Workouts

Chest Exercises Ranked (BEST TO WORST!)

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There are so many chest exercises, but which ones should you be focusing your efforts on if you want to build a bigger chest and increase your strength? In this video, I’m going to give you the most popular chest exercises ranked from worst to best and help you to determine which you should be doing and which you can probably ditch.

With that said, we have to lay out the criteria for the chest exercise selections. These are in the video.

Furthermore, if there is a steep learning curve to the movement or it is too equipment reliant then it may mot rank as high as some other options that are better and also don’t require as many resources.

With that being said, we start laying out the list and work our way up the rankings from the worst chest exercise to the best chest exercise.

WORST
1. Bench Flys
2. Standing Cable Press
3. 60 Degree Incline Bench Press
4. The WTF Blaster

The bench fly is and always will be at the bottom of the list for me. Not only does it place your shoulder joint at increased risk of injury but there are simply much better and safer options. For these reasons it belongs in the worst category.

The standing cable press being in the worst chest exercise category might surprise some considering how much I prefer exercises that place us on our feet. That said, the weak link in the chain is always going to be your core strength making this a bad selection.

The angle of the incline bench press matters, a lot. Taking too steep an angle on the bench shifts the majority of the work to the front deltoid rather than the chest. Lower the angle as we will later and you take a worst choice for chest size and strength to a superior one.

This just needs no explanation. It was dumb then, it’s still dumb now (just like the person who supposedly invented it).

BETTER
5. Pushups
6. Floor Flys
7. Underhand DB Bench Press

Standard pushups are often times too remedial to provide a growth stimulus (unless they are being done as a high rep metabolic exercise at the end of a hard chest or push workout).

The floor fly, while better is still limited by the amount of resisted adduction that it provides. Switching to cables is going to always be optimal when it comes to resisting adduction of the shoulder and for building a bigger chest.

The underhand dumbbell bench press gives those without an incline bench an opportunity to train their upper chest. Don’t underestimate the power of this move but you better have the shoulder mobility in order to do it right.

BETTER STILL
8. Twisting Pushups
9. Cable Crossovers
10. Bench Cable Press
11. DB Upper Chest Pullovers

Twisting pushups are a harder version of the basic pushup and give you that slight adduction that makes their ability to stimulate chest growth even better.

The cable crossover is a superior way to build your chest since the cables provide better resistance through adduction. The same limitation on balance applies here however as it did in the standing cable press.

The bench cable press is one of my all time favorite ways to stimulate chest muscle growth, just understand it won’t be great for building maximal bench press strength at the same time.

The upper chest pullover is a unique chest exercise that you need to be sure to try at least once if you’re looking for better recruitment of the upper chest fibers and all you have is a flat bench.

ALMOST BEST
12. Dip (weighted optional and twisting optional) step up from pushup
13. Heavy 1-Arm Crossovers
14. 30 Degree Incline Bench Press

These three chest exercises are at the top of the heap when it comes to the best exercises for building a big chest. Watch the video to see the specific reasons why they stand alone.

BEST
15. Barbell Bench Press / DB Bench Press

There simply is no better chest exercise for building a big chest than either version of the basic bench press. While they are limited a bit into adduction they still allow for the most weight to be lifted and the best opportunity for progressive overload and therefore reign supreme.

If you want to make it even better however, combine the 1 arm crossover as a drop set after a set of either version of bench press to get that perfect compliment and take your chest gains to a whole new level.

For a complete step by step workout program that was created with the same level of science behind the selection of every exercise in the plans, be sure to head to athleanx.com via the link below and check out the program selector tool. Answer just a few questions and find the plan that is best suited to your current goals.

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