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If you want to train your chest muscles entirely using their all functions, you should include flat, incline, decline presses, chest flys, and pullover exercises.
Also, you should use free weights and chest exercise machines to attack your pectoralis from all angles. This way your pecs will develop properly. But, do not forget that your chest basically contains only two muscles, the pectoralis mayor and minor. So, there is no need to morsel your training.
The shape of your pecs mainly depends on your genetics, but with various chest exercises you can build up muscle mass and shape its form.
Below, I put together a list of chest exercises for men and women with tutorials and tips how to perform the moves correctly to get the best results. You can filter it by the used equipment and type. If you are a beginner, I'm sure you will find this list useful.
Flat Bench Press - The most powerful chest workout for mass
This exercise has an effect on the pectorals, delts, and triceps. I believe it is the most important weight lifting exercise for the upper body and it is among the best exercises for chest mass. It must be in all chest workouts.
While you perform this move, do not gauge your back and do not keep your breath in. When you lower the barbell inhale when you push exhale. Always pay attention to use the right amount of weight you can handle safely and doing the move correctly.
Flat Bench Press With Dumbbells
It is great to shape the middle part of your chest, but it is good for the entire pecs. The benefit of it is that you can do a wider range of motion than if you use a barbell. So, it is a great alternative to the classic bench press.
While you do the move keep your elbows away from your body. Also, your palms should look forward.
Incline Bench Press - The Best Upper Chest Workout
This move works the upper part of the pecs, the delts, and the triceps. The big benefit of it is that your upper chest will look broader and thicker that looks cool even if you wear a T-shirt.
If you use a wide grip and lower the weight to your collarbone, you can reach better pump in your muscles.
Bench Press With Close Grip
This movement is great to shape the inner part of your pecs.
You can also do it on incline or decline position to work your chest muscles in different angles. A good alternative is the close push up.
Image credit: fitnessandpower.com
The dip is a perfect move to work your pecs, especially if the bars are rather far away from each other. The close bars works your triceps more. So, if you want to focus on your pectorals use a wide grip. It works the outer parts of the pectoralis major really well.
Learn more here: Use the Dip Machine for Chest Training
Chest Flys on Flat Bench
There is no need to use too heavy weights for this movement as you will not be able to perform it correctly, plus you can easily get an injury.
There is no need to do it with straight arms, you can bend your elbows a little bit. Try to lower the dumbbells below the level of your body.
Seated Chest Press Machine
You can substitute the bench press exercise with machines, but this way the secondary muscles that stabilize the moves will not develop so well. So, I think it is not a decent alternative to the flat bench press.
On the other hand, it can be useful for beginners who cannot handle heavier weights yet. Or for trainees who have no help or suffer from injuries.
If the machine is adjustable, regularly change the width.
This is a rather universal move that engages the pectoralis major and the back muscles. It is excellent to stretch your pecs making it broader. You can also do it with cable crossover machine.
This exercise is useful to isolate the pecs. So, your pectoralis will be more defined. It seems to be easy, but it is an intermediate level exercise that is usually done incorrectly by beginners.
Bend forward a little bit and bend your elbows slightly as well. Keep the flexed position for a few seconds before letting your arms back.
Flys on Decline Bench
This type of flyes stimulates the lower-outer part of the chest. It may make them lower pectorals wider. Regularly change the angle of the board for even better stimulation and bend your arms a little bit.
Peck Deck Machine
It is useful for focusing on the inner regions of the pectoralis major. Doing flys on this machine is maybe better than the free weight version because the muscles are still under pressure when they are flexed.
Decline Bench Press
It has a similar effect as the dip, so it works the lower parts. I like it because I can handle heavier weights. It is among the most powerful lower chest exercises for men.
Image credit: www.bodybuilding.com
Bench Press with Smith Machine
The advantage of the Smith Machine is that you can work out without help. However, it does not engage the stabilizing muscle groups so well. With the help of it, you can do a smaller range of motion so you will be able to handle heavier weights in case your want to boost strength.
Low Cable Chest Fly
This is an upper chest exercise but also works the shoulders. At the top of the move stop for a few seconds and flex your muscles.
Cable Crossover Flat Bench Fly
It is an alternative to flat bench flys the difference is only that the resistance is generated by the cable machine. This way the resistance is more continuous. At the top of the move flex your muscles for a few seconds.
You can do this exercise on flat, decline and incline bench as well.
Dumbbell Bench Press on Decline Bench
It has almost the same effect as the negative barbell bench press. But it engages the stabilizing muscles better and provides a wider range of motion.
Push-Up Variations - List of Chest Exercises without Weights
Push-up variations are the best bodyweight compound exercises for strengthening and shaping the upper body. As you can see from the chart below, there are a lot of variations that forms the upper body in different ways.
With these variations, you can substitute a list of chest exercises in the gym or free weights. That means you can work your chest at home without going to the gym.
If you feel the resistance is not enough, you can do one hand versions or use a weighted vest.
Bench Press with Reverse Grip
This move puts more pressure on the triceps and shoulder muscles than the traditional one. It is not an easy move and can be dangerous because of the unstable grip. However, it is suitable to add some versatility to your chest workout plan.
Incline Dumbbell Press
This movement stimulates the upper part of the pecs but also works the deltoid and the triceps. Do this move continuously without stopping, and your palms should look forward.
One Arm Press on Chest Press Machine
It is good for the upper and inner parts. It is important to keep your back straight and pressed to the board of the machine. Do not turn your upper body forward while you make the move. Fix you back.
Sometimes, if the machine is adjustable, change the angle and the width of the handles.
It is good if you want to focus on just on the right or left side of your chest if it is high and dry.
Now you have just learned many exercises to strengthen and increase the size of your pecs.
You should create a workout with the help of this list. But, what is a good routine?
Firstly, a good plan workouts all part of your chest. The upper the middle and the lower part of it. For example, if you only do presses on the flat bench you do not engage so much the lower and upper part. Hence, you should include various exercises. In most of the cases, 3-4 exercises will do.
Also, what is your goal? Do you want to build muscle mass, or develop better definition or you have a section which is weaker than the other parts?
For building mass, heavy bench presses with low reps are perfect. For definition, you can include cable machine exercises. And, obviously, if you have a weak part, do more reps, sets, and practices for that section. Below you can find more advice on chest training.
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