Best Chest Workout Exercises

Hey, what’s up guys! In this post I want to talk to you about some exercises you can use to have the best chest workout – exercises that will tear up your chest and give you DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) the next day. We’ll go over some bodyweight exercises and some exercises that will require dumbbells and barbells. So you can use these at home or at the gym.

Now let’s get into it!

best chest workout exercises

1. The Press Upbest chest workout exercises

The press up is an excellent exercise to workout your chest. There are so many variations of this move you can easily attack every muscle fiber in your chest. You can perform: Regular press ups, incline press ups, decline press ups, split press ups, narrow press ups, wide press ups and soooo many more…

My favourite thing to do is something called “Drop 8” or “8 Down” and this really workouts the chest. This is where you start off doing 8 press ups, stand up, then go straight back down and do 7. Repeat this all the way down to 1 without a rest between each “set.” After you’ve done the last one, that’s the set completed. Now rest for 1 to 1.5 minutes then go again. Do 2-4 sets of this and you’ll really feel your arms and chest are going to explode.

Give this a go… You’ll love it!

2. Resistance Band Press Up

If you don’t have a set of resistance bands I really recommend you get some. These are the ones I like to use. Not a big fan of the ones with handles. I would rather get the strips and just wrap them round my hands… Less likely to let go and whip myself. I’ve done that before… OUCH! This is what they look like and these are my personal favourite.

Cheap, cheerful and does the job!

best chest workout exercises

Cheap and Cheerful Bands

Anyway, the resistance band press up. You perform press ups just like you normally would, even all the different variations, but with the resistance band going behind your back creating resistance when you’re pushing yourself back up from the floor. If you have a selection of resistance bands you can use them not just for press ups for a large variety of exercises… But that’s for another time.

The way I like to use these are to find a resistance band where I can perform about 10-12 reps and collapse on the floor trying to do the 13th. I usually have to use 2 resistance bands for this but it all depends on what “weight” they go up to. I do this right at the end of my workout to make sure I’ve completely killed my chest and triceps. I like to do 3 sets of 10-12 reps with about 30-45 seconds rest in between. Give that a go and let me know what you think.

3. Tricep Dips

These are a great exercise to perform to really make sure your muscles have been worked to failure. This primarily target your triceps but they also hit your chest, especially if you get really deep with your tricep dips. I like to go low enough that my shoulders really feel a stretch.

Again with this exercise you can do several variations. You can have your feet in close so your knees are bend which makes the move easier or can have your legs out straight which makes them tougher. You can lift one leg and hit your core too or even place your feet on something and put some weight on your lap.

You can really work your triceps and chest out with these different variations and really get a good workout.

I sometimes perform this move at the end of my chest workouts if I feel like I have more in the tank. I normally perform 2 sets, both to failure which is usually 15-20 reps.

These are great to finish off a great chest workout.

best chest workout exercises

1. Barbell Bench Press

These are the king of chest exercises in the gym. The big daddy. One of the top 3 power moves you can perform in the gym.

There are again variations to this move: flat bench press (regular bench press), incline bench press and decline bench press. Each targeting your chest slightly differently.  The main one you should be doing is the flat bench press. This exercise is guaranteed to pack on muscle if you perform in correctly.

When you’re lying on the best with the back above you you’ll want to make sure you put your hands in the right position. The general rule is to have your hands either shoulder width apart, or slightly wider than shoulder width apart. When you lower the bar, lower it right down to your chest so you are getting the full range of motion possible from the exercise. Let the bar barely touch your chest and then press it back up to the starting position.

For Safety Reasons when performing this exercise make sure you have a spotter or you are using a power rack/smith machine as the last thing you want is to drop the bar on yourself because you muscle have fatigued.

If you’re going to use this exercise I’d go for 3-4 sets with a weight you can lift 8-12 reps. If you can perform 13 reps with it, it’s too light and it’s time to whack on an extra weight plate or two.

2. Dumbbell Bench Press

best chest workout exercises

These are exactly the same as the barbell variation but using dumbbells instead. These are my personal preference of the two and I’ll explain why.

  1. With dumbbells you can have different weights in each hand which is great if one side of your body is slightly weaker. You can easily work on the weaker side so it becomes as strong as the other side.
  2. Dumbbells are safer to use as you can easily drop them to the side of you if you fatigue and cannot lift them for another rep.
  3. These don’t require you to use a spotter. A spotter does help you squeeze out that last rep or two and help you get them into the starting position, but you can use your legs to help get them up.

In my opinion these are safer and your are placing equally strain on each side of your body whereas with a barbell one side of your body could be working harder than the other. You see it in the gym when the guy is pressing the bar back up and the bar isn’t level. You can clearly see the imbalance and the dumbbell variation can correct this.

3. Chest Flyes

Now I know I’ve said compound exercises are the best in the past but I like to make an exception for this move. These are a great exercise to do after you’ve done a couple compound exercises and using these to exhaust your chest. You can either use dumbbells for this or a cable crossover machine. Both are excellent.

For this exercise, the dumbbell variation, you start off in the same position as the dumbbell bench press. But, instead of bending your elbows lowering the weight to your chest you keep your arms straight, or with a slight bend in them, lowering the weight out to the side of you. You want to lower the dumbbells, without bending your elbows any more than when they were in the starting position, until they are inline with your torso and then press them back up. You should really be able to feel this in your chest!

If you are going to use this exercise I recommend performing the same sets and rep range as the bench press. 3-4 sets, 8-12 reps. These will make sure you’re feeling the DOMS the next daybest chest workout exercises

These exercises and their variations are all you need to get a great chest workout. Go for 3 or 4 of these moves with different variations in your chest routine to really give yourself a tough workout. Here are some examples you could use for your chest workout:

Bodyweight Only:

  • 8 Down Press Ups, 2 sets, 1 minute rest between sets
  • Resistance Band Press Ups, 3 sets x 8-12 reps, 45sec – 1 minute rest between sets
  • Resistance Band Incline Press Ups, 3 sets x 8-12 reps, 45sec – 1 minute rest between sets
  • Tricep Dips, 2 sets to failure, 30 secs rest between sets

Gym Only:

  • Flat BB (Barbell) Bench Press, 3 sets x 8-12 reps, 1.5 minutes rest between sets
  • Flat DB (Dumbbell) Bench Press, 3 sets x 8-12 reps, 1.5 minutes rest between sets
  • Incline DB Bench Press, 3 sets x 8-12 reps, 1.5 minutes rest between sets
  • DB Chest Flyes, 2 sets x 8-12 reps – last set to failure, 1.5 minutes rest between sets

Variation of Gym and Bodyweight Exercises:

  • Flat DB (Dumbbell) Bench Press, 3 sets x 8-12 reps, 1.5 minutes rest between sets
  • Resistance Band Press Ups, 3 sets x 8-12 reps, 45sec – 1 minute rest between sets
  • DB Chest Flyes, 3 sets x 8-12 reps, 1.5 minutes rest between sets
  • Tricep Dips, 2 sets to failure, 30 secs rest between sets

So have a go playing around with these exercises and see what works best for you so you get the best chest workout possible.

Leave your comments below letting me know what you think and don’t forget to share with your friends.

Header Photo: Muscular Man Having Pensive Moment © 2010, Daily Sunny, Flickr (CC)

Photos: Press Up Girl & Dumbbell Bench Press Guy © 2008, sportsandsocial, Flickr (CC)

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Filed under: Bodyweight TrainingGym ExercisesUpper Body Exercises

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