Chest (Latin name – pectoralis) is by far the most popular muscle to train by most beginners and is a very impressive part of a more advanced bodybuilder's physique. The chest consists of pectoralis major and pectoralis minor. Pectoralis major consists of two heads – clavicular head is the top part and is more commonly called upper chest. Sternal head is the rest of the chest including middle and bottom of the muscle. You should do about four exercises per training session for your chest; two basic compound movements for the middle part of your chest (flat presses), one for inner chest, and one for upper chest.
There are a myriad exercises for pecs, here are some of them:
| Flat Bench Press | Incline Bench Press | Pull Over | Dips |
| Decline Bench Press | Dumbbell Fly | Close Grip Bench Press |
Flat Bench Press (barbell/dumbbell) – by far the best exercise for chest. Its a great mass builder, easy to do, and allows you to work with some really heavy weights (which is what I like about it). It works your entire sternal head which is most of your chest. I prefer to work with a barbell, not so much with dumbbells. With a barbell I can handle more weight and perform the movement with stricter form. Take the bar wider than shoulder width, lower the bar at moderate speed all the way down and touch your chest, DON'T BOUNCE THE BAR OF YOUR CHEST. Lowering the bar to two inches above your chest is also acceptable, that will keep constant tension in your muscles. With dumbbells you have the advantage of lowering the weight on the sides of your body below the level of your chest and that will stretch and stress your chest a little more. Amount of weight and lack of balance are some of the culprits that will prevent you from getting the most out of this exercise. (Can be done on hammer strength machines with an almost equal effect, can also be done on a smith machine with less benefit (restricted range of motion)
Incline Bench Press (barbell/dumbbell) (barbell/dumbbell) (barbell/dumbbell) works the clavicular head of pectoralis major. Perform it the same way as flat bench press the only difference being the incline. The incline should not be more than 30%, if you're at 45%, its too much. This exercise can also be done very effectively on a hammer strength machine and less effectively on a smith machine. BEST DONE ON FREE WEIGHTS.
Decline Bench Press (barbell/dumbbell). The only difference from flat and incline bench press is the negative angle of the bench. It works the bottom of your chest. Read Flat Bench Press for instructions.
Dumbbell Fly can be done on a flat or incline bench (I don't advise you do decline, its pretty useless). With arms slightly bent at the elbows, lying supine on the bench, in a circular motion, bring the weight down below a line going through your chest and parallel to the ground. Actually, bring the weight as low as you can without compromising your form. Try to pull/push the weight up until the dumbbells meet. Don't try to cheat by going too low on your way down to build up momentum on your way up to pass through the sticking point. Flies are good for both inner and outer pecs.
Close Grip Bench Press works the inner part of your chest. Do not take the bar too close however, leave at least two fists worth of space in between your hands. Lower the weight (barbell only) to the spot where your abs meet your chest. If you lower the bar closer to your neck, that will work the triceps. Then lift all the way up and repeat.
Pull Over is a great all around exercise. To work your chest with it (also hits the triceps), follow the instructions of pull over for lats except for two minor changes. Bend your arms at the elbows more and make it more of a push/press than a pull.
Dips can be done weighted once you can handle your weight for twenty or more reps. To hit the bottom of your chest with it, dip with elbows in. By that I mean; have your elbows tucked close to your body and not pointing
outward. Outward pointing elbows will work your triceps more.