Chest Workout Routine: See the Best Chest Exercises for Stimulating Muscle Growth, Strength & Tone!

Developing your chest to its full potential can make you appear strong, powerful and well-built. Even for women, good chest development(without the bulk) can seriously make them look more fit and well-balanced.

To properly develop this large muscle group, you gotta focus on it from top to bottom, side to side, inside and out. Typically, having a strong chest means that your front deltoids(shoulders) and tricep muscles are in good shape to. Remember that without reducing your bodyfat percentage, the full shape, detail & definition of your pectoral muscles will never show.

Keep in mind that really focusing & specializing on the Chest muscles should only be done after you've reached a certain strength level on the major upper body compound exercises and only after you've been training consistently for a good period of time...

Quick Tip: The best approach to training your Chest is to include it in a well-structured, total body workout program that scientifically plans all of these things for you: 1) volume, 2) intensity, 3) frequency, 4) progression, 5) exercise selection, 6) periodization & MUCH more...

 Discover the Secrets to Developing a Perfectly Balanced, Ripped Physique (95% of Gym Rats Have No Clue About This)

Here's an outline of the rest of this page:

1) Introduction of the Chest muscle group
2) Chest exercises
3) Quick training tips
4) Sample Chest workout routine

Introduction & Basic Anatomy

In a basic sense, the chest is split up into the Pectoralis Major and Pectoralis Minor. Here's a quick description of each:

Pectoralis Major: this is a fan shaped muscle originating on the breastbone on the middle of the chest and attaching to the humerus which is close to the shoulder joint. Its primary function is move the humerus in a variety of planes across the body. A good example of this is when you execute a chest flye movement.

Pectoralis Minor: hidden under the pectoralis major, this muscle originates on the middle ribs and is attached to the coracoid process (small hook-shaped structure on the lateral edge of the scapula). When you shrug the shoulder forward, the Pectoralis Minor is involved in facilitating that movement.

So what's up with the Upper, Middle & Lower chest regions that you hear about? Well, all these regions make up the Pectoralis Major, and as we'll discuss in the Training Tips below, these regions can be emphasized with different exercises.

Chest Exercises

Incline Bench Press

- Sit on incline bench.
Hold weights in hands, arms out to sides, elbows bent.
Lift arms up and overhead as shown.
Lower and repeat

 Bench Press

- Lie on bench press bench.
Grasp bar.
Lift bar off of support.
Lower bar to chest.
Push bar up.
Repeat and place bar back on support when finished

Decline Bench Press

- Lie on back on decline press bench.
Grasp bar with firm grip, hands shoulder distance or slightly more apart.
Push bar upward off of rest and lower to chest.
Push bar back up and repeat.
Replace bar on rest when finished

Diagonal Pulldown

- Attach pulley to secure object above head level.
Begin with arm up and out from side as shown.
Grasp handle, palm forward and pull down and across.
End with hand at opposite hip, palm inward.
Return to start position and repeat


- Place hands on dip bars, elbows bent.
Push down, raising body upward.
Lower and repeat

Dumbbell Flies

- Lie on back on bench.
Hold weights in hands, palms up, elbows slightly bent as shown.
Lift arms up and inward while straightening elbows.
Lower and repeat

Dumbbell Pullover

- Lie on back on bench.
Hold weight in hands with arms over head.
Keep elbows slightly bent.
Pull weight over head to chest.
Raise back over head and repeat.

Pec Press

- Sit in pectoral machine.
Place inside of arms against pads, elbows bent to 90 degrees.
Pull arms inward and together.
Return to start position and repeat

See More Chest Exercises, Videos & Training Tutorials

Quick Training Tips

  • There are 3 main regions of the chest that need to be targeted through different exercises, the upper, middle & lower. The inside and outside regions of the chest can also be given some emphasis, which simple Flye movements take care of.
  • For the upper chest, the "king" of exercises is the Incline Bench Press, but its advisable to keep the bench at about a 30degree angle, no higher and no lower, in order to put the proper emphasis on the upper chest. In addition to a barbell, dumbbells should also be used to do presses and flyes.
  • For the middle region, good old flat bench press does the trick, and once again, use a mix of dumbbells along with the barbell to give your muscle fibers the full range of stimulus and to maintain symmetry on both sides of the body.
  • For the lower chest, the flat bench does the trick along with a dose of decline bench for even more targeting. An often overlooked exercise is wide grip bar dips, which hit the bottom chest really well too.
  • The biggest advantage of using barbells is to maximize your loads. Grab the bar at wider than shoulder-width to place more emphasis on the chest muscles rather than the shoulders and triceps. On the flat & decline bench, lower the bar down to your mid to lower pec and no higher.
  • When benching, the goal is to keep the shoulder blades pinned back and down through the whole motion. A slight arch in the back is also recommended, but make sure to learn the proper technique with light weights first.
  • Dumbbells allow to correct imbalances on one side of the body and aid in getting the stabilizer muscles involved, which can be a beneficial stimulus for your chest. Dumbbells also allow you to bring the weights together at the top of the motion, helping you squeeze for a strong contraction.
  • When doing Flyes, use dumbbells to emphasize the outer regions of the chest and cables to hit the inner region(cleavage). Flyes are very effective at carving out detail and filling the Chest in the right spots.
  • Pushups are a very functional move that can promote good shoulder health and range of motion, in addition to recruting the rotator cuff and stabilizer muscles. Variations include placing your hands on an incline bench, or a decline bench, or simply flat on the floor.
  • A great finishing move is the dumbbell pullover, which helps you feel a deep stretch in your chest and promote good overall development of the region.

Sample Chest Workout Routine

As we mentioned on the top of this page, its better to train your Chest with a well-structured, total body workout program...

But, if you feel that you've been training long enough and have decent strength in the major upper body compound lifts, then you can try the sample Chest workout below to further specialize on that region:

Flat Bench Press: after warming up, 2-3 sets of 8-10 reps
Dumbbell Chest Flye: 2-3 sets of 10-12 reps
Incline Dumbbell Press: 2-3 sets of 10-12 reps
Cable Chest Flye: 2-3 sets of 8-10 reps
Decline Dumbbell Press: 2-3 sets of 10-12 reps (focus on the lats by not bending your elbows too much)
Dumbbell Pullover: 2-3 sets of 12-15 reps
*the number of sets that you choose to complete in this workout depend on your level of experience. If you're a beginner, 1-2 quality sets per exercise should be more than enough for awesome growth.

Depending on your full weekly routine and how frequently you train, this Chest workout can be done once a week and no more than twice. Rest times should be between 90-120 seconds between sets if your goal is to maximize growth.

 Discover the Secrets to Developing a Perfectly Balanced, Ripped Physique (95% of Gym Rats Have No Clue About This)


Upper: Abs | ArmsBack | Chest | Shoulders | Forearms | Biceps | Triceps | Lats | Full Upper
Lower: Quadriceps | Hamstring | Glutes | Calves | Full Lower