The Best Chest Workout Exercises│Everything You Need for Building the Perfect Chest

All men want a big chest. It is what we all desire. When imagining ourselves with a perfectly chiseled physique of a Greek god, one of the first things that come to mind is a sculpted chest. A big and well-defined chest makes you look more attractive and stronger.

It is one of the first things that people notice when complimenting on your physique, whether you go out wearing a t-shirt or a tank which makes it worthwhile to focus your efforts on building a perfect chest through the help of the best chest workout exercises.

Today, we are going to learn about what all it takes to build that bigger, stronger, and fully developed chest that becomes the pride of your muscular physique.

The Muscle Anatomy of the Chest

Muscle anatomy of the chest or Pectoralis Major
Chest Muscles (Pectoralis Major) Anatomy

In scientific terms, the larger muscles at the surface of the chest region are known as the pectoral muscles, commonly known as pecs. The pectoral region of the chest consists of two regions, one of them being the pectoralis minor which is the innermost area of the chest and invisible to the naked eye.

The one area that we must focus on for maximum and full chest development is the outermost region of the chest called Pectoralis Major. The reason is that this muscle group makes up the bulk of your chest and is the only area in the chest whose growth can be manipulated by training it with the right exercises.

The pectoralis major is the main and outermost muscle of the chest area which is made of a Sternocostal or Sternal Head or the middle and bottom areas of the chest and a Clavicular Head or the upper area of the chest.

In simple terms, the sternocostal head comprises the middle and lower chest while the smaller clavicular head comprises the upper chest area. When people talk about training the different areas of the chest, you must have most heard them using the commonly used terms like training the upper, middle, and lower chest.

Therefore, we must include the exercises in our bigger chest workout routine that stimulate muscle gain in both regions of the pectoralis major chest muscles.

The Missing Factor from Most Chest Workouts

There is a huge problem with the bigger chest workout routine for most men. Their exercise selection is mostly focused on developing the lower and middle chest while ignoring the upper chest to a huge extent. Making this mistake is what leads to a bottom-heavy chest and gives them the appearance of a ‘man boobs’ look if they have a higher body fat percentage.

In my early training days, I used to be this guy making the same mistake which I learned the hard way when my chest development lacked in the upper body area. While I had achieved a bigger chest, it was out of proportion in the areas which I didn’t know I wasn’t targeting through my chest exercises.

If you are like me and aren’t aware of this problem or if you are just a regular guy who wants to get a bigger, complete chest, I will give you my best strategies that I have used over the years to transform my chest into it’s best shape.

While any flat or decline bench press exercises work best for developing the middle and lower areas of the chest, doing just one variation of the incline bench is not enough to fully develop your upper pecs.

It is therefore important that you must shift the focus of your chest-building exercises to include at least two or more exercises to target just the upper chest which takes its time to grow. Sticking to the compound exercises for building your chest is the best strategy that would get you the best results.

You can self-analyze your physique to see where your chest is lacking muscle and development. If it’s in the upper chest area, then start doing more of the exercises that target that region or if it’s the lower or mid areas, you can include more of the flat and decline bench exercises to gain muscle mass there.

Best Training Techniques for a Bigger, Wider, and Muscular Chest

Weight Training In the Gym with a Barbell
  • Direct your focus more towards the upper chest. Like said before, as most people’s chest workout includes popular exercises like the flat bench press, they mostly lack or fall behind in targeting the exercises for gaining muscle mass in the upper chest thus giving them the unbalanced look.

    In no way I’m saying that this exercise is not effective but what I’m saying that this isn’t the only exercise that you should be doing to get the results you are after.

  • Add a few sets of isolation exercises after all the heavy compound weightlifting towards the end of your chest workouts but do not make the mistake of starting your chest workouts with isolation movements with the machines or cables that would give you little to no benefits for getting a bigger chest.

    You should always start every workout with your heavy compound lifts that take the most of your energy and will generally be the hardest to perform in your complete workout followed by isolation exercises at the end.

  • Make sure to lift heavy with a weight that allows you to do between 4 to 6 repetitions per exercise. Heavy weightlifting produces large amounts of mechanical tension in your muscles and causes greater activation of muscle fibers which is an important factor for hypertrophy or muscular growth.

    Therefore, heavy weightlifting beats the low weight, higher-rep training for adding muscle mass to your frame.

  • Keep the rest period between sets at about 2-3 minutes for the heavy compound lifts to fully recover your strength and give your best effort in the next set. The rest period between sets for isolation exercises should be shorter at about 60-90 seconds to keep the heart rate up and to get bigger by forcing your body to work hard resulting in building muscle.

  • Always do warm-up sets before doing your heavy working sets to prepare your muscles for taking all that load from the heavy lifting and to avoid any injuries.

  • The most important training factor that I can share in this whole article for muscle growth that applies to the chest, as well as all other areas of the body, is Progressive Overload.

    This refers to making your muscles work harder over time by progressively increasing the amount of weight you are lifting in every workout. By adding weight to the bar or using heavier dumbbells for a full range of motion when training for maximum muscle growth should be the primary focus of your workouts. Challenging your muscles and overloading them with heavier weights gradually as you become stronger is the most effective way of building bigger muscles through resistance training.

  • The other equally important factor is keeping a perfect form on all exercises. You have to make it your top priority on lifting weights with the right form instead of lifting with your ego. So please ensure that you learn proper form on each exercise and instead of counting your repetitions, you must make every repetition count by giving in your best effort.

  • Biggest Advice: From my years of training experience, the one significant thing I have learned about doing chest workouts that have made every chest exercise better is this:

    Pull your shoulders down and back or in other words, just remember to un-shrug your shoulders every time you do a chest exercise. You will feel an instant contraction of your chest muscles that are a lot stronger. This is how you work your chest maximally and more safely.

  • Whether you decide to train your chest in a day’s workout or spread your chest training across two days in a week depends entirely on your workout schedule and training goals. Always take a day’s rest in between workouts and do not train the same muscle group twice in two subsequent workouts for the given week.

Training the chest or any other muscle group more than once a week has shown to produce more muscle gains than training them once a week so if you decide to go this route, always make sure to take at least 48 hours rest intervals between each workout.

The Ultimate Muscle Building Exercises for a Fuller Chest

A person doing Barbell Bench Press for Chest
The Classic Barbell Bench Press Exercise for Overall Chest Development

The best muscle-building exercises for upper chest development are the evergreen incline barbell press and incline dumbbell press along with the less-known isolation exercise called the Dumbbell UCV (Upper Chest V) Raise.

The Dumbbell UCV Raise helps get the full contraction of the chest by the abduction of the arm that crosses the midline which is the added benefit you don’t get in any compound chest exercises.

To target muscle gain in the middle and lower chest areas, the best bang for your buck exercises is the barbell and dumbbell press (on a flat and decline bench) along with chest dips.

I have excluded the decline bench press here because the chest dips is a more superior and effective exercise as compared to the decline bench press for more muscular growth as it targets the entire pectoral region with a longer range of motion while the decline bench press only targets the lower chest area with a limited range of motion.

While doing dips, make sure that your chest is doing most of the work with minimum support from the triceps or shoulders as this exercise is very easy to perform incorrectly. For proper form on the chest dips, watch the video below.

Chest Dips Exercise Tutorial

The isolation exercises (targeting a single muscle group) for building a bigger chest can be used towards the end of your chest workouts for increased volume or a massive pump by training them to failure.

A few examples of the best isolation exercises that you can include in your chest workouts are the cable crossover, weighted pushups, cable fly, pec dec, and seated chest press machine.

To make your chest bigger and muscular, you need to target your chest area from all different angles by using the exercises above.

The Best Chest Workout Routine for Mass

The best workout and exercises for building the perfect chest

In your journey to getting fuller pecs, I have put together the best muscle-building workout routine to target all the muscles of the chest. These chest exercises have been put together and carefully selected based on their muscle-building stimulus and their overall effect on the development of a fuller, bigger chest.

This workout routine is designed to focus on upper chest development which is generally lacking in most individuals to achieve the look of a proportionate chest.

Once you hit the top of your rep range for a given set, move up in weight and not up in reps for an effective overload on your chest muscles.

Here’s the workout:

1. Barbell or Dumbbell Flat Bench Press

Sets and Reps: 2 sets of warm-up followed by 3 working sets of 4-6 reps

Rest: (2 to 3 minutes rest between working sets)

2. Incline Barbell Bench Press

Sets and Reps: 3 sets of 4-6 reps

Rest: (2 to 3 minutes rest between sets)

3. Incline Dumbbell Bench Press

Sets and Reps: 3 sets of 4-6 reps

Rest: (2 to 3 minutes rest between sets)

4. Chest Dips (Bodyweight or Weighted)

Sets and Reps: 3 sets of 8-10 reps

Rest: (60 to 90 seconds rest between sets)

5. Bent-Forward Cable Crossover

Sets and Reps: 3 sets of 8-10 reps

Rest: (60 to 90 seconds rest between sets)

6. Weighted Pushups

Sets and Reps: 2-3 sets to failure

Rest: (60 to 90 seconds rest between sets)

Final Words

Knowing about the best exercises for building a bigger chest is helpful but the one thing that matters the most is how you are performing the exercises. If you are not giving your maximum effort by squeezing every rep at the top and focusing on the quality of your reps, you are simply not getting the maximum muscle contraction which means that you are leaving gains on the table.

Remember, it is not always what you do in your workouts that matter, it’s how you do every exercise in your workouts that matter the most when it comes to getting real results.

As Laurence Shalaei, Britain’s Strongest Man, once said,

“Your love for what you do and willingness to push yourself where others aren’t prepared to go is what will make you great.”

In short, keep challenging yourself with persistence to know what you are capable of and the day won’t be far when you achieve greatness in whatever goal you are trying to accomplish in life.

I hope that you find this information helpful and it helps in getting the physique of your dreams with a bigger chest, of course. Drop-in your comments below if you have any questions or would like to share your own experience with building a bigger and stronger chest.

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