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Top 5 exercises for the chest!

Who loves chest day? Wait, let me rephrase that. Who doesn’t love chest day? Chest day is celebrated all around the world and is possibly the only muscle group to have its designated day to be worked out on, Chest Mondays. The whole gym community has a weird obsession with chest and rightly so. It is one of the most defining part of a bodybuilder, and the gym community is well known for greeting people with “How much do you bench?” as an opening line. This places a lot of pressure on gym goers to work on chest, and work on chest hard! However, do not worry, this article is here to help you with the Top 5 chest exercises to help you get the chest of dreams and improve your bench! The chest is split into three main muscles, the Pectoralis Major, Minor and the clavicular pectoralis, also known as the upper chest. The Major is the muscle you can see when you look at your chest, whereas the minor is underneath the major. Growing the Pectoralis Minor might seem silly because you cannot really see it, but as it is behind the Major, having a large Pectoralis Minor will mean your Pectoralis Major will puff out more. [caption id="attachment_3658" align="aligncenter" width="650"]The barbell is the cornerstone of building your chest The barbell is the cornerstone of building your chest[/caption]

Chest - Bench Press

The Bench Press is rightly the king of all chest exercises and is a very good indicator of upper body strength, hence the countless “How much do you bench?” questions. Not only is it a good indicator of strength, it also works many other upper body muscles such as the shoulders and the triceps, hence it being a compound chest movement. I’m fairly sure if you’ve been to the gym you’ve done the bench press and if not you must have seen it. Lie on a flat bench with a barbell on a rack. Your grip should be slightly wider than shoulder width on the barbell. Raise the barbell off the rack and slowly lower it to your chest. A good alignment would be that the bar is above your nipples. Lower the bar to your chest MAKING SURE you touch your chest – half a rep is as good as not doing the rep. Press the bar back up from your chest to the starting position.

Chest – Dumbbell Fly

The Dumbbell fly is often overlooked for the cable fly. There is nothing wrong at all using cables, but dumbbells have the advantage in that your muscle fibres are under constant tension whereas using a cable there can be points where your muscles get a bit of a rest. Dumbbell Fly is an isolation exercise so will work only the chest and it great for forming the great looking definition between your pecs. To perform this exercise, lie on a bench with two dumbbells, one in each hand. Raise the dumbbells above your chest with your palms facing each other so the dumbbells are touching. Ensure there is a slight bend in your arm as not to stretch the bicep and lower your arms outwards sideways so they end up parallel to the floor. Raise your arms back up to the starting position slowly.

Chest – Incline Dumbbell Press

Incline Dumbbell press works the upper part of your chest, the clavicular pectoralis. This part is often lacking in many bodybuilders but is necessary for a full looking round chest. You should be using a bench that is on an incline of no more than 45 degrees, as any higher and more emphasis is placed on your shoulders and not enough on your chest. To perform this exercise, use a bench on an incline. Lift dumbbells in each hand, similar to the dumbbell fly, but with your palms facing away from your face and the sides of the dumbbells touching. Lower the dumbbells to your chest such that your elbows end up below your body. Press them back up to starting position.

Chest – Dips

Dips are also a very underused exercise. It is also a compound exercise working your chest, triceps and shoulders. The way of doing dips while targeting your chest more effectively is to lean forward in your dip. To perform the dip, grasp two parallel bars that are approximately shoulder-width apart. The initial position is when your arms are fully extended and are supporting your whole body ie you aren’t leaning on anything. Slowly lower yourself to a position where your elbows are bent and your upper arm and lower arm are at a 90 degree angle. Finally, use your arms to push yourself upwards to the start position. Make sure you lean forward to emphasise the chest.

Chest – Decline Bench Press

You also need to work your lower chest to achieve the full rounded chest pec look. Doing decline presses work that part of your body and take a lot of emphasis off of your shoulders so your chest gets hammered more. Lie on a decline bench, or change the angle of a flat bench so it is decline. Grasp the barbell at slightly wider than your shoulders and lift the barbell off the rack. Lower the bar ensuring that it touches your nipples or that general area. Press the barbell up contracting your chest to engage as many muscle fibres as possible. So there you have it, these are 5 great exercises that will hit the whole of your chest. Put these into your next workout to see some good strength and muscle gains. Remember to take your dose of protein after the workout, to help feed your chest to become huge!
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