10 Best Chest Exercises and Workout for Mass and Strength

If you’re looking to build a stronger, more defined chest, incorporating the right chest exercises into your workout routine is key. Chest exercises help you build strength in your upper body and improve your overall body shape.

A well-shaped chest is one of the most important qualities of a good physique. To achieve this requires training with a variety of chest exercises to develop the upper pec and the lower pec, the inside and the outside pectorals.

In this blog, we will provide an in-depth overview of the following topics:

  • The anatomy of the chest muscles
  • Different types of chest exercises
  • Tips for maximizing your chest workout.
  • Chest Muscle Training Volume
  • Workout plan for beginner, intermediate and advance.
Table of Contents

Know More About Chest Muscles

The muscles of the chest consist of the pectoralis major and the pectoralis minor.

The pectoral major may conversationally be referred to as “pecs”, “pectoral muscle” or “chest muscle” because it’s the largest and most superficial muscle in the chest area.

Cable fly Muscle Worked

Pectoralis Major

The pectoralis major is the most superficial muscle in the pectoral region.

The pectoralis major itself comprises two heads, each of which may be worked differently depending on the angle of adduction:

  • An upward angle of movement emphasizes the upper, or clavicular head,
  • While a lower angle emphasizes the lower, or sternal head of the muscle.

The function of the pectoralis major is 3-fold and dependent on which heads of muscles are involved.

  • Flexion, adduction and medial rotation of the arm at the glenohumeral joint
  • Clavicular head causes flexion of the extended arm
  • Sternoclavicular head causes extension of the flexed arm

Pectoralis Minor

It is the triangle-shaped muscle located under the pectoralis major, a layer deeper, and draws the shoulder blades down and forward.

Types Of Chest Exercises

Chest exercises can be classified into two main types: compound and isolation exercises.

Compound Chest Exercises

Compound chest exercises use multiple muscle groups to do the movement. These exercises not only target the chest muscles but also involve other muscle groups such as the shoulders, triceps, and back.

Compound exercises are generally more effective for building overall strength and mass.

Examples include barbell and dumbbell bench press, push-ups, and dips.

Isolation Chest Exercises

Isolation chest exercises, on the other hand, target the chest muscles specifically. These exercises are useful for targeting specific areas of the chest and improving muscle definition.

Examples include cable crossovers, dumbbell flyes, and pec deck flyes.

A well-rounded workout routine can include both compound and isolation exercises.

The Top 10 Chest Exercises for Strength and Shape

The chest exercises are divided into pressing exercises, machine, cable, chest fly-type exercises, push-up, dip, and pullover exercises.

Here are the 10 best chest exercises that help build a massive chest and a well-shaped chest.

1. Barbell Bench Press

The Bench Press, one of the best chest muscle-building exercises. This exercise should be the center of all your barbell chest workouts.

The flat barbell press, also known as the bench press, is a popular compound exercise that targets the chest, triceps, and shoulders.

The Flat barbell chest press is the fundamental exercise for the upper body and should be a part of any best chest exercises regime. That’s why, for overall chest development, the barbell chest press always remains on the top of the list.

Barbell Bench Press Variations for Chest Growth:

Barbell Bench Press

How To Do

  1. Lie flat on a bench with your feet on the ground and your eyes directly underneath the barbell.
  2. Grab the barbell with a grip that is slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
  3. Lift the barbell off the rack and lower it towards your chest in a controlled manner.
  4. Press the barbell back up towards the starting position, until your arms are nearly locked out.
  5. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.


  • Keep a controlled motion and avoid jerky movements.
  • Do not bounce the weights off the chest.
  • Avoid too much arching of the back.
  • For heavyweights, use a spotter.
  • Keep your elbows tucked in towards your body as you lower the barbell to your chest.

2. Dumbbell Bench Press

The dumbbell chest press is a popular exercise for building upper body strength and developing the chest muscles. It is a compound exercise, which means it works multiple muscle groups at once.

The dumbbell bench press, a great way to add muscle mass to the chest. The barbell bench press has a limitation that it does not involve the full range of motion, a limitation the dumbbell bench press overcomes.  

The dumbbell bench press provides the extra range of motion at the top for complete chest development. Furthermore, dumbbells demand better coordination, forcing the stabilizing muscles to assist as well.

The studies suggest that for chest development, both barbell and dumbbell bench presses can be used interchangeably without reducing muscle activation or negative transfer effects.

Other Variations of Dumbbell Chest Press:

Dumbbell Chest Press

How To Do

  1. Lie flat on the bench, keeping your feet on the floor for better balance, with a dumbbell in each hand.
  2. Hold the Dumbbells straight overhead, palms facing forwards.
  3. Now, lower the weights to your outer chest, stretching the chest to the maximum at the bottom.
  4. Now, raise it until your arms are nearly locked out, keep dumbbells very close to each other.
  5. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.


  • Keep a controlled motion, and avoid jerky movements.
  • Keep your feet planted on the ground throughout the exercise.
  • Keep your elbows at a 45-degree angle to your body as you lower the dumbbells.
  • Make sure to maintain a stable, flat back throughout the exercise.

Note: Variations in chest workouts, such as substituting barbell bench presses for dumbbell bench presses or vice versa, could benefit experienced lifters who have developed efficient techniques.

Know More: 10 Best Chest Workout With Dumbbells 

3. Incline Bench Press

The incline bench press is an effective exercise for targeting the upper chest muscles, which can help create a more defined and aesthetically pleasing chest shape.

It is one of the best exercises for building muscle mass in the upper and middle pectoral regions. Moreover, it can improve shoulder and tricep strength, which can be used in other upper body exercises.

According to EMG results, some benches have a steep incline that works the front delts as much as the chest. It is recommended to opt for a lower incline, such as 30 degrees, to specifically target the upper pecs.

Variations of Incline Bench Press to Stimulate Chest Growth

  • Dumbbell Incline Bench Press: Allow a greater range of motion.
  • Close-Grip Incline Bench Press: hands closer together on the barbell, which targets the triceps more than the chest.
  • Incline Barbell Reverse Grip Bench Press: Using a reverse grip on the barbell targets the upper chest muscles
  • The Smith Machine Incline Bench Press: Provide additional stability and control during the movement.
  • The Incline Hammer Dumbbell Press: Provide a unique range of motion that emphasizes the upper chest muscles.
Incline Bench Press

How To Do

  1. Set the bench to a slight incline (30-45 degrees).
  2. Lie down on the bench with your feet flat on the ground and your back flat against the bench.
  3. Grasp the barbell with an overhand grip, hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
  4. Unrack the weight and lower it down to your upper chest, keeping your elbows at a 45-degree angle to your body.
  5. Press the weight back up to the starting position and breathe out as you lift.
  6. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.


  • Keep your elbows at a 45-degree angle to your body to target the upper chest muscles.
  • Perform press in a controlled manner.
  • Use a bench inclined at 30–45 degrees to focus on the chest muscles, avoiding a more upright position that shifts the stress to the shoulders.
  • Keep your feet planted on the ground throughout the exercise.

4. Decline Bench Press

The decline bench press is a weight training exercise that involves lifting a barbell or dumbbells while lying on a decline bench with the head positioned lower than the feet.

This exercise primarily targets the lower chest muscles and can provide numerous benefits to overall chest development.

Decline Bench Press Variations for Chest Growth:

  • Close-grip decline bench press
  • Reverse-grip decline bench press
  • Decline dumbbell press
  • Decline Smith machine press
Decline Bench Press

How To Do

  1. Set the decline bench at a decline of around 15–30 degrees, making sure it’s securely locked in place.
  2. Lie down on the bench with your feet firmly placed on the foot pads.
  3. Make sure your hands are shoulder-width apart when grabbing the barbell with an overhand grip.
  4. Lower the barbell or dumbbells slowly towards your lower chest.
  5. Once the barbell reached your chest, pause for a brief moment.
  6. Push the barbell back until your arms are fully extended, but don’t lock your elbows.
  7. Repeat the exercise for the desired number of repetitions.


  • Keep a controlled motion and avoid jerky movements
  • Use a spotter when lifting heavy weights.
  • Keep your back flat against the bench throughout the exercise.
  • Avoid arching your back or lifting your hips off the bench.
  • Exhale as you push the weight up, and inhale as you lower it down.

5. Dumbbell Fly

The dumbbell fly is an isolation exercise that is usually performed after big compound lifts like the bench press and incline press.

It is considered to be the perfect finishing move and a great way to focus on your chest after many pressing exercises

The chest fly doesn’t require much equipment to perform. You can do dumbbell flyes while lying on the floor if you don’t have a bench.

The fly is often thought of as a classic body-building movement, as the goal of the exercise is to isolate the chest for aesthetic purposes.

Different Fly Exercises to Develop Your Chest

Dumbbell fly

How To Do Dumbbell Fly

  1. Lie on the flat bench with your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Lift your arms straight up from your shoulders and the dumbbells directly over your upper chest.
  3. Slowly lower your arms out to your sides until your wrists come to about shoulder level or slightly above
  4. Bring your arms back toward the midline of your body, focusing on using your pec muscles to draw them back together.


  • Don’t let your elbows drop too far when you’re in the start position, they should remain in line with your torso when you’re lying on the bench.
  • Don’t let the dumbbells touch as they meet at the top, holding for a second in the contracted position.
  • Make sure you keep your elbows bent.
Read More To Know More: Cable Fly: Muscle Worked, Alternate, Variations

6. Chest Dip

Chest dip is a compound exercise that targets the chest, triceps, and shoulders. It involves using parallel bars to support your body weight while performing a dipping motion.

Since it targets multiple muscle groups simultaneously, it is an effective exercise for building upper body strength and mass. It also increases stability and coordination of the upper body.

Chest Dip Variations For Strength and Stability

  • Weighted dips: Hold a weight plate or dumbbell between your feet or with a weight belt.
  • Chest-focused dips: Tilt your torso forward further than usual, emphasizing your chest muscles.
  • Triceps-focused dips: Keep your torso more upright to emphasize your triceps muscles.
  • Machine-assisted dip: help beginners to execute the exercise with correct form and develop strength.
  • Ring dip: It is common in gymnastics training and CrossFit workouts
Chest Dip

How To Do

  1. Grab the parallel bars firmly and raise yourself at arm’s length.
  2. Lean forward slightly and lower your body, keeping your elbows tucked in and your shoulders down.
  3. Continue to dip until your shoulders are just below your elbows or until you feel a stretch in your chest.
  4. Push back up until your arms are straight, but don’t lock your elbows.
  5. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.


  • Hold a dumbbell between your legs if you need additional resistance.
  • Keep your torso slightly forward to emphasize your chest muscles.
  • Focus on keeping your elbows close to your sides to target your triceps.
  • Avoid dipping too low, which could cause injury to your shoulders.
Know More: Bodyweight Chest Exercises: Beginner To Advance

7. Push-Ups

Push-ups can be performed, regardless of where you are and, best of all, they are completely free—no expensive equipment or annual gym fees required. There are different types of push-up variations to meet different needs.

The classic push-up has survived the test of time and is the single most efficient exercise to simultaneously strengthen the chest, arms, deltoid, lower back, abs and glutes. 

Push-ups are one of the most basic but rewarding all-around exercises you will find, and everyone from teenagers to older adults can benefit from doing them regularly.

Different Push-Up For a Complete Chest Workout.

Push Ups

How To Do Standard Push-Ups

  1. Lay face down on the ground with your legs straight, and arms supporting your upper body.
  2. Keep your knees off the ground.
  3. Raise yourself off the ground, straightening your elbows and your arms.
  4. Now, lower your body under slow sustained motion, feeling the motion all the way down until your chest is very close to the ground.
  5. Raise until your elbows are locked, and pause for a moment at the top of the movement.


  • Keep your elbows close to your body.
  • For additional variations, you can do incline chest push-ups and decline push-ups.

8. Dumbbell Pullover

The classic dumbbell pullover is a widely used resistance exercise that primarily strengthens the muscles in the chest and back.

It also engages the large wing-shaped muscles in the back (latissimus dorsi), the core muscles, and the triceps.

It involves lying down on a bench and moving a dumbbell over your head, while maintaining a slight bend in your elbows. They are an excellent addition to your upper body strength routine.

Different Pull-over Exercises That help To Grow Chest

  • Barbell pullover
  • Cable pullover
  • Incline pullover
  • Decline pullover
  • Swiss ball dumbbell pullover
Dumbbell Pullover

How To Do Dumbbell Pullover

  1. Lie across on a bench on your shoulders so that your head is hanging.
  2. Grasp a dumbbell with both hands and get it straight over your chest.
  3. Lower the dumbbell in an arc slowly, getting a good stretch in your rib cage.
  4. Lower the dumbbell as far as possible and then raise it back to the starting position.
  5. Repeat for your desired number of reps.


  • Exhale while you exert.
  • Maximum stretching ensures the greatest expansion of the rib cage.
  • Use a weight that challenges you, but allows you to maintain proper form.
  • Relax your hips and let them fall, as relaxed hips help in extra expansion.
  • Keep your core tight and your lower back flat against the bench.

9. Cable Crossover

The Cable Crossover is a resistance training exercise that primarily targets the chest muscles. The exercise involves using cable machines to perform a fly-like motion with the arms, crossing them in front of the body.

Standing Cable Crossovers exercise helps to develop and define Inner chest muscles.

The cable provides constant resistance, and helps in developing central chest muscles, and provides the much-needed stress on inner pecs.

Variations of Cable Crossover

Cable Crossover

How To Do

  1. Start by setting the cable machines to the desired height and weight.
  2. Stand between the two cable machines and grasp the handles.
  3. Step forward with one foot, and lean slightly forward at the hips.
  4. Keeping the arms straight but not locked, bring the handles together in front of the body, crossing them at the wrists.
  5. Slowly lower the arms back to the starting position, maintaining control and tension in the chest muscles.
  6. Repeat for desired number of repetitions.


  •  Keep the core engaged and the back straight.
  • Avoid arching the back or rounding the shoulders.
  • Use a weight that allows for proper form and controlled movements.
  • Adjust the height of the cable machines to target different areas of the chest.
Know More: 14 Best Cable Chest Exercises

10. Machine Chest Press

Machine chest press is a resistance exercise that involves pushing a weight away from the body using a machine with a chest press attachment.

According to EMG research, the machine bench press involves the shoulders to a lesser extent than free-weight alternatives. This means you can focus more on working your chest muscles.

The machine allows you to isolate and target the chest muscles while providing support and stability. There are several types of chest press machines available, including plate-loaded and cable machines.

Using a machine can be beneficial for beginners or those who have difficulty with free weights, as it provides stability and reduces the risk of injury.

Machine Chest Press

Variations of Machine Press for Building Chest Muscles

  • Close grip machine chest press
  • Reverse grip chest press
  • Incline machine press
  • Lying machine chest press

How To Do

  1. Adjust the seat of the machine so that the handles are at chest level.
  2. Sit on the machine with your back flat against the backrest and your feet flat on the floor.
  3. Grasp the handles with an overhand grip and press them away from your body until your arms are fully extended.
  4. Slowly bring the handles back towards your chest, keeping your elbows tucked in and your wrists straight.
  5. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.


  • Keep your shoulders back and down to prevent them from hunching forward.
  • Exhale as you push the handles away from your body, and inhale as you bring them back towards your chest.
  • Start with a light weight and gradually increase the resistance as you get stronger.

Bonus: Machine Fly

The machine fly is an effective exercise for building chest muscles. It isolates and targets the pectoral muscles, while providing stability to the shoulders. Unlike some chest exercises, the machine fly provides stability to the shoulders and reduces stress on the rotator cuffs.

The machine fly is a safe and easy exercise to perform, making it suitable for beginners and those with shoulder injuries.

EMG data shows that machine fly and bench press both activate the pectoralis major muscle to a similar degree, making them both effective exercises for chest growth. Unlike the bench press, the machine fly does not require a spotter, allowing you to safely push the intensity and reach muscle failure.

Machine Fly Variations:

  1. Reverse fly
  2. One-arm fly
  3. Standing fly:
Machine Fly

How To Do

  1. Adjust the seat and handles to ensure that your arms are at shoulder height and your elbows are slightly bent.
  2. Position yourself: Sit down on the machine with your back flat against the backrest and your feet firmly on the ground.
  3. Grasp the handles with an overhand grip and keep your wrists straight.
  4. Bring the handles together in front of your chest in a smooth and controlled motion.
  5. Hold for a second at the top of the movement, and then slowly return to the starting position.


  • Your upper arms should be parallel to the floor.
  • Keep your eyes straight ahead while performing the exercise.
  • Keep your elbows slightly bent.
  • Avoid using momentum to bring the handles together, and instead use a slow and controlled motion to target the chest muscles.
  • Inhale as you bring the handles together, and exhale as you return to the starting position.

Chest Muscle Training Volume

The number of repetitions (reps) and sets you perform for chest exercises will depend on your fitness goals and current fitness level.

Here are some general guidelines:


  • Beginners: ~10 sets per week.
  • Intermediate: ~15 sets per week.
  • Advanced: ~20 sets per week.

When a certain amount of volume stops being effective and your progress stalls, you can add sets to increase volume and use that as a driver of renewed progress. 


The best rep ranges and loads to work with.

  • 6–8 reps with heavy load
  • 8–15 reps with moderate load
  • 15-20+ with light load

Training Plan As Per Your Goal

  1. For muscle endurance: Aim for 3–4 sets of 12–15 reps, with a moderate amount of resistance.
  2. For muscle strength: Aim for 3–5 sets of 6–10 reps, with a heavier amount of resistance.
  3. For muscle hypertrophy (increased muscle size): Aim for 3–4 sets of 8–12 reps, with a moderate to heavy amount of resistance.

It is always best to start with a lower number of reps and sets, and then gradually increase as your strength improves.

Furthermore, it is important to allow for adequate rest between sets, typically 60–90 seconds.

Incorporating a mix of exercises, cardio, and weight training can help to achieve a balanced and well-rounded workout routine.

Warm Up Exercises Before Chest

Warm-up is the process of preparing your body for physical activity or exercise. It involves performing low-intensity exercises that gradually increase your heart rate, blood flow, and body temperature to strengthen your body’s readiness for the workout ahead.

Benefits of Warm Up

A proper chest warm-up can benefit your body in several ways, including:

  1. Increases blood flow to the muscles.
  2. Raises the body temperature and improves muscle flexibility.
  3. Enhances mental focus and attention.
  4. Reduces the risk of injury by preparing the body for exercise.

Warm-up exercises can include activities such as jogging, jumping jacks, cycling, or dynamic stretching. The types of warm-up exercise you choose should be tailored to the specific workout you will be performing. 

It’s recommended that you perform a warm-up for at least 5–10 minutes before any chest workout to prepare your body for the activity ahead.

Best Warm Up Exercises for Chest Workout

Here are some of the best warm-up exercises for a chest workout:

  1. Jumping jacks
  2. Arm circles
  3. Push-ups
  4. Chest flies with light weights
  5. Dynamic stretches

Chest Workout Samples

Chest Workout Routine For Beginner

Here is a beginner bodyweight chest workout routine that can be done at the home:

Push ups10–12 reps3 sets90 seconds
Dumbbell Bench press8–10 reps3–4 sets90 seconds
Incline Bench Press 8–10 reps3 sets90 seconds
Dumbbell fly10–12 reps3 sets90 seconds

Chest Workout Routine For Intermediate

Here is an intermediate bodyweight chest workout routine that can be done at the anywhere:

Barbell Bench Press10–12 reps3–4 sets60–90 seconds
Decline Dumbbell Press8–10 reps3–4 sets60–90 seconds
Chest Dips10–12 reps3 sets60–90 seconds
Machine Fly10–12 reps3 sets60–90 seconds

Advance Chest Workout Routine

Barbell Bench Press6–8 reps3–4 sets60 seconds
Incline Dumbbell Press8–10 reps3–4 sets60 seconds
Decline Barbell Press10–12 reps3 sets60 seconds
Weighted chest Dips8–10 reps3–4 sets60 seconds
Clapping Push Up10–12 reps3 sets60 seconds

Get a Bigger and Pumped Chest

If you desire to achieve a muscular chest, increase strength or even beat your previous bench press personal record, you have an array of chest exercises to choose from.

However, it is crucial to prioritize proper form while performing any chest exercise and to design your workout plan intelligently. By being diligent with your form and programming, you can achieve a well-sculpted and impressive chest.

Chest Pumped Workout

Looking for a pumped chest? Try this workout routine that features high reps and short rest periods. You’ll be able to lift heavy weights and push yourself to failure.

For an added challenge, incorporate drop sets. Get ready to leave the gym with a tight shirt.

Barbell Bench Press412-1560 seconds
Incline Dumbbell Press315-2045 seconds
Cable Flyes315-2045 seconds
Push-ups (weighted if possible)3failure30–45 seconds


How many chest exercises per workout

  • Beginners should do 2-3 chest exercises per week. (~10 sets)
  • Intermediate should do 3-4 chest exercises per week. (~15 sets)
  • Advanced should do 5-6 chest exercises per week. (~20 sets)

How many sets and reps should I do for chest exercises?

It is recommended to do 3–4 sets of 8–12 reps for chest exercises. Although the specific number of sets and reps can vary depending on individual goals, fitness levels, and exercise selection.

How often should I train my chest muscles?

It is recommended that you train your chest muscles 1–2 times per week, with at least 48 hours of rest between workouts. This allows for proper muscle recovery and growth.

Can I train my chest every day?

It is not recommended to train the chest muscles every day. Muscles need time to recover and repair after a workout, and overtraining can lead to injury and stalled progress.

It’s best to give your chest muscles at least 48 hours of rest between workouts to allow for proper recovery.


Chest exercise will make your chest bigger and broader, which just looks good and is great for those trying to lose chest fat.

There are tons of chest exercises that will allow you to constantly progress and hit your chest from different angles.

The key to achieving hypertrophy (building muscle) with exercises is maximizing tensions and time under tension.

Thanks for reading, enjoy your Workout.


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  2. The Effect of Weekly Set Volume on Strength Gain: A Meta-Analysis.
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  4. Comparative Study Eur J Sport Sci. 2016;16(3):309-16. Epub 2015 Mar 23. Influence of bench angle on upper extremity muscular activation during bench press exercise.
  5. Hrysomallis C. Effectiveness of strengthening and stretching exercises for the postural correction of abducted scapulae: a review. The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 2010;24(2):567-574.
  6. Padkao T, Boonla O. Relationships between respiratory muscle strength, chest wall expansion, and functional capacity in healthy nonsmokers. Journal of Exercise Rehabilitation. 2020;16(2):189-196.

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