7 Best Chest Workout For Beginners at Home

There are tons of fitness exercises you can do for your muscle chest, but you probably don’t want to spend your Monday – International Chest Day – doing all the best chest workouts there. Many of the exercises you see today look nice, but are not, or a lot less effective than other exercises.

To save you the work, we have compiled a list of seven exercises that work best for building muscle mass in the chest. Our choices are based on scientific research results, which look at the measured muscle activation (EGM) per exercise.

Muscle activation is not the only criteria we used. We also paid attention to:

  1. Learning curve: How much time does it take to master an exercise and perfect the technique.
  2. Equipment: Availability of equipment in the gym, as well as any alternatives at home.
  3. Popularity: Exercises that have been a favorite of die-hard weightlifters and professional bodybuilders for decades.

So we can say with certainty that the following exercises are actually the best exercises you can do for your chest. Make use of these exercises and ensure optimal nutrition and supplement it where necessary with supplements.

7 Best Chest Workout

  1. barbell bench press
  2. Incline dumbbell press
  3. Chest flies
  4. Chest dips
  5. Decline chest press
  6. Machine chest press
  7. push-ups

1. Barbell bench press

Although the barbell bench press is sometimes criticized, it remains one of the most popular exercises for the chest training. The reason the exercise is so popular is that you can simply push the most weight with the bench press. In addition, weight in the form of a barbell is easier to control and balance than dumbbells.

Best Chest Workout-barbell bench press


The bench press is your best choice if you want to train for strength in the upper body. The weight can be increased in relatively small steps, making the exercise very suitable for applying progressive overload. You not only train your chest but also your shoulders and triceps when doing the bench press. Do you want to train for both strength and muscle growth? Start your chest day well by starting with the barbell bench press.

Best chest workout:

  • Lie flat on the couch with a slight bend in your lower back
  • Place your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width on the bar, which means that when you lower the bar, your hands are exactly above the elbows. In this position, you can generate maximum power.
  • Slowly and controlled lower the bar to your chest as you inhale. The bar may or may not touch the chest, depending on your mobility.
  • Push the bar up as you exhale. Try to teach yourself to look at a fixed point on the ceiling, not the rod itself.

2. Incline dumbbell press

The incline dumbbell press is our worthy number two on the list. Whether using a barbell or dumbbells is better for chest training will always be one of the many points of discussion in the weight room. Fortunately, you don’t have to choose and you can use both. Using dumbbells indeed gives you a better “range of motion”, which according to some studies leads to more muscle growth.

Best Chest Workout-Incline dumbbell press


Other benefits of dumbbells are that it trains both sides of your body individually. This ensures that you train the chest in a balanced way and prevents any inequalities.

An incline (slanted bench) provides more muscle activation in the upper chest area. Alternate as much as possible between flat and incline, but also between barbell and dumbbell exercises for the chest.

Chest exercise:

  • Pick up the dumbbells from the floor and keep them in a neutral position (palms facing each other). Rest the dumbbells on the top of your thighs, close to your hips, and sit on the edge of the bench.
  • Slowly lower your body back until your backrests are on the bench, keeping the dumbbells close to your chest. Push your shoulder blades together and back so that you are fully seated on the bench.
  • You are currently in the starting position. From this position, push the dumbbells up and make sure your elbows don’t point out too much. When your arms are fully extended, consciously squeeze your chest. Then slowly and controlled lower the weight until you are back in the starting position.
  • Repeat this movement for the desired number of reps. When you notice that you can no longer keep the shoulder blades in the desired position, it is wise to end the set.

3. Chest fly

A chest fly can be done in different ways. You can choose the dumbbell fly, cable fly, or machine variant such as a pec deck fly. Training the chest with press exercises is always accompanied by training other muscle groups such as the shoulders and triceps. By doing a fly exercise you can completely isolate the chest. You won’t be able to use the same amount of weight as with the press exercises, but you can focus completely on isolating the pectoral muscles.

Best Chest Workout-Chest flies


The big advantage of the cable and machine fly is that there is constant tension on the chest throughout the entire range of motion. With the dumbbell fly, the tension decreases as you move the dumbbells upwards. Setting up a cable fly can sometimes be tricky and not every gym has a pec deck machine. In this the dumbbell fly is superior. The exercise is easy and quick to perform and with a simple set of dumbbells, you can also do it at home.

Chest exercise:

  • Pick the dumbbells off the floor with a neutral grip (palms facing each other). Rest the dumbbells on the top of the thighs while sitting on the bench.
  • Lean back until your back touches the bench. Keep the dumbbells constantly close to your chest as you move towards the bench.
  • From this position, push the dumbbells straight up with your arms fully extended with your shoulder blades squeezing and pushing back. This is your starting position.
  • From the starting position, create a slight bend in your elbows so that your arms are not fully extended and stretched. From here you slowly lower the dumbbells outwards while the bend in your elbow remains constant.

When the dumbbells are level with your chest line, reverse the movement and back up the dumbbells. Consciously tighten your chest muscles as you bring the dumbbells together.

Make sure the dumbbells don’t bump into each other but bring them back to the starting position. Perform the desired number of reps until the set is complete.

4. Chest dips

Dips is an all-time favorite of many professional bodybuilders and die-hard weightlifters. The exercise is incredibly versatile and gives you a great “stretch” in the chest muscles. With dips you can focus on the chest or tricep, depending on your posture and execution.

Best Chest Workout-Chest dips


The chest dip is an exercise that you perform with your body weight as resistance. This is harder for some than others. The exercise can be made lighter or heavier in many ways. For example, you can use a dip belt to add extra resistance, or use an assistance machine to remove resistance.

Chest exercise:

  • Position yourself in front of the dip station and place your hands on the handles with a neutral grip.
  • Begin the exercises by pushing yourself up onto the station with your elbows in a straight position.
  • Cross your legs and bring them back while leaning your upper body forward.
  • From this position, slowly lower your body while keeping your elbows at your sides.
  • Lower the elbow until an angle of about 45 degrees is formed, then push your body back up to the starting position from this position.

5. Decline chest press

We have already covered a flat and incline press, a decline press can certainly not be missed. Many bodybuilders use a decline variation to move the focus to the lower part of the chest.

Best Chest Workout-Decline chest press


However, it is not the case that a decline press is only suitable for training the lower muscle fibers in the chest. Many bodybuilders, including Mr. Olympia Dorian Yates, prefer a decline press over a normal bench press. The reason for this is because the decline press requires fewer shoulder muscles.

A decline chest press can be performed with a barbell, dumbbells, or through a decline chest press machine. In the example below, we will discuss the performance of the decline barbell bench press.

Chest exercise:

  • Lie flat on the decline bench with a slight bend in your lower back. Secure your feet so that you are stable on the bench.
  • Place your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width on the bar, which means that when you lower the bar, your hands are exactly above the elbows. In this position, you can generate maximum power.
  • Slowly and controlled lower the bar to your chest as you inhale. The bar may or may not touch the chest, depending on your mobility.
  • Slowly and controlled lower the bar to your chest as you inhale. The bar may or may not touch the chest, depending on your mobility.

6. Machine chest press

“Free weight” exercises are great and come with many benefits, but machine exercises have their own benefits as well and cannot be forgotten. An exercise like the machine chest press is very effective at isolating the chest just like the dumbbell fly is.

Best Chest Workout-Machine chest press


Another big advantage of a machine chest press is that a relatively large amount of weight can be pushed. A machine variant also makes it easier to control the weight, allowing the exercise to be performed more slowly.

And no, you don’t have to worry that using machines will give you fewer gains than free weights. EMG research shows that the machine chest press causes less shoulder activation than free weight variants. This shows how effective the exercise is for isolating the chest!

Chest exercise:

  • Squeeze your shoulder blades together and press them firmly into the device’s cushions.
  • Grab the handles and push the weight forward while actively tightening the chest. Keep your shoulder blades from moving out of position and keep them squeezing constantly into the bench.
  • Allow the weight to return in a controlled manner until the pectoral muscles are fully stretched. Then push the weight back out and repeat this movement until the desired number of reps is reached.

7. Push up

The main reason that the push-up is in this list is logical. You don’t need any equipment and the exercise can be performed anywhere. This makes the push-up the centerpiece of many home chest workouts.

Best Chest Workout-push-ups


In addition, the push up is also an incredibly versatile exercise. There are many different variations of the push-up, whereby by adjusting your position or hand placement you can shift the focus to different parts of the chest but also to the triceps.

Now you’re probably thinking “push-ups are never going to give me the same results as exercises like the bench press?”. You may not believe it, but research shows that push-ups and bench presses give equal results in both muscle activation and muscle growth. This doesn’t mean you should only do push-ups, but it is certainly a good alternative and an exercise that definitely deserves a spot on this list.

Best chest workout

  • Place your hands and feet on the floor. Place your hands on the floor just a little wider than shoulder-width apart.
  • Fully stretch your arms and legs.
  • Bend your elbows and lower your body until your chest almost touches the floor.
  • Repeat the movement until you reach the desired number of reps.

Which of these exercises should I do?

The exercises that are best for you to choose partly depend on your situation. First of all, do you train at home or in a luxury gym with all imaginable facilities? First, make a selection of the exercises that you can do based on the equipment that you have at your disposal.

Then there are several factors in which you want to use a good mix. These are:

  • Barbell and dumbbell exercises
  • incline and flat bench exercises
  • Press and fly exercises

How many chest workouts should I do?

When we look at the number of exercises, we look at the training volume per muscle group, per week. The ideal weekly training volume depends on many factors. Which muscle group is involved, the experience of the person, the intensity of the training sessions, etc.

A good guideline to follow for the chest is between 15 and 30 sets per week. Suppose you assume 3 sets per exercise, this would mean that you want to do a minimum of 5 and a maximum of 10 exercises for the chest.

To keep the quality of the sets optimal, it is not recommended to perform all these sets on the same day. If you do, you will have to deal with “junk volume”. The quality of the sets and the intensity with which you train will decrease as the muscles become fatigued.

Divide the weekly chest training volume over two or more days. A push-pull leg split is very suitable for training the chest twice a week. With an upper lower – or full-body split, you can train the chest even more often per week, by reserving 1 or 2 exercises per training for the chest. This prevents the quality of your sets from declining due to chest fatigue, while the total weekly training volume remains high. Look: tricep exercises bodybuilding

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