One of the key components of having the best chest workout is selecting the most effective chest exercises.
But before I can go into detail about the most effective chest exercises, I have to explain what makes up a great chest.
A great chest is composed of 4 things: Well developed and full upper pecs, outer pecs, inner pecs and mid/lower pecs.
The majority of guys over emphasize their mid/lower pecs and outer pecs from too many flat presses and dumbbell flies. This creates pecs that don’t quite look right. When they wear a shirt their lower chest sticks out while their inner and upper chest appears flat. This makes their chest look like boobs. This is the last thing you want!
As a result, I advise people to perform an equal amount or more of incline bench work vs. flat bench work. This will balance out the upper chest. Furthermore, I recommend including inner chest work into their workouts to fill out this area. This can be accomplished by doing machine flyes, close grip bench or other specific exercises.
The Best Chest Exercises For Button Popping Pecs
The following exercises outlined are the most effective exercises for working your chest.
Dumbbell and Barbell Bench Press – Flat and Incline:
These are going to be the most important exercises for building up your chest. Simply because these exercises are going to allow for constant progressive overload (lifting heavier weight over time). When you start lifting heavy weight on these lifts, you’ll notice your chest starting to fill out nicely.
When doing these movements, ensure that your shoulders are rotated back. You want to focus on pushing your chest up as high as possible, which allows you to use your chest more during the lift.When lowering the weight, bring the bar or dumbbells all the way down to your chest (the bar should actually touch the top part of your chest for incline and just below your nipples for flat). Most people stop 4 inches above their chest! This is terrible if you want to grow your chest. Your chest performs the most amount of work at the lower 1/3 portion of the lift. Once you bring the weight up past parallel your triceps take over most of the load.
Note – You can also do machine incline presses. I like to stick with free weights for the most part, but machines are a great way to mix it up. If your goal is to increase muscle size than machines bench presses are great to do at the end of your chest workout. This is because you don’t have to think about stabilizing the weight. Instead you can just focus on working your chest.
Dumbbell Flyes – Incline and Flat:
Dumbbell Flyes are a great chest exercise, because they allow for a deep stretch in the pecs. Furthermore, Dumbbell Flyes put a greater emphasis on the outer pectorals where the chest connects to the shoulder.
The one draw back of this exercise is that it doesn’t work the inner chest. This is because there is no resistance when bringing the dumbbells together. Performing this exercise on a flat bench puts more emphasis on the mid/lower pecs. Whereas doing this exercise with an incline works the upper chest more effectively.
Make sure to keep your elbows slightly bent when doing this exercise to avoid any shoulder pain. As well you want to push your chest up to really put the focus on your chest.
Cable Cross Overs are more effective than dumbbell flyes at working your inner chest. This is because there is constant resistance throughout the full range of motion.
You can perform this exercise by bringing the handles together at the bottom position (in front of your hips), in the middle position (in front of your chest) or at the high position (in front of your face). The higher position works your upper pecs more and the lower position works your mid/lower pecs more.
My absolute favorite exercise to hit my inner chest. With this exercise I like to focus on squeezing the weight together and holding for a 3-5 second count. I keep the range of motion pretty short to focus on my inner chest.
Weighted dips help build a sharp line under the chest. This is known as the ‘sweep’. This combined with a solid six pack will make girls go crazy.
This exercise will also build some extreme pressing power that will transfer over to your incline and flat bench exercises.
In the next ‘Best Workout for Chest‘ article I am going to discuss techniques you can use to add muscle quickly to your chest. This will be great for people that have trouble adding size to their chest. Check out that article here
Your Kino Question For The Day: What’s your favorite chest exercise? Which exercise do you feel works best for your chest development? Let me know in the comments below.