Chest, pecs, chestacles – whatever you call them and whatever you train for, the likely hood is you train this muscle group. Made up of the pec major and pec minor, they make up a large proportion of the musculature on the upper body and serve to flex, adduct and medially rotate the upper arm. Here’s a list of 5 exercises I love using in my programming to build a well developed chest (as an extra bonus, if you click on the exercise name it will take you on a direct link to our exercise database which will have videos, pictures and coaching cues for all the exercises).
A long time staple of any chest day. The barbell bench is where you lay on your back and slowly lower a barbell down to your chest and then press it up again. Mainly recruiting the pec major muscle, this exercise adducts around the shoulder joint. It’s my favourite exercise as you can really load it up and use it for a large variety of exercise goals.
2 – Supine Flys
This may be a little abstract for some people, but this exercise can really target your chest in a way you may struggle to with traditional press/fly movements. The difference is that when you’re led on your back, you turn your palms upward to face the ceiling. This is supination (Remember: Supination is like you’re holding a bowl on soup in your hand) and mainly targets the pecs where they attach along the clavicle giving you a much larger ‘upper chest’ appearance.
3 – Landmine or Grappler Press
A landmine is basically a socket that you can slot a bar into, and it can rotate 360 degrees and move vertically at the same time. This means that you need a hell of a lot of stability to control this movement and can really help build a well defined chest, but also strong shoulder joints. I like single arm variations of this exercise as it’s an easier movement pattern for clients to master and we can utilise unilateral work without too much of a learning curve.
4 – Chest Flys
Some may argue that chest flys are a useless exercise and they have no place in a training program. I tend to disagree with this view, especially when it comes to dumbbell chest flys – it all comes down to what you use them for and how they’re executed. The main reason I like them is that the forces to get a light weight up are actually relatively high, due to the distance between the fulcrum point (shoulder joint) and the weight in your hand. This makes the weight more challenging to lift and can actually be beneficial for clients in rehab as they can ‘load’ their bodies without using a weight thats really heavy.
5 – Press Ups
No chest exercise list would be complete without press ups. They basically follow the same motor pattern as a bench press, but using your own bodyweight as a resistance. Lifting your own bodyweight is hugely important, especially if you compete in a sporting event. There are so many variations to press ups, we could write a whole new blog on that, but standard press ups are a good foundation for everyone to be working off.
So thats my list, I hope you saw something new on here today that you want to include in your next chest day. If you liked what you saw feel free to share and to check out our free exercise database for over 250 exercises, all with access to videos, pictures and coaching cues.
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