9 Must-try Chest Exercises for Building Muscle
Exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy diet is the key to getting those killer looking chest muscles. No matter how tempting junk food may look, you must avoid it as much as possible. Nothing can ruin your fitness goals the way junk food does. Chest exercises sculpt and define your chest and give you the confidence to look good. Along with improving your look and strength, these exercises lift your mood as well! Working on the chest means working on the pectoral muscles of the body, commonly known as the pecs. The pectoral muscles are one of the largest in the upper body. Other muscles of the upper body include the trapezius, shoulders, and the latissimus dorsi. Along with working on the pectoral muscles, you must work on these as well.
9 Most Effective Exercises for the Chest
#1 Straight Arm Plank
One of the best exercises for the chest, the straight arm plank focuses on the entire upper body. By the end of this exercise, your chest, shoulders, abdomen, and hips may all start burning. To get into the position, lie down on your stomach with palms placed on the floor, by the side of your chest. Raise your body and come up to a regular push up position. Make sure your shoulders and elbows are on the same line. Also, make sure your lower back is neither arched or rounded. Maintain a straight line from head to toe. If you are a beginner, this may seem like a difficult exercise. So, you can hold the plank position for about 10-15 seconds. Once you get comfortable with this exercise, you can increase it to 30-60 seconds. Depending on how comfortable you are with it, you can do that many sets. For beginners, two sets of 10-15 seconds are good.
Benefits: The plank exercise helps strengthen your upper body muscles and your spine which makes your posture stronger.
#2 Chest Fly
This is one of the go-to exercises for the chest. The exercise focuses on creating tension to help define the chest. You will require a few light weights or dumbbells for this exercise. To get into the position, lie down on your back on a flat bench with dumbbells in each hand. Hold the dumbbells above your chest with palms facing each other. Open the dumbbells wide and lower your arms slowly until the elbows are parallel to the floor. Do not go too deep with the arm movement. Raise the dumbbells back up to the starting position, squeezing your chest muscles. Make sure to maintain a slight bend in your elbows throughout the movement. If you are a beginner, you can start by doing 12 – 15 reps in one set with a light weight. As you get comfortable with this exercise, you can increase the weight as per your convenience.
Benefits: The chest fly exercise helps build and strengthen your pectoral muscles. It also helps strengthen your anterior deltoids.
#3 Cable Fly
The cable fly is another go-to exercise for the definition and enhancement of the pectoral muscles. Adding this exercise to your chest workout will give your pectoral muscles a new stimulus. Take two stirrup handles and attach them to the high-pulley cable of a cable-crossover station. Stand in the middle of the station and grab a stirrup handle in each hand. Keep your arms stretched but in a slightly bent position. Slightly lean forward at your hips. Without changing the position of your arms, bring your arms together in front of the chest. Slowly return back to the starting position. A cable fly can be done for 12-15 Reps with light weight. Once you get comfortable with the exercise, increase the weights accordingly.
Benefits: The cable fly exercise helps create consistent tension in the upper muscles, thus stimulating the pectoral muscles throughout the range of motion.
#4 Band Chest Fly
The band chest fly is not much different from the cable fly, but the bands make it an easy exercise for home chest workouts. For this exercise, you will need to attach two bands to a base, such as a pole or a tower. Make sure the base you have chosen is stable. Grab the two ends of the band with each hand. Keep your arms stretched but in a slightly bent position. Slightly lean forward at your hips. Without changing the position of your arms, bring your arms together in front of the chest. Slowly return back to the starting position.
Benefits: The band chest fly is an excellent exercise that focuses on strengthening the chest muscles.
#5 Dumbbell Floor Press
You need not worry if you do not have a bench. You can do the dumbbell press exercise on the floor as well. It is one of the easiest home exercises for the chest. All you will need is a pair of dumbbells. To do this exercise, lay back on the floor. Make sure your feet are flat on the floor. Grab the dumbbells in each hand and hold it up above the chest. To keep your shoulders safe, keep your elbows at an angle of 45 degrees from your body. Slowly lower the dumbbells by bending the elbows. Once the elbows touch the floor, press the dumbbells up by squeezing the chest muscles. If you are a beginner, you can do 15-20 reps in one set with light weights. As you get comfortable with this exercise, you can increase the weights accordingly.
Benefits: The dumbbell floor press exercise helps build muscle mass. It also reduces the amount of stress placed on the shoulder joints.
#6 Plyometric Pushup
Push-ups may sound like an easy exercise for many, but plyometric push-ups are not. The plyometric push-up -also known as explosive or power push up – is good for improving the power and strength of your chest muscles. To do the plyometric push-ups, get into the push-up position. Make sure your body is in a straight line from head to the toe. Lower your chest to the floor as you would for a regular push up. Then, press up explosively so that your hands come off the floor. Repeat the movement in a controlled manner. You can try to do 5-6 plyometric pushups in one set.
Benefits: The plyometric push up helps build muscle, increase strength and power as well. It also enhances core stability.
#7 Suspension Push-up
Performing the suspension push-ups work your core and chest harder than doing pushups on the ground. These pushups can be done at home using the TRX straps. Grab the handles of the TRX strap in both hands. Keep your body at an angle of 45 degrees from the floor with arms held straight and slightly wider than shoulder-width apart distance. Make sure that your body is in a straight line from your head to toe. Brace your core and slowly lower the chest towards the floor by bending the elbows. Press back up to the starting position.
Benefits: This exercise is an advanced version of the traditional pushups. It helps strengthen the chest, shoulder, and triceps. It engages the core of the body throughout the range of motion, thereby strengthening the core muscles.
#8 Incline Dumbbell Bench Press
One of the best exercises for the chest, incline dumbbell bench press, works on the upper chest muscles along with the anterior deltoids and triceps. Lay on a bench that is inclined at an angle of 45 degrees. Hold the dumbbells by the side of your chest. Your feet should be flat on the floor. Avoid arching your back and try to keep the core tight. Press the dumbbells up and close directly above your shoulders. Slowly lower the dumbbells back to the starting position.
Benefits: The incline dumbbell bench press focuses on building the upper pectoral muscles.
#9 Decline Dumbbell Bench Press
This exercise helps build your lower chest muscle. To get into the position for a decline dumbbell bench press, lay down on your back. Lock your feet beneath the leg support. Hold the dumbbells by the side of your chest. Avoid arching your back and try to keep the core tight. Press the dumbbells up and close directly above your chest. Slowly lower the dumbbells back to the starting position.
Benefits: This exercise works on the lower pectoral muscles. It also strengthens the anterior deltoid and triceps
If you are a beginner and want to add these exercises to your routine, go with how much your body can take in. If you try to push your body too much, you may end up with injuries. Figure out which chest exercises work best for you. As you start getting used to the exercises, you can slowly increase the weights and the number of sets you do. But make sure you follow your workout routine regularly. For more such guided exercises, check out Healthify Studio.