For many guys, chest training is something they take pride in. Chest development and bench strength are two of the things people brag about or tend to show off the most in instagram photos. I am not the strongest at the bench press, nor do I ever plan to, but I can appreciate the focus I give toward each muscle group. Majority of my training revolves around compound exercise and functional training, but if I had to choose exercises for a chest day, I would definitely include the following 4.
Barbell Bench Press
Not only is bench press the kind of all pressing movements, but it is definitely the one you hear about the most. Now, don’t let your ego get the most of you. Attack the bench with the mindset that quality of reps trump weight or amount. Utilize your full range of motion, steady on the way down, and explosive on the way up. Also consider pausing on your chest for an increase in time under tension. There are many variations of this exercise, including dumbell pressing, spotto presses, floor presses, etc. Stick with this foundation, then advance from there.
Standing Cable Chest Fly
Any kind of horizontal adduction, like the chest fly, is going to provide a bunch of tension on the pecs. I either use this exercise within my warm-up to pump some blood into the muscle and stretch, or as an exercise toward the end to finish off what energy I have left. Either way, this is a great tool when focusing directly on the chest. Just make sure you angle the cables properly and don’t excessively overload the weight, to prevent shoulder injury.
Body weight or Weighted Push Ups
A standard in my book, and honestly any true athlete. THE PUSH UP. I love the stretch and burn you get from this movement, as you keep tension on the chest and triceps throughout your time on the floor. Make sure you complete the full range of motion as you perform this exercise. If need be, complete push ups on your knees till you can do regular ones. Even then, try to push past regular push ups and add weight to your back for increased intensity and stimulus.
Body weight, Assisted, or Added Resistance Dips
Finally, DIPS! I love dips. Dips love me. I use to do these as a means of muscular endurance back when I weighed 180lb… Now, weighing 250, this exercise is more like strength work. I completely love this exercise and believe it is a foundational movement for true chest development. Not only that, it can be a huge component when looking for tricep and arm growth. Just be careful on the tension and strain this could place on the elbow and shoulder joints.
Add these 4 exercises to your chest day, along with selections like dumbell incline press, decline pressing, or any other variations you see fit. To be honest, I don’t drift too far from the four displayed above, excluding the incline press. I just believe that exercise also incorporates a ton of shoulder strength so it shall be saved for another article for now (not saying it is not good for chest). If you have any questions, want to request an article topic, or would love to collab, feel free to contact us through the contact form.
Written by Hussien Jabai | NSCA CSCS & CPT