You mostly use your chest muscles (pectorals) when you push objects away from you. So the most obvious exercise to build up your chest is the bench press. In this you use your pectorals, serratus, front shoulders and triceps to press a heavy bar directly above your chest from a lying position.
The bench press has long been considered the main test of upper-body strength for men, which is why every gym has a queue for the bench press rack and why a certain type of gym-goer always opens every conversation with the question: ‘What do you bench?’
You should make the bench press the cornerstone of your chest workout, but don’t focus on this one exercise at the expense of all others. Like any muscles, the pecs need to be worked from a variety of angles to get the maximum growth stimulation and simply changing the angle of the bench, or opting for dumbbells instead of a barbell, can make a world of difference to the development of your chest.
The pectoralis major is a large block of muscle that attaches to your ribs beneath the collarbone. Although it is one single muscle, you can target the upper, middle or lower portions of your chest muscle depending on the angle from which you attack it. An incline bench press will focus most of the effort on the upper portion of your pecs, for example, although it will still work the entire pectoral muscle.
Below you’ll find links to seven exercises that will work your chest from all angles, plus variations of each one to stop you getting bored.
Pecs: Bench press (opens in new tab) Pecs: Dumbbell bench press (opens in new tab) Upper pecs: Incline bench press (opens in new tab) Lower pecs: Decline bench press (opens in new tab) Pecs: Dumbbell flye (opens in new tab) Pecs: T press-up (opens in new tab) Pecs, lats: Dumbbell pullover (opens in new tab)
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