Does your chest resemble a sheet of plywood instead of the mountains of muscle you have always wanted? Do you spend countless hours on the bench press with no gains in size? Have you started to think that you were just not meant to have a big chest? Well, stop right there, you’re wrong.
Working out the chest means working out the pectoral muscles, better known as the “pecs.” While the pecs are the largest muscles in the chest, there are actually several smaller muscles that support the pectoral muscles, including the latissimus dorsi muscles (or “lats”) on the sides of the chest and the trapezius muscle around the shoulders.
Here’s a look at 10 best and ultimate chest exercises to build your strength and size while helping support your overall daily movement.
10 Best and Ultimate Chest Exercises for Building Muscles
Place your hands shoulder-width apart on the floor. Extend your arms and legs so that only the palms of your hands and the tips of your toes touch the floor. Your feet should be hip-width apart. This is the starting position. Keeping your toes and hands in contact with the ground, lower your body toward the floor, until your elbows form a 90-degree angle and your upper arms are parallel to the ground. With your elbows tucked in toward your sides, push against the floor to return to the starting position. As you move up and down, squeeze your abs and glutes to support your lower back.
Stand between two parallel bars. Place one hand on each bar and raise yourself off the floor until you are supporting your full weight on your extended arms. Lean forward slightly so your chest is at a downward angle. This is the starting position. Bend your arms to lower yourself down while maintaining your forward lean. You should get a good chest and triceps stretch as you do this. Return to the starting position by pushing against the bars. That’s one rep.
Sit in the chest press machine with your thighs parallel to the floor and your feet flat on the ground. If necessary, adjust the seat so that the hand grips are at about nipple height and your arms are parallel to the floor. Choose a relatively lightweight at first. This is the starting position. Allow the handles to move slowly back toward your body as you keep your head, back, and shoulders in contact with the bench. When your arms are as far back as they can comfortably go, push them forward until they are fully extended in front of you. That’s one rep.
You can generate the most power with barbell lifts, so the standard barbell bench allows you to move the most weight. It’s also an easier lift to control than pressing with heavy dumbbells. The exercise is easy to spot and relatively easy to learn (if not master), There are plenty of bench-press programs you can follow to increase your strength. Do it toward the start of your chest workout for heavy sets in lower rep ranges. Consider varying your grip width for more complete chest development.
Free-weight pressing moves on a flat bench are great, but the machine press has some unique benefits. For one, it’s easier to slow down the repetition, both in the concentric and eccentric phases. Stack-loaded machines are also great for quickly doing drop sets. EMG research demonstrates that the machine bench press recruits much less of the three heads of the deltoid (anterior, middle, and posterior) than free-weight variations because of a decreased need for humeral stabilization. This allows you to really target your pecs.
This exercise tasks you with squeezing a pair of dumbbells together while doing a pushup. Place two dumbbells next to each other so that they’re touching with the handles are parallel to each other. Assume a standard pushup position, grabbing a dumbbell handle with each hand. Your arms should be straight and your body should form a straight line from your ankles to your head.
When it comes to working their pecs, most guys just press. Adding the fly to your routine gives your pecs and front deltoids a new stimulus. Attach two stirrup handles to the high-pulley cables of a cable-crossover station. Grab a handle with each hand, and stand in a staggered stance in the middle of the station. Your arms should be outstretched but slightly bent. Lean forward slightly at your hips; don’t round your back.
This exercise is a stepping-stone to the coveted one-arm pushup. It develops your chest, triceps, abs, and shoulders like crazy, and teaches you to stabilize your core.
The floor press is an underrated exercise that targets the chest, core, triceps, and stabilizing shoulder muscles, which all increase power,” King says. “Plus, if you suffer from shoulder or lower back pain when you press, then this exercise is a must because being flat on the floor gives you constant feedback on whether you’re in the correct position.
When looking for a full, round chest, it’s important to hit some isolation work that really targets just the pecs, The bilateral aspect of the cable crossover allows you to strengthen your weaker side, whereas compound movements won’t always work on muscle imbalances. “For maximum definition, it’s key to place muscles under as much stress as possible.