Let’s get one thing straight – for us, men, a strong and ripped chest is a symbol of power and dominance. That should explain why every single one of us desires a bigger and more muscular chest! Anyway, give yourself a pat on your back folks, because we’re taking a closer look at the 5 best chest exercises for men.
Note that ladies can do these too, however, some of the exercises are heavy compound movements so be warned (if you want to remain injury-free that is). That’s why we’ll keep it as manly as possible today. I don’t care whether you want bigger pecs to appear more attractive to the opposite sex, or whether your goal is to be more dominant, we’re all pumping iron because we want huge upper bodies.
Now, Arnold was probably the originator of the whole gargantuan chest mania and while it wasn’t only exercises and nutrition that got him to where he was (I’ll leave the rest to your imagination), from that point on, the alpha male imagine was always accompanied by a solid upper front of the body.
Oh, and keep in mind that you won’t see a generic list of isolation exercises or any fancy machines that’ll make your chest EXPLODE. I’m supporting compound movements for a lot of reasons, but I’ll share just two – efficiency and effectiveness!
All you Monday lifters (FYI: Monday is the international chest day) and other lifters or non-lifters, read on.
The Big 5 Exercises For a Big Chest
Everyone’s an expert these days and everyone is well-versed in the best workouts and training protocols for just about anything. I’m about to highlight the best chest exercises in my opinion – so feel free to disagree if that’s what you want.
I know that some of you may have other suggestions as to how to build a muscular and impressive front of your upper body – I respect that but this is MY take on the subject.
So without further ado, here is T.N.’s ‘best movements for a massive chest’ list:
Yep, it’s dips that occupy the first spot – not the good old bench press! Why is that? Because weighted dips are the best of the bunch and you’ll get a lot of bang for your buck by doing them.
Sure, many of you will struggle with adding weight as dips are challenging enough on their own. But the chances are that if you can churn out ten reps or more, by all means – add weight!
Doesn’t matter if you’re using a weighted belt or you’re squeezing a dumbbell between your ankles, really. All that matters is to make this movement more demanding so that you stimulate muscle growth as much as possible.
Like them or not (I know some fitness “gurus” avoid dips like the plague), dips are one of the most amazing compound exercises for your upper body in general. It builds strong pecs, shoulders, and triceps like no other.
Besides, utilizing heavy compound exercises is very testosterone-friendly for us men. Working out increases testosterone levels, remember?
And please, focus on your pectorals and not your triceps. Your shoulders and triceps are already involved when you do dips, but a lot of guys keep forgetting to slightly lean forward during the movement so that you put emphasis on your chest!
Off to the next big one on the list…
2. Barbell Bench Press
One does not simply talk (or write rather) about building a huge chest without mentioning the holy grail of bodybuilding – the bench press. Many of you will argue why I placed this at second place, but I already explained why, so chill.
If you’re looking for the best way to develop sheer power, then lifting heavy barbells is the way to go. And you’ll obviously gain muscular strength and size by doing bench presses – if you increase weight and/or reps each time… progressive overload in other words.
Now, I have ZERO intentions of discussing ridiculous tactics and hacks concerning “the top secrets to increasing your bench press immediately!”. Things like putting your hands in cold water prior to a heavy set of bench presses are beyond wacky, to put it lightly!
Before we move on, a word of caution though: never let your ego get the best of you. Start with a reasonable weight and build up slowly – no one starts lifting 100 kgs on his first day (except a very fortunate few).
You can seriously screw yourself up by going too heavy and not having a spotter. And by all means, forget about doing barbell bench presses with a suicidal grip – that’s when you don’t wrap your thumb around the bar. It’s called suicidal for a reason!
Time for an often overlook exercise:
An underrated hero, yet push-ups can annihilate your chest if you add weight! Getting yourself a weighted vest would not only make you look badass, but it’s arguably the easiest way to add more oomph to your push-ups.
You can always put weight plates on your back, but that’s not for me. I have a weighted vest myself (30 pounds) and I’m totally loving how it increases the overall workload of every workout.
Honestly, if you can do 50 push-ups with your own weight, you’ll be surprised how weak you might feel when you add say 15 pounds. But you’ll thank me later when the added intensity will make your chest explode, as will your arms probably.
Aaaand here comes another often overlooked movement (just as neat as push-ups nonetheless)…
4. Incline Dumbbell Pull-Overs
Woohoo, pull-overs! Don’t know about you, but personally – I think they’re awesome. And why the incline variation? Because it’s simply better for growing your pecs – it’s a longer range of motion so your muscle fibers come under tension for more time.
In general, pullovers are so amazing that they even target your back muscles. Here, let me highlight the muscles groups involved in this movement:
Not sure if you need more evidence of the sheer awesomeness of this movement. Off you go now, hit the weight room and treat yourself with some include DB pullovers!
And now, time for the fifth and last exercise:
5. Landmine Presses
Yet another quirky exercise, which you’re probably unfamiliar with. Until now! Why do guys stick to boring and non-functional machines, while beauties like the landmine press remain neglected?
Answer this one for yourself, but I know one thing – this one will help you build a stronger, more muscular and more defined chest. Not only that, but your shoulder mobility will benefit as well.
Add extra work for your arms and core when you do them single-arm style and you have one of the most fun and versatile upper body movements out there.
So do yourself a favor and ditch those bloody cable flyes for landmine presses and enjoy not only a more muscular physique but also more functionality (mobility, explosiveness etc.) at the same.
But hey, I’m sure that you want a chest workout of some sort that incorporates these exercises, right? Fear not brethren, I have not forsaken you… or something (read it in a loud Gandalf-ish voice)!
Piecing It All Together – The ‘Unorthodox’ Workout
Very unorthodox indeed, eh? In all seriousness though, even if this might seem like pure silliness, I’m actually providing you with a neat sample chest workout, which embodies the already outlined exercises.
This sample workout is aimed at curious folks who would like to try out something different. And it’s suitable for both beginners and more advanced lifters, even if it seems a bit weird in its structure.
I know, I know – I just wanted to give you guys a sample chest workout compiled from the aforementioned top chest exercises.
So you can either do this particular workout or use every exercise separately and integrate it into your routine. Whichever you prefer really, or “you can do whatever the … you wanna do” – courtesy of the Hodgetwins.
Wrapping It Up
My conclusive thoughts are that the top chest movements are actually the best exercises for your chest. Or in other words, the greatest chest builders are the most outstanding things for your chest. This was my attempt at humor *clapping sounds*.
Anyways, we can safely conclude that the exercises listed by me are the ones that I view as the top of the top. You can agree to disagree and so forth, but I stand my ground – compound movements are ALWAYS superior for building muscle, strength and the lot.
Train smart and focus on form when doing them and keep progressing, either by adding more weight, increasing repetitions or decreasing rest intervals. Progress is key, otherwise, you’d be spinning your wheels and even the best of exercises will completely useless.
What’s your favorite exercise for building a gargantuam chest that simply demands respect? Let me know in the comments below!
Founder of Testosterone Nerd