What exercises work best for your chest?
We’re all guilty of using wrong exercise or wrong workout for our main muscle groups. So we are going to provide you with the top 10 exercises for each of your 10 major muscle groups to ensure that you get the most out of your workout.
And we are going to do it in 10 separate posts, over the course of a month. One post for each muscle group. The muscle groups we’ll be covering are – Chest, Abs, Back, Glutes/Buttock, Hamstrings, Upper arms, Thighs, Waist, Hips and Shoulders. So today lets look at the 10 best exercises for chest.
1. Barbell Bench Press
Considered to be the most basic and yet it’s the best, most effective chest exercise. It is the ideal chest training exercise for all muscle fitness workout enthusiasts. Barbell bench press works on the chest, triceps, deltoids and lat muscles. With wide grip, barbell bench press works most on the chest muscles while a narrower grip works on the triceps.
Using heavy weights with fewer reps is perfect for muscle gain, while lighter weights with higher reps are perfect for strength.
2. Incline Barbell Bench Press
Incline barbell bench press works mainly on the upper part of the chest muscles and as a secondary function it works on the front part of shoulders. This exercise is very effective as it helps in developing the upper and middle chest muscles. This exercise can also be performed using dumbbells, smith machine, or by varying the grip.
This is the most effective chest exercise after bench press of course. If you have a 3 or 4 set routine for your chest, this would be the alternative exercise you would want to use.
3. Dumbbell Bench Press
Why dumbbell bench press? Because its very similar to bench press, with the only difference being that here we use dumbbells instead of barbell. It is a great chest exercise in gaining muscle and definition. Apart from the chest, it also works on the triceps as the barbell bench press.
The benefit with dumbbell bench press is that the weight lifted with dumbbells is balanced equally on both sides.
4. Incline Dumbbell Press
Again incline dumbbell press is similar to barbell incline press with the only difference being that the chest exercise is performed using dumbbells. It works the upper chest. Incline dumbbell press is recommended because using dumbbells allows the weight to be equally distributed in both arms.
5. Push Ups
Push Ups is a very effective chest exercise. Recommended by all trainers. Biggest advantage; It can be performed in a gym, home or outdoors and even an office. It works on chest and triceps. With hands wider, it works on chest while if you narrow your hands, it works on triceps. While the bench press is a great alternative, most of us don’t lift as much weight in the bench press as we do in the push-up.
The push-up is considered to be the best – pound for pound, kg for kg exercise. In one study, found that 66.8 per cent of total body weight is lifted in a full push-up. So if you weigh, around 65kg, that means you’ll be lifting 43kg, which is probably more than you would normally attempt in a bench press.
Performed as a warm-up exercise and it can also be used as a finishing exercise to fully pump the chest muscle.
6. Dumbbell Pull Over
One of the most effective chest exercises, simply because it works on the whole chest. With dumbbell pull over its not about the weight you are lifting but rather it is about how much you can stretch. Stretching part has more emphasis in this chest exercise than weights.
Dumbbell Pull Over works on overall chest and triceps as well. It is a very effective exercise and usually done as a last exercise on your full set.
7. Dumbbell Flyes
This exercise can be performed using dumbbells on flat, incline or decline bench. It depends on how you have structured your sets for your chest exercise. Dumbbell flyes emphasize the centre line area between the pecs and works the pectoral muscles of chest. This is a good chest exercise, one because it helps to give that sexy defined shape to the chest and second dumbbells allow you to fully work the chest equally from both sides.
8. Cable Crossover
The cable crossover is great for adding variety. Just to mix it up throw in a random workout, but this exercise is usually employed as part of a body part split having already completed say a bench press. The cable crossover target the chest muscles, this pieces of equipment (cable crossover) has unique properties.
When in doubt, go with cable crossover over any machine, cable crossover allow for a more freestyle motion, which greatly increases your likelihood of avoiding imbalances, untidy lifting techniques, and a greater overall body awareness of the muscles being used.
9. Decline Chest Press
As the name suggests Decline Chest Press is performed on a declined bench. It can be performed with both barbell and dumbbell (not at the same time of course:-o). Decline Chest Press works on the lower pectoral muscles of the chest. The exercise focuses on the chest more than it’s flat or incline counterparts.
You need to do the decline barbell bench press if you are looking to increase the size and strength to your upper torso.
10. Chest Dips
Chest Dips is the exercise for chest performed on a dip bar. It works the lower chest area. It is one of the most efficient exercises for both chest and triceps. A properly executed chest dip not only works your chest, but also involves most of the upper body pushing muscles as well.
The chest dips is one of the most important free-weights exercises when emphasizing the pectoralis muscles. Contributing to an appealing physique, dips make your upper body significantly stronger. Chest Dips has greater overall strength training potential.