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

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A well-developed chest is a calling card of lifters who’ve spent months, if not years, devoted to onerous coaching. From lifters bench urgent jaw-dropping weight and bodybuilders hitting the traditional “facet chest” pose to rookies studying methods to do a push-up, chest coaching has all the time been a excessive precedence for anybody seeking to construct muscle or take a look at their power.

Whether or not you have got restricted tools at residence, entry to a completely stocked business health club, 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 objective, 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 Power

Finest Chest Exercise With Dumbbells

Not all lifters have the chance to coach in a business health club and have turned to coaching in a house health club with no matter tools they will put collectively. Coaching at residence can have some incomparable advantages. It’s open 24 hours a day every single 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 solely optionally available in case you’re into that type of factor.

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The largest compromise with a house health club is often an absence of choices since tools should be prioritized to accommodate restricted flooring house. Residence 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 kinds of standalone single-purpose machines for flyes or presses.

Credit score: Srdjan Randjelovic / Shutterstock

Fortuitously, so long as you have got a fundamental bench and an adjustable dumbbell set or a number of pairs of dumbbells, you may all the time practice your chest with the appropriate plan. And right here’s the plan to comply with.

The Dumbbell-Solely Exercise

This exercise focuses on train selection and strategies to extend time beneath pressure to get probably the most profit from restricted tools. Carry out all units of every train earlier than transferring to the following train, and carry out the exercise a few times per week relying in your general coaching cut up.

Single-Arm Flat Dumbbell Press

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

Impartial-Grip Incline Dumbbell Press

  • How you can Do it: Set the bench to an incline angle. If the bench can not regulate, place blocks or weight plates beneath the ft to raise one facet a number of inches. Maintain the fingers dealing with one another, not dealing with your ft, to barely lower shoulder stress and improve pec recruitment.
  • Units and Reps: 4 x 10-12
  • Relaxation time: 60 seconds between units.

Flat Dumbbell Press With Pause

  • How you can 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 

Generally having no tools to coach with is usually a blessing in disguise. It forces you to be inventive in program design, suppose outdoors the field, and buckle all the way down to concentrate on solely the simplest workout routines.

Body weight coaching has a foul repute for being “lesser than” coaching with free weights, but when you realize what you’re doing and truly push your self with the appropriate 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 really 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 finished in much less time. It’s fundamental density coaching — get the identical quantity of labor finished in much less time or do extra work in the identical period of time.

Bald man wearing headphones performing push-ups outdoors
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As a result of 100 is a pleasant spherical quantity, that’s the stationary goal and also you’ll concentrate on 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 important aspect right here is that, irrespective of how fatigued you might be, you can not sacrifice kind to squeeze out ugly reps. It’s 100 perfect-technique push-ups, not 36 excellent 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.


  • How you can Do it: Assist your physique in your toes and fingers, together with your fingers set barely outdoors shoulder-width. Whereas preserving a straight line out of your neck to your ankles throughout every rep, bend your elbows to decrease your whole physique, and press to full lockout. To cut back shoulder joint pressure, purpose your elbows extra in direction of your ft than your shoulders.
  • Units and Reps: 100 reps complete, damaged down into as many or as few units as mandatory 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 overall time and purpose 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 everyday lifter will reluctantly trudge by their leg day however channel that lack of enthusiasm into chest day, and that’s A-okay so long as they get their work finished in every session.

Chest Day, Finest Day

This can be a time-tested, bodybuilding-style strategy to coaching. Attacking a physique half with a number of workout routines and completely different angles, taking every set proper as much as muscular failure with high-intensity strategies, and ideally getting a severe pump within the goal muscle by the top of the session.

Bodybuilder flexing chest and arm muscles
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This explicit 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 may also get a whole higher physique exercise by coaching again instantly earlier than chest or interspersing the workout routines as supersets. 


  • How you can 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

  • How you can Do it: On a pec-deck machine, set the seat so your fingers are gripping the handles under shoulder peak and in-line together with your mid-chest. Carry out every set utilizing the “one and a half rep” approach 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 absolutely. That’s counted as one full rep.
  • Units and Reps: 4 x 8-10
  • Relaxation time: No relaxation earlier than transferring to the following train.

Flat Barbell Bench Press

  • How you can 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 muscular tissues and so they’re starting this train already fatigued. Select an acceptable weight and use a spotter if attainable.
  • Units and Reps: 4 x 8-12
  • Relaxation time: 90 seconds relaxation earlier than returning to the earlier train.

Smith Machine Incline Press

  • How you can Do it: Place a 30 or 45-degree incline bench beneath 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 Power

“How a lot ‘ya bench?” would possibly as properly be gym-speak for “Hello, how are you?” It’s requested as typically and it’s answered as truthfully. Everybody’s all the time “fantastic, thanks” and everybody all the time benches “round 300.”

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

The Larger Bench Plan

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

Hand holding a barbell loaded with very heavy weights
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The once-a-week exercise makes use of science-based explosive coaching, often known as “post-activation potentiation”, to enhance energy output on the bench press, adopted by particular accent workout routines to construct power within the chest and urgent muscular tissues. (1)(2)(3)

Plyometric Push-up

  • How you can Do it: From a fundamental push-up place (fingers and toes touching the bottom, with a straight line from neck to ankles), descend beneath management to the underside place and explode upwards with most drive. The fingers ought to go away the bottom briefly. Catch your self and pause on the high earlier than performing the following rep.
  • Units and Reps: 5 x 5
  • Relaxation time: 60 seconds earlier than transferring to the following train.

Flat Barbell Bench Press

  • How you can 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 beneath management.
  • Units and Reps: 5 x 3
  • Relaxation time: Three minutes earlier than returning to the primary train.

Ground Press

  • How you can Do it: Lie on the ground with a bar set in a rack at arms size above your head. Maintain the legs straight all through the set. Unrack the bar and decrease beneath 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.


  • How you can 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 throughout 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 Muscular tissues

Many lifters design chest exercises with the intention of coaching “all elements of the chest”. That strategy can definitely be efficient, but it surely first requires understanding precisely what does, and what doesn’t, make up “all elements of the chest.” Right here’s a fast and helpful lesson in practical 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 under the neck. Frequent 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 could be focused by particular workout routines. That is unsuitable. 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. Nevertheless, similar to the biceps embody a number of heads which could be recruited in another way to contribute to barely completely different general progress, the pec main accommodates two heads — the sternocostal and the clavicular.

The sternocostal head is accountable for the overwhelming majority of motion and is recruited in all urgent workout routines. The clavicular head is the area generally known as “higher chest” and has been proven to be recruited extra effectively with workout routines finished 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 workout routines will work each heads, whereas inclined workout routines 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 known as into motion when the scapulae transfer ahead, corresponding to throughout a push-up or chest press train.

On account of its comparatively small dimension, location, and performance, it’s not more likely to expertise vital (or seen) muscle progress however serves a useful position for general joint perform and well being.

Serratus Anterior

The serratus anterior is the finger-like cluster of muscular tissues barely under the chest, alongside the facet 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 also be concerned throughout chest urgent workout routines, notably towards the lockout place when/if the scapulae are allowed to “flex” ahead (protraction).

Serratus muscle progress is minimal, however when the muscular tissues are developed, and notably when accompanied by low physique fats, they could be a noticeable addition to a powerful physique.

A Chest Heat-Up is Important

Regardless of your objective or coaching plan, a selected chest warm-up can assist to enhance general efficiency and scale 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
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An intensive and efficient warm-up could be time-efficient with out compromising on advantages. Seize a resistance band and use this fast circuit to begin any chest session.

The Full Chest Heat-Up Circuit

  • Gradual Push-up Plus: Carry out a fundamental 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 succeed in the shoulder blades in direction of the bottom earlier than performing the following 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 following 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 complete, alternating every hand, earlier than transferring instantly to the following 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 fingers 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 beneath management. Carry out 10 reps earlier than repeating the primary train. Do a complete of 4 units of the entire circuit.

Highly effective, Excessive-Efficiency Pecs

Whether or not you need to bench press a motorbike, construct a beach-worthy physique, or simply get an awesome exercise at residence or on the highway, you’re now armed with loads of choices to coach what’s arguably the preferred physique half within the health club. Simply remember to comply with 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 Put up-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 Power and Conditioning Analysis: March 2011 – Quantity 25 – Problem 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 throughout 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 workout routines? 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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