20 Chest Exercises for Men

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on StumbleUponShare on RedditPin on Pinterest

Chest Exercises for Men

The following 20 chest exercises for men and accompanying videos work the pectoral muscles, the large fan-shaped muscles on the chest. Select any of the chest exercises to watch the accompanying video. Below the exercises, find four chest workouts as well as links to EMG’s other muscle specific guides. These exercises are grouped as follows.

  • Bench Press Barbell Exercises
  • Bench Press Dumbbell Exercises
  • Dumbbell Fly Exercises
  • Smith Machine Exercises
  • Pullover Exercises
  • Cable Exercises
  • Machine Exercises
  • Body Weight Exercises

 


 

 

Chest Exercises for Men

Bench Press with Barbell Chest Exercises for Men

Bench Press

The bench press is the most basic and fundamental chest exercise. Most other chest exercises use this same motion. This exercise adds size and strength to the middle part of the chest. While the this exercise is most often performed with a slightly-wider-than-shoulder-width grip, it can be varied by changing the grip position. A wider grip will work the outer part of the middle chest. A closer grip will work the inner part of the middle chest.

 

Incline Bench Press

Incline Bench Press

The incline bench press is a variation on the bench press. This exercise adds size and strength to the upper part of the chest. While the this exercise is most often performed with a slightly-wider-than-shoulder-width grip, it can be varied by changing the grip position. A wider grip will work the outer part of the upper chest. A closer grip will work the inner part of the upper chest. Those with low back problems should be careful when performing this exercise. This is one of the chest exercises that may cause lower back pain. Having the weight over your body can put pressure on the spine.

 

Decline Bench Press

Decline Bench Press

The decline dumbbell press is a variation on the bench press. This exercise adds size and strength to the lower part of the chest. While the this exercise is most often performed with a slightly-wider-than-shoulder-width grip, it can be varied by changing the grip position. A wider grip will work the outer part of the lower chest. A closer grip will work the inner part of the lower chest.

 


 

Dumbbell Bench Press Chest Exercises for Men

Dumbbell Bench Press

Dumbbell Bench Press

The dumbbell bench press is one of the fundamental chest exercises with dumbbells. The dumbbell bench press adds size and strength to the middle part of the chest. Performing this exercise with dumbbells rather than a barbell allows you to get a deeper stretch of the muscle, without putting pressure on the shoulder joints. However, it is more difficult to specifically hit the inner or outer part of the middle chest when performing decline dumbbell press. By touching the weights at the top of the press, you can develop the inner part of the middle chest and keeping the weights as far apart as possible at the top will work the outer part of the middle chest. Another advantage of doing this exercise is that you can develop each side of the muscle independently.

 

Incline Dumbbell Press

Incline Dumbbell Press

The incline dumbbell press is a variation on the dumbbell bench press. This exercise adds size and strength to the lower part of the chest. Performing this exercise with dumbbells rather than a barbell allows you to get a deeper stretch of the muscle, without putting pressure on the shoulder joints. Those with low back problems should be careful when performing this exercise. This is one of the chest exercises that may cause lower back pain. Having the weight over your body can put pressure on the spine.

 

Decline Dumbbell Press

Decline Dumbbell Press

The decline dumbbell press is a variation on the dumbbell bench press. This exercise adds size and strength to the lower part of the chest. Performing this exercise with dumbbells rather than a barbell allows you to get a deeper stretch of the muscle, without putting pressure on the shoulder joints.

 
 

Dumbbell Fly Chest Exercises for Men

Dumbbell Fly

Dumbbell Fly

The dumbbell fly is one of the best chest exercises for shaping and developing the inner chest. By varying the weight of each dumbbell and the repetition range, you can also make this exercise more mass building. If you are using a lower weight, you can lower the weight farther without risking injury, getting a better stretch of the chest muscle. You can still get a good stretch when using a higher weight, but be careful not to lower the weigh too far or it may cause discomfort in the shoulder. If the exercise can not be performed without at least lowering the upper arm perpendicular to your body, then lower weight should be used.

 

Incline Dumbbell Fly

Incline Dumbbell Fly

The incline dumbbell fly is one of the best chest exercises for shaping and developing the inner chest. By varying the weight of each dumbbell and the repetition range, you can also make this exercise more mass building. If you are using a lower weight, you can lower the weight farther without risking injury, getting a better stretch of the chest muscle. You can still get a good stretch when using a higher weight, but be careful not to lower the weigh too far or it may cause discomfort in the shoulder. If the incline dumbbell fly cannot be performed without at least lowering the upper arm perpendicular to your body, then lower weight should be used.

 

Smith Machine Bench Press Chest Exercises for Men

Smith Machine Bench Press

Smith Machine Bench Press

The smith machine bench press is one of the many chest exercises based off of the bench press. The smith machine bench press adds size and strength to the middle part of the chest. While the this exercise is most often performed with a slightly-wider-than-shoulder-width grip, it can be varied by changing the grip position. A wider grip will work the outer part of the middle chest and a closer grip will work the inner part of the middle chest. Performing this exercise on the smith machine rather than a normal barbell, you do not have to worry about having a spotter. You can also often use larger amounts of weight because the machine keeps the bar from moving forward or back.

 

Smith Machine Incline Press

Smith Machine Incline Press

The smith machine incline press is a variation on the bench press. This exercise adds size and strength to the lower part of the chest. While the this exercise is most often performed with a slightly-wider-than-shoulder-width grip, it can be varied by changing the grip position. A wider grip will work the outer part of the upper chest and a closer grip will work the inner part of the upper chest. Those with low back problems should be careful when performing this exercise. This is one of the chest exercises that may cause lower back pain. Having the weight over your body can put pressure on the spine.

 

Decline Smith Machine Press

Smith Machine Decline Press

The decline smith machine press is a variation on the bench press. The decline smith machine press adds size and strength to the lower part of the chest. While the this exercise is most often performed with a slightly-wider-than-shoulder-width grip, it can be varied by changing the grip position. A wider grip will work the outer part of the lower chest and a closer grip will work the inner part of the lower chest.

 

Pullover Chest Exercises for Men

Dumbbell Pullover

Dumbbell Pullover

The dumbbell pullover is one of the more uncommon chest exercises, but remains one that should be added to any chest routine. Unlike most chest exercises, this exercise works the serratus anterior muscle, instead of the pecs. By doing this exercise, you work the upper chest from a whole different plane than if you were to do the any types of chest press. However, it is one of the chest exercises that can be a problematic exercise for those with low back problems. The low back pain can possibly be alleviated by either changing the position of your back on the pad or lowering the weight. By placing more of your upper back on the bench, you can have more support and hopefully relieve pressure on the low back.

 

Cable Crossover Chest Exercises for Men

Standing Cable Cross

Standing Cable Cross

The cable crossover is one of the good shaping and developing chest exercises that works the inner chest muscle. It can be performed with very low weight because it is performed at a high rep range. By crossing the handles over at the end of the movement, you can work the inner chest more than if this were performed on a machine or with dumbbells. The handle position be adjusted to change the starting position and determine the range of the movement. This exercise is great for creating clear definition between the pecs.

 

Cable Crossover

Cable Crossover

This exercise is another one of the good shaping and developing chest exercises based on the traditional cable crossover. To what degree the exercise hits the lower or middle part of the chest is determined by how far you lean forward. The further you lean forward, the more this exercise works the lower chest. This exercise is performed using the cable pulley machine that has a pulley on two opposite sides. The pulleys should be locked in a high position. The usual foot position is to place one foot in front of the other. This exercise can also be performed with both feet together and simply pending forward at the waist.

 

Flat Bench Cable Crossover

Flat Bench Cable Crossover

The flat bench cable cross is a variation of the standing version of the exercise that may be preferred by those with low back problems or by those who are looking for a more isolated exercise. This exercise works the inner and lower muscles of the chest. When performing this exercise, there is an unavoidable level of body sway unless the exercise is performed at a very low weight. By laying down, there is no way to use the body to cheat the weight up.

 

Machine Bench Press Chest Exercises for Men

Machine Chest Press

Machine Chest Press

The machine chest press is one of the primary machine based chest exercises. It works the middle part of the chest. An advantage to using this exercise over a standard bench press is that you can get a longer range of motion without worrying about letting the weight lower too far. A disadvantage is that although this exercise can be used to build size and strength in the chest, the stabilizer muscles in the chest do not get worked as they do with a regular bench press. Nevertheless, this remains a good exercise for those with joint problems or those who are not comfortable using free weights.

 

Machine Fly 1

Machine Fly

The machine fly is a primarily shaping and developing motion for the inner chest. It is a good way to isolate the muscle, though the stabilizer muscles of the chest are not used to the set motion of the machine. The starting position can be varied, allowing the user to determine the exact range of motion for their exercise. This is beneficial at preventing injury or if the user already has an injury, at preventing further pain. The varied starting position also allows the user to determine the amount of stretch they get in the muscle. If using a lower weight, the starting position should be further behind the chest. If a higher weigh is being used, the range of motion can be shorter.

 

Machine Fly 2

Machine Fly 3

This machine fly exercise is a slight variation of the above machine fly exercises with a different hand position. Like above, it is primarily shaping and developing motion for the inner chest. The varied starting position also allows the user to determine the amount of stretch they get in the muscle. If using a lower weight, the starting position should be further behind the chest. If a higher weigh is being used, the range of motion can be shorter.

 
 

Body Weight Chest Exercises for Men

Push Up

Push Up

The push up is one of the most versatile chest exercises. It can be performed almost anywhere and at anytime, making it ideal for those with limited time or access to gym equipment. Because it is a body weight exercise, this exercise allows you track your progress by seeing how your repetitions increase. The push up can also be varied based on hand and leg positioning. The greater the distance between the hands, the more the exercise works the outer chest. Moving the hands inward to shoulder-width makes this exercise an inner chest exercise. Any position further together than shoulder-width makes it a more of a tricep exercise.

 

Dip

Dip

The dip exercise is one of the combination chest exercises that works both the chest and the triceps depending on the position of the hands and legs. The closer the hands are together, the more the exercise works the triceps; therefore, a wider grip works the lower chest. Leaning forward (and pulling your legs back slightly) will shift the weight over your chest more, making it a low chest workout. If you experience pain in the wrist, elbow, or shoulder, an adjustment of the grip will likely alleviate this.

 

Chest Exercises Infographic

Chest Exercises Complete Compressed
 

Tricep Exercises Video Playlist

 

Pre-Designed Chest Workouts

 


 

Chest Workout #1:

Exercise Sets Reps
1. Bench Press 4 8-12
2. Incline Bench Press 4 8-12
3. Decline Bench Press 4 8-12

 

Chest Workout #2:

Exercise Sets Reps
1. Bench Press 3 8-12
2. Incline Dumbbell Press 3 8-12
3. Cable Crossover 3 20
4. Bodyweight Dip 3 20

 

Chest Workout #3:

Exercise Sets Reps
1. Dumbbell Bench Press 3 8-12
2. Incline Dumbbell Fly 3 12-15
3. Cable Crossover 3 20
4. Incline Bench Press 3 8-12

Chest Workout #4:

Exercise Sets Reps
1. Dumbbell Bench Press 3 8-12
2. Machine Fly 3 15-20
3. Incline Bench Press 3 8-12
4. Incline Dumbbell Fly 3 15-20

 

Additional EMG Exercise Sets