Now there's nothing more impressive than for a man to be able to fill up a nice suit or t-shirt with a large chest. It's simply one of those big confidence builders and just looks impressive.
Now we all can't have a massive chest like Arnold, but we can make the best of what we have by emphasizing some exercises in our training program to help grow those chest muscles.
Now some people might disagree with this one, but many more would agree that the bench press is by far one of the best exercises to help build up your chest musculature. Not only your chest, but shoulders, traps, triceps and upper back muscles as well, simply because it hits all of them with heavy pressing.
That's the key, HEAVY! It has to be heavy in order to recruit all those muscles strongly, which is the point entirely. There's just not that many exercises that can hit some many muscle groups at once for the upper body like the bench press. None that can be overloaded in so many different ways. You name it, bands, chains or just heavy weight plates all make this the primary chest builder.
Bench pressing hurting your shoulders? Well, perhaps you need to consider how you're doing the bench press as the problem versus the exercise itself. More often than not exercises aren't necessarily the problem, it could be your form is off, tight pectorals, using too much shoulders, not engaging the lats, a whole host of other issues. See a good coach in your area to correct the problems and you'll be good to go. (Aside: this is most of the time, some people have a legitimate issue with the shoulders that will prevent them from benching, so if you're one of those people, well that sucks, but you can still work with other exercises).
Dumbbell Incline Bench Press
The second best chest exercise for chest hypertrophy would definitely go to incline dumbbell presses. Overall a super effective stimulatatory exercise for the chest and triceps.
The extra depth you can get with dumbbells allows you to get a better range than with the bench press, allowing that stretch to get you a bit more growth; however, you can't go quite as heavy like on the bench press.
Still this exercise has a great stimulus for the chest that you can get great muscle control and get a really nice squeeze at the top or just power out some weight as heavy as you can go!
Dumbbell Flyes with Bands
This is an exercise was developed with two distinct vectors in mind, one to add the tension toward the bottom stretching portion of the motion and one toward the top.
In a normal chest flye the tension ceases at the top point of the lift, where you would have to manually squeeze the pectorals together to create the tension, with the bands you get tension all the way through the lift from two varying angles allowing a lot of extra tension and stimulus for growth.
This exercise works well with cables as well, if you can find a descent way to attach the cables to the bells, but a giant set of carabiners works great for most purposes.
Dips has been a long time favorite for lifters to help develop those triceps for heavier pressing, but simply by increasing the forward angle on the lift you engage the upper pectorals to a great degree and get a super deep stretch toward the end range.
If your shoulders and upper back are strong enough to handle dips, you're set for a super awesome chest and tricep pump that just won't quit.
Lots of variability in this exercise as well with addition of chains, bands and extra dumbbell weight. These are a must in everyone's mass gaining program.
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Jesse “Captain Smash” Howland is the owner of SMASH’s Strength Lab, which offers targeted personal training to reach a variety of fitness and physique goals. A natural bodybuilder, competitive powerlifter, certified personal trainer, and nutrition coach, Jesse is often the go-to resource for personal training Ottawa. He studied Exercise Science at Oregon State University and even trained at the world famous Gold’s Gym. He’s a former US Army Captain with the 86th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, a former blog writer at Veterans Fitness Career College, and former Chief Executive Officer at U.S. Army Forces Command (FORSCOM). His workouts and personal training are army-inspired to help reach your weightloss, athletic, or physique goals.