Deep into lockdown, we need to keep as active as possible; home workouts provide us with the stimulus the muscles need to keep growing.

We can be creative as possible with equipment and needless to say with more choice these days we can have a great time lifting weights.

Chest exercises for mass

Do you want chest building exercises for superhero size pecs? Of course you do. Here’s how.

Bench Press

The bench press is the king of all upper body exercises. If you don’t bench, do you even lift, brah? This compound move targets the pecs, delts, and triceps, so it’s an excellent arm-building and shirt filling exercise!

  • Grab a flat gym bench and an Olympic size bar. When performing at home, a power rack is seriously advisable, especially if you have no one to spot you.
  • Unrack the bar and engage the chest muscles with a slow, 2 – 3-second tempo down. At this pace, the muscles spend more time under tension.
  • Finish the move with a smooth explosive press up.
  • The slow tempo helps with the growth of muscles, so don’t bang out the reps.

Barbell Bench Press

Why the bench press is great

  1. Compound moves are best for strengthening muscles. Rule one! Think compound.
  2. Adds great thickness and shape to the pecs. Size matters in this after all. Waste no time and go big on chest exercises –  the bigger the better I say.
  3. Will add strength to the secondary muscle groups.
  4. The press will help with posture and make the chest wall thicker. Be proud and stand tall.

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Incline Dumbbell Bench Press

Variety is the spice of life, right?

Training with a barbell on flat, incline, and decline can become a bit of a chore. A simple way to combat this and keep things fresh is to use dumbbells instead. The incline dumbbell bench press hits the upper chest and helps with posture while adding killer depth to the pec: always think the thicker, the better.

  • Set a bench on an incline setting (30 – 45 degrees)
  • Grab a set of dumbbells.
  • Explode up and squeeze the chest at the top of the move
  • Lower back down in a slow and controlled manner for 2 – 3 seconds.
  • Use a cheeky twist on the dumbbell to twist and tear muscles fibres to make them grow back bigger, stronger, bolder.

Why the incline dumbbell chest press is great

  1. Moving away from the standard flat bench and barbell bench keeps the muscles guessing and growing.
  2. The single stimulus on each pec muscle will help build both strength and mass.
  3. It allows independent training to work on imbalances – essential for those looking to compete in bodybuilding.


  • Sets: 4
  • Reps: 15
  • Rest: 60 seconds
  • Equipment: dip bars, weight bench

Dips baby, yeah!

Dips are what I can an absolute banger of an exercise. Why? Well, I can feel the deepness of the exercise. It burns and I get a massive chest pump.

Dip bars are best, however, tricep bench dips are also fantastic (and are also a little easier).

  • Make sure you use the full range of movement to maximize the exercise and give you the chance to build that mass.
  • 90-degree angle is best
  • Control the movement with your head up, this will help keep a soft spine.

Why dips are bangers of an exercise

  1. Great bodyweight exercise for strength.
  2. Perform whenever and wherever. Check out our Triceps Bench Dips guide for tips on how to do this with a bench.
  3. Use as a finisher to kill of the muscles.

Treat them as a close friend, higher rep range is best to destroy the fibres. 4 sets 15 reps.

Shoulder Exercises For Mass

Overhead press

  • Sets: 4
  • Reps: 8 (80% 1RM)
  • Rest: 90 – 120 seconds
  • Equipment: barbell or dumbbells, weight plates

The overhead press is easy and effective. It’s a compound lift, right? So it does what it says on the tin, it makes you strong.

Although this killer compound move primarily targets the shoulders, it will also improve core stability and strengthen the lower back. Dumbbells or a barbell can be used for this exercise – the choice is up to you.

  • Start with the bar below the chin and smash it to bits on the way up.
  • Try and not overextend and press straight up above the head.
  • Never learn back, if you do then you’ve gone too heavy.
  • Tempo again is key with any lift. 2-3 second negative per rep.

Why is it a great exercise

  1. It’s a push exercise that helps with overall upper body strength.
  2. Can be done with a variety of equipment.
  3. Boulder shoulders.

Seated Arnold press

  • Sets: 4
  • Reps: 6 – 8
  • Rest: 90 – 120 seconds
  • Equipment: weight bench, dumbbells

We know him, we love him, and any exercise named after someone that sticks is worth doing.

  • The seated Arnold press is to be done on an upright bench.
  • Support the back, and using a full rotation of the shoulders you’ll hit anterior, lateral and rear deltoids.
  • Don’t give too much heat on these, Start with the dumbbells in front of you at shoulder height and with full rotation lift above the head.
  • Be stable in the chair with a smooth action down to the start position.

Why Arnold?

  • If it works for him, then it works for all of us.
  • Hits every single millimetre of them shoulders.
  • Adds strength to the shoulders.

My last words of the Arnold press: It will give you superhero shoulders and wedge you out, the story ends there.

Lateral Dumbbell Raise

Lateral raise 

  • Sets: 4
  • Reps: 15 (65% 1RM)
  • Rest: 45 – 60 seconds
  • Equipment: dumbbells

The lateral raise the only isolation exercise on this list. I like finishers in my computer games and I like them in my workouts, too.

Isolation exercises are done to give you shape. We want shape and definition, that’s why we lift. It will give you strength and health benefits, but also the look of a superhero.

  • Stand tall
  • Keep your head up and with a set of irons in each hand
  • Remain solid in the core
  • Grip tightly and slowly raise the dumbbells up until parallel with the shoulders.
  • Lower back down in the same fashion – remember, we lift weights, we don’t swing them.

Why the lateral raise?

  1. Turns shoulders into cannonballs.
  2. Isolation exercises help shape muscles.
  3. Use to finish off the workout. Job done.

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The total chest and shoulder workout for mass

Here is a recap of the entire workout:

  1. Barbell bench press: 4 sets of 6-8 reps
  2. Incline dumbbell bench press: 3 sets of 10 – 12 reps
  3. Dips: 4 sets of 15 reps
  4. Overhead press: 4 sets of 8 reps
  5. Seated Arnold press: 4 sets of 6 – 8 reps
  6. Lateral dumbbell raises: 4 sets of 15 reps

Put the weights back in an orderly fashion. Lock the garage door and go have a good refuel.

Final Words

Exercise in lockdown doesn’t have to be limited to just a few exercises. We can push ourselves to build a better version of ourselves. If in a gym, a park or at home, stick to tempo, rep range and sets. The mass will come.

Maybe try to Group exercises together, try a superset or two to supersize the muscles and build a superhero physique. This keeps the body on its toes and ready for action. The gym world is a world full of possibilities. Hire a car or drive your own car and never miss an opportunity to workout in the closest gym.

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Matthew Varney

Matthew Varney

Matthew Varney is a qualified personal trainer with over 9 years' fitness industry experience. With a wide range of clients who he trains either one to one or in groups, Matthew is a passionate professional who gets results. If he's not in the gym or out running, he's keeping himself busy writing about health and fitness.

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