How to Get a Defined Chest

Chest | Strength Training 3 min Read

Written by

Keith Hansen

My cousin is 18, and still in the infancy of what will be a life time of strength training.

His journey is a familiar one for myself, and many men.

I started lifting weights for a sport (wrestling).

Then for attention from ladies (admittedly, this will always be a motivator).

Eventually I lifted for strength & the sport of strength training (olympic weightlifting, powerlifting, strongman, CrossFit).

My cousin is in the attention stage, and asked how he can develop a more defined chest.

This one is for you Drew.

The Definition of Defined

Defined is a loose term like toned.

Women use the word toned to mean having low-to-moderate levels of muscle and low levels of body fat. This will show some of the abs, the delts, and muscles of the legs.

Defined is the male version of toned and men mean they want moderate levels of muscle and low levels of bodyfat. They want to see abs, some striations in muscles like the pecs, and tear drop quads.

Here’s how you do it.

Build ’em Up

You’re going to need to build muscle first.

Imagine if Michelangelo had chiseled David from a marble pebble. It wouldn’t have been impressive.

Instead he started with a giant slab of marble, worked on it tirelessly with hammer & chisel, and eventually created a masterpiece that is celebrated as one of the greatest works of all time.

Do you see where I’m going with this?

Make sure you have built enough muscle in that chest before you consider cutting down for the reveal.

Tips for building

Obviously you need to do chest work.

Your go-to is no doubt the barbell bench press because it’s great for horizontal pushing strength, but it isn’t the best chest builder. It’s a start.

For the best chest development you will need to add isolation work.

-Hit chest 2-3 days a week
-Keep the reps at 10-20 per set with a focus on the eccentric(lowering) portion
-Start with compound lifts. Incline dumbbells are your best bet. Be sure you bring the dumbbells down low for a big stretch and press them high & together at the top.
-Finish with isolation moves. Cable flyes from high, medium, and low angles are best.

Chisel ‘Em Down

Now that you’ve created your slab of marble it’s time to give it definition. This comes from lowering your bodyfat, and that starts with getting your nutrition in check.

You need to ensure you’re getting close to 1g of protein per lb of bodyweight to spare muscle while in a deficit. We would hate to undo your hard work.

Unfortunately there is no way to target fat loss. You genetics determine where you will gain/lose fat the swiftest.

The places you gain fat first will be the places you lose it last.

Now monitor your progress with pictures.

Body Fat

You will look best between 11%-13% body fat, and if you are monitoring your pictures you will notice a trend.

Above that body fat percentage you will not have enough definition. Fat is still packed into the cuts of your muscles.

Below that body fat percentage you will lose the appearance of size.

Monitor your body fat, pictures, and reflection in the mirror to decide when you have gained the look you are after.

Looking for strength & size?

You need a Seriously Strong Training Program.

They’re free, and they will help you build that marble slab.

We’ve got one for beginners, one for intermediates, and a program for advanced strength athletes.

Keith Hansen

Keith was an All-State wrestler in high school and in 2007 hung up his singlet to attend Florida State University to pursue a B.S. in business management. He wasn't sure what industry he wanted to be involved in at the time, but soon realized after graduating in 2011 that fitness was the ever-constant activity in his life. Keith began studying to become a personal trainer and in 2013 earned the National Strength and Conditioning Association's Personal Trainer certification. After a short stint as a big box gym trainer he realized he wanted to bring something different to Tallahassee. Keith competes in Powerlifting, Olympic Weightlifting, and Crossfit.