The 3 Best Exercises for a Fuller, Thicker Chest
There are dozens of exercises that you can do on International Chest Day (that’s every Monday, btw), but you probably don’t have time to try them all. You just want to know which ones are best for building a nice, muscular chest, right? Fortunately for you, we’ve handpicked 3 of the best exercises for adding size and thickness to those pecs.
These aren’t the most technical lifts around, but they are great for building mass and bringing out detail. They are also relatively easy to learn, which should help reduce risk for injury.
What About the Bench Press?
The bench press is one of the most popular chest exercises of all time, that’s an undisputed fact. It is a compound movement that stimulates growth in the chest, shoulders and triceps, and therein lies the problem. How do you shift more focus onto the pecs instead of the secondary muscles?
Slapping on more plates isn’t always the answer. Advanced lifters will almost always perform other exercises in addition to heavy bench press sets to stimulate growth.
Fire up your chest routine with one of these 3 killer chest exercises so that you hit all angles for better muscle growth. If you really want to change things up, incorporate all three of them into your routine over the next few months. With the help of these exercises, you’re sure to fill your t-shirt in no time.
- Seated Chest Press (Machine)
Free weight presses are excellent muscle-builders, but machine presses offer some unique benefits as well. For one, it is easier to control the different phases of the movement, namely the concentric, eccentric and static. Experiment with various tempos for more time under tension or use stacks of smaller plates for drop sets.
According to EMG research, machine presses recruit less of the deltoids (posterior, middle and anterior) compared to free weight presses due to the decreased need for stabilization. This allows you to load more weight onto your pecs without your shoulders taking over.
- Bodyweight Dips
Bodyweight dips do wonders for adding thickness to your pecs once you have mastered the technique. Pull your feet up behind you, lean forward slightly and allow your body to dip downwards. Stop once your shoulders are slightly above parallel to your elbows.
Do 2-3 sets to failure to burn out or do it earlier in your session for lower reps and with added weights. Dips are also great when supersetted with bodyweight pushups for a massive pump.
- Cable Flyes
To add more emphasis to the pectoralis major, think transverse adduction movements such as flyes (cable or dumbbell) and pec dec movements. Dumbbell flyes activate more stabilizer muscles, but cable flyes keep more tension on the pecs. This maximizes the range of motion and allows a further stretch, effectively getting more from the movement.
Squeeze at the top for maximum contraction and slow down the eccentric portion of the movement. To avoid letting the biceps take over the movement, make sure to keep the weight relatively light for better control.