The Five Best Chest Exercises

The Five Best Chest Exercises

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With an overwhelming amount of chest exercises out there, it's easy to skip on the fundamentals. So, if you're looking for the best chest exercises, you've come to the right place; add these five exercises to your next chest workout.

International chest day swarms the gym floor every Monday, taking over free weight and barbell areas with bros pushing as much weight as possible away from their torso. 

But fear not, training chest isn't just for the bro splitters amongst us. Compound lifts such as the barbell bench press and bodyweight dips help develop upper body strength, power, core strength and posture, helping us with full-body lifts including the deadlift and squat.

So, whether you're training purely for aesthetics and performance, or want to reap the rewards from a well-rounded training programme; you need to include these five fundamental chest exercises in your next session for the best chest workout.


Flat Barbell Bench Press

Flat Barbell Bench Press
Flat Barbell Bench Press

Main Muscles Targeted: Pectoralis Major and Minor

Overview:

The most popular chest day exercise, rightly regarded as one of the best chest exercises for mass. The barbell bench press recruits muscles fibres from the entire chest, alongside assistance from the anterior deltoid (shoulder) and triceps.

Utilising the barbell for the bench press allows the muscle groups to work as one, moving the bar away from the torso before controlling the eccentric portion of the rep. The barbell also allows more weight to be added to the bar, compared to a flat dumbbell bench press, making it an excellent exercise for increasing overall strength and power.

Tip: Grasp the bar slightly wider than shoulder-width: your elbow, forearm and wrist should all be in-line at the bottom of the movement.

read: five ways to improve your bench press


Incline Dumbbell Bench Press

Incline Dumbbell Bench Press
Incline Dumbbell Bench Press

Primary Muscles Targeted: Pectoralis Major and Clavicular Head

Overview:

A staple exercise when targeting the upper portions of the chest. Utilising the incline dumbbell press still targets the pectoralis major, but with an increased emphasis on the clavicular head (upper part of the chest).

The upper section of the chest can sometimes lack growth in comparison to the pectoralis major, especially amongst beginners in strength training. So, incorporating this exercise in your workouts will promote a well-developed chest.

TIP: Don't angle the bench any higher than 60 degrees - this will keep the focus on your chest, rather than your shoulders.


Bodyweight Dip

Bodyweight Dips
Bodyweight Dips

Primary Muscles Targeted: Pectoralis Major and Triceps Brachii

Overview:

Mainly contributing to development in the chest and triceps, the dip is one of the most popular bodyweight exercises.

Requiring a significant amount of strength, beginners can build strength and confidence from the use of assisted dip machines or resistance bands. Alternatively, to progress the movement and increase strength, weighted dips can be performed by adding a dumbbell between your legs or wearing a weight belt.

TIP: Leaning forward during the exercise will place more emphasis on the chest. Keeping the torso upright will result in more of the triceps being used.


Incline Bench Cable Chest Fly

Incline Bench Cable Chest Fly
Incline Bench Cable Chest Fly

Primary Muscles Targeted: Pectoralis Major and Clavicular Head

Overview:

The incline cable fly recruits muscle fibres from the pectoralis major, focusing especially on the upper chest (clavicular head) and inner chest (sternal head).

This is a great exercise to help develop the chest, often used in hypertrophy training, where muscle growth is the main goal.

Using a bench, rather than performing a standing cable fly, helps to isolate the chest, keeping constant tension on the muscle.

TIP: Crossing the arms during each rep helps place more focus on the sternal head.


Bodyweight Push-Up

Bodyweight Push-Up
Bodyweight Push-Up

Primary Muscles Targeted: Pectoralis Major and Triceps Brachii

Overview:

Arguably the first ever chest exercise invented... The push-up has been around for quite some time, and for good reason.

Utilising a variety of muscle groups, the push-up focuses mainly on the pectoralis major and triceps brachii.

The anterior deltoid (shoulder) and forearms also play a key role, helping stabilise the body during the exercise; while a certain level of core strength is required to keep good form.

TIP: By raising the feet on a bench, the upper part (clavicle head) of the chest can be isolated.


What are your favourite chest day exercises? Let us know in the comments below.

Check out our five best back exercises to help with your next pull session, and don't forget to track your workout progress in the Gymshark App!

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