How To Choose The Best Chest Exercises

Step-by-step Instructions

Here is what you need to do...
Step 1

Throughout the history of chest workouts people have always leaned into one exercise with full force: the bench press. Today, looking at the best chest exercises, we will avoid the basic bench press. Don't get me wrong, it has its benefits; but the traditional bench press simply falls flat when it's compared to some of its brother exercises. Let's take a look at which ones will be the best in order to take your chest to the next level.

Step 2

Mr. Olympia Phil Heath said that he used to have a lot of trouble with his chest in competitions. The judges constantly noted that his upper pecs needed to grow. This sort of observation goes well with any of us, not just Phil. In order to have a bigger chest, you gotta work the top. The only way to work the top is with incline exercises, so today that's exactly what we'll be focusing on: incline barbell bench press, incline dumbbell bench press, and decline barbell bench press.

Step 3

The incline barbell bench press, similar to the traditional bench press, will put a lot of weight right above your head and force your chest to man up in order to lift it. The form for this exercise is exactly the same as a traditional bench press (feet flat on the ground and shoulder width apart, hands lifting the bar above your nipples, then straight down and straight back up). The thing that sets the incline apart from its traditional counterpart is that the incline puts all of the resistance from the weight directly onto the upper pecs. This added resistance to the top of the muscle will force your upper chest to swell up, which, over time, will lead to you having that fluffy-yet-stone Arnold S. look.

Step 4

Similar to the incline barbell bench press is the incline dumbbell bench press. The reason I include both of these is because they both accomplish slightly different things for your chest. While the barbell version focuses on adding a ton of weight in order to maximize size and thickness of the pecs, the dumbbell version pays more attention to a wide range of motion, which allows you to stretch your upper chest down to its limit and recruit a myriad of fibers that otherwise get ignored. This kind of movement and recruitment will make your upper chest develop into a wide hunk of muscle, which looks great on just about any guy on earth.

Step 5

Finally, the decline barbell bench press is important to mention because it targets a part of the muscle that gets ignored as much as the top: the bottom. The bottom of your pecs need to develop in order for you to get the cliff look, where your chest seems to drop off at the bottom and pop right into a solid set of abs. The decline barbell bench press is a necessary ingredient in the recipe to give your lower chest that chiseled look. Because of the angle of the lift, your lower chest contracts an insane amount, which makes it grow at a phenomenally higher rate than it would if you were to only do traditional bench presses.

Step 6

In order to do all of these exercises to the utmost capacity, I like to take creatine before my workouts. I take MuscleTech Pro Series Creacore Creatine, which gives me the energy to power through multiple heavy chest exercises and walk away feeling like a beast. After enough workouts with this creatine, my chest started to get beyond strong and beyond big.

Special Attention

Difficulties people often experience or parts that need special attention to do it right.

The most difficult part about doing these chest exercises is learning to perform them with absolutely proper form. The angles of the exercises will seem odd at first, but take it slow and use light weight until you feel comfortable with the motion. Once you nail the proper form, the rest will fall into place. But don't rush! Just take it slow and learn the ropes. Once you get up to the heavy weight, you'll be glad you know good form that prevents injury and encourages growth.

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Funny or interesting story about this topic...

I know an old man who goes to my old gym just about every day of the business week. He stops in, loads up the bench press, and sits down for about 10 slow sets. Nobody tells him to do anything different because 1. it's not polite to tell people what to do in the gym, and 2. he's old, and old people do what they want. That being said, it's quite obvious that he hasn't made any growth over the years, which can be directly attributed to his lack of diversity in the chest department. You gotta mix up the angles in order to grow those pecs. He doesn't, but you certainly should.

When did you first do this & how did you get started?

I started performing these exercises when I was a freshman in college. Until then, I typically stuck to push-ups and normal bench presses. Once I got hooked on doing incline and decline exercises, I never looked back. My chest feels like a shelf now, and even for those clients I have that aren't trying to get too large, the incline exercises do the work to make them feel like their chests are exactly where they should be. I hope that you'll feel the same way after a few months with the exercises I outlined above. Good luck, and happy lifting,

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