Chest Exercises

Below you will find gifs of the most popular and effective chest exercises.

Barbell Exercises

3/4 Range of Motion Bench Press

  • Regular hand width, a little more than shoulder width.
  • Extend the arms but don’t lock out the elbows.
  • Elbows don’t need to touch the sides, 45 degree angle is best.
  • Full lockout fatigues the triceps first, so to hit the chest, stay in the bottom 3/4 of the movement.
  • You can do heavy sets with these or high rep finishers.
3/4 range of motion bench press

Incline Barbell Chest Press

  • A 30-60 degree bench angle is best for the chest press.
  • This is hitting the Clavicular Head (Upper Chest).
  • Hands wider than shoulder width, elbows come out 45 degrees to the body.
  • This is a great first exercise on chest day to go heavy on.
incline barbell chest press

Dumbbell Exercises

Around The Worlds

  • Use a light weight for these.
  • Keep the chest up, shoulders back and a slight bend in the elbows.
  • Bring the arms overhead and back to the sides under control.
  • Another great warm-up or use as a high rep finisher.
around the worlds

Decline Dumbbell Bench Press

  • This hits the sternocostal head.
  • Make sure legs are secured!
  • Palms facing away, forearms perpendicular to floor.
  • Drop the weights after the set, rather than trying to lower gently.
decline dumbbell bench press

Dumbbell Chest Flyes

  • This hits the Sternocostal Head.
  • Keep a slight bend in the elbows.
  • Try to lower in a wide arc, that’s more important than how far back you reach.
  • Hold the dumbbells over the lower chest, NOT up level with upper chest/neck.
  • Squeeze the pecs at the top of the movement.
dumbbell flyes

Flat Dumbbell Bench Press

  • Elbows come out to 45 degrees relative to the body.
  • Can be limited by how much weight you can get into position.
  • Good for middle rep ranges of 8-12 reps.
  • Keep the shoulders back.
flat dumbbell bench press

Incline Dumbbell Chest Press

  • A 30-60 degree bench angle is best for the chest press.
  • This is hitting the Clavicular Head (Upper Chest).
  • This allows for slightly more range of motion than the barbell.
  • A great second exercise, in the 6-10 rep range.
incline dumbbell chest press

Body-Weight / Other Exercises

Cable Crossover

  • This hits the Sternocostal Head.
  • Keep a slight bend in the elbows and for stability you can use a split stance.
  • Keep shoulders internally rotated so elbows are pointed upward at the top and out to sides at bottom.
  • For heavier weights, use more of a forward lean.
cable crossover

Chest Dips

  • A forward lean will place more work on the chest muscles.
  • To keep the weight forward, shift the legs forward in an open “L” body position.
  • Squeeze the abs to make sure your legs stay in front of you.
  • Drop the shoulder to slightly below elbow height.
chest dips

Chest Press Machine

  • Set the seat so handles are at chest height.
  • If possible, set the handles forward so you don’t need to start with your elbows too far behind you.
  • Wrists stay straight the whole time, elbows never above wrists.
  • Breathe out as you push and breathe in as you return it.
chest press machine

Clap/Plyo Push-ups

  • Don’t worry about full extension of the arms.
  • These are explosive and a great warm-up exercise for chest day.
  • The ‘clap’ itself is not necessary – you can just make sure the hands leave the ground.
  • Try 2-3 sets of  8 reps before your main workout to activate your chest muscles.
clap push-ups

Low Cable Chest Flyes

  • Set the Cables to the bottom of each stack, step forward with staggered stance.
  • Bend knee of front leg, straight back leg (can raise heel of back leg).
  • Keep arch in back and a wide arc with the arms.
low cable chest fly

Narrow Push-ups

  • Chest activation is not any better with very wide arms.
  • Regular press-ups will hit your chest just as much, and put less stress on the shoulder joint.
  • To emphasise more chest, don’t push the elbows to full extension.
  • Put your feet on a raised surface to hit the upper chest.
narrow push-ups

Pec Deck Flyes

  • Adjust the handles so that at full range of motion the chest is lightly stretched.
  • Slight bend in the elbows, rotate shoulders so the elbows are behind you and keep them at wrist and shoulder height.
  • Head and back against the pad, smoothly bring to centre and back.
  • Breathe out as you pull together, and breathe in as you return.
pec deck flyes

Thanks for reading!