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3 Chest Exercises For Skinny Guys / HARDGAINERS!

No More Excuses For Your Lagging Chest!

Posted by Scott_Herman - June 10th, 2017

If you’ve been struggling with adding size to your chest you’ve probably by now labeled yourself a HARDGAINER.  Personally, I hate this title because to me it comes across more as an excuse to give up on finding the REAL reason why you aren’t seeing muscle gains.

I mean, at the end of the day it really isn’t that hard to build muscle right?   Eat right, train hard, hydrate and sleep.  BUT, there is one thing missing from that equation and that is Mind-Muscle Connection.

You might be hitting every chest exercise in your program as hard as you can, but you may not be getting enough muscle fiber activation to spark a lot of growth.


So, since conventional training isn’t enough, we’ll have to think outside the box and come up with a way to force muscle growth and that’s using a method I call the STRETCH-FLEX-OVERLOAD.

How It Works

This method is basically a triple-set of 3 different exercises, but they’re not just randomly thrown together.  Each one serves a specific purpose in order to help spark GROWTH.  The first exercise will place the majority of the resistance during the negative when the chest is at a fully stretched position. The second exercise will place the most resistance during the peak contraction which is when the chest is fully flexed.  Then, after we pre-exhaust the chest with those two very specific movements, the third exercise is something that will place a maximum load on the entire chest when we know that the chest will be at its weakest link and do the majority of the work, rather than the triceps or the shoulders taking over the movement.

So, in a nutshell, the first two exercises will help establish a stronger mind-muscle connection and the third one will destroy the chest using as much weight as possible.

Routine Card

For this workout you guys are going to be using the following three exercises

  • Number 1: The Dumbbell Fly for the STRETCH.
  • Number 2: The Plate Press for the FLEX, where ideally you will be using 2 smaller plates instead of 1 big one, and pressing them together.
  • Number 3: Chest Dips or a Dumbbell Press for the OVERLOAD (I also recommend using a spotter if possible so you can really push yourselves to the limit).

Now let’s quickly go over PROPER form for each exercise so you guys can avoid injuries and maximize the benefits of each movement.

Dumbbell Fly

For this movement, it’s imperative that you have proper form, because that can make the difference between tearing up your shoulders, and tearing up your chest. Obviously, the key is to tear up the chest with this exercise.

To get into position, kick back and get the dumbbells in the air. When you first lay back, you want to be towards the bottom of the bench as you get your shoulders blades retracted and into position. From there, slide back and really pinch your shoulder blades together. This will put you in position so that the dumbbells are already lined up over your chest. A lot of people will forget this very important step, which means the dumbbells may travel over your shoulders, and that’s what can cause shoulder injuries.

Remember this first exercise is focusing on the STRETCH, so what you’re going to do is keep a slight bend in your elbows, and come out with your arms, bringing the dumbbells down as far as you can to really focus on that stretch in your chest. You’re then going to squeeze your chest as you bring the dumbbells back to the starting position, and repeat for 8-10 reps.

Plate Press

For this movement, you’re going to lay down the exact same way you did for the flys, with those shoulder blades retracted. However, this time you’re going to be pressing your hands together as hard as you can. If you were to stand up right now and do this, you’ll see some activation throughout your chest.

The biggest thing with this exercise is that when you press the plates together and fully extend your arms, that’s when you’re going to feel probably the biggest contraction you have ever felt in your chest. Also make sure you’re not putting your fingers through the gaps in the plates – keep your hands flat against each plate. You’re going to push the plates to the top, and bring them back down, pressing the plates together as hard as you can the entire time. Again, you will be doing 8-10 reps for this exercise.

Now I understand some of you may not be strong enough to do two plates at once, or that you may have to make too big of a jump in weight in order to stick with two plates. It is OK to use just one plate for this exercise, as long as you’re really squeezing your hands together on that plate as hard as you possibly can. However, whenever you can, use two plates, because it’s going to be even more beneficial when you have to press so hard against them in order to keep them from sliding and falling.

Dumbbell Chest Press

It should go without saying that you will probably have to use lighter weight when doing the dumbbell chest press as the third movement of this tri-set, so don’t get discouraged if you have to drop down 20lbs lighter than normal.

Once again, you’re going to do the same process as you did in the first two exercises to get yourself set up – kick the dumbbells back, then slide back on the bench to really pinch your shoulder blades together. Once in position, try to turn your elbows slightly in so that the dumbbells stay over your chest, and focus on coming out and down for a good stretch, then pushing through to the top for a good flex.

It’s 8-10 reps here as well, just make sure you’re not going too fast or too slow – just go fast enough that you feel all of those muscle fibers activating and contracting with every rep.

Alternate – Chest Dip

Chest dips are very different from tricep dips. Make sure you take a look at my video for an in-depth look at the differences. But for now, make sure you trying to lean forward when doing dips to target your chest, as opposed to keeping your chest up. I also recommend you cross your legs, and squeeze your glutes and core nice and tight to get as much power through the movement as possible.

Remember, this is an alternative to the dumbbell chest press. You will still be doing 8-10 reps if you choose this exercise. Once you have completed all three exercises, you’re going to rest for 60-90 seconds, and then complete 3 more rounds.


Now that you guys have a clear understanding of proper form for each movement, for your next chest workout you’re going to perform 4 rounds of this tri-set with only 90-120 seconds rest between rounds for a workout that lasts around 15-20 minutes. Remember, because this is a tri-set, there is NO REST between exercises, only the rounds.

Then, make sure you’re performing this workout 2 – 3 times a week MAX to make sure you’re breaking down and rebuilding the chest throughout the entire week.

Lastly, it is good to note that if you really are a hard gainer with a fast metabolism you DO NOT want to spend 1 or 2 hours in the gym for each muscle group because you’ll be wasting precious calories you need to build muscle. So the idea behind this workout is to find a way to absolutely DESTROY your chest as fast as possible.

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