If I had a nickel for every time someone asked me “How much can you bench?” I would be a very rich man. I mean I would so rich that I could probably drop out of college and buy my own island.
But seriously, what is with guys and the bench press?
If you’re a guy who’s been working out for a while, then I guarantee you’ve been asked this question before.
I know so many guys who squeal with excitement when they’re able to hit a new bench press record
. To these guys, hitting a new bench press record is on the same level as having your first kid.
The bench press just isn’t worth it for most guys.
In addition to being a major cause for rotator cuff injuries, most people just can’t perform it properly.
It’s not a terrible exercise, but it just isn’t the best when it comes to building mass in your chest due to the fact that it puts a ton of strain on your shoulders as well.
Here are 3 of the best chest exercises you can do that doesn’t involve the bench press:
1) Low Incline Dumbbell Press
This is my personal favorite, mostly because it really hits the upper chest, which is an area most guys lack in. When doing the exercise, be sure to set the angle to no more than 30 degrees so that all the tension is kept on your chest and not your shoulders.
The best thing I love about this exercise is that it’s a trillion times safer than the bench press. If you’re bench pressing without a spotter, it’s pretty much game over when you get stuck under the bar. This is especially true is you’re bench pressing heavier weights, because you’ll probably die, and I’m guessing you don’t want to die.
On the other hand, if you get stuck while doing the incline dumbbell press, you can just drop the weight.
2) Weighted Push ups
While doing push ups with your bodyweight alone is a great exercise, it can’t do much to build muscle in your chest. What you need to do is add weight to yourself.
There are multiple ways to do this:
- use a weight vest
- wrap chains around your body
- have someone hold a stack of weights on your back
- my favorite way: have your 8 year old cousin sit on your back
3) Weighted Dips
Weighted dips are a great exercise for your lower chest, but they also work your triceps to a great extent as well, which is awesome. When adding weight to dips, there are 3 ways to do it, and that’s with a dumbbell between your legs, with a weight belt, or with chains wrapped around your body.
If you’re using a dumbbell, just know that it’s going to be hard to go pass the 60-65 pound mark since putting anything heavier between your legs is going to be difficult.
Some notes about doing weighted dips:
- For your grip, you’ll want to choose a wider grip since that works your chest more. A narrower grip will work your triceps more.
- Keep your chest up so that your shoulders don’t roll forward
- Make sure you lean forward a little when doing dips
- Make sure your shoulder go a little lower than your elbows
Ditch the bench press
What do you think are the best chest exercises? Let me know in the comments below.
Want to build a big back? Learn the best back exercises here.