Barbell Chest Exercises – The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide

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barbell chest exercises

In my opinion, barbell chest exercises are crucial if you want to work your muscles efficiently. Although other exercises with and without other equipment are also needed in order to get the best results and here I’m talking about bodyweight moves and ones with dumbbells.

In this post, I have collected the most usual barbell chest exercises which are proven to be beneficial for strengthening and building not only the chest muscles but also the entire upper body.

However, it is critical to perform the mentioned exercises correctly in order to get the best results and to avoid injuries. Never use too huge weights. The proper breathe out and in is also critical. Breathe in while lowering the barbell and out when you pushing it. Finally, never forget to stretch before and after your training.

Where it was possible, I added a video to learn the proper techniques.

Barbell bench press for total chest development

There is no question that bench press is one of the most powerful chest muscle exercises which is suggested by almost all the fitness experts. It works all the muscle group of the upper body. There is no bodybuilding and weightlifting without it.

Recommended: Search These Proven Tips Will Increase Your Bench Press for Sure

Here is how to perform it accurately.


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Do not gouge your back and do not hold your breath in. You may feel it is easier to perform the move, but it can be dangerous. When you lower the weight inhale when you press exhale. You must be careful when you do bench press. Always pay attention to performing the move correctly and pick weights you can handle safely.

There are two other alternatives the wide-grip or the close-grip version.

The close-grip option is better for the inner part of the muscles and the triceps, while the wider-grip one works the shoulders and the outer parts of the chest more.

I usually do both, but be careful with the wide one since it puts more pressure on your shoulders.

Incline bench press for upper pecs

To tell the truth, this is one of my favorite barbell exercises and with the help of it I have been able to build better looking and bigger upper chest which looks pretty cool, I think.

As you will see from the video below you need to place the board of the bench in incline position. The higher the angle, the harder the exercise is, plus the more pressure is on your shoulders. You can also make broad or close grip combinations. But be careful because you will not be able to manage as much weight, and it will be harder to control the motion.


Decline bench press for lower chest

The decline bench press is just the opposite of the incline one. I have heard from many people that by setting the board of the bench into a decline position a little bit, they can handle heavier weights. To tell the truth, I do not usually do it with a barbell but with dumbbells.

This muscle building barbell chest exercise works the outer part of the chest muscles, and it can be beneficial to add some extra variation to your chest workout routine. You can also do it with close or wide grip, and instead of moving the barbell to your chest, let it to your neck. However, be careful with the last activity, do not use too many weights.


Straight arm pullover

Pullover is an excellent movement to work your upper body, but it is essential to do it accurately since the incorrect move will work your triceps or your back more. I have learnt myself how to do it well. First do not use big weights, try various moves, positions of your arms and so on. If you feel that your chest muscles work, that is the one you will need to do. Numerous experts suggest doing this chest building exercise using a dumbbell instead of a barbell.

Here is a video how to do it.



If you want to build a larger chest having exercises with a barbell is crucial considering that you can handle heavier weights that is crucial for building muscle mass. The most powerful move is the bench press, so you need to include it in your chest workout plan. In addition, you can buy a machine for home at a pretty good price these days.


Which is better? Barbell or dumbbell presses?

Both! Barbell presses let you use heavier weights. Therefore, they are better for improving your strength and muscle mass. Dumbbell presses demand more control, so they work secondary muscles as well. I recommend combining the two. But you should test it.

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James Wright

James (36) has been working out since he was 15 years old. He has a home gym where he pumps iron, does bodyweight workouts and boxing. He likes sharing his experiences with others who want to build a better physique.

1 comment

  1. Akhil

    how should the hands be angled when pushing up and releasing the barbells at the time of chest workouts,Is it parallel to the chest( L)?

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