Top Chest Exercise #1 – The Barbell Bench Press

The undisputed king of chest expansion for hundreds of years, the bench press has been the standard for increasing strength and size in the chest by experts around the globe. It is possible to perform the bench press in a few variations, but for the purposes of this article, we will start by discussing the wide grip, pec pounding bench press.

Lie flat on your back on a standard Olympic weight bench. With your feet flat on the floor and your glutes tight to the bench, back and head on the bench at all times, unrack the bar from the bench and lower it to your chest. Pressing your feet into the floor while maintaining a flat position on the bench, use both arms to drive the bar straight up.

The Barbell Bench Press.png

Top Chest Exercise #2 – Explosive Push-ups

The standard bench press will only get a person so far when trying to attain more muscle mass in the chest. To supplement normal weightlifting, it is important to incorporate more rapid motions into any chest program. This is difficult to do safely with weights, so smart bodybuilders turn over and put their nose to the floor for some push-ups that will create the most powerful resistance through explosive movements.

To begin, get down on your hands and knees. Extend your feet back and hold your position with your toes. Place both hands approximately shoulder width apart, and begin by flexing your arms so that your chest lowers to the floor. With as much power as you can muster, push against the floor hard enough to pop your hands off of the ground. You can increase the challenge by trying to jump your hands up to elevated boxes, or by clapping between each jump.

Explosive Push-ups.png

Top Chest Exercise #3 – Inclined Bench Press

This top chest exercise is extremely similar to the standard bench press listed above in that it works the same primary muscle groups (pectorals, deltoids and triceps.) The incline of the bench press however places a great deal more of the workload onto the upper chest.

To perform, use a press bench that can be raised to an incline position. Unrack the weight and lower the barbell until it touches your upper chest. Press the weight back up into the starting position with arms fully extended and repeat. Keep your elbows tucked in to maintain a 45 degree angle to your flanks. If you allow your arms/elbows to deviate outward you’ll be placing excessive strain on your shoulder joints.


Top Chest Exercise #4 – Decline Bench Press

Again, another workout that is very similar to the standard bench press. It works the same muscle groups (pectorals, deltoids and triceps). The decline of the bench press however puts a great deal of emphasis on the lower chest muscles.

To perform, use a press bench that is adjustable and move the seat into a decline. Unrack the weight and lower the barbell until it touches your lower chest, upper abdominal region. Once again, you’ll need to keep your elbows turned in to your body so that your arms are at a 45 degree angle to your flanks. If you allow your elbows to drift outward you’ll be placing excessive stress on the shoulder joints.

Decline Bench Press.png

Top Chest Exercise #5 – Forward-Leaning Dip

The dip is no joke. It’s a tough compound exercise that makes great use of your body weight. However, dips are usually performed in an upright position to target the triceps. By simply adding a forward lean to this already-effective exercise, you’ll stimulate more chest activity.

You can attempt to do this on your own, but if you really want to get the proper angle you’ll need a training partner to help you get into the right position. You can easily make it more challenging by adding weight via chains or a belt.

A word of caution for people with any shoulder issues: Start with a small range of motion and listen to your body to determine how deep you can go. I always advise getting a full range of motion, but not at the risk of injury.


1. Place your hands on the bars and push yourself up until your elbows are locked. Cross your legs back with your knees bent, core tight, and hamstrings and glutes braced.

2. Have your training partner hold and pull your legs back until you’re in a forward leaning position, using just enough assistance to get you into the right angle. Your body should be at approximately a 30-degree angle to the ground.

3. Lower yourself until your shoulders are lower than your elbows, or you feel a good stretch across the chest. Listen to your body and don’t push through shoulder pain.

4. Push yourself up by extending your elbows to 180 degrees for a full range of motion. Visualize the pec squeeze as you drive up.

–Landmarkchem Lillian

Article from All Fitness


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