The 1 SET Chest Workout (YES, 1 SET!)

Did you know that you can build a big chest with just a 1 set chest workout? In this video, using some of the principles preached by Mike Mentzer, I am going to show you a chest workout with dumbbells that consists of just one single set, but still has the opportunity to deliver massive results.

Get a Big Chest With Just 1 Set –
Subscribe to this channel here –

Have you ever been short on time but still needed to get in an effective workout without sacrificing potential muscle growth? Well, you’re in luck because I have put together a chest workout that consists of just a single working set that is capable of helping you to build new muscle. This workout is inspired by the principles preached by the late Mike Mentzer, who himself preached the use of limited sets while integrating high intensity effort.

A chest workout developed using Mentzer’s principles means that we are going to be in and out of the gym quickly, but in that process, we are going to be giving every last ounce of effort that we have to ensure that this one set workout is effective. So, if you want to join me on this workout, you better be prepared to give it everything you’ve got if you want to get a big chest.

Let’s take a look at the structure of this one set chest workout. First, there is going to be a warmup to get you ready and prepared for your all-out effort on your single working set. Then, there is the one set, which is actually broken up into two parts – a pre-exhaust and the working set itself. Mentzer advocated the use of a pre-exhaust set of a different exercise to greatly intensify the effort you will be giving on your working set.

In this workout to build a bigger chest, your warmup will start with a simple set of pushups. This is simply to get the wrists, elbows, and shoulders ready to be pressing in the working set and is not meant to be done for chest growth. So don’t worry about going to failure here, just focus on warming up the joints. Then you will move over to the bench to warmup the bench press using about half the weight you would in your working set. This is to make sure you’ve grooved the lift and that you are ready to put in your maximum effort when it comes time to perform your working set. If you want to build a big chest, you need to be ready to perform so as to avoid injury.

Once the warmup is finished, we head over to the cable machine to start our pre-exhaust portion of the dumbbell chest workout. My choice of exercise for the chest here is the high-to-low cable crossover. I like this exercise because of how it allows for stretch on the pecs while keeping the anterior shoulder capsule in a safe position. Mentzer advocated for a chest fly, which you certainly can do, but I prefer this exercise for safety reasons. Perform 6-10 all out effort reps, making sure that you are not ending the pre-exhaust at the first sign of fatigue.

Now that we’ve pre-exhausted the chest, it’s time for the working set. Without any rest except for transitioning from the cable machine to the bench, the dumbbell bench press is going to be performed for another 6-10 all out effort reps. To grow a big chest, you are going to have to dig deep and give everything that you got and perform the working set until failure. That doesn’t mean you stop when you get tired or the rep gets difficult, as a matter of fact, it means to push even harder. The set stops when you physically cannot perform another rep.

While not Mentzer approved, I advocate that if you chose the wrong weight and you fail before 6 reps in this chest workout, continue the set by performing a dropset.

As you can see when I perform this 1 set chest workout, I am giving everything I have to finish the set and that I am pushing myself as hard as I can with an all out effort. Mentzer believed that you could trade volume for intensity and still get the same results, even with just a single set as long as the set was taken to all out failure with the highest intensity possible.

The 1 Set Chest Workout
Warmup 1: Pushups
Warmup 2: DB Bench Press (~50% of working weight)
Pre-Exhaust: High-to-Low Cable Crossover: 1 x 6-10
Working Set: DB Bench Press: 1 x 6-10

If you haven’t tried this type of training before, I think you should give it a shot and you might be surprised by just how intense this chest workout can be, especially if you are used to training under the notion that more volume is better.

For more videos on how to get a bigger chest and workouts for the chest, be sure to subscribe to our channel here on youtube via the link above and turn on your notifications so you never miss a video when it’s published.

For a complete workout for chest and every other muscle for that matter, be sure to head to and use the program selector quiz to find the best workout program for you.