10 Best Chest Exercises for Building Muscle

10 Best Chest Exercises for Building Muscle


Chest day is one of the most exciting days for a bodybuilder in the gym. In fact, it is so popular, most lifters refer to Monday as “International chest day”. With all this rousing chatter surrounding chest exercises, today we will walk you through 10 of our favorite chest movements for maximizing muscle mass and building a hard chiseled chest. 


Before we delve into these exercises, it is extremely important to consider pairing these movements with proper technique. If your goal is to build muscle, it’s almost always better to approach your workout with slow and controlled reps. If you find your muscles struggling to grow after a while, there is a good chance you are speeding through your reps way too fast. Always remember to slow down the tempo and focus on the muscle group you are targeting. Exercise control all the way down even at the eccentric portion of the movement as this extra load will provide your chest with all the muscle-building stimulus it needs.


Okay, now that we got that covered, let’s get to the fun stuff. We’ve selected 10 of the best exercises for building a bigger chest and we also explain how to carry out each movement below. To make the best of this selection, we recommend choosing three to four chest exercises and rotating them every three to four weeks. Enjoy!


1.    Barbell Bench Press

Coming in at number 1 is the bench press. This should be no surprise as this classic exercise is a gym staple for building a strong upper body. The ability to add a heavy load on this movement has earned the bench press a reputation of being the best chest workout for building mass. 


To complete the movement, begin by lying back on the bench with both feet flat and firmly pressed into the ground. Move your shoulders back to a comfortable position, eyes even with the bar, and use an overhand grip to release the bar from the rack. With your arms a little more than shoulder-width apart fully extend your arms and slowly bring down the weight until it touches the top portion on your chest. Explode with the weight back up by pushing to the starting position. Repeat the movement as needed.


Level of difficulty: advanced

Muscles worked: chest, triceps, delts

Equipment needed: barbell, bench



2.    Push-Ups

Push-ups are one of the most versatile exercises in existence. It can be done anywhere in multiple variations. The best part about this exercise– there is no equipment required! Simply get into a plank position, lower your body until your chest touches the ground then push up and repeat.  


Level of difficulty: beginner-advanced 

Muscles worked: chest, triceps, core, delts, legs

Equipment needed: none


3.     Incline Dumbbell Press

Great for working those isolated muscles and hitting just the right angle on your upper chest. 


Set the bench at a 45o angle. Bringing both dumbbells to your chest, keep your elbows tucked, head back, and chest out to begin the movement. Push upwards until arms are almost fully extended then slowly bring the weight back down to the starting position and repeat.


Level of difficulty: Intermediate 

Muscles worked: chest, triceps, delts

Equipment needed: none


4.    Dips 

Chest dips are more effective when your legs are pushed back, and your body is leaning forward. While on the dip bar, allow your elbows to flare out as you dropdown. This releases pressure from your shoulders. 


Level of difficulty: Intermediate

Muscles worked: chest, triceps, front delts

Equipment needed: Dip bar



5.     Cable Crossover

This is another versatile exercise that can be performed from low-to-high or high-to-low. Both variations require a cable pulley machine but make for a nice stretch and an excellent workout finisher.


Keep feet staggered and shoulder-width apart. On the pulley attach D rings on both sides with the pulley set in the highest notch. Slowly push the cables down simultaneously towards the front of your chest. Avoid bending your arms throughout this movement and stick to lighter weights with higher reps.


Level of difficulty: intermediate

Muscles worked: Chest

Equipment needed: Two Pulleys



6.    Dumbbell Pullover

A classic but a goodie. Pullovers an advanced move that works your shoulders and back in conjunction with your chest. Sit back against a bench inclined to about 45o. Use a single dumbbell with both arms reaching over your head behind you and returning the weight to your chest. Be sure to avoid bending or extending your elbows.


Level of difficulty: Advanced

Muscles worked: Chest, back, delts

Equipment needed: Dumbbell



7.    Pec Fly

Chest flies are difficult to learn with dumbbells. Luckily a pec machine makes this easier. Seated on the machine grab each handle with a slight bend in your elbows pushing the handle in front of you then slowly returning to the starting position. 


Level of difficulty: Beginner

Muscles worked: Chest, delts

Equipment needed: Fly Machine



8.    Flat Dumbbell Press

The idea behind this movement is to mimic a flat barbell bench press without the bar. The dumbbells will help you build stronger isolated muscles and correct any muscular imbalances. Follow the movement of a bench press but remember to maintain your balance. 


Level of difficulty: Intermediate

Muscles worked: Chest, triceps, delts

Equipment needed: Dumbbells, bench


9.    Incline Barbell Press

Switching from dumbbells to a barbell gives more room to really build those compound muscles and out on some mass.  Follow the same steps for the dumbbell version of this exercise above. 


Level of difficulty: Intermediate

Muscles worked: Chest, triceps, delts

Equipment needed: Barbell, bench



10.Machine Decline Press

Sit down straight on facing away from the bench. Push both handles away from you either separately or simultaneously to target your lower pecs. 


Level of difficulty: Intermediate

Muscles worked: Chest, triceps, delts

Equipment needed: Machine

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