The best chest workout to build strength and mass

September 03 2019

Building a strong chest with defined pectorals is something everybody wants but few know how to do well. 

Thankfully, anyone can develop a chiselled chest if you know where to start.

If you’re looking to improve your chest strength, take a look at our ultimate chest workout. It’s specially designed to ensure you work all areas of your chest and build strength as well as muscle so you can feel as good as you look.

They’re ideal for beginners and pros alike, so get stuck in!

1. Changing press-up

Equipment Needed: None

Reps: 12, 10, 10, 8

When doing press-ups we often repeat the same hand position on the floor because we find it easier. However, by changing your hand position between sets, you’ll progress much faster. 

This is a perfect chest workout to do at home, as well as the gym, for those who are new to training and want a challenge, or even those who simply want to mix up their current routine. 

Method: 

  1. With your arms stretched out, place your palms flat against the floor and, stretching our your legs, balance on the tips of your toes. This is your starting position.
  2. Do your first set of press-ups by lowering yourself so that your nose nearly touches the floor, then extend your arms again.
  3. Now change your hand position so that they’re either closer together or further apart than before. Complete another set in this new position. 
  4. Mix and repeat as many times as you feel able. Try going wide, narrow, placing one hand high or one hand low, or even hands twisted in or out.

If you really struggle with press-ups, try doing them on a box with your hands elevated higher than your feet. This is also a great lower-chest workout.

2. Dumbbell chest press

Equipment needed: Two dumbbells

Reps: 12, 10, 10, 8

The dumbbell chest press is a classic exercise that can help you build impressive strength. Dumbbells allow for a greater range of motion than a barbell does, which means you can work more of your pectoral muscles during each rep. 

By training each side in isolation, you’ll work both to a similar strength. Plus, the dumbbell chest press will work your triceps, too.

Method: 

  1. Lie on your back on a bench, holding two dumbbells in each hand so they’re next to your shoulders. This is your starting position.
  2. Slowly lift the dumbbells slowly out and above your chest until your arms are straight, then bring the weights down slowly.
  3. Using the same theory as the press up, try changing the start and finish position with every rep to create variety.

If you’re looking for a powerful upper-chest workout, try doing the dumbbell chest press at an incline.

3. Cable flye

Equipment needed: Cable machine

Reps: 12, 10, 10, 8

The cable fly is a fantastic exercise to strengthen all the muscles in your body that are used to push — including your chest. The standing fly requires a lot of core body strength, too, so you’ll build your strength as well as your chest muscle mass. 

Cable flyes are best to do towards the end of a workout. The goal isn’t to exhaust yourself, here — you simply want to work your pectorals without straining your joints.

Method: 

  1. Start with both cable anchors just above shoulder height. 
  2. Facing away from the cable machine, take a handle in each hand and pull them into your chest, then step forward and press your hands out in front of you. This is your start position.
  3. Slowly control your hands as they sweep out and backwards towards the anchors. 
  4. On the same path, pull your arms forward and return to the start position. Avoid bending at the elbow as much as possible.
  5. Repeat until the set is complete.

4. Dips

Equipment needed: Dip station

Reps: 12, 10, 10, 8

Dips make for a fantastic bodyweight chest workout. Not only do dips work your lower chest, but they also hit your shoulders, back and triceps. 

To ensure your dips are as effective as possible, you need to have the proper form — that means keeping your shoulders back and down, even when it’ll feel more natural to let them roll forward.

Method: 

  1. Using the assisted dip station, start at the top position of the dip with your knees underneath your hips, arms straight and core braced. 
  2. Slowly bend your arms to lower yourself so that your shoulders travel towards your hands. 
  3. One your chest is level with your hands, push yourself back up to the start position. 
  4. Repeat until the set is complete.

When starting, use the assisted dip machine to help with learning the exercise and to build strength as you progress.

If you’ve been inspired to develop your own pair of perfect pecs, why not enjoy a free workout on us? Grab a 3-day guest pass now and head down to your local DW Fitness First gym

Want more tips on how to build muscle and get fit fast? Check out hundreds of other fitness articles at Inside Track now.