When you think about what makes a great physique, nearly everyone includes a strong, powerful chest. However, if you ask what are the absolute best chest exercises to build a strong and powerful chest? You’re likely to get many differing opinions and ideas.
Before we dive into the what chest exercises are best, let’s consider the components of the chest itself.
Anatomy of the chest
The chest is actually composed of two muscle groups: the large pectoralis major and the smaller pectoralis minor. The flat, thick pec major begins in a long stretch along the anterior surface of the clavicle, down the sternum and from the cartilage of the ribs. It inserts into a much smaller area called the ‘intertubular groove’ located at the top of the upper arm.
The narrow, triangular pec minor starts from the upper and outer surfaces of three ribs and inserts into the coracoid process which is a bony protrusion next to the shoulder joint. Now that we’ve got an idea for the chest muscles themselves, let’s make them strong!
Best chest exercises for building muscles fast!
Resistance exercises that target the entire chest are the best way to build those muscles!
Push Ups – An old standard, but a powerhouse exercise that can be done from anywhere. Also, you can vary the angle and arm width to both focus more weight onto the chest and to hit different regions of the chest muscle. As your strength increases, adding a weighted backpack or vest for extra resistance will encourage more growth.
Bench Press – With multiple bench options including flat, incline, and decline, the bench press is a popular go-to exercise at most gyms. Each bench targets a specific area of the chest. Plus, the press can be performed with either a normal, wide or close grip, which changes whether the arms or chest receive the majority of the weight.
Dips and Flys – Bench pressing and push ups are more up and down “pushing” movements, “flys” use the inner shoulder joint as the pivot point. With a choice of dumbbell or cable flys, the resistance starts with the arms extended outside shoulder width with the palms moving the weight towards the middle of the chest.
Top Tips for Building a Better Chest
Lift with a spotter – In addition to helping avoid injury, a spotter lets you attack the weight while minimizing fear. With a spotter standing by, you’re not concerned about being stuck with a heavy barbell on your chest. Plus, your spotter can check your form and provide extra words of encouragement.
Eat well, lift well – Everyone’s nutritional needs are different, but bodybuilding wisdom says to consume around a gram of protein per pound of body weight daily. This amount gives the body the building blocks it needs to repair and develop new muscle tissue.
Don’t overtrain – If you’re going for chest mass, don’t over-work the shoulders or triceps in the 2 days before your chest workout. That’s too much pushing and your tired shoulders and triceps interfere with the ability to give chest workouts the maximum intensity required for strength and mass increases.
Again, don’t overtrain! – Some people do pushups every day thinking that’s the way to huge pecs. No! That won’t even help build strong pecs. “Every day pushups” optimizes the pecs for doing pushups every day because the body adapts to whatever tasks you want it to accomplish.
Mix it up – Add some variety by changing your rest and rep range weekly. Sometimes take a minute between sets and sometimes take 5 minutes between sets. Keep your muscles guessing!
With these tips and exercises added to your workout routine, you’re more than set to start building a strong, powerful chest!