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5 Best Chest Exercises For Building Muscle

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By KayaWell Expert
Useful for   
Chest pain
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How This Helps   
Knowing the best moves is only one part of building your best chest, though. You can put those moves together into a full program in the Muscle-Building Workout Plans on Bodybuilding.com All-Access. There are gym-proven regimens designed to give you size, strength, and definition.

Support your workout with a solid diet and a few must-have supplements for muscle gain, such as whey protein powder, and you'll bust through performance plateaus in no time.
Now, without further ado, here are our top 5 chest-building exercises, ranked in no particular order. 

1. Barbell Bench Press

Why it's on the list: You can generate the most power with barbell lifts, so the standard barbell bench allows you to move the most weight. It's also an easier lift to control than pressing with heavy dumbbells. The exercise is easy to spot and relatively easy to learn (if not master), There are plenty of bench-press programs you can follow to increase your strength.

In your workout: Do it toward the start of your chest workout for heavy sets in lower rep ranges. Consider varying your grip width for more complete chest development.


2. Flat Bench Dumbbell Press

Why it's on the list: With dumbbells, each side of your body must work independently, which recruits more stabilizer muscles; dumbbells are harder to control than a barbell. Dumbbells also allow for a longer range of motion than the barbell bench press, both at the bottom and top of the movement. Flat dumbbell presses allow you to host a fairly heavyweight, and they make for a good alternative if you've been stuck on the barbell bench for ages.


In your workout: Do flat dumbbell presses toward the start of your chest workout for heavy sets in lower rep ranges. We don't typically recommend doing dumbbell presses in addition to the barbell bench press, because both moves are so similar.


3. Incline Dumbbell Press  


Why it's on the list: Dumbbell presses make everybody's top 10 list, but with an adjustable bench you can do a number of things you can't with a fixed bench. Our favorite: changing the angle of the incline from one set to the next, or from one workout to the next. Hitting a muscle from varying degrees of incline angles builds it more thoroughly.


4. Pec-Deck Machine 

Why it's on the list: Chest flyes are hard for many trainees to learn with dumbbells or cables because the arms need to be locked in a slightly bent position for the duration of the exercise. Luckily, the pec deck simplifies things because it allows you to work in only one pathway. So, this exercise is a great movement teacher, and you can go for a great pump without having to balance any weights.


In your workout: Hit the pec deck last in your chest routine for sets of 10-12. Do drop sets and partial reps, pumping out as many as you can to failure.


5. Dips For Chest

Why it's on the list: First off, make sure you're doing dips that emphasize the pecs: Put your feet up behind you, lean forward as far as possible, and allow your elbows to flare out as you dip. Chest dips are a great spotter-free alternative to the decline press.



In your workout: If you're strong, this lower-chest move makes a great finisher; if you're not, you can do it earlier in your session. It makes a great superset pairing with push-ups for a big pump at the end of your workout.

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