Best Chest Exercises to Build Bigger Pecs

The quest for big muscular pecs has been the goal for almost everyone. It is the reason most begin their lifting journey and continues throughout their training careers. With a plethora of exercises, you can perform and new machines being added to health clubs and gyms to aid in chest building movements it is easy to get overwhelmed and try to take on every possible exercise. Sometimes it is best to go back to the basics. The chest exercises which have built massive muscular pecs for years are still the best exercises to build a muscular chest.

Incline Bench Press

The incline bench press is a great way to build your upper chest and a mainstay exercise for bodybuilders and serious lifters for years. At an ideal incline angle between 30 to 45 degrees the incline bench press isolates your upper chest as well as shoulders and triceps. To focus squarely on the upper chest, keep the angle lower to 30 degrees.

To get the best results and avoid injury a proper incline bench press involves gripping the bar with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width. Keep your shoulder blades firm to the bench, arch your back, and slightly pull up your chest. Mix it up between heavy sets to include sets of 6 to 8 reps and 8 to 12 reps on lighter sets. Including dumbbell incline press, smith machine incline bench press, and hammer strength incline machine is a great way to change up the angle of motion and hit other areas of the chest.

Decline Bench Press

The decline bench press is a great way to focus on strengthening and developing your lower chest but it also works the entire chest. The ideal angle to perform the decline press is between 15 to 30 degrees at a decline.

When performing the decline bench press make certain to secure your legs and grab the bar using a medium-width grip to insure a 90-degree angle in the middle of the movement. Make certain your grip on the bar is secure, any slippage with the angle of the movement could result in serious injury. Mix it up between heavy sets to include sets of 6 to 8 reps and 8 to 12 reps on lighter sets. Including hammer strength decline press machine is a great way to isolate your pec muscle by performing the movement with a single-arm press.


Cable Crossover

It has been viewed that the cable crossover is a great finishing exercise to get that extra pump in the pecs. Actually, the cable crossover can be utilized to increase muscle mass and strength. A study sponsored by ACE led by John P. Porcari, Ph.D., Whitnee Schanke, M.S., and the University of Wisconsin – LaCrosse compared the most common chest exercises. The goal of the study was to determine the effectiveness of each exercise for activating the largest muscle of the chest, the Pectoralis Major. The study determined the barbell bench press, the pec dec, and the cable crossover proved to have the greatest benefits.

So the old finishing exercise, cable crossover, is effective in developing strength and a muscular chest.  So adding cable crossovers to your chest routine is a must. The key to benefitting from the movement is to adjust angles. The lower the cables the more the focus is on the upper chest and vice versa, the higher the cables the focus shifts to the lower chest. Mid-range cables will hit the mid to overall chest.

Make certain to warm up your shoulder joint prior to protect against injury and if you are dealing with a shoulder injury avoid it until healed. Crossover and fly movements place your shoulder in a position that is vulnerable.


Bench Press

The legendary bench press, still a must in any chest routine. This compound movement builds muscle and strength in the chest,  front shoulders, and triceps. The key to gaining the most of the movement is proper bench press technique. Avoid going too heavy which will result in poor form, make certain to set your shoulder blades by pulling them back and down, proper grip on the bar where the thumb is around the bar (don’t go thumbless), and keep your feet from moving.

Changing your grip on the bar will work different parts on the chest for example a narrow grip or close-grip press shifts emphasis to the triceps with the main grip just wider than shoulder-width. The bench press movement can also be performed using dumbbells, a smith machine, and a hammer strength machine.

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