3 of the Best Exercises to Build Your Chest
No physique or strength training routine is complete without chest day. But are you doing the right exercises on chest day? Instead of mindlessly repping out push-ups or taking over the cable machine, get granular with the type of exercises you do for your chest.
In addition to the mainstays like bench press and triceps dips, these are some of the top exercises to build a bigger, stronger chest.
Related: Best Exercises for Bigger Shoulders
Dumbbell Bench Press
Variations: kettlebell bench press
Why this is one of the best exercises for your chest: You probably expected to see traditional bench press on a list of the best exercises for your chest, but we argue that the dumbbell bench press holds just as much (if not more) value due to the stablization and muscle control needed to support heavy dumbbells.
How to do dumbbell bench press:
- Choose a set of moderate to heavy dumbbells. Use free-standing flat bench.
- Grab the dumbbells and lie back on the bench just like you would for a barbell bench press set.
- Start with your arms fully extended and vertical. They should make a right angle with your torso.
- Bend your elbows and lower the dumbbells until your triceps break parallel just slightly.
- Press the dumbbells back up, taking care not to clang them together.
- Try straight sets or pyramid sets.
- Narrow-Grip Bench Press
Variations: goblet bench press (kettlebell or single dumbbell)
Why this is one of the best exercises for your chest: Building bigger pecs is all about hitting them from every angle possible. This is where the narrow-grip bench press comes in. Don’t replace standard bench press with narrow-grip, but add it to your routine to maximize your results.
How to do narrow-grip bench press:
- Set up on a flat bench just like you would for standard-grip bench press.
- Load the bar with less than what you would use for standard-grip bench press, as narrow-grip relies more on the triceps and upper pecs than standard-grip.
- Grip the barbell with both hands near the center. Try this trick to find your grip: Touch your thumbs together in the center of the barbell and establish your grip one thumb’s length away from the center on each side.
- Bend at the elbows to lower the bar to your sternum.
- Press up and achieve full lock-out.
- Dumbbell Fly
Variations: cable crossover fly, resistance band fly
Why this is one of the best exercises for your chest: Again, it’s all about angles. The dumbbell fly targets the sternal heads of your pectoralis major muscles, contributing to a well-rounded (literally) chest and improved upper body strength.
How to do the dumbbell fly:
- Choose a set of light to moderate dumbbells. Set up a free-standing flat bench.
- Lie back on the bench and press your lower back into it.
- Start with your arms almost fully extended and vertical (make that right angle with your torso). Keep a soft bend in your elbows.
- Slowly lower your arms out to your sides, continuing to descend until your arms break parallel to the floor.
- Keep your core engaged and squeeze your chest muscles to bring your arms back to center.
- While a lumbar arch during bench press is safe for most people, avoid arching your back during this exercise. Not only will it prevent back pain, but it will ensure you engage the proper muscles to gain strength and mass in your chest.
To make sure you have the proper technique or for more chest work variations, talk to a World Gym Personal Trainer today!