A good set of pecs certainly set the stage of your upper body. Along with a set of rounded shoulders, a great chest really stands out especially when you are wearing a shirt. People can always notice it because the slabs of muscle are in a prominent location on the ribcage.
So how can you make sure that your chest is up to snuff? The simple answer is to make sure that your training routine focuses around the top 5 chest exercises that build the most shirt-stretching muscle possible.
Yes, not all chest exercises are created the same. Some are certainly much better for developing the chest in specific ways, and when combined together they can help anyone build a chest that stands out.
Top 5 Chest Exercises
Most everyone will assume that the barbell bench press should be on this list and number one with a bullet, but it’s not. While the standard barbell bench press is a great exercise for some people, it is not one of the top 5 chest exercises. Mainly it comes off the list because it has a limited range of motion and can cause shoulder damage.
- Dumbbell Bench Press – Now the dumbbell bench press is the best flat pressing exercise available. When done properly you are able to take the weight through a smoother arc motion that benefits the bulk of the best muscle more effectively. No, you typically cannot lift as much compared to a barbell exercise but the range of motion in this position is much more crucial.
- Incline Dumbbell Chest Flyes – This was one of Arnold’s favorites and for good reason. At a 30 degree bench angle the chest is slanted to place focus on the upper portion. A solid exercise like flyes places emphasis on the stretch position all the way out to the deltoid. When you bring the bells together you can squeeze and contract the chest at the top inner section.
- Decline Barbell Bench Press – With the angle difference, the decline press is much more suited for barbell work. This exercise is great for the bulk of the chest and focusing effort on the lower portion. Also at a decline it is impossible to cheat in the ways you can during a flat or even incline press.
- Cable Crossovers – This exercise is unique because it provides constant tension, a great range of motion, and you can easily adjust angles slightly for comfort and to focus on specific weak points. Many bodybuilders utilize this exercise for definition and really working the inner portion of the chest, but it can provide an incredible stretch as well.
- Dumbbell Pullovers – A great chest looks even better on a big ribcage. Dumbbell pullovers help expand the rib cage and work some of the smaller connecting muscles that don’t get direct focus easily. Again this is a classic, time-tested exercise that certainly belongs in this list.
Not only are these the top 5 chest exercises but they also form a very complete, well-rounded chest routine that works the muscle from all angles. Give it a try and how quickly you notice the difference.