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Best Chest Exercises For Big Pecs And A Stronger Bench Press

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Chest Exercise

A big chest can be appreciated and noticed year-round — under a tank top or a parka, it shows. And the chances are good that if you’ve spent years building up your pectorals to Terry Crews‘ level, then you probably also have the pressing strength to match. Not there yet? That’s cool.

Whether you’re taking your first steps in the weight room or are a gym-going veteran, you probably celebrate International Chest Day every Monday like most folks. No matter which day you opt to hit your pecs, you need the right exercises to occupy your workout.

We’ve compiled a list of the 17 best chest exercises (which, yes, are still useful if you’re already jacked) and a few sections on how to train your chest. Heed our advice and then have some weights.

Best Chest Exercises
Barbell Flat Bench Press
Barbell Incline Bench Press
Barbell Decline Bench Press
Chest Flye
Dumbbell Bench Press
Push-Up
Dip
Svend Press
Cable Iron Cross
Chaos Push-Up
Plyo Push-Up
Dumbbell Floor Press
Pause Push-Up
Side-to-Side Landmine Press
Close-Grip Push-Up
Cable Press-Around
Incline Dumbbell Hex Press

Barbell Flat Bench Press
The bench press is a classic exercise. Powerlifters do it to see who has the most pressing strength, gym rats use it to build up their pecs, and athletes utilize the bench for explosive pushing power.

The bench press should be a staple in your routine for more chest size and strength.

Benefits of the Barbell Flat Bench Press
This lift is necessary for powerlifters since it’s one of the three lifts judged in a powerlifting meet.
The bench press recruits muscles in the chest, triceps, and shoulders — so you’ll build a muscular torso.
Compared to other chest exercises, you can load the bench press up with a relatively heavy amount of weight.
How to Do the Barbell Flat Bench Press
Lay back down on a bench, arch your lower back slightly, and plant your feet on the floor. Pull your shoulder blades together to enhance stability and upper back strength. Grab the bar (varying grips) and squeeze the hand hard to flex the arm and grip muscles maximally.

With the load unracked, think about pulling the barbell to the body to touch the sternum/base of the chest. Press the weight upwards, making sure to keep your back tight, and shoulder blades pulled together.

Coach’s Tip: A strong spinal arch will reduce your range of motion and improve your leverage.

Sets and Reps: Go hard and heavy with 4 sets of 5 to 8 reps.

Incline Bench Press
The incline press is somewhat of a hybrid of an overhead press and flat bench press, and so pressing a barbell (or a pair of kettlebells or dumbbells) from an incline recruits more of the muscle fibers in the upper chest and taxes the shoulders a bit more. For that reason, strongmen like to use this pressing variation since it has more carryover to log presses and axle bar clean and presses.

Benefits of the Barbell Incline Bench Press
More shoulder and upper chest activation compared to flat press variations.
The incline bench press will have carryover to overhead pressing variations, as it strengthens the deltoids, too.
How to Do the Barbell Incline Bench Press
Adjust a workout bench so it is at a 45-degree angle and set up similarly to that of the flat bench press. Unrack the loaded barbell and begin to pull the load downwards to line with the upper chest (a few inches below the clavicle). With the shoulder blades pulled together and elbows angled at about 45 degrees. Push the barbell upward.

Coach’s Tip: Adjust the seat such that the barbell is slightly behind your eye line before you unrack it.

Sets and Reps: Try 3 or 4 sets of 6 to 8 reps.

Decline Bench Press
The third major barbell bench press variation focuses on the lower pectoral fibers. This pressing variation is typically less strenuous on your shoulders than the standard bench press because of the shifted shoulder angle.

You’ll also be able to target your chest from a different angle, which is important when you’re looking to develop a well-rounded musculature.

Benefits of the Barbell Decline Bench Press
You’ll have decreased strain on your shoulder joints due to the angle of the bench you’re lifting on.
A greater emphasis on the lower pectoral fibers.
How to Do the Barbell Decline Bench Press
Start by securing your feet into a decline bench set up and secure your upper back and hips to the bench (similar to the flat bench press). Unrack the weight and pull the load downwards toward the sternum while keeping the shoulder blades pulled together. Press through the barbell to lock out your elbows. Be sure not to allow the elbows to flare excessively out in the movement.

Coach’s Tip: The barbell should hit lower on your chest than during a flat or incline press.

Sets and Reps: 3 to 4 sets of 6 to 8 reps should work well here.

Chest Flye
The chest flye — which can be done with dumbbells or on a cable machine — is a popular bodybuilding exercise to stretch the muscle fibers and pump up the muscle. That pump will help to drive nutrient-rich blood to the target area to help speed up recovery.

Using dumbbells will also help improve your body’s ability to coordinate as you’re forced to stabilize each weight independently.

Benefits of the Chest Flye
More muscular coordination as the lifter is forced to stabilize and lift two separate dumbbells.
The chest flye stretch, which is achieved by extending the arms with lightweight, will really tax the chest’s muscle fibers and pump the area with nutrient-rich blood.
It’s a versatile movement that can be performed with dumbbells on a cable machine and kettlebells.
How to Do the Chest Flye
Lie back on a bench (either flat, decline, or incline), with a dumbbell in each hand. With a slight bend in your elbows, lower your arms out to your sides slowly and with control. Now, reverse the motion to engage the chest. You should look like you’re hugging a tree.

Coach’s Tip: You can pause at the bottom of each rep for some productive loaded stretching.

Sets and Reps: Start with 2 sets of 12 to 15 reps.

Source-MensHealth

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