Below is a list of exercises which I consider optimal for developing strong chest muscles.
Push-ups are a solid chest builder. When your reps get too high (over 20), add extra resistance. One of the ways to accomplish that is to ask somebody to put 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. This reduces the work of the chest.
One of the best push-up variations for chest work would be ring push-ups with a 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.
Dips are my favorite pushing exercise. They are great for chest development and pushing strength. You will never meet someone who can do heavy dips while also showcasing a sunken, puny chest.
The dip places a tremendous demand on the pecs. The muscle has no choice but to work hard against great resistance over a large range of motion.
The only downside of dips is that they could stress your shoulders and sternum.
However, most of the shoulder pain from dips is actually caused by:
– weakness (you are not strong enough to do dips properly)
– too much volume and/or weight
– pre-existing injury
In general, dips are 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 that 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 in a row, it’s time to add weight or transition to ring dips. Simply adding numbers and sets will not develop strength after that point. You have to increase the resistance.
Moreover, weighted dips are more comfortable than push-ups. That’s why I usually advise people to stick with dips if they can do the exercise.
3.BENCH PRESS – Low Incline or Flat
Hate it or love it, the bench is a solid boob constructor. The two best versions are the low incline and the flat. You can do them with dumbbells or barbells, depending on your preference.
I don’t see the point of doing decline bench presses when you can just do dips – a more natural movement that does not require a spotter.
The push-up, the dip and the bench press are the kings of chest exercises. Don’t waste your time with moronic stuff like chest flies, peck flies, cable cross-overs, bowflex foreplay or chest machines.