10 Best Chest Exercises

Arnold Schwarzenegger bodybuilding pose
"The resistance that you fight physically in the gym and the resistance that you fight in life can only build a strong character."

Strengthawakening.com Logo

What guy doesn’t want to develop a big powerful chest? To help make your chest building journey successful, here are 10 of the best chest mass building exercises that you should be incorporating in your chest training routine.


1. Barbell Bench Press

Barbell bench press is the king of chest building exercises. This chest exercise allows you to push as much weight as possible for maximum pec stimulation. Start your chest workout with the barbell bench press as your first or second exercise.

Arnold Schwarzenegger bench press
“Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.”

2. Incline Barbell Bench Press

Incline barbell bench press is a crucial exercise for complete chest development. The incline bench press will target the whole chest, with an additional focus on the upper chest. If your upper chest is lagging, start your chest training routine with the incline barbell bench press instead of the flat barbell bench press.

Arnold Schwarzenegger incline bench press
“Failure is not an option. Everyone has to succeed.”

3. Dumbbell Bench Press

Dumbbell bench press will recruit more chest stabilizer muscles and provide you with a better range of motion at the bottom of the movement for a nice stretch in your pec. Do dumbbell bench press after the barbell bench presses.

Arnold Schwarzenegger dumbbell bench press
“The mind is the limit. As long as the mind can envision the fact that you can do something, you can do it, as long as you really believe 100 percent.”

4. Incline Dumbbell Press

Incline dumbbell bench press is an excellent chest exercise to target the upper pec. If you want to build your upper chest, make sure to do both the barbell and dumbbell incline bench press for maximum upper chest stimulation.

Arnold Schwarzenegger dumbbell incline bench press
“For me life is continuously being hungry. The meaning of life is not simply to exist, to survive, but to move ahead, to go up, to achieve, to conquer.”

5. Dips For Chest

Dips are a great chest builder. To emphasize the chest when doing the dip, lean forward as far as possible and allow your elbows to flare out. If you can dip more than 12 reps, then use a weight belt to add more resistance to the exercise.

Arnold Schwarzenegger chest dips
“As a kid I always idolized the winning athletes. It is one thing to idolize heroes. It is quite another to visualize yourself in their place. When I saw great people, I said to myself: I can be there.”

6. Smith Machine Bench Press

Smith machine bench press is a great chest exercise to squeeze out reps and really focus on the contraction and stretch of the pec muscle. The smith machine bench press is also great for drop sets without the need for a spotter. Perform this exercise towards the middle or end of your chest workout.

Arnold Schwarzenegger smith machine bench press
“We all have great inner power. The power is self-faith. There’s really an attitude to winning. You have to see yourself winning before you win. And you have to be hungry. You have to want to conquer.”

7. Dumbbell Flyes

Dumbbell flyes is an effective chest isolation exercise and an excellent finisher for your chest training session. To make this movement effective, really focus on the stretch in your pec at the bottom and fully contract on the top.

Arnold Schwarzenegger dumbbell chest flyes
“My instinct was to win, eliminate anyone who is in competition, destroy my enemy, and move on without any kind of hesitation at all.”

8. High Cable Flyes

High cable flyes is another great chest finisher. This exercise provides constant tension on your pec muscle for maximal stimulation. As with the dumbbell flyes, really focus on the stretch and contraction of the chest muscle.

Arnold Schwarzenegger cable chest flyes
“Stay hungry, stay healthy, be a gentleman, believe strongly in yourself and go beyond limitations.”

9. Dumbbell Pull-Over

Dumbbell pull-over is a classic chest building exercise that you should do at the end of your chest training session to fully exhaust your pec muscle.

Arnold Schwarzenegger dumbbell pullover
“Good things don’t happen by coincidence. Every dream carries with it certain risks, especially the risk of failure. But I am not stopped by risks. Supposed a great person takes the risk and fails. Then the person must try again. You cannot fail forever. If you try ten times, you have a better chance of making it on the eleventh try than if you didn’t try at all.”

10. Push Up

The push up is an excellent chest exercise because it is always available to you. You can make the exercise as challenging as you want with its multiple variations.

Arnold Schwarzenegger push ups
“The last three or four reps is what makes the muscle grow. This area of pain divides the champion from someone else who is not a champion. That’s what most people lack, having the guts to go on and just say they’ll go through the pain no matter what happens.”