Chest Exercise

2 Of The Best Chest Workout Routine

Working out the chest can lead to improved tone or large muscle mass, depending on your targets. The torso is probably second only to the arms in the visibility stakes. Having a well-formed and enhanced upper body indicates that you are looking after yourself and take pride in your appearance.

Although achieving a bulkier torso is not impossible, it does require determination and an understanding of how the muscles work and develop.

This article will explain the function of the chest muscles. In addition, we will explore the benefits of exercising the torso, and our best workout for building a toned, muscular and powerful chest.

Man flexing his chest muscles

Physiology of the Chest Muscles

You will be familiar with the term ‘pecs’ as a colloquialism for describing the chest. In essence, this includes two muscles—the pectoralis major and minor.

The pectoralis major is the largest chest muscle, extending from the sternum up towards the clavicle (collarbone) and across to the humerus (upper arm). It is often described as being ‘fan’ shaped.

Its function is to support the shoulder joint in movement:

  • Flexion – the movement involved in ten-pin bowling release.
  • Adduction – ‘flapping’ like a bird.
  • Rotation – allowing the arm to move from the outside of the body to the inside.
  • Attachment – allowing the arm to be bound to the torso.

Working this muscle results in a prominent upper chest area and assists strength in the arms and shoulders.

The pectoralis minor is a much smaller, triangular muscle, found underneath the pectoralis major. It is connected to the third to fifth ribs on one side and to the scapula (shoulder blade) on the other. The pectoralis minor stabilizes the scapula by drawing it down towards the chest.

Both of these muscles need to be worked to have the most powerful and proportioned chest.

Benefits of Working the Chest Muscles

Working the chest is not always about gaining enormous muscle mass. Although, that can be the result if you are willing to work hard. Below are the main benefits of chest exercising.

Improves Appearance

A tight,, toned chest can look aesthetically pleasing, whether clothed or unclothed. It improves posture and confidence.

Enhances Other Muscle Groups

The chest muscles do not work in isolation. Whether working out at the gym, or just carrying out normal day-to-day routines, they work in conjunction with other muscle groups – especially the arms and the shoulders.

Place your left hand on your right pectoral muscle. Clench your right fist, and perform a weight-free bicep curl. You will feel your pectoralis major contract during this exercise. Throughout the day, this is occurring. Arm movement involves the chest muscles. Hence, having a powerful torso will make all upper body movements easier.

Furthermore, if you are serious about weight-training, strong chest muscles can prevent injury to the arm and shoulders by providing solid reinforcement.

Fit guy with big chest muscles

Improves Everyday Life

Anytime you perform a ‘push’ movement (opening doors, moving furniture, washing the car) you are using the chest muscles. Having a strong and developed chest reduces energy expenditure and makes normal daily tasks simple.

Improves Health

Chest workouts involve resistance, which has been proven to burn calories. As a consequence, weight can be lost. In addition, it can also lower LDL (bad) cholesterol.

Best Chest Workout Without Weights

If you are looking for enhanced muscle and tone, but want to stay clear of large muscle gains, weights are not essential. The following workout will provide visible results, as long as you are dedicated to your training.

The whole workout should last around 60 minutes. Try to complete two or three sessions per week, but not on consecutive days. Rest for three minutes between each exercise.

Push-Ups

An excellent start to a workout—and one I would recommend as a warm-up for a weight workout too. It pushes both pectoral muscles hard, as well as working the biceps, triceps and deltoids.

  1. Lie face down on the floor. Support yourself off the ground with locked arms.
  2. Your palms should be flat and be located directly in line with your shoulders.
  3. Your feet should be bent at the toes.
  4. The only point of contact with the floor should be toes and palms of the hand.
  5. Ensure that your back, buttocks and legs form one straight line.
  6. This is the starting position.
  7. Lower your upper body towards the floor by bending your arms only.
  8. Stop when your arms are at a 90-degree angle.
  9. At all times during this movement, your back and legs should remain in a perfect line.
  10. Raise yourself up again by powering through your pectoral muscles.
  11. Once your arms are locked, one repetition has been completed and you have returned to the starting position.
  12. Complete repetitions as below.

I would recommend first trying this exercise until exhaustion. Starting a workout like this means defining your limits. Once you have found your limit (say 20 repetitions), rest for three minutes and then aim for your limit again. Finally, another three-minute rest and one final run through. On the next session in a couple of days time, try to increase by one extra repetition.

Man doing push ups

Single-Leg Push-Ups

This exercise is a variation on the traditional push-up. By forcing the body to remain stable on three contact points, it works the pectoralis minor muscle hard. In addition, it strengthens the core and shoulders.

  1. Begin in the traditional push-up position as described above, with arms locked-out and legs and back straight.
  2. Raise your right leg 8-10 inches above the ground.
  3. This is the starting position.
  4. Keeping your gluteus muscles tight during this exercise improves position.
  5. Lower yourself to the ground by bending your arms.
  6. Stop when arms are at 90 degrees.
  7. Tense the chest muscles and push yourself back up to the starting position.
  8. Complete half the amount of repetitions that is your ‘limit’ on standard push-ups.
  9. Lower right leg and raise left leg 8-10 inches from the floor.
  10. Complete the same number of repetitions on this side.
  11. Complete two more sets with a three-minute rest in between.

If you find that completing half the repetitions as for standard push-ups is too difficult, reduce the number. Every new session, try to increase your fatigue limit by one extra rep.

Diamond Push-Up

An exercise which works both pectoral muscles. This is an exercise which can be modified to increase difficulty as you progress, as I will explain.

  1. Start by kneeling on the ground.
  2. Lean forward and support your body with locked arms, palms flat on the floor, directly below your head (as opposed to under shoulders for a traditional push-up).
  3. Form a diamond shape with both thumbs and both forefingers touching each other.
  4. Unlock your arms so your elbows move outward, thus lowering you towards the floor.
  5. When the arms reach 90 degrees, stop.
  6. Push back until your arms are fully locked again.
  7. Repeat as below for three sets, with a three-minute break.
  8. Increase by one repetition per session.

Again, this is an exercise in which you first need to discover your fatigue limit, and use as your benchmark to aim and increase from.

Once proficient, you can increase difficulty by using your toes instead of your knees as the pivot point.

Elevated Push-Ups

Find a heavy chair that will not move under a little pressure, with around six feet of space in front of it. Placing it against a wall will increase stability.

  1. Start on all-fours with your back to the chair. Place palms flat on the floor with locked arms.
  2. Starting with your right foot, lift it onto the chair seat behind you. Complete the move by lifting your left foot.
  3. You are now supported off the floor by palms on the ground and toes on the chair.
  4. This is the starting position.
  5. Keeping a straight back, lower your torso toward the floor, by bending your arms. At 90 degrees, push back into the starting position.
  6. Complete reps as below. Do two more sets with a three-minute rest in between.

You should be able to complete half the number of your standard push-ups for this exercise, or whatever leads to fatigue. Increase by one repetition per session.

Warm down with a few standard push-ups and stretches.

Best Chest Workout with Equipment

This workout will lead not only to improved tone but also large muscle gains if worked hard week by week. Use weights that promote fatigue at the repetition level indicated below. Complete no more than twice a week, with three days in between sessions.

The rest time between each set should be three minutes.

Double Dumbbell Bench Press

An exercise which is enhanced by the use of dumbbells instead of a barbell. This forces the pectoralis minors to work hard to increase stability. Equipment required: standard bench and dumbbells.

  1. Lie flat on a bench, face up.
  2. Hold a dumbbell in each hand to the side of your chest. Your elbows should be pointing outward and forearms raised at 90 degrees.
  3. Face your palms towards your feet.
  4. This is the starting position.
  5. Push the weights upwards until arms are locked, while breathing out.
  6. Hold for a count of one second.
  7. Slowly lower to the starting position again while breathing in.
  8. Complete 6–8 repetitions. Rest. Complete another 6–8 reps. Rest. Finish with 8–10 repetitions if possible.

Concentrate on your breathing during this tough exercise to enhance performance.

Man doing push up with dumbbells

Incline Barbell Press

An exercise which should be completed with a spotter for safety. Equipment required: an incline bench, barbell and weights.

  1. Place weights on bar as applicable for your training level.
  2. Lay with back on the bench, feet firmly planted on the ground.
  3. Arch back and pull back your shoulders (otherwise they will do the work).
  4. Grasp bar, with palms facing outwards.
  5. Raise bar off the bench rack, holding above chest with arms locked out.
  6. This is the starting position.
  7. Bring the bar down to the chest by bending the elbows while inhaling.
  8. Once it touches the chest, push back through the bar until in the starting position again, while breathing out.
  9. Complete 6–8 repetitions. Rest. Complete another 6–8 reps. Rest. Finish with 8–10 repetitions if possible.

Try not to ‘bounce’ the bar off the torso, as this is denying the pectorals a proper workout.

Double Dumbbell Incline Fly

Works both the pectoral muscles as well as the deltoids. Equipment required: incline bench and dumbbells.

  1. Lie flat on an incline bench at 20–30 degrees with a dumbbell in each hand.
  2. Raise arms so dumbbells are above your head.
  3. Palms should be facing each other, elbows slightly bent (not locked).
  4. This is the starting position
  5. Lower the arms to your sides while breathing in – towards an airplane position.
  6. When palms are parallel to the floor, stop.
  7. Breathe out and raise dumbbells to the starting position again.
  8. Throughout this exercise the arms should remain slightly flexed.
  9. Complete 10 repetitions. Rest. Complete another 10 reps. Rest. Finish with 12 repetitions.

Dumbbell Push-Up

With lighter weights, this exercise can function as a good warm-down exercise. With heavier weights it can be an addition to the main workout. Equipment required: dumbbells. Those with flat sides (such as the hexagonal or octagonal variety) provide greater stability.

  1. Put two dumbbells on the floor, shoulder-width apart.
  2. Move into the standard push-up position as already described above. However, instead of palms flat on floor, lock arms with hands gripping dumbbells.
  3. Ensure back and legs are straight.
  4. This is the starting position.
  5. Bend arms and lower yourself until arms are at 90 degrees.
  6. Push back up into the starting position.
  7. Pull up one dumbbell to your chest while supporting yourself on the toes and one arm.
  8. Lower dumbbell.
  9. Repeat on the other side.
  10. That is one repetition completed.
  11. Finish 10 repetitions. Rest. Complete a further 10 repetitions. Rest. Finish with 10 reps.

This exercise takes some perseverance for technique, but is a powerful strength and stamina builder.

Conclusion

Maintaining a chest workout regime is not all about gaining large muscle mass. It can improve appearance, health and make daily life much easier.

As this article has shown, there is no requirement for access to gym or weights to push the pectoral muscles hard. Muscle tone, size and strength can be improved by using the body’s own weight as resistance.

However, using the equipment workout above will lead to impressive muscle gain if you use weighting that pushes you hard.

Whatever your requirements, one of the workouts above will help.

7 Best Chest Exercises

Exercising the chest is not always about obtaining large muscle mass. Although this can be a result of completing specific exercises, there are a number of other benefits too.

Having a toned, strong and flexible upper body can assist you throughout your daily life: whether sat behind a desk, working on a construction site or simply carrying out household chores. This article will look at the workings of the chest and how the muscle groups function together. In addition, it will explore the physiological and lifestyle benefits of a flexible and powerful torso. Furthermore, it includes some of the best exercises for toning, muscle gain, strength and flexibility.

It does not matter whether you are a serious gym addict or someone who wishes to work out in the privacy of your own home - the list includes exercises for all abilities.

 

What Are the Chest Muscles?

best chest exercises - What Are the Chest Muscles

The chest comes under the category of ‘push muscles’. These muscles are the group of muscles which contract and feel ‘tight’ when you push something away from your body. Imagine trying to push a heavy piece of furniture across the floor. Your arms are extended and you feel the pressure in your upper chest.

These ‘push muscles’ are the opposite of ‘pull muscles’ which contract when you bring something closer to your body. For example, if you are completing bicep curls with a weight - the muscle becomes tighter as you bring your forearm up towards your shoulder.

Exercising the chest muscles therefore involves a pushing movement, as opposed to a pulling process. In this way, the muscles are worked hard and require repair through protein synthesis. As the muscle fibers rebuild, they return larger, stronger and more flexible than before.

The chest contains two main muscles which we will look at below.

 

Pectoralis Major

 

As the name suggests, this is the largest muscle on the upper front chest. The pectoralis major is shaped much like a fan, connected on one side to the sternum and extending up towards the armpit and collarbone.

 

The pectoralis major is responsible for moving the shoulder joint and allowing the arm to move across and towards the chest itself. In addition, it assists with deep breathing as it pulls on the rib cage allowing the lungs to expand. The pectoralis major is more prominent in males than females, as in the latter it is hidden under breast tissue.

 

Pectoralis Minor

 

The pectoralis major, together with the pectoralis minor, make what are commonly known as ‘the pecs’. The pectoralis minor is located beneath the pectoralis major and attaches the third, fourth and fifth ribs upwards to the shoulder blade. Its function is to pull the shoulder down and forwards.

The best chest exercises work both of these muscles, allowing the upper body to appear toned and firm.


 

Benefits of Exercising the Chest

 

best chest exercises - Exercising the Chest



Assists With Daily Life

It is surprising how often the chest muscles are required throughout a normal day. Pushing heavy glass doors open on a store, using a vacuum cleaner, turning the mattress and even washing your hair requires the chest to fire into action.

Exercising the chest means that these activities are easy, comfortable and you are not compensating by using other areas such as the spine. In some circumstances, that can create an unhealthy load on the back.

 

It Looks Impressive

Many men, and some women, want the appearance of a large, muscular chest. Not only does it appear aesthetically pleasing on the beach or by a swimming pool, it can make clothing look more attractive and appear to fit better.

However, do not assume that exercising the chest will result in creating a massive upper body. That comes through choice. For large muscles, use heavy weights and small repetitions. For tone, use less weight and more reps.

Women should not assume they will lose any breast tissue when exercising as it’s not known to happen. Toning and working the pectoral muscles will actually lift the breasts, making them more prominent.

 

Improves Posture

Exercising and enlarging the chest muscles can have the effect of pushing the shoulder blades backwards. This forces the upper chest outwards, making you appear taller and more statuesque.

 

Reduces Calories

All resistance exercise comes with the added bonus of burning calories. If losing weight is the target, chest exercises are a perfect way of creating a calorie deficiency while building muscle. It is a win-win situation. Not only are the muscles growing but by losing fat at the same time they appear all the more toned and tight. Now that we have seen the benefits of exercising the chest, it is time to look at the best exercises to gain results. The t exercises below are for people with access to weights as well as those without.

 

Best Chest Exercises Without Weights

Without weights, you should aim to exercise the chest three times a week but not on consecutive days. In these exercises, it is the weight of the body itself which forms the resistance against the muscles.

 

Push-Ups - Best All-Around Chest Exercise

The push-up is probably the most popular of all non-weight exercises, being a favorite of school fitness programs and army training.It is successful not only because it can be completed virtually anywhere but it also works many muscles. While the majority of stress is placed on the major and minor pectoralis muscles, the biceps, triceps and deltoids are also involved.

 

  1. Lie face downwards with palms flat on the floor directly beneath your shoulders. Your arms should be locked and supporting you off the ground. Ensure that your back is completely straight.
  2. Lower yourself down until your arms create a 90-degree angle.
  3. Push yourself back up until your arms are straight again.
  4. This completes one repetition.
  5. Complete as many repetitions as you can and try to increase by one further push up every two sessions.

 

Once you become more proficient, you can move past the 90-degree angle and work towards getting the chest lower to the floor. Do not try too early though as this can damage the shoulder muscles.

 

Gorilla Push-Ups - Best Advanced Chest Exercise

here are many variants of the standard push-up, but the gorilla is a personal favorite of mine. It combines explosive power, strength, heavy resistance and, if you are in front of a crowd, appears very impressive too.

 

  1. Start from the standard push-up position listed above.
  2. Quickly drop down towards the floor, then rapidly propel yourself upwards off the floor.
  3. Slap your chest with both hands (hence the gorilla).
  4. Quickly replace your hands back on the floor.
  5. Repeat until exhaustion.
  6. Increase by one repetition every two days.

 

This exercise provides a large volume of resistance and is a good way to work the pectoral muscles hard. However, do not complete until you can easily do over thirty standard push-ups, as you need the strength for control.

If possible, it’s best to complete this exercise on a floor mat or somewhere where there is little chance of your hands slipping to avoid injury.


Incline Push-Ups - Best Chest Exercise for Beginners or Older Persons

Another variant to the standard push-up, the incline push-up works the pectoralis muscles and does not create as much resistance.

 

  1. With toes on the floor, lean forwards with locked out arms supporting yourself against a work surface, table, wall or bench. The higher the supporting object, the easier the push up.
  2. This is the starting position.
  3. Bend your arms, lowering your body as close as possible to the support.
  4. Push your body back to the starting position again until the arms are straight.
  5. Complete as many repetitions until fatigue sets in, and then increase with one further push-up every two sessions.

 

Easier than push-ups, this exercise is a great way to start exercising the chest. Begin with a higher object such as table and as you progress, work downwards to a chair or bench. Finally, replace with the standard push-up.

 

Dips - Best Chest Pectoralis Minor Exercise

Push-ups do work the pectoralis minor, but this exercise places more stress on the pectoralis minor and is a good way to ensure it builds as fast as the major. 

The dip is typically completed on parallel bars in a gym but can also be used at home too.

 

  1. Find two strong chairs, face them back to back, shoulder width apart and stand between them.
  2. Place one hand on either chair so that they are straight.
  3. Lift your legs off the floor by bending them at the knee and raising up towards your buttocks.
  4. You are now supporting yourself on just your arms.
  5. This is the starting position.
  6. Lower your body down towards the floor by bending your arms until they are at ninety degrees.
  7. Raise yourself up to the starting position again.
  8. If possible, complete ten repetitions.

 

Two main warnings come with the exercise. First, ensure your arms do not go past ninety degrees on the dip as this can cause misalignment in the shoulders. Second, use strong chairs or other pieces of furniture. Not only could the supporting object break, it could provide you with an unwanted injury.

 

Best Chest Exercises With Weights

Using weights during chest exercises can promote a larger muscle build, and quicker. If you are using really heavy weights (190 lbs. or more), work the chest only twice a week. For other days, concentrate on different muscle groups.



The Bench Press - Best Chest Exercise With Weights

When you imagine someone working out in a gym, bench pressing is probably the first thing that comes to mind. It is a chest and power building exercise which works the pectoral muscles, triceps, shoulders and gluteus maximus. This exercise requires a barbell, weights and bench.

 

  1. Lay flat on the bench, legs to either side and feet flat on the floor. Your face should be underneath the supported barbell.
  2. Arch the back slightly.
  3. Tightly grip the bar.
  4. The arms should be placed comfortably apart. The longer the arms, the further apart they need to be. Generally, they should be placed wider than your shoulder blades.
  5. Remove the bar from the rack, breathe in and lower to your chest.
  6. Breathe out and push the bar upwards again until arms are extended.
  7. Start with small weights and aim for 10-12 repetitions. Reps and weights can be increased as you advance.

 

This is an exercise which generally requires ‘spotting’ (assistance from a friend) to ensure that it is completed safely.

 


Dumbbell Press - Best Chest Exercise with Free Weights

A good free weight exercise without the support of a barbell. This means the body is fighting against gravity on either side of the chest improving stabilizer muscles. This exercise requires two dumbbells with weights and a bench.

 

  1. Lie with your back flat on a bench.
  2. Have a dumbbell in each hand resting on your upper thighs.
  3. Use the thighs and arms to bring the dumbbells forward and hold just to the side of your chest with your arms at 90-degrees.
  4. Your palms should face away from your body.
  5. This is the starting position.
  6. Breathe out and use the chest muscles to push the weights upwards until arms are straight.
  7. Hold for one second.
  8. Breathe in as you lower back to the starting position.
  9. Weights should be adjusted so that you can complete 10-12 repetitions.

If there is a lot of weight on the dumbbells, it can place a lot of stress on the wrists. Supports are recommended in this scenario.


 


Lying Fly - Best Chest and Shoulder Exercise

A good exercise which works the pectoralis major and minor muscles together with benefitting the deltoids. It is completed with a bench and two dumbbells.

 

  1. Lie back down on a bench, legs to either side and feet firmly on the floor.
  2. It may be best to have someone hand you the dumbbells, otherwise start as per the dumbbell press with the weights on your thighs.
  3. Raise dumbbells, palms facing inwards towards each other until your arms are straight and above your head. This is the starting position.
  4. Breathe in and lower weights to your sides away from the body. Keep arms straight but with a small bend in the elbow for stability. Bring them down until level with your chest. From above you should now be in a ‘cross’ shape.
  5. Breathe out and raise weights back to the starting position. Again, fairly straight arms with a little elbow flex.
  6. Repeat ten times.

 

Try to keep both dumbbells mirroring each other, otherwise you may be thrown off- balance potentially leading to injury.

 



Conclusion


Working the chest muscles can improve appearance, increase confidence, raise strength and improve posture. It does not have to be about creating an enormous bodybuilding physique, although that is possible. The exercises in this article cater from the beginner to the advanced, from the gym addict to the stay-at-home fitness enthusiast.

Find the exercises that work best for you and the ones that will achieve the results you are after. Either light weights or no weights at all will improve tone. The heavier the weights, the more muscle will be built.

The best chest exercises will put you on the road to looking great and feeling good.

 

7 Best Chest Exercises

Exercising the chest is not always about obtaining large muscle mass. Although this can be a result of completing specific exercises, there are some other benefits too. Having a toned, strong and flexible upper body can assist you throughout your daily life: whether sat behind a desk, working on a construction site or simply carrying out household chores, thus it is crucial to have the best chest exercise.

This article will look at the workings of the chest and how the muscle groups function together. Also, it will explore the physiological and lifestyle benefits of a flexible and powerful torso. Furthermore, it includes some of the best exercises for toning, muscle gain, strength, and flexibility.

It does not matter whether you are a serious gym addict or someone who wishes to work out in the privacy of your own home - the list includes exercises for all abilities.

What Are the Chest Muscles?

The chest comes under the category of ‘push muscles.’ These muscles are the group of muscles which contract and feel ‘tight’ when you push something away from your body. Imagine trying to push a heavy piece of furniture across the floor. Your arms extend, and you feel the pressure in your upper chest.

These ‘push muscles’ are the opposite of ‘pull muscles’ which contract when you bring something closer to your body. For example, if you are completing bicep curls with weight - the muscle becomes tighter as you bring your forearm up towards your shoulder.

Exercising the chest muscles, therefore, involves a pushing movement, as opposed to a pulling process. In this way, the muscles work hard and require repair through protein synthesis. As the muscle fibers rebuild, they return larger, stronger and more flexible than before.

The chest contains two main muscles which we will look at below.

Pectoralis Major


As the name suggests, this is the largest muscle on the upper front chest. The pectoralis major looks like a fan, connecting on one side to the sternum and extending up towards the armpit and collarbone.

The pectoralis major is responsible for moving the shoulder joint and allowing the arm to move across and towards the chest itself. Also, it assists with deep breathing as it pulls on the rib cage allowing the lungs to expand. The pectoralis major is more prominent in males than females, as in the latter it is hidden under the breast tissue.

Pectoralis Minor


The pectoralis major, together with the pectoralis minor, make what is commonly known as ‘the pecs.’ The pectoralis minor is located beneath the pectoralis major and attaches the third, fourth and fifth ribs upwards to the shoulder blade. Its function is to pull the shoulder down and forwards.

The best chest exercises work both of these muscles, allowing the upper body to appear toned and firm.

Benefits of Exercising the Chest

best chest exercises: man holding black dumbbell

Assists With Daily Life

It is surprising how often the chest muscles are in need throughout a normal day. Pushing heavy glass doors open on a store, using a vacuum cleaner, turning the mattress and even washing your hair requires the chest to fire into action.

Doing the best chest exercises means that these activities are easy, comfortable and you are not compensating by using other areas such as the spine. In some circumstances, that can create an unhealthy load on the back.

It Looks Impressive

Many men and some women want the appearance of a large, muscular chest. Not only does it appear aesthetically pleasing on the beach or by a swimming pool, but it can also make clothing look more attractive and appear to fit better.

However, do not assume that exercising the chest will result in creating a massive upper body. That comes through choice. For large muscles, use heavy weights and small repetitions. For tone, use less weight and more reps.

Women should not assume they will lose any breast tissue when exercising as it’s not known to happen. Toning and working the pectoral muscles will lift the breasts, making them more prominent.

Improves Posture

Getting the best chest exercises for the muscles can have the effect of pushing the shoulder blades backward.

This forces the upper chest outwards, making you appear taller and more statuesque.

Reduces Calories

All resistance exercise comes with the bonus of burning calories. If losing weight is the target, chest exercises are a perfect way of creating a calorie deficiency while building muscle.

It is a win-win situation. Not only are the muscles growing but by losing fat at the same time, they appear all the more toned and tight.

Now that we have seen the benefits of exercising the chest, it is time to look at the best exercises to gain results. The t exercises below are for people with access to weights as well as those without.

Best Chest Exercises Without Weights

Without weights, you should aim to exercise the chest three times a week but not on consecutive days. In these exercises, it is the weight of the body itself which forms the resistance against the muscles.

Push-Ups - Best All-Around Chest Exercise

The push-up is probably the most popular of all non-weight exercises, being a favorite of school fitness programs and army training.

It is successful not only because it can be completed virtually anywhere, but it also works many muscles. While the majority of stress is placed on the major and minor pectoralis muscles, the biceps, triceps, and deltoids are also involved.

  1. Lie face downwards with palms flat on the floor directly beneath your shoulders. Your arms should be locked and supporting you off the ground. Ensure that your back is completely straight.
  2. Lower yourself down until your arms create a 90-degree angle.
  3. Push yourself back up until your arms are straight again.
  4. This completes one repetition.
  5. Complete as many repetitions as you can and try to increase by one further push up every two sessions.

Once you become more proficient, you can move past the 90-degree angle and work towards getting the chest lower to the floor. Do not try too early though as this can damage the shoulder muscles.

Gorilla Push-Ups - Best Advanced Chest Exercise

There are many variants of the standard push-up, but the gorilla is a personal favorite of mine. It combines explosive power, strength, heavy resistance and, if you are in front of a crowd, appears very impressive too.

  1. Start from the standard push-up position listed above.
  2. Quickly drop down towards the floor, then rapidly propel yourself upwards off the floor.
  3. Slap your chest with both hands (hence the gorilla).
  4. Quickly replace your hands back on the floor.
  5. Repeat until exhaustion.
  6. Increase by one repetition every two days.

This exercise provides a large volume of resistance and is a good way to work the pectoral muscles hard. However, do not complete until you can easily do over thirty standard push-ups, as you need the strength for control.

If possible, it’s best to complete this exercise on a floor mat or somewhere where there is little chance of your hands slipping to avoid injury.

Incline Push-Ups - Best Chest Exercise for Beginners or Older Persons

Another variant to the standard push-up, the incline push-up works the pectoralis muscles and does not create as much resistance.

  1. With toes on the floor, lean forwards with locked out arms supporting yourself against a work surface, table, wall or bench. The higher the supporting object, the easier the push-up.
  2. This is the starting position.
  3. Bend your arms, lowering your body as close as possible to the support.
  4. Push your body back to the starting position again until the arms are straight.
  5. Complete as many repetitions until fatigue sets in, and then increase with one further push-up every two sessions.

Easier than push-ups, this exercise is a great way to start exercising the chest. Begin with a higher object such as table and as you progress, work downwards to a chair or bench. Finally, replace with the standard push-up.

Dips - Best Chest Pectoralis Minor Exercise

Push-ups do work the pectoralis minor, but this exercise places more stress on the pectoralis minor and is a good way to ensure it builds as fast as the major.

The dip is typically completed on parallel bars in a gym but can also be used at home too.

  1. Find two strong chairs, face them back to back, shoulder width apart and stand between them.
  2. Place one hand on either chair so that they are straight.
  3. Lift your legs off the floor by bending them at the knee and raising up towards your buttocks.
  4. You are now supporting yourself on just your arms.
  5. This is the starting position.
  6. Lower your body down towards the floor by bending your arms until they are at ninety degrees.
  7. Raise yourself up to the starting position again.
  8. If possible, complete ten repetitions.

Two main warnings come in doing any of these best chest exercises. First, ensure your arms do not go past ninety degrees on the dip as this can cause misalignment in the shoulders. Second, use strong chairs or other pieces of furniture. Not only could the supporting object break, but it could also provide you with an unwanted injury.

Best Chest Exercises With Weights

Using weights during chest exercises can promote a larger muscle build, and quicker. If you are using really heavy weights (190 lbs. or more), work the chest only twice a week. For other days, concentrate on different muscle groups.

The Bench Press - Best Chest Exercise With Weights

When you imagine someone working out in a gym, bench pressing is probably the first thing that comes to mind. It is a chest and power building exercise which works the pectoral muscles, triceps, shoulders and gluteus maximus. This exercise requires a barbell, weights, and bench.

  1. Lay flat on the bench, legs to either side and feet flat on the floor. Your face should be underneath the supported barbell.
  2. Arch the back slightly.
  3. Tightly grip the bar.
  4. The arms should be placed comfortably apart. The longer the arms, the further apart they need to be. Generally, they should be placed wider than your shoulder blades.
  5. Remove the bar from the rack, breathe in and lower to your chest.
  6. Breathe out and push the bar upwards again until arms are extended.
  7. Start with small weights and aim for 10-12 repetitions. Reps and weights can be increased as you advance.

This is an exercise which generally requires ‘spotting’ (assistance from a friend) to ensure that it is completed safely.

Dumbbell Press - Best Chest Exercise with Free Weights

A good free weight exercise without the support of a barbell. This means the body is fighting against gravity on either side of the chest improving stabilizer muscles. This exercise requires two dumbbells with weights and a bench.

  1. Lie with your back flat on a bench.
  2. Have a dumbbell in each hand resting on your upper thighs.
  3. Use the thighs and arms to bring the dumbbells forward and hold just to the side of your chest with your arms at 90-degrees.
  4. Your palms should face away from your body.
  5. This is the starting position.
  6. Breathe out and use the chest muscles to push the weights upwards until arms are straight.
  7. Hold for one second.
  8. Breathe in as you lower back to the starting position.
  9. Weights should be adjusted so that you can complete 10-12 repetitions.

If there is a lot of weight on the dumbbells, it can place a lot of stress on the wrists. Supports are recommended in this scenario.

Lying Fly - Best Chest and Shoulder Exercise

The best chest exercises works the pectoralis major and minor muscles together with benefitting the deltoids. It is completed with a bench and two dumbbells.

  1. Lie back down on a bench, legs to either side and feet firmly on the floor.
  2. It may be best to have someone hand you the dumbbells, otherwise, start as per the dumbbell press with the weights on your thighs.
  3. Raise dumbbells, palms facing inwards towards each other until your arms are straight and above your head. This is the starting position.
  4. Breathe in and lower weights to your sides away from the body. Keep arms straight but with a small bend in the elbow for stability. Bring them down until level with your chest. From above you should now be in a ‘cross’ shape.
  5. Breathe out and raise weights back to the starting position. Again, fairly straight arms with a little elbow flex.
  6. Repeat ten times.

Try to keep both dumbbells mirroring each other. Otherwise, you may be thrown off- balance potentially leading to injury.

Conclusion

Working the chest muscles can improve appearance, increase confidence, raise strength and improve posture.

It does not have to be about creating an enormous bodybuilding physique, although that is possible. The exercises in this article cater from the beginner to the advanced, from the gym addict to the stay-at-home fitness enthusiast.

Find the best chest exercises for you and the ones that will achieve the results you are after. Either light weights or no weights at all will improve tone. The heavier the weights, the more muscle will be built.

The best chest exercises will put you on the road to looking great and feeling good.