10 Best Chest Exercises For Building Muscle

10 Best Chest Exercises For Building Muscle

There are dozens of exercises you can do on chest day. In fact, the Bodybuilding.com Exercise Database lists at least 84, but you probably don’t want to spend a Monday afternoon—or several Mondays—trying them all. You just want to know the best exercises for building a muscular chest, no questions asked. We’ve done the work for you, and found the top 10.

Mind you, this list doesn’t correlate to the hardest chest exercises. It’s focused on the best-of-the-best mass builders, with a little bit of instruction and explanation to complement each choice. You can swap exercises in your current routine for these choices, build your own chest workout with a handful of them, or just try one when your standard chest workout gets stale.

Without further ado, here are our top 10 chest-building exercises, ranked in no particular order.

1. Barbell Bench Press
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.

2. Flat Bench Dumbbell Press
Do flat dumbbell presses toward the start of your chest workout for heavy sets in lower rep ranges. We don’t typically recommend doing dumbbell presses in addition to the barbell bench press, because both moves are so similar.

3. Low-Incline Barbell Bench Press
Many chest workouts start with flat-bench movements first, then progress to inclines, but it’s time to get out of that bad habit. Every so often, start with inclines. The benefit is that you’ll be fresher and can lift more weight, which puts a greater amount of stress on the upper pec fibers and could lead to more growth.

4. Machine Decline Press
Do free-weight exercises first in your chest workout because they require more effort and stabilizer muscles than machines. With that in mind, this could be the last multijoint exercise in your routine.

5. Seated Machine Chest Press
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 dropsets.
Again, do machine exercises at the end of your workout. For anyone looking to build mass, machines give you a greater chance to pump your pecs with minimal shoulder assistance.

6. Incline Dumbbell Press
Why it’s on the list: Dumbbell presses make everybody’s top 10 list, but with an adjustable bench you can do a number of things you can’t with a fixed bench. Our favorite: changing the angle of the incline from one set to the next, or from one workout to the next. Hitting a muscle from varying degrees of incline angles builds it more thoroughly.
This is an occasional first movement, but it can easily go anywhere from first to third in your routine. Keep in mind, though, that the later you do this movement, the less weight you’ll likely be able to push.

7. Dips For Chest
Why it’s on the list: First off, make sure you’re doing dips that emphasize the pecs: Put your feet up behind you, lean forward as far as possible, and allow your elbows to flare out as you dip. Chest dips are a great spotter-free alternative to the decline press.

If you’re strong, this lower-chest move makes a great finisher; if you’re not, you can do it earlier in your session. It makes a great superset pairing with push-ups for a big pump at the end of your workout.

8. Incline Bench Cable Fly
Why it’s on the list: Not many single-joint exercises made the list, but this is one of our favorites.
In your workout: Do incline cable flyes at the end of your workout for slightly higher reps (sets of 10-12). If you’re training with a partner, do a few dropsets for some real masochistic, muscle-building fun!

9. Incline Dumbbell Pull-Over
Do pull-overs at the very end of your workout for sets of 12. On every set, hold the peak contraction of the last rep for a full five seconds.

10. Pec-Deck Machine
In your workout: Hit the pec deck last in your chest routine for sets of 10-12. Do dropsets and partial reps, pumping out as many as you can to failure.

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10 Best Chest Exercises For Building Muscle



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