The TOP 5 Chest Exercises

The best dumbbell exercises every program needs.

A solid, defined chest is on the top of the list of men’s fitness goals, especially in the summer.

That’s why there is a bigger crowd in the gym in front of the bench.  But despite intense exercises, not everyone reaches their full potential, because they focus on barbell exercises instead of dumbbell exercises.

To avoid any confusion – barbell exercises are great, but don’t allow full activation of the muscles as dumbbells do. If you want the best results, all you have to do is include the right chest exercise in your training program.


How to get a full chest workout

Before looking at the best chest exercises, let’s take a brief look at the composition of this group of muscles, which is quite simple compared to muscle groups on the legs or the back.

The chest is composed of a muscle called pectoralis major and it is divided into 3 parts – upper, central and lower part. There is a smaller muscle under the pectoralis major – pectoralis minor, which you can’t specifically target, but when it becomes inflamed and starts to hurt, it may deceive you into thinking that you feel pain in the shoulders.

I’m talking about the anatomy of your thoracic muscles so you can understand the following facts:

  • The pectoralis major is one muscle, and therefore the volume (number of series) should not exceed the volume you are practicing when doing exercises for your legs or arms. I don’t recommend more than 15 series of exercises for the chest in one workout.
  • The horizontal arrangement of muscle fibers in the upper, middle and lower parts means that anatomically there isn’t a “medium” chest. Muscle fibers on the chest can’t be contracted vertically. Therefore, you need to consciously squeeze them while performing exercises.
  • You can do exercises for the different parts of the thoracic muscles by changing the position of the hands, that is, the angle of the bench – raised bench for the upper part, flat bench for the middle part, lowered bench for the lower part of the chest.


Which are the best exercises for the chest?

As I mentioned, dumbbell exercises offer many advantages compared to the barbell exercises.

Dumbbells provide you with a greater range of movement, effective muscle activation, and freedom to adapt the grip during the movement.


The top 5 exercises for the chest

1.Flat bench dumbbell presses

This has been proven to be the best chest exercise which allows better contraction of the chest because you can attach the weights at the end of the movement.

How to perform this exercise?

Lie on a flat bench, take the weights and put them in a position above your chest, holding your hands in line with your shoulders.

Slowly lower your hands into a straight vertical line with slightly spread elbows. Hold this position for one second, then with the help of the thoracic muscles restore your hands in the original position and hold for 1-2 seconds. Make sure the dumbbells are not touching at the end of the movement.

Practice in 4 series with 12, 10, 8 and 6 reps, with a gradual increase in weight and a decrease in repetition.


2.Flat bench dumbbell presses with rotation

The 180-degree rotation during the movement allows the stimulation of all the muscle fibers of the pectoralis major. But this rotation will also require you to use smaller weights than those you use with regular pressure. Therefore, in this exercise, focus on isolated targeting of the chest muscles instead of weight gain.

How to perform this exercise?

Lie on a flat bench, take the weights (your thumbs should be turned against each other) and bring them in a position above your chest, holding your hands in line with your shoulders, with slightly bent elbows.

Tighten your chest and press the weights next to each other. Then slowly start to separate them, by keeping the contraction of the chest.

Slowly lower your hands in a straight vertical line and spread your elbows. While lowering the dumbbells slowly turn your hands in a position of an overhang (your thumbs are facing each other).

Hold the position for one second and then slowly retract your hands upward by turning the weights to the original position. Practice in 3-4 series with 12-15 reps, starting with the highest number of reps, and reducing in each subsequent series.


3.Flat bench dumbbell presses with a narrow grip

If you really want to get the most out of your chest, then this exercise should not be omitted. It involves pressing the weights to each other throughout the movement. In this way, your chest will have to fight with both horizontal and vertical pressure.

How to perform this exercise?

Lie on the bench and hold the weights above your chest, pressed against each other, with a neutral grip (the palms facing each other), with slightly bent elbows.

Tighten your chest, press the weights against one another and lower them down to the chest. With fast movement, return the weights in the original position. Practice in 3-4 series of 15 reps.

4.Traction with dumbbells

This is the most common exercise you will find in all chest development programs, with a reason. If you perform it correctly, it is ideal for ending the workout. The mistake that you should avoid is keeping your weights too close to each other.

How to perform this exercise?

Lie on the bench and take the weights with a neutral grip, move them to a position above the chest, with slightly bent elbows.

Slowly lower your hands in a wide range until you feel the stretching of your chest. Do not force the movement, otherwise you will be injured.

Hold for a second and tighten your chest back in your original position.

Do not let the weights touch. Practice in 3 sets of 12 repetitions.


5.Withdrawal with dumbbells

Although this exercise is considered as part of the workout for the back, not the chest, the truth is that it serves to strengthen both muscle groups, depending on the movement of the hands.

Just as with the traction exercise, this exercise allows stretching, but it targets the pectoralis major from another angle, making these two exercises perfectly complementary.

How to perform this exercise?

Put your upper back of the flat bench, hold your feet firmly on the ground, lower your hips down, take one dumbbell with both hands and hold it over your head with slightly bent elbows.

If you bend them a lot, then the exercise will target the back. Slowly lower the weight behind your head until your hands come in a straight line with your body.

Press the chest muscles holding the stretched position for one second and then return to the original position. Practice in 3 sets of 12 repetitions.