The Ultimate Chest Workout


Having a well-developed chest is a hallmark of being a great bodybuilder. To have a well-built chest it requires years of training. But today you are in luck because I am going to share the ultimate chest workout to maximize your gains.

Warm Up

First, we are going to warm up because no one wants to get hurt in the gym. Specifically, we are going to warm up our rotator cuff and the chest.

The rotator cuff is a set of four muscles and tendons that help stabilize the shoulder joint. Unfortunately, the rotator cuff is susceptible to injury when heavyweight and/or bad technique is used. Since heavyweight is fundamental in this workout, the rotator cuff needs be thoroughly warmed up before you begin.

To warm up the rotator cuff either

  1. Grab a light resistance band or a cable pulley with a D-handle attachment; make sure to set the resistance band or cable pulley at your shoulder height.
  2. Next, position the handle horizontally and slowly externally rotate your arm out in a slow controlled manner while keeping your elbow pinned to your side; one tip to maximally stimulate the rotator cuff is to keep your forearm at about 90 degrees.
  3. Do this exercise for three-four sets and 12-15 reps on each arm

Our Workout

Incline Barbell Chest Press

This is the best exercise to develop the upper chest which is usually lacking in most individuals.

To do this movement,

  • Use a grip slightly wider than shoulder width
  • Keep your elbows straight during the exercise
  • Bring the bar down each rep – right below the clavicle – touching the upper chest with each rep

Since this is the first chest exercise make sure to warm-up with three sets of 10-12 reps. For each of these four sets, you are going to pyramid up in weight. After completion of each set, make sure to increase the weight. When you reach the last rep on each set, it should be difficult to complete. This is how you decide if you are using enough weight.

Safety should be a priority so if you have not performed this workout before make sure you have a spotter.

Flat Dumbbell Bench Press

This exercise is great to stimulate the development of the middle chest.

To get the most out of this exercise make sure to flare your elbows out during each rep; to do this, form a 90-degree angle with your elbows on each rep.

You will need to do four sets of pyramiding weight for this exercise.

  1. One 6-10 reps
  2. Two 6-8 reps
  3. Three 4-6 reps
  4. Four 3-5 reps

Like the last exercise, with each set make sure you are struggling to complete the last rep otherwise the weight is too light.

Incline Dumbbell Chest Fly

Next, you will do the incline dumbbell chest fly for three sets 12-15 reps.

  • Before you begin this exercise make sure the angle on the bench is increased to a 45-degree angle
  • Next, grab the dumbbells and extend your arms while turning your palms in so that they face each other
  • After that, bring your arms forward until your elbows are at the middle of your chest which should be at approximately 45 degrees
  • Finally, drop your arms down and back following a 45-degree circular motion; try to keep this circular motion the entire time to hammer the chest

Be prepared to be humbled because this exercise is not a joke.

Cable Crossovers Superset with Low Cable Chest Fly

Aim to complete four sets of 12-15 reps for both exercises. Cable crossovers are like the dumbbell fly where your arms should travel in a circular motion as if you were trying to bear hug a tree.

For the low cable chest fly’s make sure your elbows are flared out at 45 degrees the entire time. This helps to keep tension on the outer chest when the arms are extended and targets the upper chest when the arms are raised.

Also, try not to raise the arms above shoulder height. Otherwise, you may fatigue your front shoulders before your chest.


Finally, you will finish with three sets of body weight dips until failure. Remember, failure is achieved when you no longer can complete a full rep. Make sure you are leaning forward the entire time to keep tension on the chest.

At first, this chest workout may seem extremely difficult, so it helps to have a friend try this with you. This way you can push each other while having the safety of a spotter.  

About the author

MSc Epidemiology MSc Exercise and Nutrition Science CITI Human Subjects Training for Research Certified Sports Nutritionist Certified Personal Trainer