Exercise Directory [Chest]



See Exercises For - Abdominal - Arms - Back - Chest - Legs - Shoulders

Bench Press (Smith-Machine Barbell Standard)
Target Muscles: Pectoralis major (mid chest), Anterior deltoids, Triceps
Starting Position:
1. Lie on your back on a flat bench, ideally with an attached barbell rack. If you have an excessive arch in your back, place your feet on the end of the bench or on a low step.
2. Hold the bar, with your hands just over shoulder-width apart, palms facing forwards.
3. Remove the bar from the barbell rack and position it directly over your chest with your arms fully extended (but not locked).
The Movement:
1. Slowly lower the bar down to your chest. The bar should touch your upper chest just above your nipple line. Hold for a count of two.
2. Push the bar upwards in a slightly back­wards arc so that it ends up over your shoulders.
Tips:
• Keep your hips firmly on the bench. If you lift your hips to generate leverage, you will risk lower-back strain.
• Do not arch your back as you push the bar upwards or you will reduce the amount of work done by the chest.
• Do not bounce the bar off your chest or use the momentum of the weight to complete the repetition. Again, this reduces the amount of chest work and risks injury to the chest muscles.
• Keep your palms facing forwards and your wrists straight.
Variations:
Wide grip: Using a grip one and a half times shoulder width apart places more emphasis on the pectorals (especially the outer part) and less on the triceps.
Narrow grip: Using a shoulder-width grip places more em­phasis on the triceps and the inner pectorals.
Smith machine: The press may be performed on a Smith machine or a chest press machine. This has the advantage of being safer and not requiring a spotter to pass you the bar. However, you are locked into a fixed, vertical plane of movement that does not accommodate the natural arc of the movement so that there is therefore less of a contribution from the accessory muscles. As a result the muscles gain less stimulation compared with a free-weight bench press.


Bench Press (Dumbbell Standard)

Target Muscles: Pectoralis major (mid chest), Anterior deltoids, Triceps
Starting Position:
1. Lie on your back on a flat or incline bench. If you have an excessive arch in your back, place your feet on the end of the bench.
2. Hold a pair of dumbbells, with your palms facing forwards and your arms fully extended, positioned over your shoulders.
The Movement:
1. Slowly lower the dumbbells down to your armpit area.
2. Hold the position for a count of two; then press the dumbbells back to the starting position.
Tips:
• Keep your hips firmly on the bench throughout the movement.
• Lower the dumbbells as far as you can, aiming for a maximum but comfortable stretch.
• Keep the dumbbells over your chest area­ do not let them travel back towards your head.


Bench Press (Smith-Machine Barbell Incline)

Target Muscles: Pectoralis major (upper chest), Anterior deltoids, Triceps, Pectoralis major
Starting Position:
1. Lay on an incline bench angled from 30-60° (the steeper the incline, the greater the stress on the upper pectorals and anterior deltoids). Ideally the bench should have an attached barbell rack.
2. Hold the bar with your hands shoulder width apart, palms facing forwards. Remove the bar from the barbell rack so it is positioned directly over your collarbone with your arms fully extended.
The Movement:
1. Bend your arms, allowing your elbows to travel out to the sides, and slowly lower the bar down to your chest.
2. The bar should just touch the upper part of your chest beneath your collarbone. Hold for a count of two.
3. Push the bar back to the starting position.
Tips:
• Do not arch your back as you push the bar upwards. This risks lower-back strain.
• Do not bounce the bar off your chest or use the momentum of the weight to complete the repetition.
• The higher you place the bar on your chest, the greater the work placed on the anterior deltoids rather than the upper chest.


Bench Press (Dumbbell Incline)

Target Muscles: Pectoralis major (upper chest), Anterior deltoids, Triceps, Pectoralis major
Starting Position:
1. Sit on an incline bench, angled at 30-60° (the steeper the incline, the greater the stress on the upper pectorals and anterior deltoids).
2. Pick up a dumbbell in each hand and place them on your thighs.
3. Lie on the bench, at the same time bringing the dumbbells to shoulder level. Your palms should face forwards.
The Movement:
1. Press the dumbbells directly over your upper chest until your arms are fully extended. Hold for a count of two.
2. Lower the weights slowly until they are by your shoulders. You should achieve a! maximal but comfortable stretch.
3. Pause for a second before pressing them up again.
Tips:
• Press the dumbbells in a straight line, not back over your head.
• Do not set the angle of the bench too high otherwise the anterior deltoids will be targeted and take much of the emphasis away from the chest.


Bench Press (Smith-Machine Barbell Decline)

Target MusclesPectoralis major (lower chest), Anterior deltoids, Triceps, Pectoralis major
Starting Position:
1. Lay on an decline bench angled from 30-60° (the steeper the decline, the greater the stress on the lower pectorals and outer pectorals). Ideally the bench should have an attached barbell rack.
2. Hold the bar with your hands shoulder width apart, palms facing forwards. Remove the bar from the barbell rack so it is positioned directly over your collarbone with your arms fully extended.
The Movement:
1. Bend your arms, allowing your elbows to travel out to the sides, and slowly lower the bar down to your chest.
2. The bar should just touch the upper part of your chest beneath your collarbone. Hold for a count of two.
3. Push the bar back to the starting position.
Tips:
• Do not arch your back as you push the bar upwards. This risks lower-back strain.
• Do not bounce the bar off your chest or use the momentum of the weight to complete the repetition.
• The higher you place the bar on your chest, the greater the work placed on the anterior deltoids rather than the upper chest.



Bench Press (Dumbbell Decline)

Target MusclesPectoralis major (lower chest), Anterior deltoids, Triceps, Pectoralis major
Starting Position:
1. Sit on an decline bench, angled at 30-60° (the steeper the incline, the greater the stress on the lower pectorals and anterior deltoids).
2. Pick up a dumbbell in each hand and place them on your thighs.
3. Lie on the bench, at the same time bringing the dumbbells to shoulder level. Your palms should face forwards.
The Movement:
1. Press the dumbbells directly over your lower chest until your arms are fully extended. Hold for a count of two.
2. Lower the weights slowly until they are by your shoulders. You should achieve a! maximal but comfortable stretch.
3. Pause for a second before pressing them Up agaIn.
Tips:
• Press the dumbbells in a straight line, not back over your head.
• Do not set the angle of the bench too low otherwise the anterior deltoids will be targeted and take much of the emphasis away from the chest.


Bench Press (Smith-Machine Barbell Narrow)
Target Muscles: Pectoralis major (mid chest), Anterior deltoids, Triceps
Starting Position:
1. Lie on your back on a flat bench, ideally with an attached barbell rack. If you have an excessive arch in your back, place your feet on the end of the bench or on a low step.
2. Hold the bar, with your hands just under shoulder-width apart, palms facing forwards.
3. Remove the bar from the barbell rack and position it directly over your chest with your arms fully extended (but not locked).
The Movement:
1. Slowly lower the bar down to your chest. The bar should touch your upper chest just above your nipple line. Hold for a count of two.
2. Push the bar upwards in a slightly back­wards arc so that it ends up over your shoulders.
Tips:
• Keep your hips firmly on the bench. If you lift your hips to generate leverage, you will risk lower-back strain.
• Do not arch your back as you push the bar upwards or you will reduce the amount of work done by the chest.
• Do not bounce the bar off your chest or use the momentum of the weight to complete the repetition. Again, this reduces the amount of chest work and risks injury to the chest muscles.
• Keep your palms facing forwards and your wrists straight.
Variations:
Wide grip: Using a grip one and a half times shoulder width apart places more emphasis on the pectorals (especially the outer part) and less on the triceps.
Smith machine: The press may be performed on a Smith machine or a chest press machine. This has the advantage of being safer and not requiring a spotter to pass you the bar. However, you are locked into a fixed, vertical plane of movement that does not accommodate the natural arc of the movement so that there is therefore less of a contribution from the accessory muscles. As a result the muscles gain less stimulation compared with a free-weight bench press.


Bench Press (Machine Standard)
Target MusclesPectoralis major (mid chest), Anterior deltoids, Triceps
Starting Position:
1. Sit down at a standard bench press machine and adjust the seat so that the handles are around your pectoral area.
2. Hold the handles, with your palms facing forwards and your arms fully extended, positioned over your shoulders.
The Movement:
1. Slowly press out the handles so that your arms are almost fully extended..
2. Hold the position for a count of two; then allow the handles to come back slowly to the starting position.
Tips:
• Keep your hips firmly on the back pad throughout the movement.
• Lower the handles as far as you can, aiming for a maximum but comfortable stretch.
• Keep the handles about your chest area, starting too low or too high can cause injury and work the muscles far less than optimally.




Fly (Dumbbell Standard)

Target Muscles: Pectoralis major (mid chest), Anterior deltoids, Pectoralis minor
Starting Position:
1. Lie on your back on a flat bench with your feet flat on the floor. If you have an excessive arch in your back, place your feet on a step so that your knees are bent at 90°.
2. Hold a dumbbell in each hand and hold them above your chest with your arms extended and palms facing each other. Bend your arms very slightly.
The Movement:
1. Slowly lower the dumbbell out to your sides in a semi-circular arc. Keep your elbows locked in the slightly bent position throughout the range of motion.
2. When your upper arms reach shoulder level and you feel a strong stretch in your shoulders, return the dumbbells to the starting position, following the same arc. Do not pause at the bottom of the movement.
Tips:
• Maintain the slight bend in your elbows. Don't allow them to bend to 90° otherwise this turns the movement into a dumbbell press.
• Do not allow your upper arms to go much below shoulder level as this could place excessive stress on the shoulder joints and risk muscle or tendon tears.
Variations:
Incline flye: Performing flyes on an incline bench set at 30-45° increases the stress placed on the upper chest and anterior deltoids. It is therefore particularly good for developing mass and thickness in the upper chest.


Fly (Dumbbell Incline)

Target MusclesPectoralis major (upper chest), Anterior deltoids, Pectoralis minor
Starting Position:
1. Lie on your back on a 45 degree bench with your feet flat on the floor. If you have an excessive arch in your back, place your feet on a step so that your knees are bent at 90°.
2. Hold a dumbbell in each hand and hold them above your chest with your arms extended and palms facing each other. Bend your arms very slightly.
The Movement:
1. Slowly lower the dumbbell out to your sides in a semi-circular arc. Keep your elbows locked in the slightly bent position throughout the range of motion.
2. When your upper arms reach shoulder level and you feel a strong stretch in your shoulders, return the dumbbells to the starting position, following the same arc. Do not pause at the bottom of the movement.
Tips:
• Maintain the slight bend in your elbows. Don't allow them to bend to 90° otherwise this turns the movement into a dumbbell press.
• Do not allow your upper arms to go much below shoulder level as this could place excessive stress on the shoulder joints and risk muscle or tendon tears.
Variations:
Incline flye: Performing flyes on an incline bench set at 30-45° increases the stress placed on the upper chest and anterior deltoids. It is therefore particularly good for developing mass and thickness in the upper chest.


Fly (Dumbbell Decline)

Target MusclesPectoralis major (lower chest), Anterior deltoids, Pectoralis minor
Starting Position:
1. Lie on your back on a decline bench with your legs in the pads.
2. Hold a dumbbell in each hand and hold them above your chest with your arms extended and palms facing each other. Bend your arms very slightly.
The Movement:
1. Slowly lower the dumbbell out to your sides in a semi-circular arc. Keep your elbows locked in the slightly bent position throughout the range of motion.
2. When your upper arms reach shoulder level and you feel a strong stretch in your shoulders, return the dumbbells to the starting position, following the same arc. Do not pause at the bottom of the movement.
Tips:
• Maintain the slight bend in your elbows. Don't allow them to bend to 90° otherwise this turns the movement into a dumbbell press.
• Do not allow your upper arms to go much below shoulder level as this could place excessive stress on the shoulder joints and risk muscle or tendon tears.
Variations:
Incline flye: Performing flyes on an incline bench set at 30-45° increases the stress placed on the upper chest and anterior deltoids. It is therefore particularly good for developing mass and thickness in the upper chest.


Fly (Pec-Deck)

Target Muscles: Pectoralis major (mid chest), Anterior deltoids, Pectoralis minor
Starting Position:
1. Sit on the seat of the pec dec machine, ensuring your lower back is pressed against the back support and adjusting the seat height so that your elbows and shoulders are level with the bottom of the pads.
2. Place your forearms against the pads. Check that your shoulders and elbows make a horizontal line.
The Movement:
1. Move the pads towards each other until they just touch in front of your chest.
2. Hold for a count of two; then slowly return the pads to the starting position.
Tips:
• Contract your pectorals hard at the mid­ point.
• Do not curl your shoulders forwards as you bring the pads together.
• Move the pads in a smooth arc - do not jerk the pads together as this reduces the work on the pectorals.



Fly (Cable Standard)
Target MusclesPectoralis major (mid chest), Anterior deltoids
Starting Position:
1. Attach the handles to two mid level pulley machines.
2. Hold the handles, palms facing down, and stand midway between the machines with your feet hip-width apart or with one foot in front of the other for balance. Your arms should be fully extended so you achieve a good stretch in your pectorals.
3. Bend forwards slightly from the waist and maintain this position throughout the exercise.
The Movement:
1. Draw the handles towards each other in an arcing motion, aiming for a point approxi­mately 30 cm in front of your chest.
2. When the handles meet, squeeze your pectorals hard and hold for a count of two.
3. Slowly return the handles to the starting position.
Tips:
• Keep your back erect and elbows slightly bent (at 10-15°) throughout the movement.
• Focus on using your chest muscles to perform the movement - do not curl your shoulders forwards as you bring the handles together.
• You can vary the angle at which you pull the handles down to place emphasis on slightly different areas of the chest.


Fly (Cable Lower Chest)

Target Muscles: Pectoralis major (mid chest), Anterior deltoids
Starting Position:
1. Attach the handles to two overhead pulley machines.
2. Hold the handles, palms facing down, and stand midway between the machines with your feet hip-width apart or with one foot in front of the other for balance. Your arms should be fully extended so you achieve a good stretch in your pectorals.
3. Bend forwards slightly from the waist and maintain this position throughout the exercise.
The Movement:
1. Draw the handles towards each other in an arcing motion, aiming for a point approxi­mately 30 cm in front of your hips.
2. When the handles meet, squeeze your pectorals hard and hold for a count of two.
3. Slowly return the handles to the starting position.
Tips:
• Keep your back erect and elbows slightly bent (at 10-15°) throughout the movement.
• Focus on using your chest muscles to perform the movement - do not curl your shoulders forwards as you bring the handles together.
• You can vary the angle at which you pull the handles down to place emphasis on slightly different areas of the chest.


Fly (Cable Upper Chest)

Target MusclesPectoralis major (mid chest), Anterior deltoids
Starting Position:
1. Attach the handles to two low pulley machines.
2. Hold the handles, palms facing down, and stand midway between the machines with your feet hip-width apart or with one foot in front of the other for balance. Your arms should be fully extended so you achieve a good stretch in your pectorals.
3. Bend forwards slightly from the waist and maintain this position throughout the exercise.
The Movement:
1. Draw the handles towards each other in an arcing motion, aiming for a point approxi­mately 30 cm in front of your face.
2. When the handles meet, squeeze your pectorals hard and hold for a count of two.
3. Slowly return the handles to the starting position.
Tips:
• Keep your back erect and elbows slightly bent (at 10-15°) throughout the movement.
• Focus on using your chest muscles to perform the movement - do not curl your shoulders forwards as you bring the handles together.
• You can vary the angle at which you pull the handles down to place emphasis on slightly different areas of the chest.


Fly (Cable Cross-Over)
Target MusclesPectoralis major (mid chest), Anterior deltoids
Starting Position:
1. Attach the handles to two overhead pulley machines.
2. Hold the handles, palms facing down, and stand midway between the machines with your feet hip-width apart or with one foot in front of the other for balance. Your arms should be fully extended so you achieve a good stretch in your pectorals.
3. Bend forwards slightly from the waist and maintain this position throughout the exercise.
The Movement:
1. Draw the handles towards each other in an arcing motion, aiming for a point approxi­mately 30 cm in front of your hips.
2. When the handles meet, squeeze your pectorals hard and hold for a count of two.
3. Slowly return the handles to the starting position.
Tips:
• Keep your back erect and elbows slightly bent (at 10-15°) throughout the movement.
• Focus on using your chest muscles to perform the movement - do not curl your shoulders forwards as you bring the handles together.
• You can vary the angle at which you pull the handles down to place emphasis on slightly different areas of the chest.


Press (Cable Standard)
Target MusclesPectoralis major (mid chest), Anterior deltoids, Triceps
Starting Position:
1. Stand between two parallel cable towers.
2. Hold a pair of cables, with your palms facing upwards and your elbows back under your armpits.
The Movement:
1. Slowly press the cables forward until they are directly out in front of you.
2. Hold the position for a count of two; then bring the cable handles back to the starting position.
Tips:
• Keep your hips firmly in the same position throughout the movement.
• Bring the cables back as far as you can, aiming for a maximum but comfortable stretch.
• Keep the cables directly in front of your chest area­ do not let them travel outward.


Press (Cable Upper Chest)
Target MusclesPectoralis major (upper chest), Anterior deltoids, Triceps, Pectoralis major
Starting Position:
1. Stand between two parallel cable towers.
2. Hold a pair of cables, with your palms facing upwards and your elbows back under your armpits.
The Movement:
1. Slowly press the cables forward until they are directly out in front of you.
2. Hold the position for a count of two; then bring the cable handles back to the starting position.
Tips:
• Keep your hips firmly in the same position throughout the movement.
• Bring the cables back as far as you can, aiming for a maximum but comfortable stretch.
• Keep the cables directly in front of your chest area­ do not let them travel outward.


Press (Cable Lower Chest)
Target MusclesPectoralis major (lower chest), Anterior deltoids, Triceps, Pectoralis major
Starting Position:
1. Stand between two parallel cable towers.
2. Hold a pair of cables, with your palms facing upwards and your elbows back under your armpits.
The Movement:
1. Slowly press the cables forward until they are directly out in front of you.
2. Hold the position for a count of two; then bring the cable handles back to the starting position.
Tips:
• Keep your hips firmly in the same position throughout the movement.
• Bring the cables back as far as you can, aiming for a maximum but comfortable stretch.
• Keep the cables directly in front of your chest area­ do not let them travel outward.



Dip (Parallel Bar)

Target MusclesPectoralis major (lower chest), Anterior deltoids, Triceps, Pectoralis major
Starting Position:
1. Stand between a set of parallel bars.
2. Place a hand on each bar, and then take a small jump to help you get into the starting position with your arms locked out.
The Movement:
1. Begin by flexing the elbow, lowering your body until your arms break 90 degrees.
2. Reverse the motion by extending the elbow, pushing yourself back up into the starting position.
Tips:
• Avoid swinging, and maintain good posture throughout the descent.
• Do not overextend yourself..


Dip (Bench)
Target MusclesTriceps (Especially the outer and medial heads)
Starting Position:
1. You will need to place two benches, about the length of your legs,  apart.
2. Place your hands shoulder-width apart, fingers facing forwards, on the  edge of one bench.
3. Place your heels on the other bench so that your legs form a straight  bridge between the two benches.
The Movement:
1. Bend your elbows and lower your body until your elbows make an  angle of 90°.
2. Hold for a count of two; then straighten your arms to bring you back to  the starting position.
Tips:
• Keep your back close to the bench.
• Do not lock or snap out your elbows at the top of the movement.
• Keep your elbows directed backwards during both the lowering and  raising phases.
• Do not shorten the downwards phase. . Keep the movement slow - do  not rush the reps.
Variations:
Easier Place your feet flat on the floor instead of on a bench. Advanced Place a weight disc across your lap to increase, the resistance.



Dip (Machine)
Target MusclesPectoralis major (lower chest), Anterior deltoids, Triceps, Pectoralis major
Starting Position:
1. Sit down at a parallel press machine.
2. Place a hand on each bar, and then press the handles downward to get into the starting position with your arms locked out.
The Movement:
1. Begin by flexing the elbow, lowering the handles until your arms straighten out.
2. Reverse the motion by extending braking the elbow 90 degrees.
Tips:
• Avoid swinging, and maintain good posture throughout the descent.
• Do not overextend yourself..


Pushup (Standard)
Target MusclesPectoralis major (mid chest), Anterior deltoids, Triceps
Starting Position:
1. Place your feet on the floor straight out behind you and face the floor with your upper body.
2. Place your hands directly out to your sides, fingers facing forward.
The Movement:
1. Slowly push your body upwards until you are parallel with the floor.
2. Slowly bring your body back to the starting position with your nose inches from the floor.
Tips:
• Keep your hips perfectly straight. If you lift your hips to generate leverage, you will risk lower-back strain.
• Do not arch your back as you push yourself upwards or you will reduce the amount of work done by the chest.
• Do not bounce yourself off the floor. Again, this reduces the amount of chest work and risks injury to the chest muscles.
• Keep your palms facing forwards and your wrists straight.
Variations:
Wide grip: Using an arm spacing one and a half times shoulder width apart places more emphasis on the pectorals (especially the outer part) and less on the triceps.
Narrow grip: Using a shoulder-width arm spacing places more emphasis on the triceps and the inner pectorals.


Pushup (Incline)
Target MusclesPectoralis major (mid chest), Anterior deltoids, Triceps
Starting Position:
1. Place your feet on a bench or chair and face the floor with your upper body.
2. Place your hands directly out to your sides, fingers facing forward.
The Movement:
1. Slowly push your body upwards until you are parallel with the floor.
2. Slowly bring your body back to the starting position with your nose inches from the floor.
Tips:
• Keep your hips perfectly straight. If you lift your hips to generate leverage, you will risk lower-back strain.
• Do not arch your back as you push yourself upwards or you will reduce the amount of work done by the chest.
• Do not bounce yourself off the floor. Again, this reduces the amount of chest work and risks injury to the chest muscles.
• Keep your palms facing forwards and your wrists straight.
Variations:
Wide grip: Using an arm spacing one and a half times shoulder width apart places more emphasis on the pectorals (especially the outer part) and less on the triceps.
Narrow grip: Using a shoulder-width arm spacing places more em­phasis on the triceps and the inner pectorals.


Pullover (Dumbbell Straight Arm)
Target MusclesPectoralis major (lower chest), Anterior deltoids, Triceps, Pectoralis major
Starting Position:
1. Place a dumbbell standing up on a flat bench.
Ensuring that the dumbbell stays securely placed at the top of the bench, lie perpendicular to the bench (torso across it as in forming a cross) with only your shoulders lying on the surface. Hips should be below the bench and legs bent with feet firmly on the floor. The head will be off the bench as well.
2. Grasp the dumbbell with both hands and hold it straight over your chest at arms length. Both palms should be pressing against the underside one of the sides of the dumbbell. This will be your starting position.
The Movement:
1. While keeping your arms straight, lower the weight slowly in an arc behind your head while breathing in until you feel a stretch on the chest.
2. At that point, bring the dumbbell back to the starting position using the arc through which the weight was lowered and exhale as you perform this movement.
3. Hold the weight on the initial position for a second and repeat the motion for the prescribed number of repetitions.
Tips:
• Always ensure that the dumbbell used for this exercise is secure. Using a dumbbell with loose plates can result in the dumbbell falling apart and falling on your face..
• If you are new to this movement, have a spotter hand you the weight instead. If not, please ensure that the dumbbell does not fall on you as you arrange your torso to perform the exercise on the bench.