12 Chest Exercises

Sample Chest Workouts

How should you build a basic chest exercise workout routine? You can mix and match these exercises to create a routine that you enjoy and that challenges your chest muscles to grow and get stronger.

You probably know how important it is to work your chest, not just for strong muscles but to keep your upper body from losing muscle as you age. That is something that happens to all of us if we don't keep lifting weights.

The good news is, your chest muscles are some of the biggest in your upper body and, therefore, they're nice and strong. Even better news, there are tons of great chest exercises. So many, I couldn't include them all. However, I've put together a nice sample of different moves targeting the chest muscles.

You typically want to choose about 3-5 different exercises, depending on your fitness level and goals, and you want to choose exercises that will target your chest from every angle.

Create Your Own Chest Workout 

  • Beginners:  Choose 1-2 exercises from the chest presses and pushups lists and do 1-2 sets of 12-16 reps
  • Intermediate to Advanced Exercisers:  Choose 1-2 exercises from each of the three lists for 2-3 sets of 8-12 reps, resting between sets
  • Use enough weight that you can ONLY complete the desired number of reps. You want to work yourself to fatigue in the listed number of repetitions for each set. If you choose too light of a weight and have strength leftover by the end, do it with heavier weights next time. It is by overloading the muscle that you are stimulating it to repair and grow more muscle.

What You'll Need for Your Chest Workout

The equipment needed varies, but the complete list is: Barbell, dumbbells of various weights, resistance bands,  exercise ball, steps or weight bench with incline. You can do this workout at the gym or at home if you have the equipment.

If you have any health conditions or an injury, talk to your doctor before you begin an exercise program. Ask about any restrictions or modifications you might need.

Chest Presses

Paige Waehner

The chest press works the major muscles of the chest, shoulders and triceps.  To perform a basic press, lie on a bench and hold weights over chest, elbows bent at 90 degree angles.  Press arms straight up, then lower back to starting position.



Paige Waehner

Pushups work almost every muscle in the body with an emphasis on the chest and arms. For a basic pushup, place hands shoulder-width apart, bend arms and lower down as far as you can.  Straighten arms and push up without locking elbows.


Chest Flies

Paige Waehner

The fly also works the major muscles of the chest with a focus on the outer portion.  For a fly, lie on a bench with palms facing in.  Lower weights out to sides, elbows slightly bent. Stop at shoulder level, then bring weights back up over chest.


Continue Reading