Make Your Pecs Pop

Add these five chest exercises to your workout routine

Looking to build your chest muscles? Look no further than the following exercises, all rated as highly effective in strengthening and building both your pectoralis major muscle (the largest chest muscle) and the pectoralis minor (the smaller chest muscle located under the pectoralis major).

Here’s an explanation of each.

Barbell Bench Press

One of the most effective chest exercises is the barbell bench press. You’ll need a bench and a weighted bar.

Lie on your back on a level bench. Place your hands on the bar using a medium grip (not too wide and not too close together), and then lift the bar and hold it straight overhead, locking your arms.

Breathe in as you lower the bar to the middle of your chest. Your arms should bend to a 90-degree angle. Pause, breathe out as you push the bar back up, and lock your arms at the top. You should feel the movement in your chest. Repeat the movement for several repetitions then rest.

Use a spotter if you’re new to this exercise or if you’re using a great amount of weight.

Barbell Incline Bench Press

This exercise is similar to the barbell bench press, but you’ll use an inclined bench. Lean back against the inclined bench and place your hands overhead on the bar with a medium width. Lift the bar and hold it above you, locking your arms.

Breathe in and slowly lower the bar, this time toward your upper chest. Pause and then breathe out while pushing the bar back above you using your chest muscles. Hold it up and contract your chest muscles tight. Repeat.

Work different areas of your chest by adjusting the incline of the bench. Use a spotter if necessary.

Bodyweight Flyes

This chest exercise uses your bodyweight for resistance but requires two weighted EZ bars that can roll. Place the bars on the floor parallel to each other. Get in the push-up position with your hands on the bars, toes on the floor, and your back straight. Rather than bending your elbows and lowering your body like a push-up, inhale and slowly move your hands apart, rolling the bars to either side as far as you can. Then exhale and roll the bars back together as you return to your starting position. Repeat.

Pec Deck Machine

Also known as the butterfly maching because of the movement it requires you to make, the Pec Deck machine at the gym is another great chest exercise. Have a seat and place your back flat against the padding. Hold the handles with your upper arms parallel to the floor. If they aren’t parallel, change the position of the machine. Breathe out and slowly push the handles together in front of you, squeezing your chest muscles. Pause for a moment, inhale, and return the handles back the starting position. Repeat.

Some Pec Deck machines work by placing your forearms on a pad requiring you to bend your elbows at a right angle rather than keeping them straight. You’ll then move your elbows toward each other and back.

If you don’t have one of these machines, you can perform a similar movement using bands or pulleys.

Cable Crossovers

Lastly, try a cable crossover to develop a great looking chest. You’ll need a pulley system placed in a position that’s above your head in height. Choose the amount of resistance you want and hold a pulley with each hand. Take one step forward. Bend slightly forward at the waist and pull your arms toward each other in front of you with your elbows slightly bent. Keeping your body still, inhale and extend your arms back out to the sides. Pull your arms back together in the center as you exhale. Hold a second and repeat.

Create some variation by changing the point where your arms meet in front of you.

A Treasure Chest of Information

As you may have guessed, these five exercises aren’t the only ways to grow your chest. Ask your trainer if the routine you have is going to give your pecs the pop they deserve.