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The Finest Chest Exercises for Muscle Mass, Energy, and Extra

The Finest Chest Exercises for Muscle Mass, Energy, and Extra

The Best Chest Workouts for Muscle Mass, Strength, and More

A well-developed chest is a calling card of lifters who’ve spent months, if not years, devoted to laborious coaching. From lifters bench urgent jaw-dropping weight and bodybuilders hitting the traditional “aspect chest” pose to newbies studying tips on how to do a push-up, chest coaching has at all times been a excessive precedence for anybody seeking to construct muscle or check their energy.

Whether or not you’ve restricted tools at house, entry to a completely stocked business gymnasium, or no tools in any respect, yow will discover an efficient chest exercise to ship the outcomes you’re after. Have a look, select your purpose, and get coaching.

The Finest Chest Exercises

  • Finest Chest Exercise With Dumbbells
  • Finest Body weight Chest Exercise 
  • Finest Chest Exercise for Muscle Mass
  • Finest Chest Exercise for Energy

Finest Chest Exercise With Dumbbells

Not all lifters have the chance to coach in a business gymnasium and have turned to coaching in a house gymnasium with no matter tools they’ll put collectively. Coaching at house can have some incomparable advantages. It’s open 24 hours a day day by day of the yr, the music isn’t grating, and the costume code is extra lenient than most public gyms to the purpose of being fully elective should you’re into that type of factor.

The most important compromise with a house gymnasium is usually an absence of choices since tools should be prioritized to accommodate restricted flooring house. House lifters ought to outfit their coaching space with the fundamentals, and sometimes forgo a number of benches devoted to particular angles, outsized cable machines with a number of pulleys, and all types of standalone single-purpose machines for flyes or presses.

Credit score: Srdjan Randjelovic / Shutterstock

Happily, so long as you’ve a primary bench and an adjustable dumbbell set or a number of pairs of dumbbells, you may at all times prepare your chest with the correct plan. And right here’s the plan to observe.

The Dumbbell-Solely Exercise

This exercise focuses on train selection and methods to extend time below stress to get essentially the most profit from restricted tools. Carry out all units of every train earlier than transferring to the subsequent train, and carry out the exercise a few times per week relying in your general coaching break up.

Single-Arm Flat Dumbbell Press

  • The best way to Do it: Lie on a flat bench as if performing an ordinary dumbbell bench press, with a dumbbell in just one hand. The only-arm factor makes this unilateral train an intense core drill whereas additionally recruiting the chest considerably.
  • Units and Reps: 3 x 6-8 per aspect
  • Relaxation time: No relaxation between sides, 45 seconds relaxation between units.

Impartial-Grip Incline Dumbbell Press

  • The best way to Do it: Set the bench to an incline angle. If the bench can not regulate, place blocks or weight plates below the ft to raise one aspect a number of inches. Preserve the palms going through one another, not going through your ft, to barely lower shoulder stress and enhance pec recruitment.
  • Units and Reps: 4 x 10-12
  • Relaxation time: 60 seconds between units.

Flat Dumbbell Press With Pause

  • The best way to Do it: Carry out the traditional flat dumbbell bench press, whereas pausing within the backside (stretched) place of every rep for 2 seconds.
  • Units and Reps: 3 x 8-10
  • Relaxation time: 60 seconds between units.

Finest Body weight Chest Exercise 

Typically having no tools to coach with is usually a blessing in disguise. It forces you to be artistic in program design, assume outdoors the field, and buckle right down to give attention to solely the best workouts.

Body weight coaching has a foul popularity for being “lesser than” coaching with free weights, but when you recognize what you’re doing and truly push your self with the correct actions, you’ll by no means name body weight coaching “straightforward” once more.

The Brutally Easy Body weight Exercise

If you consider “body weight chest train”, you consider push-ups. You may also consider dips, however technically you want dip bars for these, in order that they’re not actually a bodyweight-only train.

This exercise couldn’t be extra simple. Do 100 push-ups, irrespective of how lengthy it takes. Three to 5 days later, do 100 push-ups once more however get them carried out in much less time. It’s primary density coaching — get the identical quantity of labor carried out in much less time or do extra work in the identical period of time.

Bald man wearing headphones performing push-ups outdoors
Credit score: Jacob Lund / Shutterstock

As a result of 100 is a pleasant spherical quantity, that’s the stationary goal and also you’ll give attention to shaving down the time every session. Additionally, it’s simply kinda cool to have the ability to say, “I knocked out 100 push-ups this morning.” Knocking out 105 push-ups sounds unusual.

Essentially the most essential factor right here is that, irrespective of how fatigued you’re, you can not sacrifice type to squeeze out ugly reps. It’s 100 perfect-technique push-ups, not 36 good push-ups adopted by 64 half-reps. Every rep ought to have the chest practically touching the ground (relying in your shoulder mobility) on the backside and arms locked out on the high.


  • The best way to Do it: Help your physique in your toes and palms, together with your palms set barely outdoors shoulder-width. Whereas maintaining a straight line out of your neck to your ankles throughout every rep, bend your elbows to decrease your complete physique, and press to full lockout. To cut back shoulder joint pressure, goal your elbows extra in direction of your ft than your shoulders.
  • Units and Reps: 100 reps whole, damaged down into as many or as few units as crucial till completion.
  • Relaxation time: Relaxation as wanted. Begin a timer instantly earlier than starting the primary rep and cease the timer instantly after finishing the final rep. File the whole time and goal to enhance by one second or extra every exercise.

Finest Chest Exercise for Muscle Mass

A muscle-building chest exercise is a bodybuilder’s bread and butter. The standard lifter will reluctantly trudge by means of their leg day however channel that lack of enthusiasm into chest day, and that’s A-okay so long as they get their work carried out in every session.

Chest Day, Finest Day

This can be a time-tested, bodybuilding-style method to coaching. Attacking a physique half with a number of workouts and totally different angles, taking every set proper as much as muscular failure with high-intensity methods, and ideally getting a critical pump within the goal muscle by the tip of the session.

Bodybuilder flexing chest and arm muscles
Credit score: ALL finest health is HERE / Shutterstock

This specific exercise can standalone for a chest-only session or it may be adopted by coaching the shoulders and triceps as a part of a “pushing muscle” day. You can too get an entire higher physique exercise by coaching again instantly earlier than chest or interspersing the workouts as supersets. 


  • The best way to Do it: Start on the high place on a set of dip bars. Emphasize chest recruitment and stretch by leaning your higher physique ahead (not staying upright) as you bend your elbows and decrease so far as mobility permits. Pause briefly earlier than urgent again up.
  • Units and Reps: 3 x 8-12
  • Relaxation time: 60 seconds between units.

Pec-Deck With One-and-a-Half Reps

  • The best way to Do it: On a pec-deck machine, set the seat so your palms are gripping the handles beneath shoulder top and in-line together with your mid-chest. Carry out every set utilizing the “one and a half rep” method by decreasing the burden right into a full stretch, elevating the burden to full contraction, then decreasing the burden midway down, bringing it as much as full contraction once more, and eventually decreasing it totally. That’s counted as one full rep.
  • Units and Reps: 4 x 8-10
  • Relaxation time: No relaxation earlier than transferring to the subsequent train.

Flat Barbell Bench Press

  • The best way to Do it: Take a past shoulder-width grip and decrease the bar in-line with the mid-chest. If shoulder mobility permits, contact the bar to your chest briefly earlier than urgent upwards. Remember that the earlier train can have pre-exhausted the chest muscle tissue and so they’re starting this train already fatigued. Select an applicable weight and use a spotter if potential.
  • Units and Reps: 4 x 8-12
  • Relaxation time: 90 seconds relaxation earlier than returning to the earlier train.

Smith Machine Incline Press

  • The best way to Do it: Place a 30 or 45-degree incline bench below a Smith machine so the bar is lined up together with your higher chest/collarbone space. Grip the bar barely wider than the flat barbell bench press grip. Carry out repetitions easily with no pause at lockout or within the stretch place, bringing the bar to a minimum of chin-level on the backside.
  • Units and Reps: 3 x 12-15
  • Relaxation time: 45 seconds between units.

Finest Chest Exercise For Energy

“How a lot ‘ya bench?” may as properly be gym-speak for “Hello, how are you?” It’s requested as usually and it’s answered as actually. Everybody’s at all times “superb, thanks” and everybody at all times benches “round 300.”

Whatever the questionable popularity as an ego carry, the bench press is a real evaluation of higher physique urgent energy. Constructing a powerful and highly effective chest is, has, and can at all times be a precedence for many devoted lifters. Right here’s a easy and efficient plan to construct critical urgent energy.

The Greater Bench Plan

A chest-focused energy exercise will, appropriately, be centered across the flat barbell bench press. It’s one of many traditional “large three” powerlifts for a cause, as a result of it’s one of many only a few methods to maneuver important weight with an higher physique press.

Hand holding a barbell loaded with very heavy weights
Credit score: sportpoint / Shutterstock

The once-a-week exercise makes use of science-based explosive coaching, generally known as “post-activation potentiation”, to enhance energy output on the bench press, adopted by particular accent workouts to construct energy within the chest and urgent muscle tissue. (1)(2)(3)

Plyometric Push-up

  • The best way to Do it: From a primary push-up place (palms and toes touching the bottom, with a straight line from neck to ankles), descend below management to the underside place and explode upwards with most pressure. The palms ought to go away the bottom briefly. Catch your self and pause on the high earlier than performing the subsequent rep.
  • Units and Reps: 5 x 5
  • Relaxation time: 60 seconds earlier than transferring to the subsequent train.

Flat Barbell Bench Press

  • The best way to Do it: Take a past shoulder-width grip and decrease the bar in-line with the mid-chest. If shoulder mobility permits, contact the bar to your chest briefly earlier than urgent upwards. Pause at full lockout briefly earlier than decreasing the bar below management.
  • Units and Reps: 5 x 3
  • Relaxation time: Three minutes earlier than returning to the primary train.

Ground Press

  • The best way to Do it: Lie on the ground with a bar set in a rack at arms size above your head. Preserve the legs straight all through the set. Unrack the bar and decrease below management till your elbows delicately contact the bottom (don’t slam the burden down). Pause with the elbows on the bottom for one second earlier than urgent to full lockout.
  • Units and Reps: 4 x 4-6
  • Relaxation time: Three minutes between units.


  • The best way to Do it: Start on the high place on a set of dip bars. Bend your elbows and decrease to the underside of the rep. The torso could also be barely upright through the motion to contain the chest, shoulders, and triceps. Pause briefly earlier than urgent again up. Improve resistance with a weight belt, weighted vest, or by squeezing a dumbbell between your thighs above your knees.
  • Units and Reps: 4 x 6-8
  • Relaxation time: Two minutes between units.

The Chest Muscle tissues

Many lifters design chest exercises with the intention of coaching “all elements of the chest”. That method can definitely be efficient, but it surely first requires realizing precisely what does, and what doesn’t, make up “all elements of the chest.” Right here’s a fast and helpful lesson in useful anatomy.

Pectoralis Main

The pec main is the muscle everybody merely refers to as “the chest”. It’s the massive chunk of muscle on the higher torso, above the abs and beneath the neck. Widespread bodybuilding lore says the physique half is split into the “higher chest”, “mid chest”, “decrease chest”, “interior chest” and “outer chest”, whereas claiming every part might be focused by particular workouts. That is flawed. Or a minimum of, it’s an enormous misinterpretation of how the physique really works.

Diagram of the human body focusing on the chest muscle
Credit score: Magic mine / Shutterstock

The pec main is one muscle, similar to the biceps are one muscle. Nonetheless, similar to the biceps embrace a number of heads which might be recruited in a different way to contribute to barely totally different general development, the pec main accommodates two heads — the sternocostal and the clavicular.

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The sternocostal head is chargeable for the overwhelming majority of motion and is recruited in all urgent workouts. The clavicular head is the area generally known as “higher chest” and has been proven to be recruited extra effectively with workouts carried out at a 30 or 45-degree incline. (4) (5).

So, anatomically talking, there’s “the higher chest” and “the remainder of the chest”. The vast majority of workouts will work each heads, whereas inclined workouts prioritize the higher chest, and anybody who talks about focusing on the “interior chest” or “outer-lower chest sweep” isn’t actually speaking about coaching the human physique.

Pectoralis Minor

The pec minor lives beneath the pec main and attaches to the scapula (shoulder blade) to play a job in scapular motion. It’s concerned in practically each chest train, however is particularly referred to as into motion when the scapulae transfer ahead, resembling throughout a push-up or chest press train.

As a consequence of its comparatively small measurement, location, and performance, it’s not more likely to expertise important (or seen) muscle development however serves a useful function for general joint perform and well being.

Serratus Anterior

The serratus anterior is the finger-like cluster of muscle tissue barely beneath the chest, alongside the aspect of the ribs. Much like the pec minor, they connect to the scapulae and play a job in scapular motion, stability, and well being. (6) The serratus can be concerned throughout chest urgent workouts, significantly towards the lockout place when/if the scapulae are allowed to “flex” ahead (protraction).

Serratus muscle development is minimal, however when the muscle tissue are developed, and significantly when accompanied by low physique fats, they could be a noticeable addition to a formidable physique.

A Chest Heat-Up is Important

Regardless of your purpose or coaching plan, a particular chest warm-up might help to enhance general efficiency and cut back the chance of harm. Pec tears, shoulder strains, and extreme elbow stress can happen when poorly deliberate exercises mix with insufficient warm-ups.

Man in gym holding injured chest muscle
Credit score: MDV Edwards / Shutterstock

An intensive and efficient warm-up might be time-efficient with out compromising on advantages. Seize a resistance band and use this fast circuit to start out any chest session.

The Full Chest Heat-Up Circuit

  • Gradual Push-up Plus: Carry out a primary push-up taking two seconds to decrease your physique and two seconds to press up. When your arms are locked on the high of every rep, proceed “urgent” to achieve the shoulder blades in direction of the bottom earlier than performing the subsequent rep (this added vary of movement is the “plus” a part of a “push-up plus”). Do three repetitions earlier than transferring instantly to the subsequent train.
  • Push-up Plank Shoulder Faucet: From the highest of a push-up place, unfold your ft barely wider for help and alternate touching every shoulder with the other hand. Carry out 10 reps whole, alternating every hand, earlier than transferring instantly to the subsequent train.
  • Band Pull-Aside: Take a resistance band with a palms-down grip, holding the band at arms-length in entrance of your physique. Preserving a slight bend in your elbows, pull each palms again to carry out a reverse flye motion together with your shoulders and higher again till the band touches your chest. Return to the beginning place below management. Carry out 10 reps earlier than repeating the primary train. Do a complete of 4 units of the whole circuit.

Highly effective, Excessive-Efficiency Pecs

Whether or not you need to bench press a motorbike, construct a beach-worthy physique, or simply get a terrific exercise at house or on the highway, you’re now armed with loads of choices to coach what’s arguably the preferred physique half within the gymnasium. Simply make sure to observe a well-designed plan and by no means let your ego write checks your joints can’t money.


  1. Krzysztofik, M., & Wilk, M. (2020). The Results of Plyometric Conditioning on Submit-Activation Bench Press Efficiency. Journal of human kinetics, 74, 99–108. 
  2. G, Parstorfer M. Results of Plyometric Versus Concentric and Eccentric Conditioning Contractions on Higher-Physique Postactivation Potentiation. Int J Sports activities Physiol Carry out. 2017 Jul;12(6):736-741. doi: 10.1123/ijspp.2016-0278. Epub 2016 Oct 13. PMID: 27736266.
  3. Clark, Ross A1,3; Humphries, Brendan2; Hohmann, Erik3,4; Bryant, Adam L1 The Affect of Variable Vary of Movement Coaching on Neuromuscular Efficiency and Management of Exterior Masses, Journal of Energy and Conditioning Analysis: March 2011 – Quantity 25 – Situation 3 – p 704-711 doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181c6a0ff
  4. Lauver JD, Cayot TE, Scheuermann BW. Affect of bench angle on higher extremity muscular activation throughout bench press train. Eur J Sport Sci. 2016;16(3):309-16. doi: 10.1080/17461391.2015.1022605. Epub 2015 Mar 23. PMID: 25799093.
  5. Rodríguez-Ridao, D., Antequera-Vique, J. A., Martín-Fuentes, I., & Muyor, J. M. (2020). Impact of 5 Bench Inclinations on the Electromyographic Exercise of the Pectoralis Main, Anterior Deltoid, and Triceps Brachii through the Bench Press Train. Worldwide journal of environmental analysis and public well being, 17(19), 7339.
  6. Castelein B, Cagnie B, Parlevliet T, Cools A. Serratus anterior or pectoralis minor: Which muscle has the higher hand throughout protraction workouts? Man Ther. 2016 Apr;22:158-64. doi: 10.1016/j.math.2015.12.002. Epub 2015 Dec 22. PMID: 26749459.

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