A powerful, chiseled upper body starts with the chest which will not only earn you respect in the gym but make you stand out anywhere you are. Most men’s chest exercises are the bench press and push-ups but there are many ways to mix it up. Working the chest at multiple angles will help recruit different muscle fibers and be able to gain strength and muscle without getting bored with your routine.
The good news is that chest workout for men doesn’t have to be hard, it just takes a little effort and the right chest exercises to maximize your gains.
What Muscles Make Up the Chest?
The chest is made up of the pectoral muscles, also known informally as the “pecs.” They attach with the bones of the upper arm and shoulder to the front of the chest.
Pectoralis Major: The pectoralis major makes up most of the chest size. A large fan shaped consisting of a sternal head and a clavicular head.
Pectoralis Minor: The pectoralis minor lies beneath the pectoralis major. Its functions are to pull the shoulder forward and down.
Serratus Anterior: Located next to the chest wall, you’ll feel the serratus anterior as you lift weight overhead.
Why Isn’t My Chest Growing?
Before we go into the secret of building a big chest, let’s first look at some of the reasons why your chest might not be growing. Improper technique and not warming up properly can be one of the reason that may hinder chest growth.
Pumping out fast reps is unlikely to give your chest the stimulus to build muscle properly. A research published in The Journal of Physiology showed that slow, controlled lifts performed to fatigue yielded greater rates of muscle growth than the same movement performed rapidly.
How to Activate the Chest Muscles
Changing your rep ranges, adjusting your lifting tempo, the speed at which you lower and raise the weights and working different parts of your chest.
Doing dynamic warm-ups and stretching are considered to be the best way to warm up before any chest workout.
Your main focus should be to safely lift with the right form and incorporating light weight then you can start using various sets and reps.
The 10 best chest workout for men
Seated Pec-Deck Machine
How to do the seated pec-deck machine
- Sit at a pec-deck machine.
- Grab the handles of the machine with an overhand grip with your arms bent at 90 degrees, your forearms resting against the vertical pads.
- Keep your elbows in the 90-degree position and pull your arms slowly towards your body until you feel a stretch in the pectoral muscle while squeezing the chest.
- Pause for a few seconds, then slowly return back to starting position.
Incline barbell bench press
This is one of the best chest workout for men, it works the clavicular head, which is why it makes your pecs pop.
How to do the incline barbell bench press
- Lie on an incline angle bench with your feet planted on the floor.
- Grab the barbell with a shoulder width grip, your palms facing away from you.
- Extend the arms upwards.
- Inhale as you lower the bar in a slow controlled manner to the upper part of the chest.
- Then pause and press the bar up before returning slowly to the starting position.
Incline dumbbell press for the upper pecs
Why dumbbells? Doing the incline dumbbell press can help to further isolate the upper pecs, hitting it from multiple angles to benefit your overall performance. The incline dumbbell press can also be used to correct strength imbalances between each side of the body.
The incline dumbbell press specifically targets the upper portion of the clavicular head of the pectorals.
How to do the dumbbell incline press
- Lie on an incline bench with a dumbbell in each hand, clean the dumbbell and hold at shoulder height, palms facing forward.
- Raise them simultaneously slowly and controlled straight up overhead.
- Then revert slowly back to the starting position.
The purpose of this is to add definition to the medial and inner chest muscles. This chest workout for men can be very helpful in creating definitions, getting a complete range of motion, stretching the pectorals to full extension.
How to do the cable crossovers
- From a standing position, take hold of the handles attached by cables to overhand pulleys, step slightly forward from the line directly between the pulleys and take your arms out to the sides.
- Bend forward slightly from the hip, then bring your hands together and forward in a big hugging motion elbows slightly bent, feeling the pectorals muscles contracting.
- When your hands come together in the center, squeeze the chest muscle for two seconds.
- Then slowly don’t reverse to the start in a controlled manner.
This exercise is very effective in developing enlarging the rib cage and developing the pectorals. Back in 1911, alan calvert declared that dumbbell pullover was the best form of exercise for developing a deep chest, arnorld schwarzenneger also credit his huge chest development to the dumbbell pullover.
How to do the dumbbell pullovers
- Lie back on a flat bench with your feet on the floor.
- Take a dumbbell and hold with both hands, holding it straight up over the chest with both palms pressing against the underside of the top part of the dumbbell.
- Keep your arms as you holder it over you, in a slow controlled manner lower the weight down behind you while feeling the chest stretch.
- lower it down as much as possible, then raise it back to the starting position
The dumbbell flyes develops the mass of pectorals, its functions are basically to bring in the arms and shoulders to the body and that is what this exercise basically does.
How to do the dumbbell flye
- Lie back on a bench with your feet on the floor.
- Take a dumbbell and hold with both hands, holding it straight up over the chest.
- Bend your arms slightly, lower the weights out and down to each side like in a arc, stretch the pectoral muscle as much as possible, your palms should be facing each other throughout this exercise.
- Then move the weights back to the starting position slow and controlled.
Barbell flat bench press
This is one of the most common chest exercises for men. This is a compound exercise for the upper body which builds strength and muscle in the pectorals, front deltoids and triceps.
How to do barbell flat bench press
- Lie on a flat bench, with your feet on the floor for balance using a medium grip width.
- raise the barbell off the rack and hold it at arm’s length above you.
- Lower the bar slow and controlled until it touches just below the pectoral muscle.
- Press the bar up again until your arms are completely locked.
Close-grip bench press
This exercise is just as similar to the flat bench press just that it places more on emphasis on the triceps while still hitting the chest and the front deltoids.
How to do the close grip bench press
- Using a flat bench, lie back on a bench using a narrow underhand grip.
- Raise the bar from the rack and hold the bar straight over you.
- Inhale and slowly lower the bar toward your chest and keep your elbows close to your body.
- Exhale and push the bar upwards. Focus on squeezing the chest as you do this.
Dips are one of the best chest workout for men which work all three heads of the triceps muscle at the same time developing the mass of the triceps.
How to do the dips
- Take hold of a parallel bar, raise yourself up. Lean forward slightly so that your chest is at a downward angle.
- Bend your elbows and lower yourself between the bars, while maintaining a forward leaning.
- From the bottom of the exercise, press yourself back up until your arms are locked.
Barbell decline bench press
This is an excellent chest exercise for men, it develops the lower pec. Always have a spotter to help you during this exercise.
How to do the barbell decline bench press
- Lie back down on a decline bench with your feet on the floor.
- Using a medium grip width, lift the bar from the rack and hold it straight above you with the arms locked.
- Inhale and lower the bar slightly until the bar touches your lower chest.
- Pause for two seconds then push the bar back up to the starting position.
Do these chest-building tips
Train the chest from different angles
Most lifters would be satisfied with just doing a few exercises like the bench press and calling it a day. There is no doubt that a bench press exercise does a good job for building a pec.
However, relying on just the bench pressure or not training the chest sufficiently at various angles can hinder muscle growth.
Make sure you use a variety of exercises for your chest workout.
Isolate the chest
As with any other body part, you may find that some areas grow better and faster than others. Isolation exercises can help with to target some muscles better and correct any muscle imbalances.
Use the correct form
The most common problem people fail to develop the type of chest they want is not using the proper form. This will not only hinder your progress but will also cause you injuries that will hinders growth over-time. Using proper form is important for success not only in training the chest but also other muscle groups and anything from general fitness.
Consult with the professionals
Before starting any type of exercise regimen, consult your primary care provider to make sure there are no safety issues.
Especially if you are new to strength training, consider seeking guidance and help to avoid injury. Most gyms offer personal trainers, so use such services until you start to feel comfortable to do it on your own.
Don’t sacrifice form for weight
Always warm up the muscles and joints you plan to work on first to prevent injury. Use the correct form during every exercise.
Learning the right techniques can facilitate better results and reduce the risk of injury.
And remember, the proper form is always important. Don’t sacrifice form for more weights, more weight can always be added over time.
Lift the right amount of weight
“How much should I lift?” is a question always asked, especially for those new to the weight room. Since people have different strengths and physical abilities, however, there is no specific answer for that question.
Though, weights should feel heavy, but bearable and be able to make the muscles feel fatigued after 12 repetitions. Most training programs support a range of 8 to 12 repetitions with three to four sets.
Strengthen other muscle groups
While a big chest may be your main goal, all major muscle groups should also be targeted too. These include the abs, legs, shoulders, arms and back.
Strength training done with other exercises can also maximize overall fitness. For example, aerobic exercise benefits cardiovascular health and can synergize weight loss goals.
Increase muscle gain through rest, recovery, and replenishing
Doing more is sometimes not always better, especially if the muscles are overworked. Recovery is very important in achieving any kind of results. However, the muscles grow when rested, not when worked out…
Give the body the recovery it needs to grow quickly and adequately. This involves taking a few days of rest before targeting the same muscle group again. Also, sleep at least seven to nine hours each night and drink at least 64 ounces of water daily.
Shake up your workout routine
If you find your results stagnant, you may need to modify training. You need to challenge your muscles to start growing, but do so in a safe way. Continue to make progress while minimizing the risk of injury.
Truly, muscles are made in the kitchen. Especially in weight training, adequate protein stimulates muscle repair and growth while healthy carbs replenish glycogen stores and boost blood sugar, adjust your nutritional requirements of your diet as needed, especially as the work becomes more complex.
Whether you are wearing a shirt and living a normal life or wanting to look big and muscular on the beach, a big chest is a must have and will make a difference in your physical appearance.