The chest muscles are some of the biggest in the upper body and some of the hardest to grow too. In part, this is because a lot of popular upper-body pressing movements—cough bench press cough—don’t fully engage the upper chest.
It’s an easy problem to address, using the incline bench press, one of trainer Christian Poulos’s go-to chest exercises. It’s one of four favored moves he posted on his Instagram account. Take a look and see what else he included.
Watch Christian Poulos’ Top Four Chest Moves
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Poulos included sets and reps for each exercise, and in the comments he recommended setting the weights bench to 30° for the incline bench press, also explaining he uses dumbbells for that move to achieve a greater range of motion.
To build muscle, choose a weight that makes the final two reps of each set hard to complete, but more importantly, follow the principles of progressive overload and increase the difficulty of one variable, such as the weight, over time.
It’s also worth focusing on moving through as full a range of motion as possible in order to engage the chest muscles fully. For example, make sure the bar touches your chest during the bench press and that your arms fully extend after the push-up.
We have more moves and routines to consider if you’re looking for more ways to target your chest. For experienced gym-goers, we have a month-long chest workout plan that directly trains your pecs twice a week. If you don’t have a gym membership, you can still add size to your chest. This home chest workout with dumbbells assumes you don’t have a weights bench, while this bodyweight home chest workout cycles through push-up variations.
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Alice Porter is a journalist who covers health, fitness and wellbeing, among other topics, for titles including Stylist, Fit & Well, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Grazia, VICE and Refinery29. When she’s not writing about these topics, you can probably find her at her local CrossFit box.