5 Best Chest Exercises To Build More Strength And Muscle Mass

Your chest is the pinnacle of a strong well-defined physique. Like any other muscle group, there are a ton of different exercises you can utilize on your chest day training split to increase your strength and build more muscle. The question is, which exercises should you choose? We’re going to talk about the best and most effective chest exercises to maximize your strength and performance.

The Best Chest Day Exercises 

When you’re lifting it's best to include different types of weights and movements, such as dumbbells and barbell movements with varied rep volume, intensity, rest intervals, and tempo. By utilizing the same exercises at the same tempo and intensity, overtime your body can become complacent and plateau. If you’re a newbie and you’re just getting started in the gym, utilize the same training split for 6-8 weeks. This will provide a solid foundation to build more strength and get comfortable with the movements.

The number of sets and reps you perform really depends on your goal. Building strength, compared to building a lean physique, is going to be different than bulking or just maintaining good health. With any training program, utilizing a linear progression (increasing weight with each set) and increasing the load overtime as your body adapts will help you progress and continue to build and transcend training thresholds. 

Rest intervals, or the time between your sets is another factor to consider, when determining your goals. Cutting body fat and getting lean, will require a higher number of reps, and shorter rest periods between sets, keeping your maximal heart rate in a steady fat burning state. Longer rest intervals, are associated with building more mass and strength, as opposed to shorter rest periods, giving your body more time to rest and recover, producing greater power to lift heavier loads, for a smaller number of reps.

Now since we’ve got a few of the basics out of the way, let’s talk about what the best chest exercises are for your next chest day training split.

Barbell Bench Press

Focusing on technique and form is crucial to get the most out of your lifts. Bench press is a compound movement that involves the pectoralis major, deltoids, triceps, and the upper arms. Barbell bench can develop and build more strength and size, and also improve balance in movements amongst athletes.

Several variations of the bench press exist, which incorporate different segments and angels of the pectoralis major to ensure well rounded aesthetic, strength, and posture such as the decline, incline, and smith machine bench press.

  1. Lie flat on a bench and set your hands just outside of shoulder width on the bar, and feet firmly planted into the ground. Make sure your feet are placed proximal in towards your body, while keeping them flat on the floor. This will provide a good base for more driving power when it comes to heavy loads and finishing your set.
  2. Back position is equally as crucial as your feet placement. Squeeze your shoulder blades by pinching them together and driving them into the bench and slightly arch your back.
  3. Grip is the next focus point. Make sure your palms are rotated completely under the bar. Grip position also depends on specific intent and goals. If you want to develop the outside of the chest, a wide grip is recommended as opposed to a conventional grip which is placed right outside the shoulders.
  4. Take a deep breath and unrack the barbell. Allow your spotter to help you with the lift off in order to maintain tension and positioning of your upper back.
  5. Inhale and descend the bar slowly just touching your chest, bracing your abdominals and core.
  6. Drive the bar back up, let out your breath, and drive your feet into the floor, tightening your glutes, and pushing under the bar with one fluid motion, and extending the elbows.

Incline Dumbbell Bench Press

If you’re not including the incline dumbbell bench press in your chest day split, then you’re potentially missing out on some huge gains. Dumbbell movements require more core stability, balance, and core activation as opposed to just using a barbell or chest machine. Incline dumbbell bench press is one of the best compound chest exercises, to build more muscle and strength in chest, shoulders, and triceps.

  1. Lie flat on an incline bench and set your dumbbells on your knees. Kick up one dumbbell at a time, keeping them close to your body as you lay back. Plant your feet firmly into the ground, lay back and push up. Make sure your feet are placed proximal in towards your body, while keeping them flat on the floor. This will provide a good base for more driving power when it comes to heavy loads and finishing your set.
  2. Back position is equally as crucial as your feet placement. Squeeze your shoulder blades by pinching them together and driving them into the bench and slightly arch your back.
  3. Make sure your palms are rotated completely under the dumbbells. As you descend, follow your bend your elbows at a parallel 90 degrees, then push back up bringing the dumbbells together, while still keeping a slight bend in your elbows, not locking out. drive your feet into the floor, tightening your glutes, and pushing under the bar with one fluid motion, and extending the elbows again not locking out.

Incline Dumbbell Fly

The incline dumbbell chest fly is a variation of the dumbbell chest fly, used to isolate the chest muscles. Isolated movements are typically used by bodybuilders, to build a better, more well-rounded physique, more muscle and increased strength.

The incline dumbbell chest fly is a great accessory movement, to build more muscle and strength assisting in bigger lifts such as the barbell bench press. The incline dumbbell chest fly also activates secondary muscles groups such as your shoulders and triceps. The incline provides more emphases on the upper chest and provides variety for your chest day split.

  1. Grab your dumbbells with a neutral grip, palms facing in. Position the dumbbells in the crest of your hips and lay back.
  2. Lie back on the incline bench, keeping the weights close to your chest, with your feet firmly placed into the ground.
  3. Push the dumbbells away from your body and press them above you.
  4. Slightly retract your shoulder blades by pinching them together, unlocking your elbows and slowly lowering the dumbbells laterally while maintaining the angel at your elbow.
  5. Once the dumbbells are in line with your chest on each side, reverse the movement, squeezing your pecs together, until you reach the top with the dumbbells back at the starting position.

Dumbbell Bench Press

Dumbbells are one of the best training implements in the gym to stack on more gains on your chest day. Dumbbell movements require more core stability, balance, and core activation as opposed to just using a barbell or chest machine. Dumbbell bench press is one of the best compound chest exercises, working multiple muscles groups, and joints all in one fluid motion, for bigger gains and better performance.

  1. Lie flat on a bench and set your dumbbells on your knees. Kick up one dumbbell at a time, keeping them close to your body as you lay back. Plant your feet firmly into the ground, lay back and push up. Make sure your feet are placed proximal in towards your body, while keeping them flat on the floor. This will provide a good base for more driving power when it comes to heavy loads and finishing your set.
  2. Back position is equally as crucial as your feet placement. Squeeze your shoulder blades by pinching them together and driving them into the bench and slightly arch your back.
  3. Make sure your palms are rotated completely under the dumbbells. As you descend, follow your bend your elbows at a parallel 90 degrees, then push back up bringing the dumbbells together, while still keeping a slight bend in your elbows, not locking out. drive your feet into the floor, tightening your glutes, and pushing under the bar with one fluid motion, and extending the elbows again not locking out.

Incline Barbell Bench Press

The incline bench press is a compound movement and works multiple muscle groups such as the pectoralis major, anterior deltoids, and your triceps. Setting the bench at a 15-30% incline will activate your shoulders and place less stress on your rotator cuff, which is a common area for injury during flat bench press.

  1. Lie flat on an incline bench and set your hands just outside of shoulder width on the bar, and feet firmly planted into the ground. Make sure your feet are placed proximal in towards your body, while keeping them flat on the floor. This will provide a good base for more driving power when it comes to heavy loads and finishing your set.
  2. Back position is equally as crucial as your feet placement. Squeeze your shoulder blades by pinching them together and driving them into the bench and slightly arch your back.
  3. Grip is the next focus point. Make sure your palms are rotated completely under the bar. Grip position also depends on specific intent and goals. If you want to develop the outside of the chest, a wide grip is recommended as opposed to a conventional grip which is placed right outside the shoulders.
  4. Take a deep breath and unrack the barbell. Allow your spotter to help you with the lift off in order to maintain tension and positioning of your upper back. If you are not using a spotter, please note that the incline bench will be harder to unrack at heavy loads as compared to flat bench.
  5. Inhale and descend the bar slowly in a straight line just touching your chest, bracing your abdominals and core.
  6. Drive the bar back up, let out your breath, and drive your feet into the floor, tightening your glutes, and pushing under the bar with one fluid motion, and extending the elbows.

Best Chest Exercises: Takeaway

These chest exercises provide a perfect mix of isolate and compound chest movements, to help you build more strength, muscle, mobility and definition to sculpt a strong physique. Not only will your performance improve, your confidence and aesthetic goals will improve as well. 


Need Help With Optimizing Your Diet And Nutrition Plan To Finally Get The Results You've Been Waiting For?

The Swole Kitchen is an exclusive membership opportunity for those who are looking to pursue a performance-driven lifestyle. By combining wellness consulting, nutritional lifestyle improvement, and 1:1 customized nutrition plans to our members, our programs aim to optimize human potential. In each of our programs, you’ll receive guidance to reclaim your health, fuel your lifestyle, and pursue performance ambitions, all while learning how to make nutritional decisions from a place of self-trust and intuition. All of our coaches are committed to providing the highest level of results-driven wellness to our members.
 
SWOLVERINE IS AN ENDURANCE ATHLETE AND ACTIVE LIFESTYLE BRAND. MADE FOR THE ELITE ATHLETE, AND THE STRONG-WILLED OUR PRODUCTS WERE DESIGNED TO FUEL YOUR ATHLETIC PERFORMANCE. WE PERFORM WHEN YOU PERFORM. 

We believe that everyone can optimize not only their athletic performance but their human potential. The way we believe we can optimize performance is through transparency, clinically effective doses, and clinically proven ingredients with evidence-based outcomes. We provide the nutrients you need to power your active lifestyle.

FitnessTraining

Join Over 100,000 Fans

Get exclusive access to discounts and the latest on fitness, nutrition, and wellness delivered straight to your inbox

Free domestic shipping

Free shipping on all domestic orders and added shipping protection

Free Content & Exclusive Sales

Join our email list and receive member-exclusive promos

Top-notch support

We're committed to an amazing customer experience

Secure payments

Your payment information is encrypted and never compromised