The chest is one muscle group people love working on, and for good reason - it is a significant physical aspect that people pay attention to. Building it is a trying process, but there are some moves that help to speed up the process by a mile. Here’s 10 of our favourites.
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As one of the best moves for overall chest building, weighted dips aren’t the easiest, but they’re worth it. Target your lower and outer pectoral muscles by leaning your torso slightly forward as you perform the dips, and do it slowly to maximise the activation of your chest muscles. Use a weight to amp up the intensity, but if you’re a beginniner, doing this without a weight is fine.
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BARBELL BENCH PRESS
This is at the top of the line when it comes to building your upper body. If you see anyone with hulking chest muscles, they’ve surely got this press on their routine. Get yourself on a bench, and have a comfortable weight that’ll allow you a full range of motion and to maintain your form as you press. Never arch your back, or jerk as you lift, as this might cause injury. The most ideal would be to try and lift for about 10 to 12 reps, depending on how heavy you’re going.
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SEATED MACHINE FLYES
Go past the weight rack and into the machine area, where you’ll find a number catered to chest-building. The flye machine is one of those, and this really allows strecthing and resistance as you perform the exercise. While it typically targets the inner chest muscles, you can adjust the seat height or change the trajectory of the flye to target other areas. Always ensure your elbows are in one line with your forearms.
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As comapred to a barbell press, the dumbbell alternative allows for more movement at the tail-end of each rep. You’re also not lying flat, but performing this either sitting up, or on an incline, which works to target various areas of the chest, especially the sides. Perform your press at numerous angles, and you’ve pretty much got an all-rounded move to hit every aspect of your pecs.
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DECLINE DUMBBELL PRESS
As a variation of the standard, incline dumbbell press, the decline version uses gravity as your friend to help build your muscles more efficiently. Have your legs gripping the end of the bench, and hold a dumbbell in each hand. Slowly lower yourself down and manouver the dumbbells so they’re shoulder width apart. Turn your wirsts forwards, and make sure your palms are facing away from you. Exhale slowly, and bring your weights down to your side. Engage your pecs throughout, squeezing them for a second before moving back up to starting position. Coming up should take longer than lowering your weights. Also, make sure your forearms are always perpendicular to the ground.
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Push-ups are the versatile king of bodyweight exercises. Begin by lying flat on the floor, with both hands on either sides of your torso, and push yourself up. Ensure your elbows are as close to your ribs as possible. Slowly lower yourself down to the ground, all the while squeezing your chest as you inhale. Once you reach the ground, exhale and push yourself back to starting position. This is a great move to sculpt, as well as add mass to your chest.
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BOSU BALL PUSH UP
Train both chest and core with the BOSU push-up. It really challenges your balance and stability, while working your chest the way a push-up would, except to a more extreme level. Place your hands on the side of a BOSU ball, and lower your body down slowly. Come back up again, locking in your core and squeezing your pecs to keep your body in position.
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Really chisel your chest into shape with the cable crossovers. This is an exercise that can be performed on a variety on angles, allowing you to change the focus between your upper or lower chest. Adjust the cable at a suitable height, choose weights that are comfortable, and bring your arms together to form an X shape. Cable crossovers are particularly useful for hammering the middle portion of your pectorals.
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If you're unable to perform a bench press due to certain mobility issues, then try the floor press out. It prevents any jerking or unnecessary agitation as you're against a hard, immobile flat surface. Prepare to press by just lying back on the ground, and pressing the way you would on the bench, except the movement ends when your triceps hit the ground.
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Aside from presses, make sure to supplement with flyes. If you're not near a machine, or don't have access to a gym, dumbbells will do just fine. This is an exercise that targets your pecs without utilising other muscles, so you're really channelling all your force in the development of your pecs. As you lift, make sure the dumbbells move in a wide arc. Feel a stretch from the middle of your chest all the way to your armpits while performing the flye, and try to hold once you feel the stretch for at least 2 seconds for optimum results.
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