By Shain Rossi, Certified Personal Trainer
The chest is composed of two distinct muscle groups: the small (minor) pectoralis and the large (major) pectoralis. A well-developed chest helps men achieve a desirable V-shaped physique, and contributes to overall core strength and stability. There are a variety of classic resistance exercises you can utilize to strengthen, build, and tone these muscle groups, such as the bench press, push-ups, dumbbell flyes, dumbbell press, etc.
However, this doesn’t mean that your chest workouts should be solely restricted to these exercises. Changing up your chest workout can help you achieve better results by working your chest muscles at different angles and intensity levels.
Here are four effective chest exercises that can help you maximize muscle growth in your pecs:
Dips are a classic bodyweight exercise that are very effective for strengthening the triceps, but can be modified to work the chest by adding a slight forward lean. A training partner can be very helpful in executing this movement. Forward-leaning dips are ideal for the warm-up phase of your workout and can help get your pecs ready for heavy training.
Twisting dumbbell bench press
The 180-degree twisting dumbbell bench press is an effective technique that puts added emphasis on your upper pecs (pectoralis major) vs. a regular dumbbell bench press. The movement starts out like the classic bench press with your palms facing away from you (pinkie fingers on the outside), but as you press the weights up, you rotate your palms 180 degrees so they are facing towards you, with your pinkie fingers on the inside. Rotate your palms back 180 degrees as you bring the dumbbells down to the starting position.
Straight-arm dumbbell pullover
Not only does the pullover push your pectoralis to the limit, but it also works the muscles of the ribcage, such as the lats, intercostals and serratus, helping your achieve a classic bodybuilder’s chest look. However, this movement should be avoided if you have shoulder problems or limited flexibility in your shoulders.
Close-grip pushups provide greater stimulation of the pectoralis major compared to wide or shoulder-width pushups. If you can easily do more than 3 sets of 10 push-ups, add a weighted vest or balance a plate on your back for added resistance and greater results. Do push-ups at the end of your chest workout to push your pecs to their limit.
Shain Rossi is a certified personal trainer in San Pedro, California, and owns and operates Elite Triangle Fitness, a personal training studio.