The best chest exercises and workout to make your chest pop!
The chest is one of the most noticeable muscle groups whether you’re shirtless on a beach or suited up and dressed to impress for the board room meeting.
A powerful-looking chest immediately projects strength, confidence, and masculinity.
It’s the pinnacle of a powerful-looking upper body.
It’s no surprise guys want chiseled muscular-looking pecs and women want to touch and put their heads on them.
In fact, according to MuscleandFitness.com, women show stronger attraction toward men with a figure consistent with the ideal hunting physique: strong shoulders, narrow waists, and you guess it right broad chests and shoulders.
“A solid chest; not man boobs or muscle boobs that rival our own, just chiseled pecs.” they’re the pinnacle of chest craftsmanship and the embodiment of physical glamour.
And there are no better power tools for sculpting chisel pecs than the 10 exercises that follow.
Here’s a look at the top 10-Best Chest Exercises to build your strength and size.
A pushup is the closest thing to a perfect exercise. You literally engage every muscle in your body to do it perfectly.
That includes your chest, triceps, shoulders, and core.
So, how do you do a perfect pushup?
Get down on all fours and place your hands on the floor so that they’re slightly wider than and in line with your shoulders.
Squeeze your glutes and brace your abdominals as if you were about to be punched in the gut. Maintain these contractions for the duration of this move.
Your body should form a straight line from your ankles to your head.
Lower your body until your chest nearly touches the floor. Pause 1-2 seconds at the bottom, then push yourself back to the starting position as quickly as possible. That’s 1 rep. Complete 15-20 reps.
Modification: If you are having a hard time keeping your body in a straight line. Lower your knees to the ground to make it a little easier.
2. Decline Pushup
For this pushup variation, you’ll need an exercise bench or a step, box, or stability ball to put your feet on.
Assume a pushup position with your feet on an elevated surface. Tighten your core and squeeze your glutes. Your body should form a straight line from your heels to your head.
Without letting your hips sag, in one motion lower your body until your chest almost touches the floor. Pause for 1-2 seconds, then push yourself back up to the starting position. That’s 1 rep, continue for 15 repetitions for 2 to 3 sets.
3. Medicine Ball Pushup
Get down into pushup position, but place one hand on a small medicine ball and your other hand on the floor.
Keep your body flat and straight, tighten your core, bend your arms to lower your chest toward the floor, pause then drive your body up back to the starting position.
Roll the medicine-ball across in between reps and repeat with the opposite arm. Continue to alternate back and forth quickly for the prescribed number of repetitions.
4. Plyometric Pushup
This explosive pushup nails the fast-twitch muscles in your chest, priming them for more growth, says English on Menshealth.com (1).
Get into a pushup position, your hands just outside your chest, your feet shoulder-width apart, and your body forming a straight line from head to heels. Engage your core.
Lower your chest to the floor and then press up explosively so your hands come off the floor.
5. Dumbbell Flat Bench Press
This exercise targets the chest, shoulders, and triceps. It’s great for building strength and size in your chest.
Sit on the edge of a flat bench and rest a dumbbell on each knee. Roll onto your back as you bring the dumbbells outside your shoulders. Press the dumbbells directly above your chest until your arms are extended. This is the starting position.
Bend your elbows to slowly lower the weights until your upper arms are slightly below parallel to the floor. Pause, and then push them back up to the starting position. Press the dumbbells together without letting them touch.
6. Dumbbell Decline Chest Press
This chest exercise primarily targets the lower part of your chest, or pectoral, muscles. It also works your triceps and anterior deltoid muscles.
Lie on a decline bench with your shins hooked beneath the leg support. Hold a pair of dumbbells above your chest with your arms straight. Your palms should face your feet and the weights should be just outside your shoulders.
Lower the dumbbells to your chest, pause, and then press them back up to the starting position. That’s 1 rep. Continue for 10 to 12 repetitions for 2 to 3 sets.
7. Dumbbell Incline Chest Press
Performing the press from the incline position targets upper chest ( the clavicular portion of the pectoralis major). Other muscles affected are the deltoids (shoulders) and the triceps. If you want a huge chest, plain and simple – work that muscle—which resides high on your chest—gives your pecs extra pop.
Lie on a bench with the backrest set at a 45-degree incline. Hold a pair of dumbbells above your chest with your arms straight and your palms turned toward your legs.
Bend your elbows to lower the dumbbells to chest level. Pause for 1-2 seconds, then press them back up to the starting position.
8. Dumbbell Flat Bench Chest Fly
The flat bench dumbbell fly is a great isolation exercise for the chest. This exercise is meant to stimulate the entire region of the chest and to pump blood into the area. It also works the shoulders and triceps muscles, but not to the extent that the bench press does. This exercise does work those secondary muscles.
Lie flat on a bench with a dumbbell in each hand. Your head, shoulders, and hips should be in contact with the bench, with feet flat on the floor and your spine neutral. This is the same ‘3 points of contact‘ position used in the bench press.
If your feet cannot touch the ground without extending your back, use a box or step to raise your feet.
The dumbbells should be positioned directly above the shoulders with knuckles facing upwards when gripping the dumbbell and palms inwards. With arms outstretched, slightly bend the elbows and bring the weights out and down to the sides of the chest.
Raise the dumbbells back up to the center while exhaling. Keep the palms facing inwards and elbows slightly bent throughout the movement. Hands should be over elbows and in line with the mid chest. That’s 1 rep. Complete 10 to 12 for 2-3 sets.
When you have finished your last rep, sit up and move dumbbells to your thighs, then down to the floor.
9. Dumbbell Pullover
Lie faceup on a flat bench and grasp a dumbbell with both hands directly over your chest, arms perpendicular to the floor. Place your feet flat for stability and press you back into the bench.
Slowly lower the weight in an arch over your head with straight arms. When your elbows come to ear level, reverse the move and return to the start. That’s 1 rep. Complete 10 to 12 repetitions for 2-3 sets.
Make sure to pull evenly with both arms.
Dips are one of my favorite chest and triceps building exercises. But they can also be troublesome and hard on your shoulders.
But a simple form tweak will allow you to redistribute your weight so that your torso leans forward as you lower your body, placing more of the stress on your chest (good!) and less of it on your shoulder joints (bad!).
In fact, even if you don’t find the classic dip causes you pain, you’re better off doing this variation—known as the incline dip—regardless. It’ll help protect your shoulders while making your pecs pop.
Grasp the bars of a dip station and lift yourself so your arms are completely straight. Raise your thighs in front of you until they’re parallel to the floor, and bend your knees 90-degrees (almost as if you’re sitting in a chair). Hold them this way for the entire exercise.
Keeping your elbows tucked close to your body, slowly lower yourself by bending your elbows until your upper arms are parallel to the floor. (Allow your torso to lean forward.) Pause, then push back up to the starting position.
Best Chest Workout
Perform each exercise for the prescribed number of reps, then rest 30-60 seconds and repeat the exercise for 1 to 4 times before moving on to the next.
Not only working the chest muscles will help your upper body look more complete, but you’ll also be stronger and more built. So, give these chest exercises a try, pick one or two to try on chest days.
- Men’s Health. “The 12 Best Workout Moves For Your Chest.” Men’s Health, 10 June 2019, www.menshealth.com/fitness/best-chest-exercises/slide/16.
- Schanke M.S., Whitnee, and John P. Porcari, Ph.D. “ACE-Sponsored Research: Top 3 Most Effective Chest Exercises.” ACE Fitness. ACE-sponsored, n.d. Web. 14 Mar. 2017.
- “The 15 Best Exercises For Your Chest.” Men’s Health. N.p., 18 Sept. 2016. Web. 14 Mar. 2017.
- Matthews, Michael. “The Ultimate Chest Workout: Chest Exercises for Awesome Pecs.” Muscle For Life. Muscle For Life, n.d. Web. 14 Mar. 2017.