When I first starting lifting weights, I had no idea how to get a wider chest, I thought the only thing that mattered was the size of my muscles, but how wrong I was.
I later discovered the classic era of bodybuilding, where bodybuilders focused less on muscle size (like the freakish steroid-pumped bodybuilders of today), and focused more on proportions.
These guys were the true experts on how to get a wider chest, and in this article I’ll be drawing lessons from the greatest classic bodybuilders, who built some jaw-dropping physiques, with wide chests and narrow waists, and all without ever touching steroids.
So What’s The Big Deal With A Wide Chest Anyway?
I’m sure you’ll agree when I say that a wide chest is maybe the single most prevailing mark of power and masculinity in a man.
If you look at a Roman suit of armor, you’ll see that it has that V-taper with a wide chest and slim mid-line. This makes anyone wearing that suit of armor project a masculine power that instills fear in his enemies on the battlefield.
When you build a solid chest, it will make you stand out of the group when you hang out with your buddies, it will automatically fill you with confidence. Just having that V-tapered frame will force people to take you seriously, and will make women go weak at the knees.
As a benefit on the side, if you have man boobs, making your chest wider will force that breast fat to be spread over a greater surface, so your chest looks flatter.
“But Isn’t My Chest Width Determined By My Genes?”
You may have heard some people say that the width of your chest is determined by your genes and there’s nothing you can do about it. This is true, but only after a certain level of muscular development.
See, you may never be able to develop world-class width in your chest, your chest may never be as wide as Arnold Schwarzenegger’s for example, but…
…the good news is, you can sure as hell expand your chest and upper body far more than what it is now.
Because the muscles in your upper body are not fully developed, you have not yet reached your genetic potential of upper body width. So stop letting these people with their stories of genetic limitations hold you back.
Like my good ol’ bodybuilder friend Mike always says,
“If you’re not at an advanced level, you have no idea what your chest shape is…”
The 3 Keys To A Wider Chest
Unfortunately, most guys have no idea how to get a wider chest with excellent proportions and good width.
I see guys getting it wrong at the gym all the time. Most guys doing chest exercises aren’t able to grow any muscle at all, and those that do grow some muscle, do it all wrong so they end up with thick chest muscles with no width.
When it comes to building good chest width, there are three important keys you need to keep in mind…
Key #1: Do Chest Exercises With A Full Range Of Motion, Being Sure To Stretch The Pecs As Much As Possible At The Bottom Of The Movement
Let’s take the regular barbell bench press as an example.
When you use a wide grip and let the bar go right down to the point where it’s almost touching your chest, you will feel a stretch in your pecs that lets you know you are working the outer portion of your pecs.
If you want to increase the width of your chest, then you have to work the outer portion of your pecs by letting the bar go down as low as you can.
Where working the outer portion of your pecs increases chest width, working the inner portion of your pecs (near the midline of your chest) increases chest thickness.
What I see a lot of guys doing wrong at the gym, is they keep the bar a good few inches away from their chest at the bottom of the movement, simply because it allows them to lift a heavier weight.
By doing this they are working mostly the inner fibers of the pecs, so they are building mostly thickness and no width.
When you work only on chest thickness and neglect width, that’s when your chest sticks out and you can look like you have man boobs even if you don’t have any excess chest fat. And if you already have man boobs, it’ll make your man boobs look bigger.
(And just on the side, if you have man boobs, when you combine this method of increasing chest width with the methods I discuss in this video, you’ll be surprised at how quickly your chest will start to flatten out.)
With benching movements, using a barbell can limit your range of motion, because you can’t take the weight any lower than when the bar hits your chest. This is yet another reason why I prefer using dumbbells, because you can get a far better stretch at the bottom of the movement.
If you are doing pushups, you can use pushup bars or two stacks of books to raise the level of your hands, so you can go deeper at the bottom.
So my advice here is this: leave your ego at the door, pick up a lighter weight, and work those chest muscles through a full range of motion.
By using a full range of motion on the right exercises, guys who go through my Chest Sculpting training, not only end up with bigger muscles than most other guys who lift weights, they also end up with better shaped bodies — with a wider chest and narrow waist for that V-taper, and better shaped muscles — with good thick muscular development from origin to insertion, rather than just a fat round muscle belly.
Key #2: Train The Antagonist Muscles
We’ve all seen that huge muscular guy walking around in a tight t-shirt, with his arms held bent at almost 90 degrees.
The truth is that these big muscular guys don’t keep their arms bent that way to show off or to try and look more muscular. Their arms have become fixed in this position, and they can’t straighten their arms even when they try.
Why does this happen?
Well, it’s because these guys train their biceps more than they train their triceps.
The biceps and triceps are “antagonizing” muscles to each other, which means that they act against one another and have opposing effects on the joint they control -- where the biceps bend the arm, the triceps straighten the arm.
When you train your biceps to be bigger and stronger than your triceps, then your arms will be held bent at rest.
But How Does This Apply To The Chest?
Too many guys are obsessed with training the muscles on the front of the body -- not just the biceps, but also the abs and the chest -- because these are the muscles most of us want to show off with at the beach.
But you train only the chest muscles without training the antagonizing upper back muscles, your shoulders are going to be permanently hunched forward -- just like your arms are held bent when you train only your biceps and neglect your triceps.
This is because the main chest muscle, the pectoralis major, attaches from the breast bone in the middle of the chest to the shoulder on either side.
With your shoulders held forward, the width of your chest area becomes smaller.
A combination of big chest muscles with a narrow chest is a huge recipe for bigger man boobs.
This is yet another reason a lot of people tell you not to do chest exercises because they’ll make your man boobs bigger.
These people are totally right, but only if you are doing chest exercises the wrong way, by ONLY doing chest exercises while ignoring the opposing, antagonizing back muscles.
What ARE The Antagonizing Muscles Of The Chest?
The opposing muscles of your chest are your upper back muscles, of which there are many, including the latissimus dorsi (lats), trapezius (traps), rhomboids, teres major, teres minor, supraspinatus and infraspinatus.
Where the pectoralis major of the chest pulls your shoulders forward, your upper back muscles, including the rear deltoids of your shoulders, pull your shoulders back.
Perhaps the most important secret when it comes to learning how to get a wider chest, is growing your upper back muscles just as much as you grow your chest muscles.
With large and strong pecs and back muscles, your shoulders will be held back in a neutral position, and your chest and whole upper body will get wider.
The Importance Of Good Back Development For Building A Wider Chest
If you’re looking to get that wide, herculean, V-shaped upper body, then a powerful back is a crucial piece of the puzzle.
Despite being located on your back, your back muscles affect the way you look from the front, more than your pecs do.
See, the muscles on your back are postural muscles, and they play a more important role than your chest muscles in determining the overall frame of your body.
Your back muscles hold your skeletal structure up in an erect posture, and give you that manly look without you having to take your shirt off.
A guy with powerful back muscles will look good in anything he wears, whether he’s wearing a thick sweater, or walking around topless on the beach.
If on the other hand you have strong pecs and abs on the front, but weak back muscles, your body will be permanently hunched forward, and the only way anyone would ever know you have any muscle, is when you take your top off. But even then it won’t look too impressive.
Well-developed back muscles are the true mark of an unstoppable man. Wide lats and big back muscles in general are what make women weak at the knees, and other guys nervous in your presence.
And they don’t have to look at your back to appreciate your training, the results of your back training will be evident when people look at you from the front.
I could go on describing the importance of good back development all day, but they say a picture speaks a thousand words. Here’s a picture of Steve Reeves that says it all.
I remember being at the gym some years ago when I saw this really skinny, shriveled, weak-looking guy wearing a hoodie.
I felt sorry for him because he looked just like the kind of guy who gets pushed around everywhere he goes because he just looks so weak.
But then, just before he started his workout, he took his top off, and to my surprise this guy was actually impressively muscular! He had big chest muscles, a solid set of six-pack abs (yes, all six), and big thick arms!
I realized though that he had very little back development. As a result, his posture was slumped forward, and the only time anyone would ever know he had a great physique, was when he was topless.
When you train the right way, with equal chest and back development, you will look good in anything you wear…
…you won’t have to take your top off to show people you’ve got some muscle.
With well developed back muscles, your whole body will be shaped differently, and this is something no clothing can hide.
With great back development, your manly muscular stature will shine through even the thickest of woolly winter jackets.
Key #3: Develop Those Lateral Deltoids
A thick, wide, and well-developed set of shoulders will add to the perceived width of your chest.
The deltoid muscles in your shoulders have 3 heads, referred to as the front, lateral, and rear deltoids.
Anyone doing chest and back exercises will have well-developed front and rear deltoids, but few people have well-developed lateral deltoids.
The lateral deltoids are not only the most impressive to look at, but unlike the other deltoid heads, the lateral deltoids also add to the width of your upper body.
The reason most people don’t have well-developed lateral deltoids, is because the standard gamut of weight training exercises most people do, just don’t target this portion of the deltoids very well.
The shoulder press, and even the standard lateral raise mostly target the front deltoids.
To target the lateral deltoids, you shoulders have to be rotated at the correct angle.
This rotational angle is one that’s achieved when you are throwing a punch, which is why boxers generally have very well-developed lateral deltoids.
The perfect example is Apollo Creed from the old Rocky movies:
I’ve always been amazed by Apollo Creed’s shoulders. Apollo was always way more trim and cut than Rocky, and his shoulders made Rocky look like a frail old man.
Did you know that Apollo Creed was trained by no other than the legendary Vince Gironda?
Apollo’s shoulders were partly the result of his boxing training for the Rocky movies, but also because of a special exercise designed by Vince to target the lateral deltoids: the “Gironda lateral raise“.
Here’s a video of how to do this exercise:
Take note of the part about holding the dumbbells like you’re pouring water from a cup. This is important because it puts your shoulders in just the right ROTATIONAL position to target the lateral deltoids.
A wide chest is a hallmark of masculinity, but there’s more to getting a wide chest than just doing chest exercises.
There are 3 key factors for increasing chest width:
- using a full range of motion in your chest exercises;
- training the antagonizing muscles of the chest, i.e. the upper back muscles;
- and training the lateral deltoids.
The upper back is probably the most important body area to work on if you want to look good regardless of what you are wearing – whether you are topless, wearing a t- shirt, full shirt, hoodie or jacket.
If you only work on your chest and abs like most guys do, then the only way people will ever notice the fruits of your labor is if you take your top off – try doing that at the workplace.
If you want to impress that cute girl at work, then make like Steve Reeves, and work both your chest and back, and also your shoulders.
How Can Making Your Chest Wider Help You Lose Man Boobs?
If you have man boobs, then getting a wide chest is an excellent way to improve the way your chest looks.
By increasing the width of your chest, you force the fat on your chest to spread over a bigger area, making your man boobs less noticeable.
But a wide chest is just one piece of the puzzle.
To actually lose your man boobs, you’ve got to lose the fat on your chest. To do this, you have to use these little-known man boob busting tactics, which I reveal here: