There are so many chest exercises, but which ones should you be focusing your efforts on if you want to build a bigger chest and increase your strength? In this video, I’m going to give you the most popular chest exercises ranked from worst to best and help you to determine which you should be doing and which you can probably ditch.

With that said, we have to lay out the criteria the chest exercise selections. These are in the video.

Furthermore, if there is a steep learning curve to the movement or it is too equipment reliant then it may mot rank as high as some other options that are better and also don’t require as many resources.

With that being said, we start laying out the list and work our way up the rankings from the worst chest exercise to the best chest exercise.

WORST
1. Bench Flys
2. Standing Cable Press
3. 60 Degree Incline Bench Press
4. The WTF Blaster

The bench fly is and always will be at the bottom of the list for me. Not only does it place your joint at increased risk of injury but there are simply much better and safer options. For these reasons it belongs in the worst category.

The standing cable press being in the worst chest exercise category might surprise some considering much I prefer exercises that place us on our feet. That said, the weak link in the chain is always going to be your core strength making this a bad selection.

The angle of the incline bench press matters, a lot. Taking too steep an angle on the bench shifts the majority of the work to the front deltoid rather than the chest. Lower the angle as we will later and you take a worst choice for chest size and strength to a superior one.

This just needs no explanation. It was dumb then, it’s still dumb now (just like the person who supposedly invented it).

BETTER
5. Pushups
6. Floor Flys
7. Underhand DB Bench Press

Standard pushups are often times too remedial to provide a growth stimulus (unless they are being done as a high rep metabolic exercise at the end of a hard chest or push workout).

The floor fly, while better is still limited by the amount of resisted adduction that it provides. Switching to cables is going to always be optimal when it comes to resisting adduction of the and for building a bigger chest.

The underhand dumbbell bench press gives those without an incline bench an opportunity to train their upper chest. Don’t underestimate the power of this move but you better have the mobility in order to do it right.

BETTER STILL
8. Twisting Pushups
9. Cable Crossovers
10. Bench Cable Press
11. DB Upper Chest Pullovers

Twisting pushups are a harder version of the basic pushup and give you that slight adduction that makes their ability to stimulate chest growth even better.

The cable crossover is a superior way to build your chest since the cables provide better resistance through adduction. The same limitation on balance applies here however as it did in the standing cable press.

The bench cable press is one of my all time favorite ways to stimulate chest muscle growth, just understand it won’t be great for building maximal bench press strength at the same time.

The upper chest pullover is a unique chest exercise that you need to be sure to try at least once if you’re looking for better recruitment of the upper chest fibers and all you have is a flat bench.

ALMOST BEST
12. Dip (weighted optional and twisting optional) step up from pushup
13. Heavy 1-Arm Crossovers
14. 30 Degree Incline Bench Press

These three chest exercises are at the top of the heap when it comes to the best exercises for building a big chest. Watch the video to see the specific reasons why they stand alone.

BEST
15. Barbell Bench Press / DB Bench Press

There simply is no better chest exercise for building a big chest than either version of the basic bench press. While they are limited a bit into adduction they still allow for the most weight to be lifted and the best opportunity for progressive overload and therefore reign supreme.

If you want to make it even better however, combine the 1 arm crossover as a drop set after a set of either version of bench press to get that perfect compliment and take your chest gains to a whole new level.

For a complete step by step workout program that was created with the same level of science behind the selection of every exercise in the plans, be sure to head to athleanx.com via the link below and check out the program selector tool. Answer just a few questions and find the plan that is best suited to your current goals.

For more videos on exercises for a bigger chest and the chest workouts / chest exercises be sure to remember to subscribe to our channel here on youtube via the link below and remember to turn on your notifications so you never miss a new video when it’s published.

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    49 replies to "Chest Exercises Ranked (BEST TO WORST!)"

    • Laksiri Thilakaratne

      I really like this Ranked series.Who wants more.

      • Obs Trevy

        Man is trying to get a high liked comment lmao

      • CrimsonRTZ

        Me

      • Moses Douglas

        I’d rank it with one Jeff’s best way of teaching! We all should count how lucky we are to have access to his wealth of knowledge!

      • Isai D

        More what M8?🤔

      • Lap Nguyen

        If he already listed the worst to best, then what more do you want? Rather, start working out.

    • God's Sun_1

      I love how thorough this guy’s explanations are. I gain a tremendous amount of understanding watching his videos. Thanks for the high quality content.

      • AMK

        @Jaiden Arias Sure, why not?

        Jesus had some serious muscle definition.
        At least in the figurines of him on the cross in my Church were styled that way.

      • Jaiden Arias

        @AMK why joke about the one who died for you?

      • MGTOW Lite

        @Jaiden Arias Jesus had a great sense of humour.
        On the off chance he did get offended, he would most likely forgive the transgression anyway.

        Remember: Heaven’s above.

      • Petter Nerman

        @Rob Marshall Some of your examples and reasoning don’t really work, to be honest. He’s specifically saying that floor flys are better since they are safer and allow you to use a heavier weight. You’re missing that last part. And the same logic kind of goes for dips vs push-ups too. Dips are a high-rep exercise, but not nearly as much as push-ups. Plus it’s easier to add extra weight to the dips, as stated by Jeff.

      • Vegan Fitness

        Hey guys I just posted my top 10 Chest exercises make sure to check it out and leave your feedback!

    • Pranav Bulusu

      Hey Jeff got a video idea: Do’s and Don’ts before/after a workout. I think this could help a lotta people including myself

      • gkrrob

        Yes please

      • Determinator 🏳️‍🌈⃠

        @Jaiden Arias no

      • rhymeister

        Do stretch but not cold! I always do a set first then stretch and then stretch after the next set. I used to go three or four sets but anymore just stick w/ two. 😂

      • MOVIES&GAMES

        @rhymeister fail

    • ska_melon

      Hi its me again:

      Worst:
      Bench Fly: 1:20
      Standing Cable Press: 2:15
      60 degree Incline Bench Press: 2:54
      ???: 3:51

      Better:
      Pushups: 4:15
      Floor Flys: 5:07
      Underhand Dumbell Bench Press: 5:52

      Better Still:
      Twisting Pushup: 7:02
      Cable Crossover: 7:42
      Lying Cable Benchpress: 8:38
      Dumbell Upperchest Pullover: 9:27

      Almost Best:
      Dips: 10:18
      Heavy One-Arm Crossover 11:16
      30-45 degree Incline Bench Press: 12:14
      Barbell/Dumbell Benchpress: 12:57

      • Mangwano Nazzaruddin

        🇵🇰♥️

      • Robert Mason

        Cheers you save me so much hassle. Top fella…blessings

      • Ryan Jafri

        Thank you!

      • Showtime Jaed0n

        🦄

      • Ankush Sharma

        you’re the hero bro

    • Im Hymel

      I tried the reverse dumbbell press and I feel it a lot, but I feel it a lot in my shoulders too (same with most chest workouts). Any advice? I’ve always had trouble growing my chest and definitely have some overactive front delts.

    • Bass For Kids

      I started bodybuilding in the1970s.Careful doing those pullovers.Early bodybuilding taught it as a way of expanding the rib cage by doing a set of squats first so you’d be breathing hard.I stretched my rib cage to the point of injury.Not sure what muscles I pulled but I was out for a month.Tried doing a few pullovers a couple yrs ago but felt that familiar pain so X’ed that exercise.

    • Historical Garb

      Thank you for this! I did my chest day today and did the incline Bench Press, I didn’t get that pump I was looking for. Next time definitely doing the 30-45 incline bench press, heavy crossovers, and the barbell/bumble bench press!

    • Arthur Reich

      I’m 76. I’ve been working with a trainer 2x week. I moved to Florida for the winter. I need to create my own training without getting hurt. I’m really listening to you. Thanks

      • KSA Saami

        additionally u can do elliptical and some yoga

      • Kurt T

        fking GOAT

      • G J C

        Yea yoga or pilates work very well for me, a smart watch helps , I’ve a Garmin

      • vedant sawant

        Legend 💪🏽🫶🏽

      • garf

        damn training at that age must be tought, good luck sir

    • HaulinAssAssin

      Incredibly well explained video, thanks for the information. I’ll feel much more confident in picking my workouts for chest going forward!!

    • Edmond Martin

      Jeff, Great and informative video. It would be useful when you do these to perhaps share the amount of weight you use or suggest we use as this would help us (me) situate where we are and the next step. Current videos rarely show this because of the fast movements. Thanks again.

    • knaz

      First time finding your channel. Subbed. Good info I’ll check out your other stuff. I have started working out seriously for the last two months and hope to do it for the rest of my life. Going about 4-5 days a week now. However, I had shoulder surgery last year and was told never to do dips again. Is it really bad for my shoulder, or were the PT people being paranoid? I was also told not to do military press which is a bummer since like that motion. Anyhow this video convinced me to stop doing bench flies and try the 1 arm cable crossover super sets tomorrow!

    • z z

      have been doing the 30-45 degree incline bench press for a while, and the results speak for themselves…could not be happier.. love your work Jeff and really appreciate all the free content.. cheers legend.

    • Samantha Auguste

      Love the rank series! Very helpful as I’m focusing on chest exercise. Can you do a ranking for glute exercises? I would hella appreciate it!

    • ATHLEAN-X™

      Having trouble getting defined pecs? I have the solution for you right here! => https://youtu.be/wMmy2MlH55U

      • YoungRichFamousTallMostHandsomeNWealthyWhoFTMBBIA

        This is quality content I really like knowing bench press is the way to go. I also appreciate knowing what is not worth it

      • XXXTentaclez

        or not easier per say but “better”

      • SpicyMusicPiano

        7:35 I think cable flyes would better activete chest than crossovers. Isin’t it?

      • Garry Wahi

        Are bench flys on a machine safer than on a bench

      • KillerKing_420ttv

        @YoungRichFamousTallMostHandsomeNWealthyWhoFTMBBIA I

    • Daniel Burke

      Great video. Questions on other chest exercises: Seated flies (machine) and cable arm raises (knee high to chest high). Looking to improve my standard chest day while recovering from an impingement. Where would those exercises rank on the worst to best scale?

    • PATRICK J JEFFAS

      Fantastic presentation! I am 72, in “pretty good “ shape, recovering from right shoulder replacement surgery (7 months ago). Without seeing me, can you recommend the best and safest chest exercises for my situation?

    • Abhinav Ray

      9:29 DB upperchest pullover
      11:20 heavy one arm crossover
      12:57 Benchpess

    • Bixby Robinson

      Jesse I’m proud of you! I watched a video of you 5 years ago and look at you now. Keep up the good work Bro. You are an inspiration! Also Bigups Mr. Cavaliers! You are a great leader. Thank you guys! God Bless you! 🙏🏾

    • tremblz2202

      I’ve never really connected with incline presses well, though I’ve been doing them for years. Your tip about lowering the angle of the bench totally changed the feel of the exercise for me, and lit up my upper chest. Instant connection. Great tip!

    • William Koch

      I love how shredded he is to actually show the muscles working the ways he’s explaining they are

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