7 Exercises To Get Pecs Like John Brown

John Brown is an American bodybuilder and a two-time recipient of the Mr. Universe title, winning it consecutively in 1981 and 1982.

Brown’s legacy continues to echo in the bodybuilding world today. While people look to try new, trendy exercises, we often forget simplicity. In a world like today’s, John Brown’s motto speaks volumes.

“My motto was to outwork everybody,” Brown said. “I concentrated on outworking everybody on the planet, period. No one, nobody would ever outwork me. I promised myself that. My work ethic was the key. I wanted to be number one. I knew everybody’s stats. I knew their size; I knew how strong they were. I knew how much they worked out.”

He continued:

“I knew everything about my opponent. And I doubled it. Because I didn’t want to compete. I wanted to walk on stage, and they look at me and go, ‘Okay, it’s obvious, that’s the winner, you can stand to the side, now let these other guys compete.’ I didn’t want to compete. I was trained to annihilate these guys.”

Best Exercises To Get Pecs Like John Brown’s

Brown’s strongest aspect was his consistency and his unending desire to win. It’s that dedication that has crafted such an iconic physique. If you’re trying to build a Mr. Universe-level chest like Brown’s, here are seven incredible barbell exercises that can help you do so:

1) Barbell Bench Press

The Barbell bench press is the primary compound lift that trains your chest, shoulders and triceps. It predominantly targets your pectoral muscles and is crucial in building a strong chest like John Brown’s.

The use of a barbell allows you to add extreme loads, resulting in muscular overload, which builds muscle. The barbell bench press increases shoulder strength, aids in muscular hypertrophy, strengthens your shoulders and also engages your triceps.

It’s a great exercise to add to your workout regime if you need to hit all three muscles at once.

2) Dumbbell Bench Press

The Dumbbell Bench press is another variant of the barbell bench press. However, the usage of dumbbells makes this exercise slightly different. The Dumbbell Bench press allows for far better muscle fiber recruitment, as it engages more muscles than the barbell variant.

Another advantage this exercise has over the barbell bench press is that it’s a unilateral exercise, which means it allows you to focus on each side of your chest individually, leaving no room for your dominant side to compensate for your weaker side’s lack of strength.

On paper, it may seem like a bilateral exercise, especially because both arms and the entire chest are engaged together, rather than at once. However, the arms are independent of each other and work separately to target their respective sides.

3) Decline Bench Press

The decline bench press is another variation of the bench press. It can be performed either with a barbell or dumbbells. The Decline press allows you to focus on the underside of your chest, a body part that remains neglected in other chest-focused exercises.

The decline bench press also offers the best range of motion and muscle contraction, something which its incline and flat bench variants cannot compare to. To build an overall strong chest like John Brown’s, you must train your chest completely and consistently.

4) Cable Flyes

Flyes are the key to building a strong, muscular chest. Flyes target your muscles, which remain largely untrained during compound lifts. Cable Flyes offer the best contraction and are the most conducive for muscular hypertrophy of the pectoralis.

5) Dips

Most bodybuilders swear by dips. They believe it to be the greatest exercise for putting on mass. Dips offer an extremely deep range of motion, alongside great functionality and versatility.

Dips target your chest, shoulders and triceps. They use your core for stabilization of the body and help in blowing up your chest while making you incredibly strong and muscular.

6) Dumbbell Pull-Overs

Dumbbell pull-overs are a greatly underrated exercise in targeting your pectoral region. It predominantly targets your chest but also engages your lats, making it a great upper body option as well.

While the positioning of the weight may seem a little awkward to begin with, it’s advisable to start light and work your way up to a heavier weight.

7) Push-Ups

You can’t have a chest exercise list without the greatest chest exercise. Push-ups are the best exercise you can do in the gym, whether you’re a beginner or an IFBB pro.

They provide incredible muscle contraction and come in different forms and styles. You can change your positioning to target different regions of your chest, and even adjust the incline/decline levels to target your upper and lower chest.

Performing push-ups along with other weight training exercises will help you get a massive evened-out chest like John Brown’s.


Being a legendary bodybuilder like John Brown is no joke. You need years of consistency and dedication, along with a winning mentality and the mindset to succeed.

John Brown started when he was young and stayed consistent till his later years in life. It was this consistency and dedication that built his incredible chest muscles, amongst his other features. If you’re just starting out, stay consistent, lift, rest, recover, eat right, and in a few years, you’ll thank yourself.

Q. How often do you train chest?

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