Looking for the best for chest? You reached the right place. There are a lot of exercises that you could do on chest day. But, hey, sometimes, you just want to focus on one or two exercises to build a muscular chest. We’ve gathered some of the best chest exercises to help you get started.
While it’s possible to achieve a chest workout that’s more challenging than expected, it’s also important to remember that doing too much is not only detrimental to your body but can also lead to injury. Here are the 6 best exercises that will help you build muscle mass.
1. Barbell Bench Press:
Muscles worked: Pectoralis (primary), triceps, and deltoids (secondary).
Equipment needed: Flat bench with weight rack, barbell, and training plates.
The classic traditional bench press is one of the top strength exercises for building a massive chest. It not only builds up an aesthetic chest but also trains your upper body for strength and stability. The barbell bench press should be your no. 1 priority on the chest day. Here is why;
- It grows your chest mass and size.
- Useful in many sports e.g. swimming, climbing, etc.
- Builds upper body strength and strong pecs.
- Aids in the daily push and pull activities.
How to bench press:
Lie on a bench with your eyes straight with the bar and your back slightly bent. Hold the bar using an overhand grip just your shoulder-width apart and unrack the bar. Keeping your arms tucked, lower the bar to your chest as you breathe out. Now push the bar away from your body to the starting position. Finish your reps at the starting position and rack the bar.
Bench press alternatives:
- Incline barbell/dumbbell bench press.
- Close/wide grip bench press.
- Dumbbell bench press.
- Smith machine bench press.
- Floor press.
What does barbell bench press work?
This exercise is done lying down on a flat bench and pressing a barbell up and down at chest height. It works the pectoral muscles, shoulders, and arms.
2. Dumbbell pullover:
Muscles worked: Pectoralis, latissimus dorsi, and serratus
Equipment needed: Flat bench and a dumbbell.
Some people would argue that this exercise doesn’t belong in the top 6 list for chest exercises. Others would argue that it’s a relic that should be thrown away since it could put their shoulders at risk.
The first group is fine, while the second group is for people who have shoulder-impinging concerns. But, for those of us who have never done the pullover, it’s important to remember that doing it isn’t about the exercise itself, it’s about improving your flexibility.
How to dumbbell pullover:
Lie on a flat bench with your head supported on the bench and feet flat on the floor. Pick up a dumbbell and bring it above your face. Now lower the dumbbell slowly to the back so that your elbows come in line with your ears. Using your lats and pecs and engaging your core, pull the dumbbell up at the starting position.
Dumbbell pullover alternatives:
- Straight-Arm Cable Pulldown
- Incline Bench Rope Cable Pullover
- Seated machine pullover
What muscles does the dumbbell pullover work?
The dumbbell pullover works for muscles like latissimus dorsi, your pectoralis major, the triceps on the back of your upper arms, and the serratus muscle on the side of your rib cage.
Is pullover for chest or back?
The dumbbell pullover is a classic bodybuilding exercise that works your chest and back primarily
3. Cable fly:
Muscles worked: Pectoralis (primary), Triceps, and deltoids (secondary).
Equipment needed: Cable crossover machine.
Cable fly or cable crossover is a very famous exercise for building chest muscles. Its primary importance lies in the fact that it keeps constant tension in the chest muscles which results in more activation of the muscles.
You can also adjust the position of the pully on the machine to target specific areas of the chest. The angle of movement specifies the target area of the chest. The high position of pully targets lower pecs while the low position targets the upper pecs.
How to cable fly:
After setting desired weight on the pully, grab the cable handles and stand in a split stance position in the middle of the machine. Keep your back straight and chest up. Bend your body slightly forward.
By changing the angle of the movement, you can change the target area of the chest. If you want to target the middle region of the pecs, your line of movement should be from an arms-extended position to the front of your chest. While you can target the lower chest by changing the line of motion from chest front to hips position.
Cable fly variations:
- Resistance band crossover
- Incline bench cable fly
- Single-arm cable crossover
- Dumbbell fly
Is cable fly good for chest?
Cable chest flys are also a great way to work your pectoral muscles while sparing your joints. Chest Fly. The Cable chest fly is a great way to work your pectoral muscles while sparing your joint
What muscles do cable flyes work?
Cable crossovers target the pectoralis major muscles‘ sternal heads, found in the bottom of your chest as well as activating muscles in your shoulder and back on the other hand, standing cable crossover exercise recruits the third most muscle fibres in your chest, only behind bench press and flyes.
Muscles worked: Pecs, Triceps, Deltoids, Core muscles, Serratus anterior
Equipment needed: No equipment needed.
Levi Harrison, M.D., a fitness expert and author, noted that performing the push-up is a great way to tone the various muscles in your body. It can also help strengthen the pectoralis major and deltoids.
A plus point of the push-ups is that they do not require any special equipment. You can target different muscles of your body by simply adjusting different positions. Studies have also found that muscle activation, as well as overall gains, are similar in both push-ups and bench press.
How to push-ups:
I think it does not need a large explanation. Just make sure you are doing any mistakes. Keep your back straight and hands at shoulder-width. Your elbows should make a 90˚angle and nothing except your palms and tips of your toes should touch the ground.
- Elevated feet push-ups
- Elevated hands push-ups
- Diamond push-ups
- Suspended push-ups
- Hands-release push-ups
- Weighted push-up
- Banded push-up
What are push ups good for?
Pushups are a fast and effective exercise for building strength. They are beneficial for building upper body strength. They work the triceps, pectoral muscles, and shoulders. It also targets the lower back and core by engaging the abdominal muscles if done properly.
How many pushups should I do a day?
There is no limit for pushups, you may start with 20 push-ups and may increase them. Many people do more than 300 push-ups a day. But for an average person, even 50 to 100 push-ups should be enough to maintain a good upper body, provided it is done properly.
5. Incline chest press:
Muscles worked: Upper pecs, Triceps, Deltoids.
Equipment needed: An incline bench, Barbell/Dumbbell
This is one of the best exercises for chest workouts. It targets the upper portion of the chest and is the best exercise if you want to grow extra chest mass. It is also very helpful in building upper body strength.
So far, it has been found that the incline dumbbell bench press or barbell bench press activates maximum muscles in your chest and has proved to be very effective for growing the chest.
How to incline chest press
Incline chest press can be performed either with a barbell or a pair of dumbbells. Set the incline bench at an angle of about 30˚. Make sure your grip is about shoulder-width and your elbows make a 90˚ angle. Keep your feet flat on the floor and your shoulders packed.
Incline chest press variations:
- Incline dumbbell bench press
- Incline barbell bench press
- Smith machine incline bench press
- Incline bench cable press
Is Incline better for chest?
Many trainers agree that the incline press is safer on your pecs, shoulders, and rotator cuffs. With so many exercises to strengthen your chest, the chest press with either bench will be effective.
Why is incline bench press harder?
The incline bench press is one of the hardest bench variations because the incline reduces your ability to optimally recruit your pec muscles as a whole and it instead disproportionately places stress on the upper pecs and shoulders, putting your upper body at a disadvantage.
6. Chest dips:
Muscles worked: Pecs, Triceps, Deltoids.
Equipment needed: Dip machine.
Dips can be a classic replacement of your decline bench press for lower pecs with no need for a spotter. If you are strong enough, you can also add extra weight with a dip belt. And if you struggle with dips, you can also take the assistance of a machine or a band.
Chest dips are almost similar to triceps dips. The only difference is that you lean forward to allow maximum stretch on the chest muscles and believe me dips are the best exercise, especially for the lower chest.
How to chest dips
Lean forward on the dips machine about 30 to 40 degrees. Allow your elbows to flare out as you dip.
Chest Dips variations
- Ring dips
- Machine-assisted dips
- Banded dips
- Machine dips
Are dips good for chest?
The dip is an exercise that primarily targets your chest but it also activates the shoulders, triceps, and abdominals.
What dips are best for chest?
One of the best exercises you can perform to build the chest, triceps and shoulders, parallel bar dips train these muscles in a completely different angle and range of motion than push-ups and bench pressing