If you go to a gym on a Monday, you will see people doing all sorts of chest exercises, but the bench press, cable fly and incline dumbbell press are among the ones that almost everyone does. Of course, this isn’t in vain – these exercises beef up your muscles because they let you lift a lot of weight and activate a lot of muscle tissue.
However, their effectiveness doesn’t mean you should only use them and disregard all other exercises. In fact, you may find yourself building serious new muscle tissue if you try some smaller movements that will let you focus more of your power on a smaller muscle group or even just a few muscles! These exercises will do wonders for your chest, so try them out at the next pec session!
#1. High Incline Dumbbell Fly
If you want to give your upper pectoral area a little boost, there is nothing better than some high incline dumbbell flyes. Be careful though – the higher you do the incline, the more your shoulders will participate in the lifting, and you definitely don’t want to use them and your traps here. Do your research and make your pecs work on higher incline presses and you will achieve amazing results.
Make sure to have your bench at 45 degrees or even a bit more if you’re able to get it right. Your shoulders should go back and your upper pecs, along with the rest of your chest, should bear the brunt of the lift. Your arms should be straight, but not locked out, and make sure you squeeze through each repetition. This isn’t an exercise that you should just pump out – keep it slow and focused and you will see the awesome results. Do 2-3 sets of 10-12 reps each at the beginning of your workout to get you ready for the heavy lifting later.
#2. Single-Arm Dumbbell Press
If you look at the big lifts, you will notice they are all two-handed and will let you lift a whole lot of weight that you could never lift with a single arm. If you lift a lot, you push yourself more and you are more efficient as well, so it’s logical that you should only do two-handed exercises, right? Wrong.
If you avoid isolateral moves altogether, your chest is not growing as much as it could be. If you do one-armed exercises, you improve a lot on your symmetry and your balance, but you also boost your core strength and overall power, since one side will be forced to work while the rest of your body is stationary. If you want to do them efficiently, which you should, focus on getting your form absolutely flawless, and then incinerate your chest muscles with 3-4 sets of 8-10 reps each.
#3. Isometric Cable Iron Cross
Cable crossovers aren’t new and pretty much everyone has done them, but have you tried to hold the cables in place until your muscles fail? If you do long, isometric holds like this, your pectoral region will become incredibly stressed, which will help you build more muscle.
Just pull the cables and hold the contraction as long as you can and then let go, as slowly and as non-damagingly as possible to avoid getting kicked out of your gym. Do your cable crossovers as you normally would, and once you’re done release the handles, take a few deep breaths and do the iron cross until muscle failure. Try it for up to three rounds!
Contrary to popular opinion, push-ups aren’t a basic exercise or one that won’t deliver. Everyone has used them to build up their chest muscles, but suddenly they aren’t valid anymore? Not at all. This basic upper-body exercise is still among the most effective ones, and when you look at every fitness test ever, they all contain push-ups for a very good reason – they work!
If you need a strong finisher, they will do the job and it doesn’t even matter how long you’ve been in the gym and if you can lift tons of weight. Throw them into your chest routine and your upper body will grow! If you want a good dropset, try this – do some push-ups with your feet on an elevated surface. Do them like that until you can’t anymore, then lower your legs and do some normal pushups. After you can’t do that anymore either, drop to your knees and do them from there, and when that has exhausted your power, stand up and lean against anything and do them until your arms are screaming at you.