HomeExerciseThe Finest Chest Exercises for Muscle Mass, Energy, and Extra

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

A well-developed chest is a calling card of lifters who’ve spent months, if not years, devoted to laborious coaching. From lifters bench urgent jaw-dropping weight and bodybuilders hitting the traditional “facet chest” pose to inexperienced persons studying 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 may have restricted tools at residence, entry to a completely stocked business fitness center, or no tools in any respect, you could find an efficient chest exercise to ship the outcomes you’re after. Have a look, select your aim, 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 Energy

Finest Chest Exercise With Dumbbells

Not all lifters have the chance to coach in a business fitness center and have turned to coaching in a house fitness center with no matter tools they will put collectively. Coaching at residence can have some incomparable advantages. It’s open 24 hours a day day by day of the 12 months, the music isn’t grating, and the gown code is extra lenient than most public gyms to the purpose of being fully optionally available in case you’re into that kind of factor.

The most important compromise with a house fitness center is often an absence of choices since tools have to be prioritized to accommodate restricted ground area. House 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 collection of pulleys, and all kinds of standalone single-purpose machines for flyes or presses.

Muscular man in dark gym lying on bench while pressing dumbbells
Credit score: Srdjan Randjelovic / Shutterstock

Thankfully, so long as you may have a primary bench and an adjustable dumbbell set or a number of pairs of dumbbells, you possibly can all the time prepare your chest with the precise plan. And right here’s the plan to observe.

The Dumbbell-Solely Exercise

This exercise focuses on train selection and methods to extend time beneath rigidity 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 couple of times per week relying in your general coaching break up.

Single-Arm Flat Dumbbell Press

  • Easy methods to Do it: Lie on a flat bench as if performing a typical dumbbell bench press, with a dumbbell in just one hand. The only-arm ingredient 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

  • Easy methods to Do it: Set the bench to an incline angle. If the bench can’t alter, place blocks or weight plates beneath the toes to raise one facet a number of inches. Hold the fingers dealing with one another, not dealing with your toes, 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

  • Easy methods to 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 

Typically having no tools to coach with is usually a blessing in disguise. It forces you to be artistic in program design, assume exterior the field, and buckle right down to concentrate on solely the simplest workouts.

Body weight coaching has a nasty popularity for being “lesser than” coaching with free weights, but when you recognize what you’re doing and really push your self with the precise actions, you’ll by no means name body weight coaching “straightforward” once more.

The Brutally Easy Body weight Exercise

While you consider “body weight chest train”, you consider push-ups. You may additionally 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 achieved in much less time. It’s primary density coaching — get the identical quantity of labor achieved in much less time or do extra work in the identical period of time.

Bald man wearing headphones performing push-ups outdoors
Credit score: Jacob Lund / Shutterstock

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 crucial ingredient 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 good push-ups adopted by 64 half-reps. Every rep ought to have the chest almost touching the ground (relying in your shoulder mobility) on the backside and arms locked out on the high.


  • Easy methods to Do it: Help your physique in your toes and fingers, along with your fingers set barely exterior shoulder-width. Whereas holding 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 toes than your shoulders.
  • Units and Reps: 100 reps complete, damaged down into as many or as few units as needed 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. Document the entire 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 achieved in every session.

Chest Day, Finest Day

It is a time-tested, bodybuilding-style strategy to coaching. Attacking a physique half with a number of workouts and totally different angles, taking every set proper as much as muscular failure with high-intensity methods, and ideally getting a critical pump within the goal muscle by the tip of the session.

Bodybuilder flexing chest and arm muscles
Credit score: ALL finest health is HERE / Shutterstock

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 can even get an entire higher physique exercise by coaching again instantly earlier than chest or interspersing the workouts as supersets. 


  • Easy methods to 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

  • Easy methods to Do it: On a pec-deck machine, set the seat so your fingers are gripping the handles under shoulder top and in-line along with your mid-chest. Carry out every set utilizing the “one and a half rep” method by reducing the burden right into a full stretch, elevating the burden to full contraction, then reducing the burden midway down, bringing it as much as full contraction once more, and at last reducing it totally. 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

  • Easy methods to 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. Bear in mind that the earlier train can have pre-exhausted the chest muscle 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

  • Easy methods to Do it: Place a 30 or 45-degree incline bench beneath a Smith machine so the bar is lined up along 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 not less than chin-level on the backside.
  • Units and Reps: 3 x 12-15
  • Relaxation time: 45 seconds between units.

Finest Chest Exercise For Energy

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

Whatever the questionable popularity as an ego elevate, 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 critical urgent power.

The Greater 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 important weight with an higher physique press.

Hand holding a barbell loaded with very heavy weights
Credit score: sportpoint / Shutterstock

The once-a-week exercise makes use of science-based explosive coaching, generally known as “post-activation potentiation”, to enhance energy output on the bench press, adopted by particular accent workouts to construct power within the chest and urgent muscle tissues. (1)(2)(3)

Plyometric Push-up

  • Easy methods to Do it: From a primary 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

  • Easy methods to 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 reducing the bar beneath management.
  • Units and Reps: 5 x 3
  • Relaxation time: Three minutes earlier than returning to the primary train.

Ground Press

  • Easy methods to Do it: Lie on the ground with a bar set in a rack at arms size above your head. Hold 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.


  • Easy methods to 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. Enhance 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 Muscle tissue

Many lifters design chest exercises with the intention of coaching “all components of the chest”. That strategy can actually be efficient, however it first requires realizing precisely what does, and what doesn’t, make up “all components 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 big 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”, “internal chest” and “outer chest”, whereas claiming every part could be focused by particular workouts. That is incorrect. Or not less than, 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. Nonetheless, similar to the biceps embrace a number of heads which could be recruited otherwise to contribute to barely totally different general development, the pec main accommodates two heads — the sternocostal and the clavicular.

The sternocostal head is liable for the overwhelming majority of motion and is recruited in all urgent workouts. The clavicular head is the area generally known as “higher chest” and has been proven to be recruited extra effectively with workouts achieved 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 workouts will work each heads, whereas inclined workouts prioritize the higher chest, and anybody who talks about focusing on the “internal 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 task in scapular motion. It’s concerned in almost each chest train, however is particularly known as into motion when the scapulae transfer ahead, equivalent to throughout a push-up or chest press train.

Resulting from its comparatively small measurement, location, and performance, it’s not prone to expertise important (or seen) muscle development however serves a useful function for general joint perform and well being.

Serratus Anterior

The serratus anterior is the finger-like cluster of muscle tissues barely under the chest, alongside the facet of the ribs. Much like the pec minor, they connect to the scapulae and play a task in scapular motion, stability, and well being. (6) The serratus can also be concerned throughout chest urgent workouts, notably towards the lockout place when/if the scapulae are allowed to “flex” ahead (protraction).

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

A Chest Heat-Up is Important

Regardless of your aim or coaching plan, a particular chest warm-up may help to enhance general efficiency and cut 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
Credit score: MDV Edwards / Shutterstock

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 start out any chest session.

The Full Chest Heat-Up Circuit

  • Gradual Push-up Plus: Carry out a primary 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 achieve 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 toes barely wider for assist 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. Conserving a slight bend in your elbows, pull each fingers again to carry out a reverse flye motion along 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 whole circuit.

Highly effective, Excessive-Efficiency Pecs

Whether or not you wish to bench press a motorbike, construct a beach-worthy physique, or simply get an amazing 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 fitness center. Simply make sure to observe 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 Submit-Activation Bench Press Efficiency. Journal of human kinetics, 74, 99–108. 
  2. https://doi.org/10.2478/hukin-2020-0017Ulrich 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 Hundreds, Journal of Energy and Conditioning Analysis: March 2011 – Quantity 25 – Subject 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. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17197339
  6. Castelein B, Cagnie B, Parlevliet T, Cools A. Serratus anterior or pectoralis minor: Which muscle has the higher hand throughout protraction workouts? 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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