Whether you want a bigger chest or just a more toned one, pecs are where it’s at!
But exercising your pecs isn’t just about boosting the appearance of your chest.
It’s also about improving your overall wellbeing and physical strength.
What’s the best workout for pecs?
We’re going to highlight the ones that’ll give you a more defined chest. Do them regularly because having stronger pecs will improve your life.
Bear in mind, your chest has some of the most important muscles that you depend on for daily activities.
Your “pecs” are basically the two pectoralis major muscles that form the main part of the chest, and the pectoralis minor muscle that lies underneath them.
Having stronger pecs boosts your upper body strength as a whole so you can do things like push a heavy bookshelf, do push-ups, and have better posture – and, if you’re a woman, strong pecs also lift your breasts.
Ready to put your best chest forward? Let’s go.
The Cable Fly
Myth: it’s enough to press to get pecs.
The truth is, you need to stimulate your pecs in different ways to give them a real workout. That’s where the Cable Fly workout comes in.
It puts a lot of tension on the chest muscles through its range of motion, without the downside of stressing out your joints.
To do the Cable Fly, you need to use stirrup handles on the cables of a cable-crossover station.
Using these will help to create more tension during your exercise routine.
Take the handles and stretch out your arms, while leaning forward at your hips. Slowly bring your arms together and then reverse the move.
This exercise is what’s known as an isotonic exercise, which basically means that it’s focused on muscle contraction and resistance to build strength and endurance.
How isotonic exercise plays out is that you use your strength to resist weight, such as when picking up something heavy, and your muscles contract in the process.
The best workout for pecs will include isotonic exercises, and push-ups are a popular example of them. The Chest Squeeze is another useful one to try.
To do the Chest Squeeze, you want to place your palms against each other and bend your elbows so that you look like you’re in a prayer position.
As you contract your chest muscles, you should press your hands against each other.
Hold the position for as long as you can, and press your hands as hard as you can, but remember to breathe while doing so.
The Squeeze Press
This exercise, though similar to the Chest Squeeze, is focused on squeezing weights together when you do a chest press.
The reason why you want to do this is because it puts stress on your pecs the whole way through the exercise – they get a really good workout in this way!
Lie down on a bench and hold dumbbells in both of your hands. Keep your arms straight and above your chest.
You want to make the weights touch, before squeezing them with all of your strength. Keep on squeezing them and then lower the dumbbells down to the sides of your body.
The Incline Press
This is an important fact to bear in mind when you want to find the best workout for pecs.
You can’t get solid pecs without bench pressing. But don’t limit yourself to the regular way of doing it.
The incline press, when done at a higher incline, will work other parts of your body besides for your chest, such as your shoulder muscles and upper back muscles.
It’s definitely worth doing.
Here’s how you do it, according to Muscle And Performance.
You want to lie on an incline bench that’s set to approximately 45 degrees and make sure your feet are flat on the floor.
Hold the barbell with an overhand grip and unrack it. Hold it above your upper pecs.
Now, you want to lower the bar to your upper chest so that it makes contact, then press it back to complete a full elbow extension.
You want a bigger chest, but you probably also want width, right?
That’s why chest dips are the best workout for pecs. You can easily do this exercise at home.
You just need to have two flat surfaces, one on either side of you, that are of the same height.
Place your hands on the surfaces on either side of you and hold your body up at arm’s length.
Bend your knees so they don’t make contact with the floor.
Slowly lower your body so that you dip towards the ground, but without going too far down as this puts pressure on your shoulders.
Exhale as you go down and contract your chest before going back into the starting position.
Want a sign you’re doing it right? You should feel your chest stretch during this exercise.
Plyometrics are a total pec game-changer!
The use of plyometric exercises in your workout means that you can indulge in more intense bursts of movement to give yourself a greater challenge while sculpting your chest.
They’re also a fun way to get your blood pumping.
Here’s why a plyometric push-up is better than a regular push-up when doing the best workout for pecs:
- It requires more muscle, coordination and strength.
- It enhances the rate of muscle contractions, meaning that the faster you can push yourself, the more power you gain.
- It engages muscle fibers in the pecs, anterior shoulder, and triceps, so you get a full workout while working your pecs.
To do the Plyometric Push-Up, put yourself into a regular push-up position on the floor. Keep your feet shoulder-width apart.
Make sure your body is straight from head to toe. Engage your core and lower your chest to the ground.
Press up quickly so your hands lose contact with the ground. Then, quickly return to your starting position.
As you become more comfortable with doing this advanced push-up, you can move on to clapping your hands when losing contact with the floor as this will require even more strength and coordination.
The Dumbbell Twist
This could be the best workout for pecs because it works the chest muscles from an up-to-down fashion, unlike many other chest exercises out there.
It’s also a great back workout, with the secondary muscle that it focuses on being the latissimus dorsi, which basically translates as “broadest muscle of the back.”
To do this exercise, lie on a bench with your feet on the floor.
Hold a dumbbell and stretch your arms above your face. Then lower the dumbbell, making sure your bent elbows are in line with your ears.
Make sure you can stretch your arms without bending your elbows, and contract your chest. Slowly bring the dumbbell back.
This is one of those exercises that look easy but you need to be an expert with using large dumbbells and having excellent form as you’re holding them above your face.
The Spiderman Push-Up
Ever wanted to achieve a one-arm pushup?
Well, this exercise will help you get there soon.
It’s the best workout for pecs, but it also strengthens the abs, triceps, and shoulders simultaneously.
Get into a regular push-up position on the floor.
Keep your right hand under your shoulder and stretch out your left hand to the side. (You might look a bit like Spiderman when he crawls across walls, hence the name of this move!)
You then want to bend your right elbow a bit so that you can lower yourself to the ground.
Make sure your right hand holds most of your weight. When your chest is almost brushing the floor, push yourself back into the starting position.
When working out your pecs, you want to be sure that you work out both sides of your chest equally.
If you’re battling with uneven chest muscles at the moment, fear not: doing this exercise will help to bulk them up so that they’re more symmetrical.
To do this exercise, you want to stand sideways under a pull-up bar and hold it with one hand in front of the other.
Engage the muscles on the right side of your body and pull yourself up and to the right. You want to pull yourself up enough so that your head moves towards the bar.
Slowly lower yourself back down and then repeat the exercise by engaging your left side.
Moving slowly when lowering yourself is highly encouraged so that you can engage your muscles for longer.
If You’re Curious About That Inner Pec…
There’s much talk about exercising and strengthening your inner chest so that you get definition in this area (and look attractive as hell on the beach).
So, how do you achieve that?
Contrary to popular belief, you can’t isolate this area of the chest because your best workout for pecs will target your whole chest.
That said, you can choose chest exercises that have the bonus of enhancing this area of your body.
The Chest Squeeze, featured earlier in this article, is a prime example.
This is because regular chest exercises, such as a straightforward bench press, don’t target that inner area of your chest.
To get there, you need to do exercises such as The Chest Squeeze that enable your arms to come together over the center of the chest.
Exercises that enable you to move your arms across your chest will also be good to try.
Why You Need To Use The “Rest-Pause” Technique
The Rest-Pause technique is an important part of getting the best workout for pecs.
What it basically means is that you split one set into many smaller ones, with a small rest between them.
While this might not sound too appealing if you fear losing momentum during your workout, this quick rest for your muscles gives the ATP (or, for a scientific mouthful, adenosine triphosphate) in your body a chance to be replenished.
Crash course: ATP is basically a cellular currency for quick and fast energy, as defined by Body Building.
When you do the Rest-Pause during your pec workout, you’re essentially allowing your muscles to do more reps and build more muscle without extending your workout time.
In other words, you’re getting more bang for your buck.
Keep Shaking Things Up To Get The Best Workout For Pecs
As with building any muscle, you have to keep finding new challenges and exercises to incorporate into your workout so that you don’t hit a plateau or get really bored.
While using the above exercises to give you the best workout for pecs is crucial to building and strengthening your pecs, you can also give your pecs good exercise when you’re not going to the gym.
Taking part in sports such as baseball, rowing, and swimming can all benefit the chest muscles nicely.
When you play baseball, you stretch and extend your arms a lot, such as when throwing or catching the ball.
Rowing is excellent for pecs, because it builds up your muscles’ strength and endurance.
As for swimming, sticking to strokes such as backstroke, breaststroke, and freestyle, are all powered by your chest muscles.
Why Aren’t My Pecs Getting Bigger?
Keeping your workout varied but still not getting bigger?
You could be lifting too fast. Research published in Physiology journal found that slow lifting that is performed to fatigue increases the rate of muscle protein synthesis when compared to the same movement that is done faster.
How Often Should I Exercise My Pecs?
It’s probably less than you’d think: twice a week, maximum.
This is because your muscles need rest in order to grow.
Make sure you’re eating more calories to give your chest the nutrients it needs to become stronger and bigger – and take your best workout for pecs from average to amazing.