The Best Exercises For Chest – Edition

Below is a list of exercises which I consider the best when it comes to developing strength in the chest muscles. I was going to write strength and size, but I don’t want this article to sound like a typical bodybuilding propaganda.


Push-ups are awesome. If you are doing them for strength, add weight so that your reps are under 5-6. One of the ways to accomplish that is to ask somebody to place plates on your back.

Another option would be to use a dip belt while doing push-ups over parallel bars, so that the weights can hang without touching the floor. Also, don’t use a super close grip when your goal is to work your chest. The pecs are pulling the upper arms together and when you are in a close grip that distance is already shortened, and there isn’t as much work for the chest.

One of the best push-up variations for chest are ring push-ups with wide grip. Don’t be surprised, if you can feel every fiber of your chest muscles the next day. It’s a very demanding exercise, but also very effective.

2. DIPS {’s favorite pushing exercise}

Dips are my favorite pushing exercise. They are great for chest development and pushing strength. You will never meet someone who can do advanced dip variations and/or heavy dips while also having a sunken puny chest.

The dip places tremendous stretch on the pecs, and the muscle has no option but to work hard against great resistance over a large range of motion. It’s not uncommon for untrained people to experience pain at the sternum from doing dips. While you can find different ways to reduce/increase the stress on the chest during movements such as the bench press, parallel bar or ring dips will always make your pectoral muscles work really hard no matter what.

The only downside of dips is that they could place too much stress on your shoulders. However, most of the shoulder pain after dips is really caused by:

– weakness; {you are not strong enough to do dips properly}

– too much volume and/or weight;

– pre-existing injury {If you have suffered some sort of brutal shoulder injury, things that are otherwise healthy may be impossible to do.}

In general, dips are rather safe if you progress methodically and with caution. Gymnasts do dips since they are 5 and have pretty strong and healthy shoulders. I would even say they have the “best” shoulders among all athletes, because the sport is shoulder girdle/arm dominant when it comes to the strength elements.

A note on weighted dips

When you can do over 20 dips, it’s time to add weight or transition to ring dips. Simply adding numbers and sets will not develop strength after a certain point. You have to increase the resistance.

Doing weighted dips is much more comfortable than push-ups. That’s why I usually advise people to stick with dips, if they can do the exercise. If you are unsure how to schedule your weighted dip training, read this article on weighted pull-ups. The same method would work for dips too.

Related article: How To Use The Dip As A Primary Chest Exercise

3. BENCH PRESS – low incline or flat

The bench press has been responsible for a lot of boob growth over the world. It works, but not for everybody. You have to experiment and see how you feel with the movement.

The two best versions are the low incline and the flat. You can do them with dumbbells or barbells, depending on your preference. Technically, dumbbells should stress your chest more, just like rings are more demanding than parallel bars. Some people don’t get much out of the barbell bench press, but report great pec progress from dumbbell work.

I don’t see the point of doing decline bench presses when you can just do dips – a much more natural movement that does not require a spotter.


Those three exercises and their 10+ variations are the best chest exercises. Don’t waste your time with moronic stuff like chest flies, peck flies, cable cross-overs, bowflex foreplay or chest machines. Those could only be useful as a warm-up and/or light rehab. That’s it.

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