How To Get A Wider Chest

How To Get A Wider Chest

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.

Steve Reeves, arguably the greatest classic bodybuilder there was. You'd be hard pressed to find a modern bodybuilder with such a wide chest and impressive overall physique.

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.

Wide Chest
A wide chest is a mark of masculinity and power

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.

Outer vs Inner Pecs
O=Outer Pecs, I=Inner Pecs
You train the outer portion of your pecs when you get a full stretch at the bottom of the movement. Training the outer pecs is important for developing maximum chest width.

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.

This applies regardless of what type of chest exercise you are doing – pushups, dumbbell flys, bench press, guillotine press, or dips.

(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.

upper back muscles
There are many different upper back muscles that oppose your chest and help keep your shoulders from hunching forwards.
Wide Chest
A wide upper body not just makes you look more manly, it will also help to flatten out those man boobs.

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.

Steve Reeves Back Development
Steve Reeves: Note his wide lat and upper back development. This is a true mark of a powerful man. With good back development, you will look good regardless of what you are wearing.

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.

Deltoid Anatomy
The deltoids have 3 heads. Guys with the most impressive shoulders have well-developed lateral 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:

Apollo Creed's awesome lateral deltoids

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:

  1. using a full range of motion in your chest exercises;
  2. training the antagonizing muscles of the chest, i.e. the upper back muscles;
  3. 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:

Click here to discover how to lose man boobs naturally

84 thoughts on “How To Get A Wider Chest”

  1. very helpful. i have recently started working my upper back and lats with resistance bands and i must say i have not looked this good in all of my life. i gain lean/dense muscle pretty quick; in my genes i guess. i will be using this useful information you have posted and it will become one of the keys to my progress of a great looking body. resistance bands are amazing for building strong/dense muscle.

    • Hi Jake

      Oh, the upper back makes SUCH a difference. I know the theory behind why resistance bands are so good. Many of my clients do use them, but I personally had a bad experience with my first purchase – the rubber tore off the handle from the very first pull. Think I’ll try investing in a better set. Thanks for the reminder ;).

  2. Really glad I found this article. I’ve been struggling to work out why my chest definition has changed so that my lower pecs have been sticking out. I’m positive now that its my range of motion and lifting too heavy that’s the cause.

    What I wanted to ask was, as I’m trying to undo lower chest thickness and unevenness, will simply correcting my range of motion naturally fix things up? I’m already doing more back and incline chest work, but that alone hasn’t made a difference over the past month.

    • Hi Harry

      Whether range of motion will help or not depends on what kind of exercise you were doing before, and how big your range of motion was before. I should warn you that some people have a natural tendency to develop a bigger lower chest than upper chest, but usually you can remedy this with good upper chest exercises.

      What exercises were you doing to get an unusually large lower chest? Flat bench press? Or something else?

      Please take a look at my article on the best upper chest exercise. Another exercise that’s great at isolating the upper chest is the dumbbell pullover.

  3. I too am glad I stumbled upon this article. I have always struggled with having a chest that sticks out far and almost comes to a point rather than having a wide, even looking chest. I unfortunately, have shoulder problems that do not allow me to do incline bench. I was wondering, what type of workouts could I do to even my chest out, specifically the upper chest?

    • Hi Jordan, thanks for your question. If you have a shoulder problem, then it’s important to work closely with a physiotherapist or fitness professional to find out which exercises are best for you. All chest exercises will put some level of strain on your shoulders, since the role of the chest muscles is to move your arms around at the shoulder joint. Another upper chest exercise you could try is the dumbbell pullover. This exercise will still strain your shoulders, but will do so in a different way from incline bench presses. Failing that, you could also try some isolation exercises like incline dumbbell flys and cable crossovers.

  4. Really glad I found this article, I’ve been training for a few years now and if I told you that you’d probably laugh, but I’ve put along of it down to poor dieting but lately I’ve noticed how pathetic my lats look and it is an area I’am going to work on a lot, this article made me realise that I’ve been neglecting my back muscles, I think it’s because we don’t see our backs so we neglect them but I believe the back is the most aesthetic and powerful parts of the body when developed.

    • Hey Liam, totally right. The back really helps improve your overall appearance. Most people also don’t realize how useful the back muscles are. We need them to maintain our posture when standing or sitting. We also use them for pulling our body up with our arms to get away from danger, and for lifting things up from the floor. When it comes to removing body fat however, diet is easily the single most important factor, so you were right about that in the beginning.

  5. Somehow, I never put all these things together before.

    I’ve always done relatively well at the gym and known what good form is, but after this read I see the correlation for body types at the gym.

    Now, granted, I also started evaluating my personal build wondering if I had man boobs and bent arms. I do bench now and lower the bar slowly to my chest. With biceps, and triceps, I think I keep in toe with the recommendations.

    This really helped me plan out the rest of my body sculpting. Chest & abs are the last thing I want to perfect.

    Thanks for the write up.

  6. I am a 20 year old college student with moderate scoliosis. I have a very narrow chest and a small rib cage. What exercises can I do to maximize back muscle growth? Both to combat the unbalanced hump that scoliosis causes when I bend forward, and to increase the literally non-existent V-shape of my torso.

    • Hi Senu, it totally depends on what you mean by “quite good”. Your definition of good may be different from mine. If your chest isn’t quite up to scratch, then I would recommend doing good chest exercises like dips, using a full range of motion.

      Beyond that, once you have truly developed your chest muscles well, you can further fill the gap by doing partial repetitions with exercises like dips, the guillotine press, and incline dumbbell press. The partials you do to target the pec separation line is partials with your arms extended. Simply lower yourself (or the weight) by a few inches from the top position.

      The cable crossover exercise is also a good one for inducing hypertrophy near the pec separation line. Consider doing partials in the region where your hands come together, and let your hands actually cross over, rather than just come together.

      There’s also a genetic component. Some people simply have a wider pec separation than others. You can help fill the gap with good full ROM exercises combined with partial reps, but there may be genetic limitations.

  7. I notice when I suck in my gut and stick out my chest it looks impressive. I don’t have access to weights and gyms. If I keep sucking in my gut sticking out my chest could that train my chest-kind of like isometric exercise? Thanks.

    I forgot to add I’m diabetic.

    • Hi Joseph. I’m afraid to say that this will not help you at all. Firstly, by sucking your gut in, the only muscles you are training isometrically is your abs, not your chest. Secondly, isometric exercise, when done correctly, is excellent for strength gains, but does very little for muscle growth. It will not stimulate your metabolism either, and hence will not help you to transform your body, won’t help with body fat reduction, and won’t help improve your diabetes.

  8. I went looking for help to get my chest and back stronger and wider. I found it. This article makes sense and is very helpful.

    • Hi Ron. You can get a simple doorway pullup bar and do pullups or chinups. You can also get yourself a barbell or a set of dumbbells and do bent over rows.

    • Yes emmy u can widen ur chest usong push ups only.. Just straighten ur arms and shoulders an do it till failure an target 100 daily…. It will really widen ur chest width

      • Thank you Brian. I’m not a big fan of failure training, or of high repetition training, but this method can and does work. High rep training isn’t the most efficient way to grow muscle, but it does work – you only need to look at the thighs and calves of a Tour de France cyclist to know that it does.

  9. A big issue I have seen is people separating muscle “groups” religiously. A year ago I was the man in this article with the man boobs. I quit doing “chest and “back” days and just did upper and lower splits which I also would have overlap. I saw a huge increase in bench press and upper body width in general when I focused on full upper body development rather than one particular group.The key to strength and a great physique is balance. You entire body works as one when you train, never forget that! Happy Lifting

  10. Well, I am 20 but my chest width is 32 inches. I did many exercises but end up losing. Every of my friend have wider chest than me. Seriously saying my upper body is underdeveloped (I think!). My arms are thing. My chest is round (approx). I exercised and my arms became thight but still thin. How could I change my body? Also my thighs are thick. I am disheartened. Please help!

    • Hi deepak
      to lose bodyfat Garry recommends you go on a ketogenic diet. for a wide chest there is nothing else like doing wide grip (32-34 inch)girpnda chest dips. also wide grip pullups to sternum will increase width in you back, giving you those wings. gironda lateral raise will increase width of your shoulders. body drag curls will give you bicep peaks and skull crushers behind the head give you thick triceps. finally front squats will thicken yor legs not ur bum.
      garry am i right?

    • Hey Alden

      If you’ve done it wrong in the past, it’s never too late to change the way you train and turn things around. Even if you’ve trained wrongly in the past, you still would have grown SOME muscle and gotten stronger, and that will help you get results faster when you start to train the RIGHT way.

      Get started on this approach and let me know how you get on. If you want a more complete solution on how to train your entire body using a range of other powerful exercises that most people don’t do in the gym, then take a look at the Chest Sculpting Blueprint:

  11. Hello I am 17year old teenager all I wanna ask is this workout is suitable for teenagers. I am just willing to get wide chest.I was doing workout from 2 months to get wide chest but not good improvement I get

    • Yes Akash, these exercises are perfectly suited to teenagers. Just make sure you get someone to show you how to do the exercises with proper form.

  12. I’m 39 years old, I have man boobs since teenage, I had a fat removal surgery from my chest like 13 years ago, it wasn’t so efficient that time as it removed like 50% of the fat, now I have fat again – as I gained weight after 13 years – in the lower chest toward the sides of my chest (under my arms), I’m slightly over my average weight (82Kgm) I’m exercising again but I have mussels in all over my body except this part (man boobs)

    I have also notices something in my skin, when I’m cold my chest’s skin shrinks and my nipples became smaller and the shape of my chest is ok as I have no man-boobs at all, but when I’m feeling very hot and sweating, my skin expand and my chest looks like a real man boobs again!!
    What do you recommend? What exercises should I go through?

    Thank you for your support.

    • Hi Ahmed

      Sorry to hear about your negative experience with surgery. It’s quite common for man boobs to grow back after surgery, since surgery does nothing to address the root cause of man boobs. The best way to get rid of man boobs is to use the natural methods I mention in this article:

      The reason your man boobs seem to go away when it’s cold, is because of fluid redistribution. When it’s hot, your body increases blood flow to the surface of your body in an effort to lose heat through heat radiation. This causes your nipples to puff out and your man boobs to get perky. When it’s cold, your body reduces blood flow to the surface in an effort to reduce heat loss through heat radiation. This causes your nipples to shrink and your man boobs to flatten somewhat.

      You might also notice that your chest seems tighter during/after exercise. This is because when you exercise, fluid is initially distributed away from your surface, in an effort to increase blood-flow to your muscles. Some time after exercise, you might notice your man boobs and puffy nipples are back, despite your metabolism still being high. This happens because your body is now trying to lose all the excess heat generated by your muscles, by increasing blood-flow to your surface.

      Using cold showers and cold exposure is not a permanent solution to losing man boobs, so I wouldn’t count on this phenomenon to help you. Your best bet would be to use the hormonal methods I describe in the article above.


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