Chest Muscle Building

All about building chest muscle, including chest muscle workout routines, and descriptions of chest muscle building basic movements and tips.

I’ll be the first one to admit that chest muscle building is my favorite part of bodybuilding. Not only is it a fun muscle to work out, but it looks great when fully developed. A well-developed chest gets attention, it adds thickness to your physique and it makes your clothes look great!

Other than the actual exercises being used, chest muscle building is no different than any other form of muscle building. If you want to see big gains in your chest, you need to lift hard, progress in weight, eat right and get plenty of rest. Check out our four keys to building muscle article for more information on what it takes to build muscle in general.

Chest Muscle Building Techniques

There are countless chest muscle building exercises out there. On this page, we’ll cover the most useful and most commonly used chest lifts. These lifts are designed to target the entire chest, rather than just a specific part of the chest.

Incline and decline chest exercises have their use in the bodybuilding world, but they are overemphasized by beginners. If you’re still getting into the groove of bodybuilding, you don’t need to target specific areas of your chest. These mass building chest exercises will take you much farther, much faster than “spot training.”

It is important that you always lift with the best form possible – even if that means doing less weight for a while. There’s no benefit in adding 50 pounds to your lift if it sacrifices proper form. People in the gym aren’t going to ask for your autograph just because you added a little weight to a few lifts. Do the exercises right for the best results.

Bench Press

The bench press is an awesome exercise that benefits your entire chest and adds lots of lean muscle mass to your body. The bench press is a complex lift, and that means you should start your chest workouts with the bench press. Proper form is important for safety and maximum gains.

One thing I’d like to cover right off the bat: grip the bench press bar with your thumbs wrapped around the bar. The other type of grip is the one in which you keep your thumbs on the same side of the bar as your fingers. I have no idea how in the world this fad got started, but do not ever grip the bar like that. The risk of permanent injury and long term setbacks completely negate any imagined benefits of the open handed grip.

When you bring the bar down to your chest, bring it down slowly and in control. You should lightly touch your chest with the bar at about your nipple line. Do not bounce the bar off your chest and do not perform half-repetitions. The correct form is “correct” because it provides the greatest benefits and minimizes the risk of injury.

Dumbbell Press

The same idea as the bench press except it uses dumbbells instead of a barbell. The dumbbell bench press is a great workout that works your chest and stabilizer muscles. You won’t be able to do as much weight with the dumbbell press, but you will get the same great benefits.

If you ever get stuck in a plateau on your bench press, try switching to dumbbell presses for a while. Dumbbell presses place more emphasis on your arms and balance, which translates to easier gains on the regular bench press.

Dumbbell Flies

The dumbbell fly is another great exercise for your chest. It targets the inner chest but also benefits the entire region. To do dumbbell flies, lay back on a flat bench with two dumbbells. Now extend your arms upwards with your palms facing in. Slowly spread your arms out to the sides until your arms are parallel with the floor. Now bring your arms back up and together until the dumbbells touch.

The key to this exercise is to keep your elbows slightly bent and avoid elbow movement during the exercise. Keep your arms at the same angle all the way down and back up. Locking your elbows out puts unneeded stress on your joints.

Cable Flies Or Cable Crossovers

The cable fly works your entire chest, with an emphasis on your inner chest. This exercise is comparable to dumbbell flies, except it uses the cable machine to achieve the desired results. The nice thing about cable flies is that they provide continuous tension throughout the entire repetition.

Pec Deck

The pec deck is similar to cable flies and dumbbell flies. Sit at the pec deck machine so that your upper arms are parallel to the floor. Keeping your elbows slightly bent, grip the handles and bring your hands out and around until the handles touch in front of you. Then slowly return the weight to its original position.

Chest Dips

The dip is an exercise that normally targets the triceps. However, you can target the lower chest by leaning forward slightly while doing dips. Start with your body weight supported by grasping the two parallel handlebars on the dip machine. Then slowly bend your elbows and lower your body until your upper arms are parallel with the floor. Now extend your arms and raise your body back up to its starting position.

Other Chest Muscle Building Exercises

  • Dumbell Press
  • Decline Dumbell Press
  • Incline Dumbell Press
  • Dumbell Flys
  • Kettlebell Flys
  • Bench Press
  • Close Grip Bench Press
  • Decline Bench Press
  • Incline Bench Press
  • Dips (weighted) (chains) (resistance bands)
  • Pushups
  • Weighted Pushups
  • Explosive Pushups
  • Resistance Band Pushups
  • Kettlebell Pushups
  • Pushups with Chains
  • Incline Pushups
  • Decline Pushups