Best Chest Exercises - Get a muscled, well-toned chest with these basic exercises
Do you want to build a massive, ripped chest but not sure which muscle building exercises you should do to make your chest grow? Your chest, or pecs, includes the pectoralis major and pectoralis minor and for maximal results should be trained from three angles, or positions including incline, flat, and decline.
Your middle chest, or pecs, respond best to stimulation on a flat bench with presses and flyes, while your upper chest muscles respond (and grow) best when stimulated at a 30 to 45 degree incline. To maintain balance and symmetry, you should also train the lower third of your chest, which responds best to exercises like decline presses and flyes.
Here is a sample muscle building chest program that your can perform to stimulate both strength and size:
- Military Push Ups. Wake up and warm up your chest muscles with old-fashioned but effective basic-training style Push Ups for at least 3 sets of 12 reps. To make your push ups more challenging perform one set with your hands placed wide, one set with your hands spaced close together and thumbs touching, and one set with hands below your shoulders.
- Barbell Bench Press. If you can only do one flat chest exercise, do this one, or the dumbbell version detailed below. Heavy and intense bench presses stimulate the greatest gains in size and strength, but do NOT require you to use weights beyond those you can control. The bench press is not the place to try to impress your friends, use a spotter or use heavy dumbbells rather than a loaded barbell.
- Dumbbell Bench Press. Use heavy dumbbell bench presses instead of or in addition to barbells. Dumbbells are safer if you are training alone without a spotter, it’s much more difficult to get trapped by a pair dumbbells as opposed to a loaded barbell, just drop them to either side. Dumbbells require greater strength to stabilize an adds stress and stimulation to any exercise you use them for and engages your core stabilizer muscles.
- Incline Press. Find or adjust your bench to an incline of 30 and 45 degrees, lean back and grab a moderately heavy barbell or pair of dumbbells and do 3 sets of 8-12 repetitions. Control the weight and stretch fully at the bottom and squeeze your chest at the top as the dumbbells move toward the center.
- Chest Dips. Dips simulate the multi-joint movement of decline bench presses while also strengthening your triceps. Chest dips require you to lean slightly forward in order to keep the tension and stimulation on your pectorals. If you need help early in your training, have a buddy support your feet behind you and provide assistance. Then progress to your own bodyweight and then weighted chest dips. Work up to 3 sets of 8-12 reps.
- More Push Ups. As a finishing exercise, do one three more sets of pushups to failure. Stretch and lower your chest slowly to a point just off the floor and hold and stretch. As you approach failure, you will feel your chest muscles stretch and you will stimulate more growth!
Do and repeat for a larger, more toned chest!