5 Of The Best Chest Exercises That Should Be In Every Chest Workout!

5 Of The Best Chest Exercises That Should Be In Every Chest Workout!

clock-circular-outlinePosted 3 Oct 2019

When it comes to training the chest, there is an overwhelming amount of chest exercise variations out there, some weird, and others wonderful.

We've put together this article to help you get the most out of your chest workouts, understanding the benefits of various chest exercises and the muscles they target. Giving you a greater understanding of how to train your chest muscles, and getting the most out of your chest workouts!

Basically, if you're looking for the best chest exercises - you've come to the right place.

We won't lie; international chest day is certainly a thing. But training chest isn't just for the bro-splitters; it's for gym newbies and veteran athletes alike.

The pectoralis major is one of the largest muscle groups in the body, and its application is transferable across many movements, both gym based and in everyday life - so having the best chest workout is vital for increasing strength and endurance.

Benefits of training your chest muscles include:

For some, it's all about aesthetics - but training your chest muscles can come with many benefits. Which makes it even more important that you've got the most effective chest exercises in your workout.

  • Improved posture

  • Increased Strength

  • Greater Shoulder Joint Stabilisation

  • Transferable strength across everyday movements e.g. pushing, lifting, carrying.

  • Deeper Breathing (your chest attaches to your ribs)

So, whatever your fitness goals, a well-rounded chest training programme incorporating the best exercises for targeting your chest muscles will help you achieve your goals.

The Best Chest Exercises To Grow Your Chest

  • Flat Barbell Bench Press

  • Incline Dumbell Bench Press

  • Bodyweight Dips

  • Cable Chest Fly

  • Push-Ups

Flat Barbell Bench Press

Main Muscles Targeted: Pectoralis Major and Minor


The most popular chest day exercise, rightly regarded as one of the best chest exercises for mass. The barbell bench press recruits muscle fibres from the entire chest, alongside assistance from the anterior deltoid (shoulder) and triceps.

Utilising the barbell for the bench press allows the muscle groups to work as one, moving the bar away from the torso before controlling the eccentric portion of the rep. The barbell also allows more weight to be added to the bar, compared to a flat dumbbell bench press, making it an excellent exercise for increasing overall strength and power.

Tip: Grasp the bar slightly wider than shoulder width: your elbow, forearm and wrist should all be in line at the bottom of the movement.

read: The Six Best Arm Exercises

Incline Dumbbell Bench Press

Primary Muscles Targeted: Pectoralis Major and Clavicular Head

Exercise Overview:

A staple exercise when targeting the upper portions of the chest. Utilising the incline dumbbell press still targets the pectoralis major, but with an increased emphasis on the clavicular head (upper part of the chest).

The upper section of the chest can sometimes lack growth in comparison to the pectoralis major, especially amongst beginners in strength training. So, incorporating this exercise in your workouts will promote a well-developed chest.

TIP: Don't angle the bench any higher than 60 degrees - this will keep the focus on your chest, rather than your shoulders.

Bodyweight Dip

Primary Muscles Targeted: Pectoralis Major and Triceps Brachii

Exercise Overview:

Mainly contributing to development in the chest and triceps, the dip is one of the most popular bodyweight exercises.

Requiring a significant amount of strength, beginners can build strength and confidence from the use of assisted dip machines or resistance bands. Alternatively, to progress the movement and increase strength, weighted dips can be performed by adding a dumbbell between your legs or wearing a weight belt.

TIP: Leaning forward during the exercise will place more emphasis on the chest. Keeping the torso upright will result in more of the triceps being used.

Incline Bench Cable Chest Fly

Primary Muscles Targeted: Pectoralis Major and Clavicular Head

Exercise Overview:

The incline cable fly recruits muscle fibres from the pectoralis major, focusing especially on the upper chest (clavicular head) and inner chest (sternal head).

This is a great exercise to help develop the chest, often used in hypertrophy training, where muscle growth is the main goal.

Using a bench, rather than performing a standing cable fly, helps to isolate the chest, keeping constant tension on the muscle.

TIP: Crossing the arms during each rep helps place more focus on the sternal head.

Bodyweight Push-Up

Primary Muscles Targeted: Pectoralis Major and Triceps Brachii

Exercise Overview:

Arguably the first ever chest exercise invented... The push-up has been around for quite some time, and for good reason.

Utilising a variety of muscle groups, the push-up focuses mainly on the pectoralis major and triceps brachii.

The anterior deltoid (shoulder) and forearms also play a key role, helping stabilise the body during the exercise; while a certain level of core strength is required to keep good form.

TIP: By raising the feet on a bench, the upper part (clavicle head) of the chest can be isolated.

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What are your favourite chest day exercises? Let us know in the comments below.

Check out our five best back exercises to help with your next pull session, and don't forget to track your workout progress in the Gymshark App!

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Chris Beck is Senior Editor at Gymshark, with a passion for curating informative conditioning and health content. Chris is an experienced Personal Trainer, and also holds qualifications in Nutrition, Sports Performance and is a certified Crossfit Level 1 Trainer.

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Chris BeckBy Chris Beck

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