Fitness

Chest Exercises Best for Building Muscle

This isn’t a list of the hardest chest exercises. It’s focused on the best-of-the-best mass builders, with a little bit of instruction and explanation to complement each choice. You can swap exercises in your current routine for these choices, build your own chest workout with a handful of them, or just try one when your standard chest workout gets stale.

1. Barbell Bench Press

Barbell Bench Press

Bench press is a great exercise for building a powerful chest.

The bench press is one of the power exercises, known to be very effective for building body mass. Learning how to do a proper bench press is well worth the effort.

What To Do:

Do it toward the start of your chest workout for heavy sets in lower rep ranges. Consider varying your grip width for more complete chest development.

2. Flat Bench Dumbbell Press

Flat Bench Dumbbell Press chest Exercises

The main benefit of dumbbell presses, as opposed to barbell presses, is using dumbbells in this manner also allows for a greater stretch at the bottom and more efficient peak contraction at the top than a barbell press do.

Dumbbell bench presses can be performed at the three various angles and they are the flat bench version, decline, and at an incline. But, we are mainly focusing on the flat version for now.

What To Do:

Do flat dumbbell presses toward the start of your chest workout for heavy sets in lower rep ranges. We don’t typically recommend doing dumbbell presses in addition to the barbell bench press, because both moves are so similar.

3. Low-Incline Barbell Bench Press

Low Incline Barbell Bench Press chest Exercises

This develops the mass and strength of the pectoral muscles (upper and middle regions) and front deltoids. The incline angle of this press hits the upper pecs really hard. The main benefit in doing incline presses is to develop the upper portion of the pectoral muscles.

What To Do:

Many chest workouts start with flat-bench movements first, then progress to inclines, but it’s time to get out of that bad habit. Every so often, start with inclines. The benefit is that you’ll be fresher and can lift more weight, which puts a greater amount of stress on the upper pec fibers and could lead to more growth.

4. Barbell Decline Press 

Barbell Decline Press chest Exercises

The Barbell decline bench press exercise works the lower portion of the pectoral muscles and many people prefer this exercise as it offers more stability for new people to the chest exercises.

What To Do:

Do free-weight exercises first in your chest workout because they require more effort and stabilizer muscles than machines. With that in mind, this could be the last multijoint exercise in your routine.

5. Seated Machine Chest Press  

Seated Machine Press

Free-weight pressing moves on a flat bench are great, but the machine press has some unique benefits. For one, it’s easier to slow down the repetition, both in the concentric and eccentric phases. Stack-loaded machines are also great for quickly doing dropsets.

What To Do:

Again, do machine exercises at the end of your workout. For anyone looking to build mass, machines give you a greater chance to pump your pecs with minimal shoulder assistance.

6. Incline Dumbbell Press  

Incline Dumbbell Press

Dumbbell presses make everybody’s top 10 list, but with an adjustable bench you can do a number of things you can’t with a fixed bench. Our favorite: changing the angle of the incline from one set to the next, or from one workout to the next. Hitting a muscle from varying degrees of incline angles builds it more thoroughly.

What To Do:

For even crazier pumps with this exercise, try to slowly rotate the dumbbells from palms-forward to a palms-inward position during the concentric portion of the lift, really squeezing at the top. This slight change will cause you to medially rotate the upper arm, really recruiting your pec major.

7. Dips For Chest

Dips

First off, make sure you’re doing dips that emphasize the pecs: Put your feet up behind you, lean forward as far as possible, and allow your elbows to flare out as you dip. Chest dips are a great spotter-free alternative to the decline press.

If you’re strong, this lower-chest move makes a great finisher; if you’re not, you can do it earlier in your session. It makes a great superset pairing with push-ups for a big pump at the end of your workout.

8. Incline Bench Cable Fly

Cable Fly

The next time you hit the station, switch it up by wheeling an adjustable bench to the center of the rack for incline cable flyes. It’ll stimulate the fibers of your upper chest Opens a New Window. like an incline dumbbell flye, but also provide a unique stimulus because of the cable’s constant tension.

Do incline cable flyes at the end of your workout for slightly higher reps (sets of 10-12). If you’re training with a partner, do a few dropsets for some real masochistic, muscle-building fun!

Here’s a little video by the man behind Athlean X, Jeff Cavalier.

In case you want to check out about the best fat burning exercises, check here.

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