Ah, the chest. A most glorious grouping of muscles, that rank highly on desirability, garner much attention, and when highly defined and powerful, look incredible.
Just visit gyms around the World on any given Monday, they’ll be absolutely packed to the rafters with people pushing the heaviest weights, executing niche, unique exercises to invigorate even the smallest muscles, and striving to squeeze every last ounce of effort out of ‘chest day’.
Quite literally, there are heaps of exercises that target the chest, from compound lifts all the way down to obscure weight free movements – you really aren’t short of options to pump for pecs.
With such a massive selection of chest exercises at your disposal, choosing individual exercises and regimes that are right for your and that’ll give you the chest gains you so desire can become more than a little tricky.
Knowledge and simplicity are the focal points to a solid chest workout. If you’re looking for exercises to incorporate into your regime, or maybe even finely tune your existing programme, we’ve devised a chest plan that’ll give you a solid pectoral pump and allow you to access the results you truly desire.
As you’ll see, this plan relies on many similar movements that only see slight variations, but ultimately, stimulate your chest muscles in a way that’ll see you achieve a strong upper body. From this regime, you’ll gain a huge sense of achievement, mentally and physically, and underlying it all that working your chest is fun! Huge enjoyment plus massive gains…what more could you want?!
So, enough of the talk here is the plan that’ll get you an astonishing chest. Now get out there and lift!
Exercise #1 – Barbell Bench Press
The standard of excellence in chest workouts. Absolutely the most popular chest exercise out there, providing opportunities to quickly build muscles and up your strength. Here’s how to do it:
- Select the plates that you can push and place them on the barbell
- Lay on the bench flat on your back, place your hands on the bar just beyond shoulder width apart
- Raise the bar, straightening your arm, so that bar hovers directly above your chest
- Slowly lower the bar so it nearly touches your chest, holds for a second, then thrust the bar upwards, then repeat
- 3 Set, do 10-12 if going light, or 4-6 if you’re lifting heavy
Exercise #2 – Dumbbell Chest Fly
Another staple, the chest fly is a demanding lift that you’ll make you feel the burn in the pectoral, synergist, and abdominal muscles.
- Select two relatively medium-heavy dumbbells, and a bench and lay flat on your back
- Dumbbells in hand, ensure your palms are facing inwards, weights are slightly touching, and your elbows have a slight bend
- Slowly bring your arms downwards to your side, ensuring your palms face inwards
- Hold for a moment and feel the pinch, then raise the weights to the starting position, giving an extra squeeze at the top, and repeat the movement
- Do 3 sets of 8-12 reps
Exercise #3 – Arnold Chest Press
The Arnold chest press will fire up your biceps, triceps, shoulders, but particularly your chest, as you push the dumbbells sky-high.
- Get your hands on some heavy dumbbells and head to the bench and lay down
- With dumbbells in each hand, start by lifting both arms in the air, and face your palm downwards to your feet
- Slowly bring your arms down to your side, in the process, twisting your arms around so when your arms are lower by your side, the palms are facing upwards, at your…well, at your face!
- Raise arms again, twisting back up ensuring your palms are directed at your feet, repeat
- Do 3 sets, of 8-10 reps
Exercise #4 – Svend Press
Absolutely the least common of all the exercises in this routine, the Svend press posses a quality dynamic in that it relied on isometric contraction, meaning your pecs are engaged and placed under tension for each rep, and you betcha you’ll feel the burn.
- Pick two light plates, no more than a combined weight of 10 kg, and clasp them together with both hands
- Standing up, straighten your posture, create shoulder-width space between your feet, pull your shoulders back,
- Hold the weights clasped together at your chest with your elbows bent
- Extend your arms forward, holding both weights together, squeeze your chest outwards
- Hold the plates in straight ahead of you for a moment, then retract them to your chest, repeat
- Do 3 sets of 12 reps
Exercise #5 – The Dip
Rounding off this routine with a classic bodyweight exercise, get yourself over to the parallel bars and get ready to get low.
- Feet on the ground, place both hands on the adjacent bars, find a comfortable position, grip firmly, and tuck your legs behind you at a 90-degree angle
- Elevate yourself from the ground, then lower yourself, before rising again, and repeating the movement
- As a finisher, do as many as you can over 3 sets
Chest and Tricep Workout
A match made in workout heaven, working your chest and triceps is a popular method of killing two birds with one stone and feeling immense about it. Since many chest exercises work your tris too, it makes perfect sense to undertake a few tricep exercises too.
So, let’s get started on beefing up the triceps as well as our chests, making ourselves look pretty impressive and strong.
Exercise #1 – Push-Up
We all know this one, don’t we?! A good starter exercise and hits both muscles groups.
- Lay on the floor, straighten your body, place your hands at just beyond shoulder width and push yourself up
- Then lower yourself, and repeat
- 4 sets, minimum 15 reps
Exercise #2 – Dumbbell Bench Press
Exactly the same exercise as the barbell bench press, though with two separate weights, this exercise engages your triceps far more.
- Grab two heavy dumbbells, hop on to a bench, and lay down
- With a weight in each hand, lift them till your arms are straight ahead of you, palms facing your feet
- Lower the weights in a controlled manner, so they are parallel with your chest
- Raise weights to start position and repeat
- do 4 sets with 10-12 reps
Exercise #3 – Dumbbell Fly
See the previous routine for instruction, and do 4 sets of 10-12 reps with a medium heavyweight.
Exercise #4 – Chest Dip
Again, look above for instruction, then and do 3 sets of 10-20 reps/till failure.
Exercise #5 – Rope Tricep Pushdown
On to the trip action now, and locate a cable machine, grab a rope attachment and you’re good to go. Make sure to use a medium weight, as you don’t want to overexert your tris on their first exercise.
- With the weight set and rope dangling just about head height, place both hands onto the rope
- Sternly pull down on the rope so that your arms are straight down by your side
- Gently manoeuvre the weighted rope back to the starting position and repeat
- 3 Sets, minimum 12 reps, maximum 20 reps
Exercise #6 – Bench Dip
Another easy one, but for sure, it’ll impact your triceps as hard as any weight will.
- Head to a bench or ledge, and position yourself at its edge
- With both hands clasp the edge of your seat and shimmy forward
- Now you should be supporting yourself with only your arms on the bench/ledge
- Lower yourself down so your backside nearly touches the floor, but doesn’t
- Raise yourself again, feel that burn, and repeat
- 3 sets, 15 reps
Exercise #7 – Skullcrushers
Finishing up your tricep workout we’re hitting up skull crushers, which look exactly as they sound!
- Take a medium weight barbell, and head to the bench
- Lay down and with a close grip, straighten your arms to raise the bar so it is directly above your head, palms facing toward your feet
- lower the bar slowly towards your head, bending the elbows, halting and holding the bar so it just above the top of your head
- Lift the weight to the original position and repeat
- 4 sets, 12 reps
Work Your Chest At Home
Now there’ll be times when you simply just don’t have the time to get to the gym, and that’s a tragedy, particularly on chest day. If your time is short there’s no need to fear, there are a range of pushup orientated bodyweight exercises you can do at home that’ll give your chest muscles a reasonable pump.
Exercise #1 – Pushup
Just your run of the mill pushup as described in the previous regime, do 3 sets of 15-20 reps.
Exercise # 2 – Incline Pushup
Find yourself a surface or ledge and you’re good to go.
- Position your hands on the surface at just beyond shoulder width
- Straighten your body into the pushup position
- Move your chest towards the surface, hold, and push yourself back up
- 3 sets, 15-20 reps
Exercise #3 – Decline Pushup
As above, but in reverse.
- Position and elevate your feet on to the surface, lowers your torso on the ground, and place the hands at just beyond shoulder width
- Prop yourself onto your hands, and pushup, before declining
- 3 sets, 15-20 reps
Working Your Upper, Middle, And Lower Chest
Building supreme pecs is a mammoth yet attainable goal, but ensuring you have the right knowledge means you’ve got to hit your upper, middle, and lower (ULC) chest muscles.
So how do you do this? Simple. Simply adjust the bench from a flat position to an incline and decline position.
Here’s an example of a ULC workout:
Exercise #1,2, and 3
- Get your bench, weight up your bar, lay the bench flat, and get on it
- Lift the barbell off the rack, and bring the barbell to your chest, before thrusting upwards
- Re-rack your barbell, get off the bench and raise the chair to an incline of roughly a 45-degree angle
- Repeat exercise as per standard barbell press
- Re-rack the barbell, the set the chair to a 30-degree angle decline
- Repeat the exercise again
- Do 3 sets of 10-12 reps at standard, incline, and decline
And that’s that, all a matter of slightly adjusting the chair, and suddenly you’re smashing three areas of chest muscle.
Back And Chest Workout
One final workout for those wanting to make serious gains around the torso in rapid time. Working your back and chest isn’t as uncommon as you’d think, after all, the man himself, Arnold Schwarzenegger championed this combined workout, and frankly, if it was good enough for him, I’m sure it’ll be good enough for you.
Exercise #1 – Pullups
Kicking off with a classic and challenging bodyweight movement.
- Head over to the squat/pull-up rack and position yourself underneath the handles
- Jump up and grab the handles, cross your legs behind you at a right angle
- Pull yourself up, ensuring you get your chin in line with your hands
- Lower yourself and repeat
- 3 sets of 10-15 reps
Exercise #2 – Dumbbell Bent Over Row
This one will make you feel a serious burn, but it is utterly worth it.
- Take two heavy dumbbells, one in each hand
- Slightly bend your knees, and bring your torso towards your knees
- Position the weights in your hands just ahead of your knees
- Drawback your elbows, bringing the dumbbells up to your ribs
- 3 sets of 10-12 reps
Exercise #3 – Cable Crossover
Another one sure to fire your traps and pecs into the stratosphere.
- To the cable machine, set your weights equally, and grab the handles
- Step forward, bringing the handles and your hands parallel with your shoulders
- Thrust your hands forwards and down, so they are at your waist and lightly touching
- Carefully allow the weights to pull back your hands to the starting position and repeat
- 3 set of 12-15 reps
Exercise #4 – Standard Bench Press
Finish up with this old favourite, with a medium to heavy weight, going 4 round of 10 reps.