007
Author: Rika