The Top 5 Exercises For Increasing Chest Mass

Alex Stewart
Written By: Alex Stewart
December 30th, 2010
Updated: April 7th, 2021
Categories: Articles Training
1.3M Reads
Expand Your Chest Mass With These 5 Exercises
Increase your chest mass with these potent five exercises: the barbell and dumbbell bench press, explosive push ups, inclined bench press, and decline bench press.

Almost every weightlifter has a desire at some point in their years of training to increase the size of their chest. Whether it is to capture the gold cup at a show, or for the sheer strength that a properly developed chest provides, training is both intense and dangerous if done without care for the structure of human anatomy. The idea is to get results safely.

The chest is very important as the second most shown off muscle group after the bicep. For this reason, whether you are a weight lifter, strongman, athlete, or just into physical fitness, a workout routine that trains the chest is going to become a priority at some point. The pecs (short for pectoral muscles) are one of the major muscle groups involved in power lifting.

Increasing chest mass improves the overall performance of several other muscle groups, mostly in the arms. If you are having trouble with other areas try switching to the top 5 chest exercises and watch as those trouble areas begin to show improvement again.

The Anatomy of the Chest

Understanding the function of the chest muscles is a vital step before throwing yourself into a vigorous routine. In the body, no muscle group is an island, and a basic knowledge of how the groups function together will help prevent you from causing injury, while simultaneously informing you of how and why the workout works. This knowledge will help you concentrate on posture, form, and performance.

The chest is made up of two muscles the Pectoralis major, and the Pectoralis minor.

Pectoralis Major

Is the large fan shaped muscle that is located on the front of the chest. It originates from both the sternum (breast bone) and the clavicle and inserts into the humerus. This muscle is responsible for flexing and extending the humerus, as well as adducting and medially rotating.

Pectoralis Minor

Lies under the pectoralis major, and is a much smaller triangular shaped muscle that stabilizes the action of the scapula.

The Top 5 Exercises for Increasing the Chest

The number of exercises that will work the chest are very long, but only a few will achieve real results. The chest, as stated previously, provides support for many other muscles, and therefore is more responsive to targeted training over the long-term.

Free weights are assumed to be the only tools available in most of the descriptions of these exercises, but there are machines that are designed with some of these exercises in mind. Once you grasp the concept of how the muscles work together, you can alter the workouts to accommodate whatever machines you may desire to use that fit your target workout style.

1. Barbell Bench Press

The undisputed king of chest expansion for hundreds of years, the bench press has been the standard for increasing strength and size in the chest by experts around the globe. It is possible to perform the bench press in a few variations, but for the purposes of this article, we will start by discussing the wide grip, pec pounding bench press.

Lie flat on your back on a standard Olympic weight bench. With your feet flat on the floor and your glutes tight to the bench, back and head on the bench at all times, unrack the bar from the bench and lower it to your chest. Pressing your feet into the floor while maintaining a flat position on the bench, use both arms to drive the bar straight up.

2. Dumbbell Bench Press

Extremely similar to the first chest exercise, the dumbbell bench press more accurately follows the intended function of the pectoral muscle. Instead of driving the weight straight up, it allows you to bring it in towards the midline of the body. It is also easier to maintain an even level of strength with the dumbbell bench press because the free weights that you are holding aren’t connected in any way.

As you begin, lie flat on your back on a bench while lying in a position that keeps your feet flat on the floor. With a dumbbell in each hand rest the weight gently on your shoulders and then force them up and away from the body.

3. Explosive Push-ups

The standard bench press will only get a person so far when trying to attain more muscle mass in the chest. To supplement normal weightlifting, it is important to incorporate more rapid motions into any chest program. This is difficult to do safely with weights, so smart bodybuilders turn over and put their nose to the floor for some push ups that will create the most powerful resistance through explosive movements.

To begin, get down on your hands and knees. Extend your feet back and hold your position with your toes. Place both hands approximately shoulder width apart, and begin by flexing your arms so that your chest lowers to the floor. With as much power as you can muster, push against the floor hard enough to pop your hands off of the ground. You can increase the challenge by trying to jump your hands up to elevated boxes, or by clapping between each jump.

Related: 21 Different Ways to Perform a Push Up

4. Incline Bench Press

This top chest exercise is extremely similar to the standard bench press listed above in that it works the same primary muscle groups (pectorals, deltoids and triceps.) The incline of the bench press, however, places a great deal more of the workload onto the upper chest.

To perform, use a press bench that can be raised to an incline position. Unrack the weight and lower the barbell until it touches your upper chest. Press the weight back up into the starting position with arms fully extended and repeat.  Keep your elbows tucked in to maintain a 45 degree angle to your flanks. If you allow your arms/elbows to deviate outward you’ll be placing excessive strain on your shoulder joints.

5. Decline Bench Press

Again, the decline bench press is very similar to the standard bench press.  It works the same muscle groups (pectorals, deltoids and triceps).  The decline of the bench press however puts a great deal of emphasis on the lower chest muscles.

To perform, use a press bench that is adjustable and move the seat into a decline. Unrack the weight and lower the barbell until it touches your lower chest, upper abdominal region. Once again, you’ll need to keep your elbows turned in to your body so that your arms are at a 45 degree angle to your flanks. If you allow your elbows to drift outward you’ll be placing excessive stress on the shoulder joints.

Workouts to Increase Chest Mass

Here are some workouts for you:

Beginner Chest Workout

Exercise Sets Reps
Barbell Flat Bench Press 3 8
Dumbbell Bench Press 2 8-10
Explosive Push-Ups 2 Failure

Intermediate Chest Workout

Exercise Sets Reps
Incline Bench Press 3 12/10/8
Barbell Flat Bench Press 2 8
Barbell Flat Bench Press 2 12
Explosive Push-Ups 2 Failure

Advanced Chest Workout

Exercise Sets Reps
Barbell Flat Bench Press 4 8/6/6/4
Incline Bench Press 3 8
Dumbbell Bench Press 2 10
Decline Bench Press 3 8
Explosive Push-Ups 2 Failure

The important thing is to integrate these exercises into your daily routine among other programs. You do not want to have a series of “target chest muscle” days. Combine individual workouts with your other muscle group routines to get the optimal increase in mass for your chest. Increasing the size of your chest takes significant effort and a lot of time. While it’s ok to occasionally put some training on hold to target individual muscle groups, don’t let the other areas of your body fall to the wayside while concentrating on your chest. Now go hit those weights hard.

As always, if you have any questions regarding this article or fitness in general please don’t hesitate to send me an email:

Alex Stewart is the Sales Manager for Betancourt Nutrition Supplements. For more information on Betancourt Nutrition supplements, click here.

Posted on: Tue, 10/01/2019 - 04:20

my right chest is small than left and lots of gap between right or left chest what should i do . and i am 5.11 inch and my weight is 60 kg what should i do in gym lean body exercise or bulk body i have lots of cutting in my body ...plz reply me

Posted on: Tue, 02/19/2019 - 12:23

Hii sir my chest is 79 cm but police of indain requied 82 what to do

Posted on: Sun, 09/09/2018 - 13:03

my chest is 32 and i want to make it increase so what workout should i do and what diet is perfect for me

Posted on: Fri, 05/29/2015 - 10:56

If youre struggling to build your chest, try this workout.

Flat DB Press 3 sets 5-8
Incline DB Press 3 sets 5-8
Chest Dips 3 sets
Pec-Deck 3 sets 12
Pushups (50)

Dennis Habern
Posted on: Sat, 05/24/2014 - 09:23

Hey Bodybuilders, nobody has mentioned Nutrition. Remember, Nutrition is as least 70% and the
actual workout is only 30%. I weigh 165 pounds, therefore I ingest at least 165 grams of Protein, but
usually I attempt to ingest 200 grams. I normally do not keep track of my carbs but I do ingest around
50 grams of walnuts for my Fats intake. Ensure that you eat plenty of vegetable and fruit throughout
the day. Remember to eat a hearty breakfast because the body has been fasting while you have been
sleeping. Normally, I commence my day by ingesting a large cup of oatmeal, a cup of coffee, 2 pieces
of toast, a banana and 4-5 whole eggs, to get me started, then its 2 hours in the gym, Monday thru
Friday, resting 30 seconds between sets.

Posted on: Mon, 03/24/2014 - 17:09

Thanks a lot for this routine, and the most important to me it's the illustrations for the exercise, sometime I can,t understand just the names thanks again .

king louintas
Posted on: Wed, 02/19/2014 - 06:09

my chest is naturally wide and my arms as well. but my lower body is not as big as my upper body. what i want is for my chest to come out and to build my lower body. please what do you recommend

Posted on: Tue, 01/28/2014 - 07:59

Hi sir! !!
I need ur guidance ...
My upper chest is good.. as normal guys..
But I have some issues with my lower chest.. Its not harder as compared to that.. it has some fat near to my armpits. .
Suggest me a good workout..
I am hitting the weights since 3rd of this month .. but 00 effects on my armpit rounded fatty chest..
Awiting ur response..
Thank u!

Posted on: Sun, 09/08/2013 - 08:39

on the advanced workout how do you know what weight too lift like on the reps you say do 8,6,6,4??

Posted on: Wed, 09/04/2013 - 13:21

I have Been Working out for 3months One Day on One Day off And Body is that ok or Thats to much ??? What the ideal Time for workout?

Posted on: Mon, 08/12/2013 - 02:48

What is the Difference Between these 2 Workouts?

•Barbell Flat Bench Press - 4 Set of 8/6/6/4 Reps
•Incline Bench Press - 3 Sets of 8 Reps = Dumbell or Barbell
•Dumbbell Bench Press - 2 Set of 10 Reps
•Decline Bench Press - 3 Sets of 8 Reps = Dumbell or Barbell

Posted on: Sat, 07/06/2013 - 17:25

Surprised chest dips did not make the top... definitely gained good results by adding this to my workout.

Posted on: Thu, 06/27/2013 - 03:18





Posted on: Sun, 04/28/2013 - 05:38

to increase and fit your chest put weight on your muscle. more weight more fitness...

Matt Davies
Posted on: Thu, 04/25/2013 - 06:02

Hi I need a bit of advice. I've been weight training for a couple years now and a couple of winters ago i dislocated my shoulder, and it wasn't a problem until I did it again over this Christmas, and then it came out badly when I was doing a seated tricep extension a few weeks back. I can still lift but it's always risky with certain lifts like the barbell bench press because it puts a lot of strain on my shoulder, and I'm too worried to try any lifts above my head again as it could result in injury. I don't want to give up training because it's a big part of my lifestyle and i enjoy doing it. Could you recommend any good workouts for chest/shoulders that don't put too much strain on the shoulders in an awkward position, and maybe triceps seeing as I can't really lift above my head anymore? Also, barbell squats have also weirdly become a problem with this. Any advice anybody please?

Posted on: Wed, 04/17/2013 - 05:45

Hi please can someone help me with some exersises that will make my chest back and biceps nice and hard I'm already at 90kg nicely bulked up just want that hard visible feeling.

Posted on: Fri, 04/12/2013 - 15:19

Explosive pushups !

Posted on: Tue, 04/02/2013 - 09:09

hi i wanted to incrase my chest
tell me valuable tips...

Posted on: Tue, 04/02/2013 - 09:08

hiiiii i wanted to incease my chest..
telll me valuable tips ..

Posted on: Sun, 03/24/2013 - 16:00

its being 7-8 months that i have been going to gym , i had worked, to my extent., very hard for building a bigger chest my biceps are good but my chest is not visible in t-shits... and i m also having upper back pain what to dp now....?

Posted on: Fri, 03/15/2013 - 09:56


Burn fat as much as you can...and do some presses and of course push ups ,they are most basic excercises and main thing is your diet!

Posted on: Mon, 03/11/2013 - 16:48

hye name is 19 years old right suffering from manboobs since 12 years do i get rid of this..pls help me..i really need ur guys help.

thanks for any feedback..


Posted on: Fri, 03/08/2013 - 21:52

I go hard on my chest I mean HARD! I do about 8 sets of flat bench,5 sets of incline bench 5 sets of decline bench,4 sets of dumbell press flat,4 sets of incline dumbell,4 sets of incline flyes,4 sets of flat flyes,5 sets of pec dec machine, 5 sets of cables,4 sets of machine bench press and 5 sets of dips and I call it forcing the muscles to grow. Others tell me overtraining but every month my brench is going up! I train my whole body that way meaning I do 40-50 sets for arms,shoulders,back and legs. When I see these workouts with only 14 sets in total it will take you to long to get to where you going! If I'm wrong please correct me because I only been in the gym for about a year. I started out benching 315 about 4 times now I'm at 405 two times I think thats a big stride!

Posted on: Sat, 01/24/2015 - 22:50

Your strength might be increasing but Im willing to bet your chest isnt growing much...15 sets is all youd ever need for chest if youre going hard enough, put everything youve got into those sets and you will have a better chest than if you waste all of this time doing ridiculous volume.

sunny singh
Posted on: Fri, 03/08/2013 - 06:12

i need your help

Posted on: Mon, 02/18/2013 - 05:40

how i willl increase my chest

Posted on: Sat, 02/09/2013 - 01:37


Posted on: Sun, 01/20/2013 - 01:57


Posted on: Tue, 01/29/2013 - 11:13

Do 5 sets of 5 works perfect for adding mass
Do at least 4 chest work outs

Posted on: Wed, 01/09/2013 - 19:53

Thanks for the good article. My right chest appears to be more developed then my left side and same applies to my shoulders as well. I always try my best to equally distribute weight on both side and avoid using barbells. Is there anything else that I could do to make my body symetrical.

new gym
Posted on: Tue, 12/11/2012 - 16:04

hi, can you please help me. i am trying to put on muscle as i am sick of being a skinny bean pole. i am 32 , 10 1/2 stone and body fat of 10.5% . ihave joind a gym and told them this but i think the programe they gave me is not realy what i am after . i wont to work mostly on my chest and stomach and arms ( chest in particular as i have what you call man boobs and being 10 1/2 stone they kind stand out) any help would be great.

M&S Team Badge
Posted on: Tue, 12/11/2012 - 18:35

Without having the routine that was suggested in front of me, I can say that you really should not neglect other muscle groups when starting out. You'll actually experience better results when you train all muscle groups as opposed to only a few. Heavy compound lifts like squats and deadlifts are key when looking to add muscle, for instance. It's also a misconception that working one area of your body will eliminate fat. In your case, working chest alone will not cut the fat hanging around that area.

Posted on: Tue, 11/06/2012 - 16:07

Hello. I've been a long time in gym with no results.. and well, i really want to get rid of manboobs because they're annoying
How can I get rid of them?????

Posted on: Tue, 11/20/2012 - 03:12

You need to diet.

james santiago
Posted on: Thu, 10/18/2012 - 14:51

Been working out for about seven months now and all am looking for is to lift as much as my body will let me.i already bench about 350lbs.but am hungry for more.looking to join the 400lb club then keep going .what can i do to get there safe and what can i take that wont hurt me.

Posted on: Sat, 09/01/2012 - 11:45

hello,i need your help. my chest are not equal right side are down but left side are up. how can i equal my both side. please help me.

Posted on: Mon, 09/10/2012 - 17:08

The shape of the chest muscle is usually genetic, not always though. Sometimes, the way we train; mind-muscle connection and concentration; will have an effect on the way our muscles grow. Try doing unilateral exercises; dumbbells instead of barbells, one arm cable etc. I used to prioritized my left triceps and shoulder in my early days since they're not proportionate. I guess when you said the left side are up, meaning the left side is underdevelop? Its hard to say because if the thickness is the same, then it might be genetics. But if you still want to develop the "swipe", your best bet are one arm cable crossovers and one arm decline DB presses or flyes (which may be a bit unpleasant because of the unstability when you perform it on the bench). Just make sure you perform them after your full chest workout. Wouldn't want to neglect the right side , would we? just tone down your intensity a few notch for the full chest routine, then add the "prioritize" exercise; full throttle. Work wonders for me. See if it helps. Good luck

Posted on: Sun, 08/12/2012 - 10:42

hello, got some problem here about my genes. I think i have a bad chest genes. cause all the other body parts are growing well except my chest. is there anything that i can do with my chest? I've been working out for more than 1 yr nearly going to 2nd year. so is this normal for amateur weightlifter? i think not.

thanks for any feedback

Posted on: Mon, 09/10/2012 - 16:54

Hi Jonathan, 2 years of training is not considered "amateur" unless that person is a weekend warrior for the last couple of years, or maybe an "on and off" type. I once had the same thought regarding my problematic bodyparts; which is biceps and shoulder. Genes play some roles of course, but not entirely. They do affect the shape/contour of the pecs though, but when it comes to sizes, i dont think so. Fortunately, chest is not that difficult for me to develop. I'm a natural bodybuilder, by choice, and moreover, from where i come from, enhancing drugs of any type are strictly illegal. If you can tell me what's your routine or program for your chest, i might be able to help a bit. I can tell you this; listen to your body, one routine may work for someone but not for somebody else. But one thing for sure, progressive overload is definitely the way to go. Straight sets are great, but pyramiding the weight while decreasing the reps is definitely going to "wake" those stubborn muscles up. I split my chest exercise to 3 parts; light, medium and heavy day. Try doing pre-exhaust technique, what i noticed most of the time, people fatigue the triceps earlier in chest presses, thus limiting their ability to press heavier and with perfect form. I'm a free weight fanatic. Do the basics, forget the machines (for now). Presses and flyes are the bread and butter. (you probably already knew that anyway). Maybe you can tell me a thing or two about your program, i'll see if i can help.

Posted on: Sat, 07/21/2012 - 04:24

hi i need your help, actually there is a gap between my lower upper chest and middle area is well ok but there is a gap betwen lower chest ,plz help me and tell me what can i do to fill that gap and which exercises i have to do plz plz plz reply hurry :)

Posted on: Mon, 09/10/2012 - 17:16

Try decline presses (DB preferably) and flyes, cable crossovers (leaning forward) is a good exercise to tackle that problem too. However, it does depends on your genetics. Just like calves. But still, who knows, right? Probably you haven't hit the "spots" yet. You'll get there eventually and surely. Good luck, and have a great workout..

Posted on: Tue, 08/20/2013 - 03:31

I don't get it vicky.. Can you described more about that gap that you've mentioned??

Posted on: Mon, 05/14/2012 - 19:22

Lowering barbell to your chest is a sure-fired way to screw up your shoulders!!!

Posted on: Sat, 07/21/2012 - 04:25

hi i need your help, actually there is a gap between my lower upper chest and middle area is well ok but there is a gap betwen lower chest ,plz help me and tell me what can i do to fill that gap and which exercises i have to do plz plz plz reply hurry :)

Micah Ruch
Posted on: Sun, 03/23/2014 - 21:23

Your grip is too wide then, if you bring your grip in tighter on the bar you can touch your chest without any pain to your shoulders and it utilizes more triceps. Going wide on the bench is terrible for your shoulders and can lead to some serious discomfort.

Posted on: Wed, 05/02/2012 - 11:05