Introduction

When it comes to developing both size and strength in a particular muscle group, the chest region can be considered one of, if not THE most desirable body regions for these adaptations to take place. Not only does the chest region form part of the so called ‘beach muscles’, but through its growth and development it has the ability to completely transform your overall physique.

With this in mind, the purpose of this article is to provide you with three key exercises for the chest region; each of which will allow for the addition of real size and strength to this popular body part.

You may be reading this article now thinking to yourself, “I really don’t need any assistance when selecting chest related exercises”. That’s fine, however the reoccurring issue for many individuals is the problem of selection. There are many exercises out there for the chest, but in reality only a handful of these will truly target the chest region and offer the necessary stresses and strains required for future growth and development. Make sure that your chest workout is both efficient and effective with these key exercises.

Before moving on to consider these three exercises independently, it is important to contemplate the chest region itself in a little further detail. If you are knowledgeable and have a foundation of understanding with regards to the anatomy of the chest region, you will be able to fully appreciate the specific exercise selection and instruction.

Anatomy Of The Chest Region

The chest region itself consists of two muscles: the underlying Pectoralis Minor muscle and the overriding Pectoralis Major muscle. It is for this reason that the chest region is also commonly referred to as ‘pecs’. Let us now consider these two muscles in a little further detail…

Pectoralis Minor: This muscle lies beneath the empowering Pectoralis Major and is considered much smaller when comparisons are made between the two. It is triangular in shape and is required to perform its primary action of stabilising the scapula region.

Pectoralis Major: This muscle is located at the front of the chest and its fibres form a large, fan shape. It attaches to both the sternum and clavicle regions locally and inserts distally into the humerus region. Due to its attachment points, its primary responsibility is flexion and extension of the humerous and, to a lesser extent, adduction and medial rotation.

Anatomy Of The Chest Region

Top 3 Chest Exercises
Barbell Bench Press

Execution:

  1. Add a suitable resistance to the bar and ensure it is racked.
  2. To commence this exercise lie supine on a flat bench.
  3. Dismount the barbell from the rack and position it over the upper chest region.
  4. Utilise an overhand grip throughout this exercise.
  5. To perform the exercise, lower the barbell to your mid chest region.
  6. Press the bar upwards until your arms are extended. This is one repetition.

Demonstration Video:

Dumbbell Bench Press

Execution:

  1. Sit down on a flat bench with the dumbbells resting on your lower thigh.
  2. Kick the weights to your shoulder region and slowly lie backwards.
  3. Position the dumbbells to the sides of your chest with your arms bent underneath.
  4. To perform the exercise, press the dumbbells upwards until your arms are extended.
  5. Lower the dumbbells to the sides of your upper chest until a stretch is felt.
  6. This is one repetition. Repeat as required.

Demonstration Video:

Incline Dumbbell Fly

Execution:

  1. To commence this exercise grasp suitably weighted dumbbells.
  2. Lie supine onto an inclined bench.
  3. Raise the dumbbells above your upper chest and fully support.
  4. Bend your elbows slightly and point your elbows out to the sides.
  5. Lower the dumbbells outwards to the sides of your shoulders.
  6. When a stretch is felt, bring dumbbells back together in a hugging motion.

Demonstration Video:

Why They Were Chosen

The three exercises outlined above target the chest region specifically and have the ability to bring about real size and strength, when executed correctly against the necessary resistance.

The inclusion of the barbell bench press, dumbbell bench press and incline dumbbell fly was a relatively straight forward decision for us. Between these three key chest exercises, each and every movement function of the Pectoralis Major muscle has been adequately covered, allowing for an effective and comprehensive workout to take place.

These exercises can all easily be incorporated into an independent chest routine or feature as part of a split training session – the options are endless. Further variation can also be created with each of these key exercises by simply altering the bench inclination.

The prescribed flat bench barbell and dumbbells can easily be manipulated to an inclined bench, whilst the incline dumbbells fly can be undertaken on a flat bench. Each variation will place a differing emphasis on the specific Pectoralis Major muscle fibres targeted.

Finally, you will also notice that all of the included exercises are free weight based. Free weights such as barbells and dumbbells can be considered the ‘gold standard’ in terms of resistance, as they help draw in various stabilising muscles and simultaneously demand a greater intensity from the target muscle itself.

Due to the increasing demands of free weights, these should only be conducted by those individuals with a base foundation strength level and previous experience of weightlifting.

Final Word

Do you agree or disagree with the top three chest exercises selected within this article? Do you have an alternate exercise which you would place above the barbell bench press, dumbbell bench press or incline dumbbell fly? If so, then why not comment below with your alternative exercises and relevant reasons why.

In the meantime, if you’re not already doing so, why not try incorporating these key exercises into your own chest workout.