For Your Chest
Exercises for your Chest.
Lower Chest >
Barbell Bench Press:
The aforementioned king of all chest exercises deserves its spot on the throne. Let’s be honest, even if it didn’t make our list would stop incorporating it into your strength training routines? There is something incredibly rewarding about being able to complete one more rep on bench than last week with even five more measly pounds.
Dips are usually not the first exercise weightlifters think of for chest training, but a slight variation of the standard tricep dip gives us a more targeted chest exercise and one of the best chest exercises, the chest dip. The chest dip offers all of the benefits of the standard dip, but shifts the attention to your chest. It’s a compound push exercise, which also simultaneously works your arms, and shoulders. To really focus on your chest, use a wide grip and lean forward slightly until you feel a pull on your chest. Also, squeeze your chest at the top of the lift.
Depending on your level of strength and how much you weigh, your body weight may not offer enough resistance to make chest dips effective in a typical set. Try adding weight using a dip belt for optimal growth or doing a high rep set until failure.
Pushups are even more old school than the bench press and deserve some props as one of the best core exercises as well as the best chest exercises. In executing a pushup, your training your arms, chest, back, and shoulders, all the while forcing you to contract your abs. Besides calling on so many muscles to fire, pushups are probably the most versatile of any exercise. You can target specific muscles by changing the angle of the pushup or changing the width of your hand base. Other great pushup variations can be grouped into the explosive pushup variety. To perform an explosive pushup, push yourself up so forcefully that your hands leave the floor. Clap pushups are the most popular, but the clap isn’t really necessary. These can also be performed at any angle and with any hand base.
Possibly the greatest thing about pushups is that you can do an effective pushup workout anywhere anytime. Pushup workouts are a great change of pace workout and can be effective in building muscle and shedding fat.
Upper Chest >
The fly is also about as close to an isolation chest exercise as they come. The dumbbell fly allows for the greatest range of movement of any chest exercise. Your pecs are fully stretched at the bottom of the lift, contracted throughout, and them topped off with a nice squeeze at the top. To perform the fly correctly, you have to use at least 50% less weight than you would use for dumbbell bench press. Perform this exercise last, after all of your heavier, more strenuous exercises to get the best results.
Dumbbell Bench Press:
Dumbbell bench press is also a variation of barbell bench press. One benefit to using dumbbells is that they provide a greater range of motion than barbells allow. Also, dumbbells force you to stabilze the weight in each arm and doing so actually activates more overall muscle fibers. Because dumbbells are controlled individually, there is no way for one dominant side to “carry” the weaker side. This helps to prevent muscular imbalance. Lastly, with dumbbells you can bail relatively safely if you don’t have a spotter and are having trouble completing the set. Dropping the weight can still be a little tricky, but it’s advisable against, say, letting the barbell drop on your neck.
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