The 6 Best Chest Exercises to Maximize Size and Strength

The 6 Best Chest Exercises to Maximize Size and Strength MWM-988 Butterfly

A strong, muscular chest can round out your physique and give you that body builder look you’ve always dreamed of having. When it comes to strength training there are some chest exercises that can be more effective than others, but with the right combination of workouts you can start building pecs that pop and gain the strength a professional athlete. Below are six chest exercises that use barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells and your body weight to maximize size and strength:

Pushup

You can train your chest as much as you want to on big machines and heavy weights but you are not going to find a better chest exercise than the classic pushup. One great thing about the pushup is the only equipment you need is your own bodyweight. However, if you’d like to work against more resistance you are welcome to try adding a weighted vest as long as you are able to keep proper form during the workout. Here’s how to do a pushup:

  • Lie on your stomach and push yourself up with your hands
  • Ensure that your hands are shoulder-width apart and your back is as flat as possible
  • Begin to lower yourself while keeping your elbows close to your body
  • Push yourself back up to starting position before you reach the floor
  • Repeat

Barbell Bench Press

Much like the pushup, the Barbell Bench Press is a classic move for getting your pecs to pop. This popular upper body exercise allows you to generate more power to build strong chest, shoulder and tricep muscles. Here’s how to do it:

  • Lie on the bench with your shoulders squeezed together and feet flat on the ground
  • Grip the barbell with your hands about shoulder-width apart
  • Lower the bar to your sternum
  • Force the bar upwards as you drive through your heels while keeping your elbows close to your body
  • Once your arms are fully extended, lower the bar back down to your sternum
  • Repeat

Dumbbell Floor Press

Unlike the Dumbbell Bench Press, the Dumbbell Floor Press minimizes your range of motion so you can work your chest muscles extra hard without having to worry about shoulder strain. Here’s how to do it:

  • Lie on the floor on your back with your knees bent
  • Follow through with the normal motions of a dumbbell bench press while trying to keep the dumbbells over your elbows throughout the motion
  • Repeat

Dumbbell Fly

The Dumbbell Fly is one of the more powerful dumbbell workouts when it comes to building chest size and strength. This movement targets not only your chest but your shoulders, biceps and grip strength as well. Here’s how to do it:

  • Lie flat on an inclined bench with your feet flat on the ground and shoulders squeezed together
  • With both dumbbells above your chest, bend your elbows slightly and begin to open your arms
  • Once the dumbbells are at chest level begin to squeeze your chest and bring the dumbbells back together.
  • Repeat

Kettlebell Fly

Although the Kettlebell Fly involves a similar movement to that of the Dumbbell Fly, you will be engaging your upper body muscles in a different way so a combination of both is key to building a strong chest. This is because kettlebells are more difficult to grip than dumbbells, resulting in a greater use of the muscle fibers in your pecs. Here’s how to do it:

  • Lie flat on an inclined bench and hold two kettlebells over your chest with your palms facing each other
  • Keep a slight bend in your elbows as you lower your arms
  • Once you feel a slight stretch across your chest, squeeze your pecs and bring your arms up in a wide motion
  • Repeat

Exercise Ball Chest Press

The Exercise Ball Chest Press mimics the motion of a normal Dumbbell Chest Press while allowing you to work your core muscles and put more emphasis on your pecs. You may want to begin with lighter dumbbells than you would use for other strength training exercises for this one as the Exercise Ball Chest Press often takes some practice until you can perform it safely. Here’s how to do it:

  • Set an exercise ball on the floor and place your shoulder blades directly on top of it
  • Bring up your hips and flatten out your core as much as you can
  • While maintaining your balance, raise two dumbbells over your chest and extend your arms
  • Lower the dumbbells until they are parallel with your chest and your triceps are touching the ball
  • Repeat

Sources: [1], [2], [3], [4], [5], [6]

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