Build a Massive Bench and More With These Chest Exercises

Developing and sculpting the chest requires more than the Bench Press. STACK Expert Brad Thompson prescribes five additional chest exercises to help you achieve growth and definition, and also increase your Bench Press max.

Dumbbell Fly

Yes, the Bench Press is the top-dog chest exercise, but developing and sculpting the chest is more complicated than simply pressing weight off of it.

With the following exercises, you will not only achieve growth and definition, you will also increase your Bench Press max. And, you won't do the same exercise every time you hit the weight room.

Dumbbell Bench Press

There is no better exercise for engaging both the pectoralis major and pectoralis minor than the DB Bench Press. The range of motion is greater, and your stabilizer muscles must work to keep the movement smooth.

  • Lie on a flat bench holding a pair of dumbbells at your shoulders
  • Keep your elbows at a 45-degree angle to your body
  • Forcefully exhale while pressing the dumbbells straight up over your chest
  • Inhale while slowly lowering the dumbbells to starting position

Sets/Reps: 3-4x6-8

Dumbbell Incline Press

A great way to target the upper fibers of the chest (pectoralis minor) and shoulders, this movement recruits fewer fibers, but isolates them more directly. Again, using dumbbells can help shock your system and break up the monotony of the movement.

  • Lie on an incline bench holding a pair of dumbbells at your shoulders
  • Keep your elbows at a 45-degree angle to your body
  • Forcefully exhale while pressing the dumbbells straight up over your chest
  • Inhale while slowly lowering the dumbbells to starting position

Sets/Reps: 3-4x6-8

Dumbbell Decline Press

The yin to the incline's yang, this movement is often overlooked because it can be awkward at times. It doesn't hit the upper fibers of the chest, forcing the pectoralis major to do all the work.

  • Lie on a decline bench holding a pair of dumbbells at your shoulders
  • Keep your elbows at a 45-degree angle to your body
  • Forcefully exhale while pressing the dumbbells straight up over your chest
  • Inhale while slowly lowering the dumbbells to starting position

Sets/Reps: 3-4x6-8

Dumbbell Fly

The two-headed monster of chest exercises, Flies simultaneously stretch the muscle and help define the inner portion of the chest. Because Flies are often done with lighter weight, they are an excellent recovery exercise, done a day or two after your actual chest workout to promote growth but also aid muscle recovery.

  • Lie on a bench holding dumbbells directly over your chest¬†with your arms straight and palms facing together
  • Spread your arms to the sides until they are parallel to the ground
  • Keep your arms straight throughout the movement
  • Squeeze your chest muscles together to return the dumbbells to the starting position

Sets/Reps: 3-4x8-12

Hammer Strength Machine Press

Free-weight pressing movements get all the attention, but for many, the risk of injury is too great. During rehabilitation, machine presses allow the muscles to work without the need of a spotter. In addition, because the movement is confined to one plane of motion, stabilizer muscles, which are often the most vulnerable, are not taxed.

  • Assume a seated position on a Hammer Strength machine with the handles positioned at chest level
  • Extend your arms to press the handles forward
  • Bend your arms to return to the starting position

Sets/Reps: 3-4x6-8

Photo: thestarttofitness.com


Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock

Topics: CHEST | BENCH PRESS | EXERCISE | BENCH | PRESS | RECOVERY | DUMBBELLS | HANDLES