Aside from the aesthetic benefits of having a large chest, there are many more advantages to building a strong chest.  A strong chest will, if teamed with a strong back, help keep your posture upright and prevent back problems.  Increasing your chest strength will also lead to you being able to lift more in other exercises and any pushing will also get much easier too.  In a nutshell, you’ll have much better upper body strength.  So let’s get to it!

Bench press

The go-to chest exercise and for good reason.  Make sure you keep the bar under control – don’t drop it down to your chest as this will do nothing to work your muscles.

Lay down on a bench and hold the barbell in line with your chest with hands shoulder width apart, palms facing away from you and elbows into your waist.  Push the bar upwards evenly with both arms until arms are straight.  Squeeze your chest at the top before returning the bar to the starting position.

Complete for 3 sets, 12 reps per set.

Close grip barbell bench press

The close grip really focuses the work on your chest and triceps.  Set up is as for the standard chest press except your hand position is slightly different: they want to be almost touching in the middle of the bar.  You can then complete the exercise as per the standard bench press.

Complete for 3 sets, 12 reps per set.

Incline barbell bench press

This version of the bench press really works your upper chest.  You will need a bench set at an incline.  Lie back on the bench and hold the bar at your chest with the same grip as you had for the standard bench press.  Complete the press as you would the standard one.

Complete for 3 sets, 12 reps per set.

Incline dumbbell chest press

Why do the same exercise with a barbell and dumbbells?  Using dumbbells give you a bigger range of motion and also engage more stabilising muscles as your arms are working individually.

Keeping your bench at the same incline you had for your incline barbell press, lie on the bench with the dumbbells resting on your upper chest, palms facing away from you.  Push the weights upwards until your arms are straight then return to the starting position.

Complete for 3 sets, 12 reps per set.

A variation of this exercise is to one arm at a time.  If you do this, make sure your shoulders stay level.  As you improve, you can try to push one arm up as the other returns to the bottom as this will keep your muscles engaged through the whole exercise.

Incline Flyes

Lie back on your  inclined bench with a dumbbell in each hand.  Raise your arms above you so that they are in line with your chest.  Your palms should be facing each other.  Make sure your arms stay straight but not locked out during the exercise.

Keeping your core tight slowly lower your arms out to the side until they are level with your shoulders and your palms are facing upwards.  Engage your chest and return your arms to the starting position.

Complete for 3 sets, 12 reps per set.

Decline press up

This exercise will target your lower chest, which will help you get the chest definition you are after.

Place your feet on a bench or chair and adopt the standard press up position with your hands on the floor.  You must keep your body straight so really engage your core.  Lower your upper body to the floor until your chest is just above the floor before pushing up with your arms and returning to the starting position.

Repeat for 3 sets, 10-12 reps per set.