Chest Training Tips!

I recently received a request for chest training tips so here you go!

Here are my top training tips to help you maximize chest development.Side_Chest_7-1

  • Keep the frequency low:
    Train chest directly one time per week only.
  • Keep the volume low:
    6-7  total sets for chest is plenty.
  • Keep the intensity high:
    Use heavy weights in a 4-6 rep range.
  • Use basic free weight exercises as your primary movements:
    Bench Press, Incline Press and Dips are my favorite!

My favorite chest workout:

Flat Barbell Bench….2 sets 4-6 reps (After warm-up)

Incline Barbell Bench…..2 sets 4-6 reps

(Weighted) Dips……2 sets 4-6 reps

Keep these tips in mind as you execute the SYSTEM and you will be well on your way to maximizing results!


  1. Jeff …

    I started the Max OT system last month and
    Im loving it !!!

    Question – I’m following the extract chest workout
    You outlined but my gym doesn’t have a belt you
    Can add weight to to do weighted dips. I’ve been
    Doing dips with just my body weight and going
    Til failure. Any thoughts in that and or a way I can
    Add weight to my dips without a belt??

    Thanks for all the info you place on your blog
    Keep up the great work !!


    • Happy to hear you are enjoying the Max-OT program.

      Not sure how else to advise you to add weights without a belt. You could substitute a decline pressing movement like decline barbell presses instead of dips.

    • avatar
      Daniel Ferris

      Just hold a dumbbell between your feet or legs. Also make sure your center of gravity is positioned so the tension is placed on the pectorals.

  2. I pretty much live in the gym for the last few years and have spent at least 2 hours or so on my chest. Im huge everywhere else
    But my chest. I cant wait to try this work out, sounds like ive been over training!

  3. Hey Jeff,

    What do you think this leg routine:

    2 sets squats
    3 sets front squats
    2 sets stiff leg deadlifts

    The reason I put 3 sets of front squats is because in front squats you can’t cheat and if I do 3 sets back squats the third set tends to be more cheating, chest dropping too much, in front squats this can’t happen.

  4. Going back to this simple and yet very effective training method, thanks for sharing Jeff

  5. Jeff, I really enjoy training with the MAX-OT principles, and even though I’ve used other training templates in the past, I’ve never looked as good as when I did MAX-OT. I’m going to be starting to train in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, and was wondering if you think lifting 5 days a week would be too much in addition to BJJ 3-4 days a week? Would I be better off going with your 3 day lifting template and alternating that with BJJ? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

  6. Hi Jeff!

    Where could I find the training routines that Stuart followed during the documentary? It will work for a hardgainer?

    Thank you! Love your work!

  7. Hi Jeff,

    Do you think this 4 day workout is decent?

    Monday – Back & Biceps

    Deadlifts 3×4-6
    Weighted Pull-ups 2×4-6
    Barbell Rows 2×4-6
    Barbell Curls 2×4-6
    Dumbbell Curls 2×4-6

    Tuesday – Chest & Triceps

    Flat Bench Press 3×4-6
    Incline Bench Press 2×4-6
    Weighted Dips 1×4-6
    Lying Triceps Extensions 2×4-6
    Tricep Cable Pushdowns 2×4-6

    Thursday – Legs

    Squats 3×4-6
    Leg Press 2×4-6
    Stiff Leg Deadlifts 2×4-6
    Calf Raises On Leg Press 2×6-8
    Seated Calf Raises 2×6-8

    Friday – Shoulders/Traps & Abs

    Shoulder Barbell Press 3×4-6
    Side Lateral Raises 2×4-6
    Rear Lateral Raises 2×4-6
    Barbell Shrugs 2×4-6
    Cable Crunches 3×8-12
    Weighted Leg Raises 2×8-12

  8. avatar
    Ahmed Magdy

    Hello Mr. Willet hope you are ok, i just wanted to ask you about something in my triceps training i used to do skullcrushers but with a heavy weight it gave me a terrible pain in my left elbow and for 3 weeks now i can’t do any tricep exercises so what do you think about this and thanks alot for your efforts.

    Ahmed Magdy

    • Sometimes altering your execution of lying tricep extentions makes all the difference in the world. I always take the bar over my head rather than to my forehead as illustrated in my DVD’s.

      For now you have to let the area heal until you can perform tricep movements pain free.

  9. avatar
    Garrett Fincher


    I have trained Max OT in the past but felt like it was a bit too taxing on my joints to continue for more than a few months at a time. I know people have asked you time and again if you ever change up the volume and weight and your answer is always no.How do you keep your joints healthy/pain free training so heavy all of the time? Do they eventually just adapt?

    • I didn’t have much of an issue with joint pain. I think some of the keys are the over all low olume of total sets, stopping at positive failure plus the week off after every 8-10 weeks of training. In addition, great nutrition helps as well. That and the fact that you are using weights you can control with loose form along with always increasing by the smallest increments only when you can get 6 reps on your own.

      • Hey thanks for the response Jeff. Another question. When you find that you undershot your working weight(able to do more than six reps). Do you still count that set as a working set or do you adjust the weight and try for an extra set? Thanks in advance!

        • I would still count the set rather than do an extra set. Then you will have a real accurate weight for the next workout.

  10. Hi coach Jeff..
    My gym has dumbbells that go by 2.5 kg increments , I’m able to do 6 good reps (even 8 good reps) with a 32.5 kg but when moving up to a 35kg dumbbell I can only do 3 reps how do you suggest I move up in weight ? Should I do more reps until I’m strong enough to do at least 4 reps with a 35kg ?

    • If you are only getting 3 reps on your final set of an exercise that is OK. If you are struggling to barely get 3 reps on your first set with more sets to go, that is a little too heavy. Otherwise I would rather get sets of 3 than sets of 8 when looking to build muscle.

  11. Another question coach Jeff…..
    When doing barbell bench press on the last rep my lower back lifts off the bench a bit… Is that alright? Or should I do one rep less (5 reps instead of 6)???

    • Your lower back should have a natural arch but your butt should stay in contact with the bench at all times. If you have to raise off the bench you should stop at rep 5 in your example.

  12. Hi jeff. What do you think of the rowing machine for max ot cardio?

    • Rowing is no doubt a great cardio workout, my only concern is it is going to stress the upper body muscles to a degree and potentially inhibit recovery of those muscle groups.

  13. Great point thanks jeff

  14. Hey Jeff,
    Because of work and family it’s easier to get to the gym and do a full body workout with 2 days rest in between. Compound movements. Total volume would be around 50 reps per body part. Heavy, 4-6 rep range. In the gym for about an 1.5hrs. What are your thoughts on this type of training method. Also sets are to failure with 3 min rest between. Too much rest? Volume? Thanks in advance. Great stuff.

    • I think multiple full body workouts a week is too much. I think all body parts should be trained 1 time per week with basic lifts and the Max-OT principles.

  15. avatar

    Hey Jeff!
    I basically got two questions for you:
    a) How do you achieve the required intensity for hypertrophy in the Max OT system so that you always get the biggest bang for your buck?
    b) What’s your secret to develop suck a legendary side chest (and lower pecs in general)? Only dips?;)
    Looking forward to your response,
    cheers Alex!

    • A) Always strive to better your numbers each workout. When you can hit 6 good reps on the first set of a given exercise you want to increase by the smallest increment. Bettering numbers won’t always mean an increase in weights. Sometimes it could mean getting an extra week compared to the week before.

      B) Max-OT chest workouts with heavy basic lifts.

  16. avatar

    Hi Jeff.I’m sorry because i can’t speak english very good.I started the max-ot training and i love it because i can gain 12 lbs of muscle and improve my bench press and squat record up to 30 lbs in 6 weeks !!
    this is my training cycle :
    (6 weeks max ot,1 week light weight training,6 weeks blood & guts,1 week light weight training)
    and then i repeat this cycle.
    what do you think about this training cycle ?

    • I never cycled my training. I used the Max-OT principles ongoing. It is recommended to take a week off after every 8-10 weeks of Max-OT training.

  17. avatar
    Ahmed Magdy

    How r u doin’ Mr. Willet? hope u r okay, just wanna ask about training to FAILURE for long time in max-ot style, isn’t it too taxing on nervous system ??

  18. Hi Jeff,

    For more advanced lifters..would you suggest more sets? or to just keep progressing with the 7 heavy sets with using more weight? I have been lifting off and on since 1998 and probably at 85-90% of my natural genetic potential


  19. avatar

    Hi Jeff , thanks for the “must have exercises” video.
    how to do incline bench press ? on 45 degree incline ? or 30 deegree ?

  20. Hi Jeff,

    I am Alberto Quiroga from Monterrey, Mexico and I been following your site reading about all the great stuff you been sharing since I watched the documentary “I want to look like that guy”.

    I am a marathoner but at this time since that I do not have a marathon event very soon, I am focusing on getting lean mass and as you already know training for a marathon and build muscle at the same time is pretty hard.

    I have one questions regarding cardio stuff. At this time I am not training for a marathon but I am trying to keep my condition, what do you think if I keep running every Sunday for about 1 hour (no gym), do you think it can impact the build of mass lean muscle?

    By the way I am doing a diet that focus on protein, with some carbs and also following every single detail from the MAX OT-Workout principles.

    I been on the diet for about 1 month and 2 weeks, my weight is about 157 pounds and my height is 5”7”. From which week or month do you think should I start cutting some calories? What I am trying to do is kind of the same as Stuart did, but with the difference that I just want to reach his physic at the 4th month.

    Well that is it, sorry about the long message.

    Thanks in advance!!

    • Thanks for the great feedback, I appreciate it!

      I understand why you are running once a week for an hour to maintain endurance for your marathon training. Though it is not ideal from a maximum muscle building standpoint, one time a week won’t entirely kill your progress particuarly if the rest of your week is spot on AND if you follow great nutrtition post run as you would a workout.

      Generally I don’t recommend any type of nutrition change until you have established a start point with about 8 weeks of execution. Then you can skim or add calories depending upon your progress and your goals.

      • avatar
        Jose Alberto

        Thanks for the quick response Jeff. Actually in terms of nutrition I just bought the diet plan from your site so I will make sure my nutrition follows kind of the same structure and also will take your advise not to run the next Sundays and in any case I do it I will try to follow a well recovery meal after the workout.

        Thanks I really appreciate you take the time to answer, for us is an honor to get this tips, comments, suggestions in terms of building muscle from a truly expert!

        Have a good one!

  21. Hi Jeff I see this a lot over and over again people doing flat barbell press while lifting their butt off the bench (I guess to handle more weight that way) . I know you always say to keep the butt on the bench!!! Why is that?

    • The contact points you want while benching are feet on the floor, butt and upper back on the bench. Makes you more stable and safer while doing the movement. Ultimately it should help you generate more power and keep the load on the “right areas” having the contacts points in place.

  22. Jeff … Is it possible that your muscles have to catch up? I’m 2 months in to MaxOT and I’ve plateaued on flat bench press. But, I’m still making gains on the incline. Is it realistic that as I strengthen from the incline, I’ll get a boost on the flat bench? Otherwise, great routine!

    • Yes, I think it is all a process and as you continue to get stronger on some compound moves, that can positively effect other lifts too. The important thing is your trend of activity over time and to keep stringing great days of execution together.

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