This is BOXROX’s guide that set out to discover, once and for all, the best exercise for chest. Yes, we will try to narrow it down to a single exercise.
And how do we plan on discovering the best exercise for chest? We look into all common chest exercises and see which one checks all the boxes of what we are taking into consideration.
What To Take Into Consideration
We are trying to find out the best exercise for chest overall. Not the best one for the upper chest, lower chest, or middle chest. We are also not taking into consideration only muscle growth or hypertrophy.
This is what we have to take into consideration before discussing the best exercise for chest:
- How effectively it targets the muscle group
- Is it easy to apply progressive overload?
- Is it safe to do it
- Can you find this equipment nearly in any gym around the world?
With that in mind, let’s see what we came up with.
Best Exercise For Chest
After considering all that, there are a couple of exercises we can exclude almost immediately.
The bench fly, although one of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s favourites, can put too much pressure on your shoulders, thus not one of the safest ones. Push-ups are a great bodyweight exercise, but once you begin doing 30 or more push-ups in one go, you are not really challenging your chest.
The cable crossover is also great to activate your chest, but it requires a lot of stability on your core to maintain the exercise going – not ideal.
In the end, the battle is really between the dumbbell bench press and the barbell bench press. Although the dumbbell bench press allows for a greater stretch of the pecs and better activation of the chest, we believe that the best exercise for chest is the barbell bench press.
Why? It checks all the boxes we mentioned earlier and it exceeds most chest exercises.
Although it primarily targets the middle of your chest, that strength also transfers to your upper and lower chest. Progressive overload it by simply adding any weight plate to your barbell and it can be from 0.2 kilograms up to 25, a versatility the dumbbell cannot provide.
The barbell bench press is also relatively safe to perform. If you have a spotter, you can really push yourself to the limit without worrying about getting strangled by the bar if you fail the lift.
We know some people might disagree with us in this regard. In the end, if you are more comfortable with dumbbells, that would be the best exercise for chest for you.
Click here to have a full explanation of what muscles the bench press work.
If you are serious about improving your bench press game and developing a chiselled chest, check out more content from BOXROX that we’re sure you are going to love:
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- How to Reduce chest fat: Damir Spanic / Unsplash