Workout

10 Chest Exercises to Include in Your Workout

Most of us adore a well-sculpted broad framed chest. Most men desire a muscular, wide chest that creates an overall V-shaped torso. People spend innumerable hours hitting the gym to get that perfect chest shape. Simple chest exercises, like a humble bench press, alone cannot give you a pumped-up chest.

There are so many chest exercises that can actually help you build a truly pecs-tacular chest. A well-built chest is not only impressive but is strong enough to push heavy objects from a barbell to huge cars. Chest exercises not only strengthen your chest but also build your shoulders and triceps.

Major Chest Muscles

Before jumping on to chest exercises, let us first learn about the major chest muscles.

  • Pectoralis Major: The Pectoralis major makes up most of your chest muscle mass. It is large and fan-shaped and is composed of a sternocostal head and a clavicular head.
  • Pectoralis Minor: The Pectoralis minor lies underneath the Pectoralis major. It helps to pull the shoulder forward and down.
  • Serratus Anterior: Located at the side of the chest wall, you notice the Serratus anterior in action when you lift weights overhead.

Warm-Up Those Muscles

Before performing any sort of exercise or workout regime, it is extremely important to prepare your body. A good warm-up is essential to avoid any unplanned injuries during the workout. A thorough workout also ensures that there is less soreness in your muscles the next day.

You need to perform a full-body warm-up before beginning your chest exercises. Begin with 5-7 minutes of some low-intensity cardio and follow it up with freehand exercises.  Then move on to specific warm-up exercises to the workout you are about to perform. 

Warming up your muscles before the workout ensures there are no injuries during or post the workout. Warm-up is very important and you should never skip it.

10 Chest Exercises You Should Try

Getting a strong broad chest is not an easy task. It takes time, patience and a lot of determination. These chest exercises will help you develop those Pecs in no time. However, never overwork your muscles. In order to gain more in a short time, people often end up overdoing the exercises. 

Besides being over-exhausted and losing momentum in a few days, the muscles tire easily, which ultimately can have a negative impact on the body. Keeping all these pointers in mind, let us get on with some of the best chest exercises.

1. Dumbbell Squeeze Press

Dumbbell squeeze press maximises muscle gain

  • Lie on a flat bench and hold a dumbbell in each hand
  • Hold the dumbbells pressed together with a neutral grip and begin with your arms straight, directly above you.
  • Bend your elbows and lower the dumbbells directly above your chest
  • Pause and then push the dumbbells up by straightening the elbows.
  • You can do 3-4 sets of 8-12 Reps

2. Incline Barbell Bench Press

Incline Barbell Bench Press

Incline barbell bench press works for your upper chest muscles

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  • Lie back on a bench set to an incline angle and hold the barbell with a slightly wider than shoulder width apart grip. Lift  the barbell off the rack and hold it straight above your chest 
  • Slowly bring down the barbell on to your chest by bending the elbows.
  • Pause and then push the barbell back up by extending the elbows.
  • You can do 3-4 sets of 8-12 Reps

3. Incline Dumbbell Alternating Bench Press

Incline Dumbbell Alternating Bench Press - Chest exercises
  • Lie back on a bench set to a 45-degree angle and lift the dumbbells and hold it over your chest, palms facing away from you
  • Slowly lower one dumbbell by bending the elbow, then drive it back up and squeeze your chest at the top
  • Repeat on the other side
  • You can do 3-4 sets of 8-12 Reps on each side

4. Chest Dips

Chest Dips

Chest dips work the entire upper-body that includes your chest, shoulder, and triceps

  • Get on a dip station with your palms facing inward and your arms straight
  • Slowly lower until your elbows are at right angles, ensuring they stay tucked against your body and don’t flare out
  • Drive yourself back up to the top and repeat
  • You can do 3-4 sets of 8-12 Reps

5. Close Grip Barbell Bench Press

Close Grip Barbell Bench Press - Chest exercises

Close-grip bench press places less strain on your shoulders, shifting the emphasis to your triceps and chest

  • Lie back on a flat bench holding a barbell with a narrow, overhand grip
  • From the starting position, breathe in and lower the bar slowly until it touches your chest
  • Push the bar back to the starting position explosively as you breathe out
  • Focus on pushing the bar using your chest muscles
  • You can do 3-4 sets of 8-12 Reps

6. Cable Fly

Cable Fly

Cable fly provides constant tension throughout the full movement

  • Attach stirrup handles to the high pulleys of a cable crossover machine
  • Take one in each hand – your arms should be outstretched with a slight bend in the elbows
  • Place one foot slightly forward, brace your core, and pull the handles downward and across your body
  • Return to the start position under control
  • You can do 3-4 sets of 8-12 Reps

7. Plate Press-Out

Plate Press-Out - Chest exercises
  • Grip a weight plate between your palms and hold it close to your chest
  • Squeeze your shoulders and push the weight plate away by extending the elbows straight 
  • Slowly return to starting position and repeat
  • You can do 3-4 sets of 8-12 Reps

8. Push-Ups

Push-Ups

Push-ups are one of the best chest workouts and you can do them just about anywhere

  • Your hands should be slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and your legs should be hip-width apart
  • Slowly lower your chest towards the floor by bending the elbows. Pause at the bottom for a second and then push back up to starting position
  • You can do 3-4 sets of 10-15 Reps

9. Low Pulley Cable Crossover

Low Pulley Cable Crossover - Chest exercises
  • Set the handles at the bottom position of the machine and grab it with your palms facing up.
  • Your feet should be shoulder-width apart, your back straight, your chest up, and your arms down and slightly bent at the elbows. 
  • Next, bring both handles up and forward to eye level before returning them slowly to the starting position.
  • You can do 3-4 sets of 8-12 Reps

10. Machine Pec Fly

Machine pec fly
  • Sit on the machine and grab the handles with palms facing front and elbows slightly bent. 
  • Push the handles together and bring them in front of your chest
  • Pause for a second and then slowly return to the starting position. 
  • You can do 3-4 sets of 8-12 Reps

Who Can Do These Chest Exercises?

All the above chest exercises are for anyone who wishes to build a strong chest. It is most suited for intermediate-level men and women who have experience in bench pressing, using cable machines.. You can adjust the intensity of the exercises according to your capacity and comfort. If you want, you can add more reps, increase or decrease the weight as well. 

Diet for Stronger Chest

Exercises and workouts are half the battle won; the other half depends on the food you eat. Diet plays an extremely important role when it comes to building muscles, shedding weight and toning your body. A well-rounded diet rich in protein accompanied with good chest exercises will help you build a wide, strong chest in no time.

Dietary guidelines suggest that you should eat a minimum of 0.8 grams of protein per kg of body weight per day. But to build muscle, you will have to increase the intake to  1.6 to 2.0 grams of protein per kg of bodyweight. If you weigh 80 kg, for example, you need to consume 128 grams to 160 grams of protein per day. Food like chicken, eggs, lentils, dairy products, milk, cheese, curd, fish etc are rich in proteins. Include them in your diet on a daily basis

Conclusion

A mix of dynamic chest workouts can help you achieve the chest shape that you desire. Try different chest exercises and select three or four that best suit your body. Do not overexert yourself in order to achieve something totally unrealistic.

Set realistic and achievable goals keeping your body, age, stamina and strength in mind. Supplement your workout with a protein-rich diet to repair and rebuild your muscles. Always do a good warm-up before performing any exercise and stretch post the workout to avoid injuries.

Also, chest exercises with weights, other props and dumbbells are not only meant for males. Women need to develop strong chest muscles too.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) 

Q. What are the major chest muscles?

A. Pectoralis Major, and Pectoralis Minor, The Pectoralis major, makes up most of your chest muscle mass. It is large and fan-shaped and is composed of a sternocostal head and a clavicular head. The Pectoralis minor lies underneath the Pectoralis major. Its job is to help pull the shoulder forward and down.

Q. Is warm up important?

A. Before performing any sort of exercise or workout regime, it is extremely important to prepare your body. A good warm-up is essential to avoid any uncertain injuries during the workout. A thorough warm-up also ensures that there is less soreness in your muscles the next day.

Q. Does diet play a role in achieving the desired body results?

A. Diet plays an extremely important role when it comes to building muscles, shedding weight and toning your body. A well-rounded diet rich in protein accompanied with good chest exercises will help you build a wide, strong chest in no time.


Q. Who all can perform chest exercises?

A. It is most suited for intermediate-level men and women who have experience in bench pressing and using cable machines.

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