Let’s take a quick look at the best and worst chest exercises. Everybody loves chest day, so the least we could do is give you a list of the best exercises for muscle growth, hypertrophy, and overall gym satisfaction.
Everybody loves a well-developed chest, and everybody likes training chest. The chest is one of those eye-grabbing muscle groups that scream “Look at me!
If you want a bigger, sexier chest, then let’s take a look at our list of exercises and movements you can incorporate in your training program today. We’re starting with the best, and slowly moving down to the worst.
The Best Chest Exercises for Muscle Growth
The Bench Press (Barbell/Dumbbell)
It’s hardly a surprise that the good ol’ bench press takes the first spot. It’s literally the ultimate chest builder. Many famous bodybuilders swear by it; numerous gym bros love it, and it’s no surprise that the benches in your gym are always occupied.
The barbell bench press allows you to lift a substantial amount of weight, helping you with things like muscle hypertrophy and progressive overload. If you’re a beginner, the barbell bench press is the best chest exercise to get you going; and if you’re advanced, there is always more room for improvement!
The dumbbell variant, on the other hand, allows you to train unilaterally. This forces you to maintain good form, proper posture, and can even aid in overcoming muscle imbalances. The dumbbell bench press is a bit harder than its barbell counterpart, but it’s as effective. You can perform this exercise on a flat bench to target the upper and middle chest or at an incline for lower chest activation.
Dips are a classic among those practicing calisthenics. This exercise targets the chest, triceps, and rear deltoids. You can, however, perform dips in a way that shifts the majority of the tension onto your pectoral muscles.
If you have access to a dip machine at your gym, you can perform the exercise by leaning forward with your arms clutching the handles. This way, when you push the handles down, you’re isolating the chest muscles, forcing them to do the work.
By removing the triceps out of the equation, you’re effectively doing a chest-only dip. Of course, doing regular dips is also effective. Especially if you include them in your Push Day program (as part of a Push-Pull-Legs split), since push days involve both the chest and the triceps.
Another classic bodyweight exercise, the push-up is an absolute must if you’re serious about your chest gains. The beautiful thing about this exercise is that you don’t need any equipment, nor do you need to be in a gym – you can do it literally everywhere.
The push-up is top 3 on our list of the best chest exercises for a reason. But did you know there is a push-up variant that is even better for muscle development than the original? It’s called a Twisting Push-up and here’s why it’s so good.
Twisting Push-ups, first of all, make the exercise a lot more difficult, stimulating muscle growth and muscle hypertrophy. Apart from that, the exercise forces you to contract your abs in order to maintain balance and stability. Third, it increases the range of motion of the classic push-up, allowing your chest muscles to remain under tension for a longer time. Give it a try; you’ll see what we mean!
The Dumbbell Fly
Whether you’re doing it on the floor or on a bench, the dumbbell chest fly is one of the best chest exercises you can perform. The only negative thing about it is that performing it improperly or with too much weight can result in an injury.
The exercise itself serves as an opener. Opening and expanding your chest muscles helps with reducing pain in the upper back. Its increased range of motion helps both alleviate tightness in your upper body and helps you develop your side chest muscles, helping you achieve a more defined look.
If you’re a beginner, start with very light weights and move up from there. The goal is not to lift heavy, but to perform the movement correctly and with proper form. If you’re feeling pain or discomfort, you can try bending your elbows a little bit and not overextending.
How Often Should You Train?
The training frequency depends entirely on your fitness goals, fitness level, and workout split. We recommend training your chest at least once a week, but if you can – two times per week is more than ideal.
If you’re an experienced lifter, training up to three times a week is optimal. When training, include anywhere from 2 to 4 different exercises per workout, focusing on working on your upper, middle, and lower chest.
Never train your chest two days in a row, as that would lead to increased soreness and an inability to recover properly. When training for muscle growth, recovery is very important and should always be taken into consideration.
Incorporate the best chest exercises into your routine and enjoy the process! Fitness is not about rushing. It’s a marathon. It requires consistency, patience, and discipline. Remember to always challenge yourself but don’t go too crazy with the weight. Listen to your body, as it knows best.