The best chest exercises for mass are going to be those that involve a lot of weight and are also a multi-joint compound movement. However, if you really want to bring up your chest muscles, you need to take an individual approach to your training based on your characteristics, body mechanics, and weaknesses. For example, I have a decent over chest, but my upper and upper inner chest is lagging behind the rest of the muscle. So if I really wanted to bring up my pecs, I would need to focus on certain exercises that target the specific muscle fibers of these areas. The same goes for you. For example, some people might have really strong and big triceps but no matter how much they bench, they just can not get their chest to grow. This is because their triceps take over the dominance of any pressing movement so a bench press would not be the best chest exercise for mass in your case.
So what I’m going to do is talk about some exercises that both a non-responder can do and someone who has no problem hitting their chest muscles. Both parties are in the same boat and that they just want to bring up their pecs so the exercises and little tricks below will help anyone out no matter what their situation is.
Now if you have a problem with getting your chest to grow, there are some tweaks and different chest workout that you can employ to really isolate them and force them to move the major of weight during an exercise. For example, a perfect way to bring the chest more into play is to pre-exhaust it before you do any type of chest exercises for mass. A perfect example and set up would be you doing 3-4 sets of machine fly’s or deck for 12-15 reps with a 2-second squeeze at the peak contracting. This will isolate your chest and pre-exhaust it so when you go and do your regular chest workout, the pecs will be doing the major of the work as opposed to your triceps which are much stronger.
Another neat little trick you can employ for any type of barbell pressing movement and machine movement is when you press the weight up, make believe you want to pull your hands in. Of course, this is not going to happen because your grip will be glued to the bar, but make believe you’re pulling your hands in during the movement. People have found that if they do this, they recruit their chest a lot more than solely focusing on pushing the weights back up. Now if you wanted to recruit your triceps more, then you would focus on pulling the bar apart. But since we’re not focusing on those muscles, do not worry about it.
Some great exercises that you can do for chest mass will be anything that really takes your triceps out of the movement and puts the focus squarely on your pecs. One exercise is the decline barbell chest press. Now the difference with this exercise is you’re going to take a wide grip on the bar and lower it down by your neck. This is going to cause an extreme stretch and therefore more range of motion which equals larger growth for you. Be sure not to go to heavy with this exercise and really squeeze at the top. Again focus on bringing your hands in during the move to recruit your chest even more.
The next exercise you can do is steep incline smith machine presses. Again you’re going to take a wider than normal grip and lower to right above your clavicle area. Pause at the bottom for a little less than one second and explode the weight up squeezing your chest at the top. Again try and bring your hands in during the entire move to really target the pecs.
Another great exercise that you can do that totally takes your triceps and shoulders out of the movement and puts the resistance solely on your chest is slide board chest fly. This exercise at first is a little weird, but boy does it really hit your chest hard especially at the end of a workout when your pecs are fatigued.
What you’re going to do is grab the slide board from your gym. Put the sliders that are usually for people’s shoes on your hands. Now there are two ways to do this movement based on your fitness level. The easiest way is to perform the movement on your knees and the harder version is in the push position. It’s the exact same movement; the only difference is if you’re on your knees or toes.
Now get in the push position and keep your arms slightly bent, spread your hands all the way out as you lower your chest down towards the floor. From this position, press back up and bring your arms back in like a chest fly. It may feel awkward at first but I promise you this is one of the best all around chest exercises you can do.
Make these exercises a regular part of your chest training routine. The above prescriptions are perfect for you if you really want to add slabs of mass to your pecs. Remember a good rule of thumb to start off is pre-exhaust the muscle with some sort of fly movement, then move on to decline barbell presses and then incline presses. Also, if your upper chest is lacking, then put those first before the decline movement. Then finish off your chest with those slide board chest fly’s and you’ll be golden.
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