Fitness - Muscle Building

5 Must-Do Chest Exercises For Firm Pecs

May 4, 2017 //

A powerful-looking upper body starts with a chiseled chest, and there’s no better way to achieve it (yes, for you too, ladies!) than with these must-do chest exercises.

Do not fall pray to the trap of neglecting your chest muscles. The muscles in your chest may be smaller and less popular than some of our other, more-preferred muscle groups to work (ahem, glutes, biceps, abs), but they’re absolutely essential if you want a well-balanced physique.

Try incorporating these chest exercises into your routine to strengthen and shape your pecs.

1. Incline Push-Up

Warm up your chest by starting with an incline push-up to engage the muscles. Grab a chair or place your hands on a bench to begin.

  • Find a bench and place your hands at the edge in a push-up
  • Assume the plank position with legs extended and feet to the floor
  • Focus on lowering your chest (slow and steady) then returning to the top
  • Finish up by completing three sets of 12 reps

Now that your lower chest is nice and warm, get ready to strengthen with weights.

2. Twisting Dumbbell Bench Press

Grab your dumbbells and head back to the bench for a press — with a twist. That is, twist the weights as you press the dumbbells to the top.

  • Lie with your back to the bench
  • Take your dumbbells in either hand at chest level (overhand/shoulder width)
  • Press the dumbbells away from your chest, and extend your arms
  • Turn your hands as you reach for the top of the motion (palms facing inward)
  • Release and repeat for three sets of eight reps

After completing the twisting dumbbell press, set the bench to 45 degrees for a decline press.

3. Decline Dumbbell Bench Press

Move onto a decline dumbbell bench press to engage your chest muscles through angle and weight resistance.

  • Start by adjusting the bench to a 45 degree decline in relation to the floor
  • Take your dumbbells in either hand at chest level (overhand/shoulder width)
  • Now push the weight away from your chest perpendicular to the floor
  • Release easy, and repeat for three sets of eight reps

If you have a cable machine or there’s one at the gym, be sure not to skip cable cross-over 21s.

4. Cable Cross-Over 21s

The next exercise of cable cross-overs really helps target the chest by changing up the arm position from low to high with a set for each.

  • Start by heading to the cable machine
  • Grab a cable in both hands and adjust the weight
  • Now stand far enough from the machine to pull at the top
  • First position: with hands lowered (palms up), pull and cross your hands
  • Continue this motion for one set of seven reps, then move onto the second position
  • Second position: with hands in the middle (palms facing), pull and cross your hands
  • Continue this motion for one set of seven reps, then move onto the third position
  • Third position: with hands high (palms down/chest level), pull and cross your hands
  • Finish up with this motion for one set of seven reps

Move onto a set of kettlebell flies from the bench for a tougher grip that works your lower chest.

5. Kettlebell Flys

Since kettlebells are difficult to balance, your chest has to work that much harder to complete this movement properly — and that means more toning.

  • Start by lying on your back on a bench
  • Take the kettlebells in either hand and extend the arms (overhand/thumb wrapping to secure)
  • With your hands starting at the top (palms facing) lower the kettlebells to either side
  • Now fly forward by lifting them back up to the top and pulling from the chest
  • Finish the exercise by completing three sets of eight reps

Finish up the lower chest exercise routine by grabbing a partner for incline dips.

Don’t forget to release the tension with a standing wall pec stretch or by pressing your hands out to your sides with your fingers to the sky.


Amber Racer

Amber is a creative writer who practices qi gong and traditional Japanese martial arts techniques that date back to the samurai (Jinenkan). She founded The Oracle’s Library indie publisher of Philosophy and loves to share her curious passion for mind-body-spirit topics, natural remedies, and good health practices with others.

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