Most men hit the regular flat chest press every Monday, also called “International Chest Day” in bro-speak. But if your pec development is still poor to quite poor, try these three classic chest-chiseling exercises from natural bodybuilder Julian Smith. They’ll make your pecs pop like corn and bump you up from an A to a Bro-cup.
1. Incline barbell press
The inclined angle hits the upper chest more, an area that tends to lag for most dudes because they do so much damn flat pressing. Though dumbbells have historically been recommended over barbells for maximizing muscle growth and chest contractions, Julian claims, “I have seen great results with barbell moves across all muscle groups. They allow me to use a maximum amount of weight for maximum mass gains.”
Julian recommends 4 sets of 6 to 10 reps. And even though you’re dipping into lower rep ranges here, he still says to use a lighter weight with a slow lowering and a big pause on the fully stretched position at the bottom. This will help boost muscle activation in the targeted muscle.
Julian also suggests that you play around with your grip width to see what works best for you. In terms of performance, he says to “keep your shoulder blades retracted throughout the entire set to put more tension on your pecs.”
2. Flat dumbbell fly into hex press
Julian recommends this combination chest exercise to shock the system and spark new gains. “It’s a great movement for opening up and expanding the chest on the fly and then going right into a full contraction on the press,” says Smith.
Do 4 sets of 10-15 reps for this best of both worlds mass-builder. And really focus on the mind-muscle connection on each rep by making your chest do all of the work, even if that means using a lighter load than normal.
3. Bodyweight chest dip
Many top bodybuilders have called the dip the squat of the upper body and Julian calls it “the pullup of the pecs.” There’s no better multi-joint move to maximally stretch and contract the chest to add serious strength and size.
Julian recommends you lean forward and not go straight up and down. “This helps transfer tension from the triceps to the pecs, particularly the lower pecs,” says Smith.
Do 4 sets to failure with slow negatives, pauses at the bottom, and full chest squeezes at the top of the move stopping just short of full elbow extension. Just like all chest exercises, keep those shoulder blades retracted to put max tension on those chest muscles.
Add any one or all of these moves to your next chest workout and you’ll be pounding your pecs like a Silverback gorilla in no time.