Just because it's chest day doesn't mean you have to put your butt on a bench for your session. While the bench is a valuable tool for overall chest strength, it can put undue stress on the deltoids, which can be difficult for those with injured shoulders. For pure chest growth, there are several exercises that will take you off the bench and onto the path to chest growth PECtacular style.
Getting fit from the ground up 7: Chest stretch (; 0:09)
Try mixing it up by doing these 8 exercises to hit the chest from all different angles. Once you start incorporating these moves into your chest workout, you'll notice a thicker, fuller, and more developed chest in no time.
1. Land mine press
The landmine press is a simple yet innovative move that primarily targets the upper part of the chest muscles. To prepare for this exercise, place a regular Olympic barbell in the corner (use a towel so you don't scratch the walls) or on top of a landmine fixture. Add the appropriate amount of weight to the other end of the bar.
Grab the weighted end with one hand. From a standing position, push the bar up. This emphasizes the upper part of the chest.
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2. Dip (pec variation)
Dips look simple and easy, but these high-impact exercises can be surprisingly challenging. Find the nearest dip station and use both hands to spread the machine a little further apart than you would for a traditional tricep dip. Focus on leaning your body down rather than keeping it upright to fully engage the pecs - you'll find that your pecs pick up some heat from every angle with this exercise.
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3. Cable crossing
The beauty of cable crossings is the different variations you can use to pound the pecs from different angles.
The difference between a crossover and a standard fly is the end of the movement. Bring arms together for cable crossover and form an "X" shape at the end of each repetition to stimulate the inner chest area of the chest.
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Possibly the most fundamental bodyweight exercise of all, the push-up is a standard fitness test for Navy SEALS, hardcore CrossFitters, and young children alike. Mix up this gym staple by doing the push-up off a medicine ball or elevating your legs by placing your feet on steps to hit different parts of the chest.
Start with your arms slightly wider than shoulder-width and lower yourself until your triceps are parallel to the floor. Keep your body in a plank and make sure you keep your elbows as close to your body as possible.
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5. Floor press
When your bench press hits a plateau, the floor press is a surefire way to completely break that barrier. Simply lie on your back on the floor and get under the bar to perform the pressing motion in the same way as you would with a traditional bench press. Since the rep ends as soon as your triceps touch the floor, you'll find that you can usually lift more weight with a floor press than you could normally do with a standard bench press. The bottom press will help you a lot to improve the lockout part of the press if that's a weak point for you.
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6. Pec Fly Machine
Many people are skeptical about gym equipment, but the classic pec fly machine is a great way to work your pecs from all angles while minimizing stress on your shoulders.
Try not to get too heavy while performing this pec variation. Instead, focus on making that all-important mind-muscle connection. Push in the middle of the movement to really activate the inner part of the chest. To add a little more difficulty, try using one arm at a time for a one-sided pec fly variation.
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7. BOSU push-ups
Similar to the standard push-up, the BOSU variation is a great finisher that burns out the pecs while engaging different regions of the core.
Place your hands on the sides of a BOSU ball, with the rounded side facing the floor. Slowly lower your body to the base in 4-second increments before bringing it back up in a slow, controlled manner. This unique variation is a great way to work your abs while improving stability and overall functionality.
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8. Svend Press
For a Svend Press you need a plate, but not a barbell. From a standing position, hold a 45-pound plate (or two 25-pound plates for a greater range of motion) at chest level and begin to push the weight outward with both hands while simultaneously tightening your pecs. Slowly bring the weight back onto your chest and repeat the movement. This form of press helps define the inner part of your pecs and challenges your shoulders.
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