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Chest Exercises

Updated on December 23, 2014

Exercising The Chest Muscles

Any guy who's trying to build muscle mass wants bigger pecs. When you increase the size of your chest muscles your body will take on a more powerful appearance. This should help you gain respect and get more attention from women.

To build muscle in your pecs you need to perform intense chest exercises as part of your weight training routine. The great thing about training your chest is that the exercises that you perform for it are usually enjoyable to do. Let's face it - most of us would rather bench than squat. You'll also get a strong pump quickly if you perform exercises for your chest properly. This makes chest workouts a favorite for most weight trainers.

If you combine compound and isolation exercises you'll build a chest that's both muscular and proportionate. You also need to hit the muscles from multiple angles (incline work as an example) to really build optimal size and strength in the pecs.

The best chest exercises are the ones that should always be part of your training routine. You may do them with free weights or machines, though free weights should make up most of your workouts - especially for beginners. Whichever form of these exercises you do, they should be done once every 5 to 7 days to build more mass and power on the chest.

Bench Presses

No chest exercises will help you build big pecs faster than the bench press. The popularity of this exercise is unparalleled and how much weight you can bench is the measure of how strong you are to most people.

There are many forms of the bench press with the flat version of the exercise being the most popular one. Unfortunately, this is the most abused of the major chest exercises. To perform the flat bench press properly you need to lie on the bench with a your feet on the floor and pull in your shoulder blades inward. This will "pop" your pecs out and put you in the proper position to lift more weight and target most of the resistance on the chest muscles when you bench.

Another chest exercise you should have as part of your routine is the incline bench press. This version of the bench press will have you lying on an inclined bench to target the upper pecs. Hitting the upper chest with this exercise will make your pec fuller and more proportionate. In fact, if your lower pecs are much more developed than your upper pecs you should start your chest workouts with incline presses so your upper chest catches up.

Another one of the top chest exercises is the decline bench press. This version of the bench is done on a declined bench to target your lower pecs. It will help build the bottom of your pecs for that separated look between your pecs and your abs.

You can do any form of the bench press with dumbbells to hit your pecs differently. Performing dumbbell bench presses will allow you to stretch deeper at the bottom of a rep and get more stabilizing muscles involved.


Another one of the best chest exercises is the dip. While mainly known as a triceps exercise, you can perform dips a bit differently to target the muscles of the chest. You have to get on a dip bar with a wide grip and tilt your body forward so this exercise targets your chest.

When you do dips for the chest you'll probably need more than just your body weight. Most gyms have belts you can put on and add weight to. These work great for getting more resistance when you do dips.


The top chest exercise for isolating the pectoral muscles is the flye. They are done by pulling resistance in each hand from a position where your arms are outstretched to a position over your body using your chest muscles. You can do flyes with dumbbells, cables, or machines.

The most popular way to do flyes is with dumbbells on a flat bench. When you do them you should keep the elbows slightly bent so you don't hyperextend your arms. You can also perform dumbbell flyes on an incline or decline bench to hit the muscles from different angles.

Cable flyes are another one of the best chest exercises to isolate your pecs. When you do flyes with cables you'll fell resistance throughout the entire rep. One great great form of the cable flyes is known as the cable crossover. To do this exercise you stand up with cable resistance in each hand in your outstretched arms and pull the weight downward in front of you and flex your pecs hard at the end of a rep.

Push Ups

The classic push up is surely one of the top chest exercises. If you don't have access to any weights you can do sets of push-ups to train the chest. Push-ups also allow for a lot of variety as you can place your feet on a higher surface to emulate incline presses and change your hand placement. Push-ups also function well for warming up the chest before a workout or finishing off a workout.

Sample Chest Workout

Bench Press - 2 to 3 sets for 8 to 10 reps

Incline Press - 2 to 3 sets for 8 to 10

Dumbbell Incline Bench - 1 to 2 sets for 10 to 12

Weighted Dips - 1 to 2 sets for 12 to 15

Push-ups - 1 set to failure

Proper Bench Press Technique


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