1. Incline Dumbbell Press:
To me this is the king of all chest exercises (not the barbell bench press, we’ll get to that later). A big UPPER chest is the key to creating a more full look and the incline dumbbell press is in my experience the most effective for this purpose as it gives more control over the angle that you hold the dumbbells and greater mind muscle connection with the pecs.
– Tip: Set the bench at a 45 degree angle, and keep your hands turned at a 45 degree angle as well for best results.
2. Incline Barbell Press:
This is only a slight variation on the dumbbell press but using the barbell allows you to stimulate the upper chest under a greater load. Take a medium grip with your pinkys on the rings for this one.
– Tip: Try and keep a high “touch point” when lowering the bar to your chest, the closer to your collarbone the better you are targeting the upper chest.
3. Ultra Wide Grip Incline/Flat Barbell Bench:
This movement is key in creating a wider, more barrel chested look and was a favorite of the Golden Era bodybuilders of the 70s. For an “ultra” wide grip, place your index fingers on the rings or even wider depending on how long your arms are. Don’t set them so wide that you cant touch your chest.
– Tip: Be sure to keep your shoulder blades pulled back on this one as it can be especially rough on the shoulders/rotator cuffs if you aren’t careful.
4. Incline Chest Fly
A staple in every gym bro’s workout, the chest fly does have a place in building a bigger chest as long as its used properly. I prefer to use this exercise as a high rep finisher or as a pre exhaust isolation movement to get as much blood flow into the upper chest as possible.
– Tip: Keep elbows slightly bent on the way down and squeeze the chest together WITHOUT the dumbbells touching at the top of the movement.
5. Chest Dips
When it comes to building a wider, fuller chest I find that dips are a superior albeit forgotten exercise among most weightlifters. Adding these in as a weighted exercise if possible or high rep finisher (100 reps+) are my favorite ways to utilize this one. These are best performed on a roman chair if your gym has one, or if not, set up two barbells parallel to each other in a squat rack with the pins set up high enough to where your feet don’t touch the ground.
Tip: Lean your body slightly forward on the way down to get a greater stretch in the pecs, and return to a more upright position at the top of the movement.