How a Skinny Guy Built a BIG Chest!

If you want to build a big chest and feel that you’re too skinny to do it, you need to watch this. In this video, you will see how a hardgainer built a bigger chest and be able to copy the exact same workout tips and tricks to make the same type of gains.

The first important point is to make sure that you are performing the bench press if you want to grow a bigger chest. This key compound exercise for the chest is one of the most effective for packing on size and strength. The big thing that Jesse did, however, was increasing the frequency of how often he was benching and continuing to progressively overload the exercise as well.

However, it is well known that it’s daily easy to stall on the bench press and see limited progress, so it is important to explore other exercises to build a big chest too. Extra exercises will not only allow for the opportunity to explore adduction of the chest, but incorporate different muscle building techniques as well. To grow muscle, progressive overload is not the only route you should take, but you should also include metabolic stress as well as a focus on the eccentrics.

Taking a powerbuilding approach allows for you to explore the avenues of strength in the compound lifts, such as the bench press, and build the most muscle possible using isolation exercises that allow for the use of different muscle building techniques with moves like the cable press, cable crossovers, and the cable saw.

Next, you need to emphasize a serious focus on the upper chest. You might not realize this, but the overall size of the pecs is greatly influenced by the upper, clavicular portion. A lagging upper chest will lead to less than ideal overall pec development and make them look bottom-heavy. So, it is important to make sure you attack this area effectively. The way that Jesse did this was by incorporating a 2:1 exercise ratio. For every chest exercise he did that was not focused on the upper chest, he did two exercises specifically targeting that area. The extra volume directed towards the upper chest made a huge difference in growth. Some of the exercises of choice were low-to-high crossovers, incline dumbbell bench press, upper chest pullovers, and decline pushups.

Now, to get a bigger wider chest, you have to explore full range of motion to engage the all-important stretch range of each exercise. We know that many muscle groups respond great to stretch overload (such as the traps and the calves) and the chest is one of them. That means we need to be aware of and focus on the stretch portion of each exercise. On an exercises such as the dumbbell bench press, this means making surer that at the bottom of the rep, the dumbbell needs to be touching the outside of the chest. Another good chest exercise for exploring this stretch is the cable crossover.

So now that we know the importance of getting a stretch on the pecs through an exercises full range of motion, is there a way we can reinforce that? Well, there is a great way to do that actually, and it is through the use of pause reps. Paused reps are great not only for removing momentum from a lift as well as increasing the time under load, but also reinforcing full range of motion.

On an exercise like the dumbbell bench press, holding the dumbbells at the bottom of the rep for a 2-3 count will accentuate the stretch you feel in your pecs. This technique is also great for a chest exercise like the high-to-low crossover. Unlike a standard db fly, you’re not placing your anterior shoulder capsule into a vulnerable position lacking support. Just make sure that when you are doing a chest dip, you don’t go too low that you end up putting your shoulders in a vulnerable position.

To round out the appearance of the chest, you are going to to want to target the lower chest as well. I put together a whole video detailing how to target this area to get defined pecs that you can check out via the link below.

If you are looking for a step by step program for building a bigger chest and ripped athletic body, follow the exact plan that Jesse used by heading to via the link below and get the ATHLEAN-X Training System. Every workout and meal is laid out in step by step fashion to make sure there is no guesswork along the way to a new you.

For more chest workouts and exercises to get a bigger chest, be sure to subscribe to our channel here on YouTube via the link below and remember to turn on your notifications so that you never miss a new video when it’s published.

The Lower Chest Solution (GET DEFINED PECS!) –
Build Ripped Athletic Muscle here –
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39 thoughts on “How a Skinny Guy Built a BIG Chest!

  1. shotbybray_ says:

    in february, i was 122lbs and my max bench was about 105lbs. todays date i’m 130lbs and my max bench is 135lbs. progress!

  2. afg99061 says:

    Jeff I need the perfect stretch/mobility routine pre and post workout to go along with the perfect push pull legs series!

  3. ATHLEAN-X™ says:

    *NEW “FAST ACTION” Q&A* – Leave your most burning question about this video or any other training, PT or nutrition question within the first 2 hours of this video’s release (AS A SEPARATE COMMENT!!) and I will pick 8 to get a detailed reply from me right here in the comments. Answers will be posted within the first 24-48 hours of you leaving the question. Good luck!

    • Vicky Jha says:

      For saggy chest or chest fat doing high rep with low weight or low rep with heavyweight.which one is beneficial?

    • IMPERIA says:

      I did pr on my chest press machine and after 3 days of sore my right upper pec disappeared

    • Michael Scarlino says:

      Growing up I was told, sleeping with too many women will give me weak knees, is that true?????

    • Atlas says:

      Hi, do you have any tips or videos about what I should be eating or a detailed diet? I work out or play soccer 3-4 hours everyday but I need major help on my diet. Also how can I stay motivated on keeping my diet? Love your videos and I am working as a swim instructor at a gym and got a free gym membership from it so I will be working out more this summer.

  4. Grand Rapids says:

    Thanks! Chest stuff is always welcome, since it’s my weakest part. I would like to know Jeff opinion about “barrel chest” deformity. Possible to have chiseled chest in that condition?

  5. U says:

    Hi Jeff,

    My arms used click and my shoulder used to pop occasionally after having done a couple of weeks of weights. After I stopped lifting, the pops and cracks went away, so does lifting even moderate weights damage bones? If I lift lighter weights at say 20 reps will I be saving my bones in the long-term?

    Thanks bro

    • AlbertoGoG says:

      Search in YouTube Squat University. For me it’s the best rehabilitation/coordination channel. There you can find information on should pain, low back pain, knee, hip, toes, etc.
      I think you have this problem because of training just the big muscles, chest, lats, delts, etc. Then you have problems with the weak muscules.
      A good routine to warm up is to do shoulder mobilitation and external rotation exercises (facepull, external rotation with bands, etc).
      I could tell you the warm up routine I have for my upper body workouts, that fixed my shoulder pain (I still do it).

    • Marius Steen Angell says:

      does it hurt? i would not think its the bone making the sound, but the joints like someone said above. i get weird sounds from my joints all the time, which is atleast common in people with high mobility joints(said to me by a physical therapist). but i dont know why it would make the sounds only when you go to the gym. it could be smart to go to a doctor if you feel there is something wrong.

    • joe says:

      I had pain in left shoulder.
      Dr. said it was inflammation bc I am 59. Thenn a week later tore a supraspanatus tendon. THEN he sent me for MRI. Some labbrum damage also didn’t show up on x. Ray’s. Insist on MRI.

    • AlbertoGoG says:

      @joe well, coming from a 5th year medicine student. Doctors usually are not very good at this type of “pain/injuries”. Without touching you it soundike you had a subacromial syndrome, the bad part about it is that it is usually because of the anatomy of the acromium. There is not much you can do tu fix that, besides surgery. Gainimg stability on the shoulder helps on this. Try training lower and mid traps to get a better shoulder posture, and external rotation with the arm on 0° abduction and 90° abduction.
      It can also be a supratendinosus tendinopathy, which is the most common and is also usually drived because of an impingement of the shoulder. Same tips will help.
      (English is not my native language)
      Also don’t take my word as true because I’m an strudent and im making assumptions. But training this muscles never hurt

  6. Maranatha&Shalom says:

    I only got 90 lbs to work with, gotta order more plates 🙂 I’m doing upper body / arms 3x a week with 3-5 sets of 10 rep bench, among other exercises. Every workout around 1 hour +
    Been doing this routine for 7 months now after quitting alc and tobacco. Doing a lot of the exercises presented here on this channel. I am immensely happy with my progress. I finally look good in T-Shirts, instead of looking like a WoW progress raider.

  7. Josiah Rizzo says:

    I recently had a labral tear in my hip repaired and am currently in week 7 of recovery and physical therapy. I was wondering what if any lower ab exercises I could do currently or do I have to wait until I’m cleared fully?

  8. Ivan Olmedo says:

    Hey Jeff, I think the bench press is a good exercise but I find that I get a better stretch in the flat dumbell press and I can apply more progressive overload.

    • Austin Dow says:

      He didn’t specify barbell bench press

      He just said bench press, so whatever you thinks better

  9. iNiK27 says:

    Hey Jeff,

    I’m doing the Push/Pull/Legs routine since couple of years, cause it has been my fav routine so far.
    But i was wondering, looking at the workouts you posted, that in each Push and Pull, you do biceps + triceps.

    Could you explain why it is good to do these supersets together and why it’s beneficial to target these smaller muscles a day after again?

    Because i don’t really get why it would be good to do an biceps/triceps exercise one day before hitting it again the next day.

    If you reply, i appreciate you taking your time and so far a big thanks for everything you have done for all of us.
    Much love <3

  10. Ehson Khaliq says:

    Hey Jeff, what advice would you give to someone returning to strength training after having undergone ulnar nerve transposition surgery?

  11. Chuck MacWilliam says:

    It’s interesting how he talks about full range of motion here but in the AX-2 and Max Size Athlean-X workouts, the instructions tell you not to lower your arms below parallel to the floor for both flat bench and incline bench.

  12. Josh C says:

    Great video showing all of the variations! Thanks guys. On the high to low cross over, is there a “best” angle to push down towards, like towards the ground, or is it best to vary the angle, like straight down to straight out? You forgot to mention one thing though, also buy smaller shirts, which Jesse seems to have accomplished too!! On that note, how about new Athlean-X shirt that says “I USED TO BE THE OLD JESSE TOO!”.

  13. Karl Bodmer says:

    Hey Jeff, this is my story since I started following this channel in january of this year. I weighed around 350 lbs, and I started to follow your tips and also took diet and workout plan from site Next level Diet . In first month I lost 17 lbs, in second month I lost 14 lbs… for now I lost almost 70 lbs and I am feeling great and so strong. If you are beginner, take some online diet as I did, it will help you 🙂

  14. Ross says:

    One thing that helped me was ditching the bench/barbell and doing just dumbell exercises for a month to see if my strength on the bench would improve later. You have to work a lot harder with dumbells because they activate more stabilizer muscles.

    • Pippi FPV says:

      My dumbell max increased by lifting barbell only for 2 months. the thing that benefit me the most, was following a program, with progressive overload.

  15. Bradbo3 says:

    Watching Jesse’s transformation is awesome and another reason this is my go to channel for working out. Even at 52 I get after it, but smartly because of this channel. Btw Im proud of Jesse’s progress!!!! Way to go kid!!!!

  16. Jimmie says:

    Jesse has made some serious improvements when it comes to body transformations. Keep it up Bro!!!

  17. Carl Daniel says:

    Hey Jeff, these pec videos are absolutely great. I really enjoy – and benefit from – your comments and videos on the upper chest.

    I was wondering if you could make a video on the best (OR “perfect”) upper chest workout (including exercises with a high efficacy and a lower risk of injury).

    I agree with your endorsements of the incline (or flat-bench) barbell/dumbbell RGBP (reverse-grip bench press), the (underhanded/supinated) low-to-high cable crossover (with full adduction – AKA the bilateral-cable UCV raise – GREAT for following the fibers), the incline cable press, and the upper chest pullover.

    You’ve, of course, shown many other excellent exercises, as well!

    For lessening front delt involvement, I love your cues of getting the shoulders back and down (it seems like a relatively wide bench is necessary for full shoulder “support” during pressing), and the chest out (having the chest be the first line of defense – Superman).

    For the inclined RGBP, would you recommend a 15-degree or 30-degree incline?

    Lastly, does more than one reputable study (besides G. Lehman, 2005) support that the RGBP increases upper chest activation?

    (It appears that the obvious inherent shoulder flexion already, essentially, proves that there is upper pec involvement in the RGBP.)


  18. AMUN RA says:

    A really important thing to remember, as a beginner, is that the chest muscles just plain take a lot of time and work to grow. For the vast majority of people, anyway; some people just have abnormally good genetics and they respond better

    Bottom line: it takes a long time, but be patient and consistent, and your chest will grow

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