Monday has 2 main meanings: you go back to work, school or your classic occupations of the week and train your chest! Monday is an international chest day, the day when hordes of gym-goers line up to crowd the benches and do hundreds of repetitions with thousands of kilos above the chest.
This that looks a lot like a primordial ritual, is not fully understood by those who do not go to the gym. Or at least by those who don’t do it with the spirit of those who want to improve fiercely. Today let’s see what are the best chest exercises. But first, let’s take a quick look at how the bibs are made!
Basics of pectoral anatomy
As always, we state that this is not a gp oral tren from which to get medical information.You don’t have to go to the anatomy exam and tell the professor that you have read on SuperPalestra that the bibs are made in this way. Unless in fact, the prof is not a gym like us, it will hardly be 100% in line with what we tell you! But why are we not an online medical treatise or a popular medicine website!
The pectoral muscles consist of an upper part, called the clavicular head, and a lower part called the sternocostal head. Only the development of both ends of the muscle can give the breastplates the rounded appearance to which all bodybuilders aspire.
International chest day: what the bibs do
The chest trains on Monday almost as if to respond to the initiation rite of the flat bench, which is a bit the first exercise they showed us the first time we entered the gym. And «what are you doing on the bench?» is the question that those who do not lift weights and who want to try to classify you most often ask us. The chest offers a great variety of exercises, many of which we have already seen and explained in depth. We have many exercises to perform with free weights, both dumbbells and barbells, and many machines that help us fortify this muscle group.
We generally have push exercises and rotation exercises, those that are called crosses. We can think very well to push exercises as complex exercises, because they are multi-articular and because they involve other auxiliary muscles, mainly the shoulders and triceps. A fundamental element for chest training is the inclination of the bench. By increasing the inclination, the effort is directed more towards the clavicular part (high pectorals) and on the anterior deltoid. By decreasing the inclination, the effort is mostly borne by the sternocostal head ( low pectorals ). The task of the pectoral muscles is to close the arms towards the sternum, therefore the cross movements are specific exercises for the pectoral muscles (isolation exercises for the pectoral muscles).
Super Palestra top 5 for bibs
Here are what we think are the 5 best exercises to train your chest with weights.
- Incline bench with barbell: Well yes … we did not put the bench flat as the first exercise. In our opinion, it is not what you should do first in your chest training card. The reason is soon to be said. The part that is commonly less developed and more difficult to develop than the bib numbers is the upper part. They are the highest pectoral the weak point of most people. Therefore, given this consideration, start a training session with the barbell stretches on the inclined bench, when you are at your best, it will allow you to handle higher weights and stimulate growth more. To perform this exercise correctly, we recommend reading our article dedicated to the correct execution of the stretches on the inclined bench with a barbell.
- Flat barbell bench: It wouldn’t be a chest day without doing a flat bench. On Monday, myriads of people who train with weights line up on the bench to test their strength and see if their chest has developed, if it has grown if it has strengthened. The flat bench is undoubtedly one of the exercises that have the greatest charm on those who train in the gym. «How much do you do on the bench?» it is the question that every layman proposes every time he learns that another person is training with weights. We know well (or at least we should know) that it is not the weight that determines the growth of the muscle, but the stimulation of the muscle fibers. The flat bench has the merit of going to solicit a good portion of the muscle fibers of the chest. Since it is a complex exercise (multi-joint) it also intensely stresses the shoulders and triceps, which are, as repeatedly stressed, the auxiliary muscles of the chest. We recommend that you perform this exercise correctly because demonstrating that you lift a lot of weight by performing this exercise incorrectly will not only not allow you to develop your pectoral muscles, but will almost certainly lead you to harm yourself.
- Crosses with dumbbells on a flat bench: Although bench push exercises are necessary to develop a strong and massive chest, these are not exercises that allow you to develop a complete chest and that is «chiseled». To do this you must turn to specific exercises and therefore to cross movements. You can, of course, attack the chest from different angles. To develop the central part, however, you must keep the bench flat and then perform the crosses on a flat bench. There is no better exercise than this to squeeze the bibs and feel them come out and make them look like 2 balls. Be careful not to use heavyweights, but to focus on muscle contraction and stretching. To be sure to perform this exercise correctly, we recommend that you take a look at our article dedicated to this very important exercise entitled «Flat bench crosses: perfect chest straps».
- Chest press (for low chest straps): for the low chest straps we could insert the classic push-up exercise on the reclining bench with a barbell. Free weights, consistent weights, mass, and strength. Ok. But the bibs can also be trained with machines. We are not yet in 1940 when there were only 3 machines that did not even allow deep stimulation of muscle fibers. To train the lower pectoral muscles we can use the chest press, appropriately setting the seat height. Raise the seat to push down in order to stimulate the whole lower part of the chest. To know how to do it correctly, we invite you to read our article dedicated to this topic and titled «Chest press for high bibs!».
- Pectoral machine: Always thinking that machines can be an honest and important help to improve mass but above all the quality of our chest, the pectoral machine is certainly among the best machines for training the chest. The cross exercises are decidedly more complicated than the push exercises to involve the stretching of the muscle in the lateral direction. Often there is a tendency to limit this movement, being almost afraid to suffer injuries in the lower part of the movement. It is done with crosses on a flat bench, on the crosses on the high bench and on those on the reclining bench. So it does not depend on the inclination of the bench. One way to solve this problem is to use a machine, which is the aforementioned pectoral machine. To know how to use it correctly, please read our article «Pectoral machine for perfect crosses».
There are exercises that we would like to put in the top 5, but the first 5 places are only 5! So let’s give (for the first time) honorable mentions!
- Presses with dumbbells on an inclined bench;
- Cable crosses for low breastplates;
- Flat bench presses with dumbbells.
Our honorable mentions are mainly addressed to exercises for the bibs with dumbbells. The reason is soon revealed. The exercises with dumbbells for the pectoral muscles allow facilitating the symmetry between the pectoral muscles. The stronger arm cannot, in fact, go to help the weak arm, since there is no connection in the push between the 2. Obviously the loads that we are going to lift will be less, but the advantage offered by the dumbbells should not be underestimated!
Today we have seen what we think are the 5 best chest exercises. We have tried to include movements made with barbell and dumbbells, but without neglecting the importance of machines. There are probably other exercises that allow you to improve your chest 360 degrees, but these in our opinion are the ones that should never be missing from your chest training cards. Let us know what your impressions are, whether or not you agree with us! See you soon with a new article from SuperPalestra!