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Best chest exercises with weights

Best chest exercises with weights

Last time I have covered Back Exercises With Weights and today, it’s time to talk about Chest Exercises With Weights. I would recommend doing chest exercises as your third option after training your back and legs. It is the third-largest muscle group in your body and it is quite important to have the well-developed chest to have that aesthetic look.

Training chest is one of the most favourite training routines among men, but I don’t see women doing chest exercises very often. And I think that’s a mistake that most women do. It is really beneficial for women to train chest because while training your chest, front shoulders and triceps are working as well. It has the same importance for women to strengthen and tone their upper chest, triceps, and shoulders as for men.


Best chest exercises with weights

Doesn’t matter if you are a woman or a man, don’t be put off by chest exercises and have a look at my best chest exercises with weights.


Incline and flat dumbbell or barbell bench press 

This exercise primarily focuses on your upper chest and secondary on your middle and lower chest, triceps, and deltoids (front of the shoulders).

How to execute this exercise correctly

  • Lay down on an incline bench set to 30 to 45 degrees or a flat bench with your back flat against the bench and your feet flat on the floor giving you a strong base and support.
  • Take the bar with a slightly wider grip as shoulder width. Your eyes should be at the same level as barbell and your palms facing in front of you.
  • Carefully lift the bar off, don’t rush to start, arch your lower back a little and push your chest up and shoulders back.
  • Slowly (controlling your negative) lower bar down just above your upper chest and touch it with the bar.
  • Pause for a moment and exhaling air push your barbell back to a starting position.
  • If you are working with dumbbells, take the appropriate weight with a neutral grip (palms facing each other) and place dumbbells on your tights.
  • Kick your tights up to help raise dumbbells up to the starting position and lay down on incline bench keeping the same form as working out with the barbell.
  • Once your hands up, rotate your wrists so palms are facing away from you. Your arms should be just a little wider than shoulder width and parallel to your upper chest.
  • Slowly start lowering your weight down towards your upper chest. Ideally, it should take 3 seconds to lower the weight down and 1 second to lift it up.
  • Go as low as you feel comfortable with and start feeling a good stretch in your chest, pause for a moment at the bottom position.
  • Exhaling pushes the weights back to the starting position.
  • Repeat between 8 – 12 repetitions. 3 – 5 sets.


Weighted Dips

This exercise primarily focuses on your chest, triceps and secondary on your shoulders and core.

How to execute this exercise correctly

  • For this exercise, you will need access to parallel bars and wear the weight belt which allows you to attach weighted plates. Another option is to grab the dumbbell with your feet.
  • Hold your body at arm’s length (arms locked) above the bars, knees slightly bend back. That is your starting position.
  • Lower yourself slowly, controlling the negative movement with your torso leaning forward around 30 degrees and your elbows flared out slightly until you feel a slight stretch in your chest.
  • Once you feel the stretch, use your chest to bring your body back to the starting position.
  • Squeeze the chest at the top of the movement for a second.
  • Repeat between 8 – 15 repetitions. 3 sets.


If it’s too hard to execute this exercise with extra weight, you can do it just with your body weight or on the dip assist machine to help you.

If you won’t lean forward, you will focus on triceps more than a chest.


Cable Crossover

This exercise primarily focuses on your chest and secondary on your shoulders and core.

How to execute this exercise correctly

  • To get yourself into the starting position, place the pulleys on a high (targeting upper chest), medium (targeting mid-chest) or low position (targeting lower chest).
  • Select the resistance to be used and hold the pulleys in each hand.
  • Step forward in front while pulling your arms together in front of you. Slightly lean forward to help with your balance. This will be your starting position.
  • With a slight bend on your elbows, extend your arms to the side and start bringing your arms together in a wide arc until your arms touch in front of your chest. At this point squeeze your chest for a second.
  • Return your arms back to the starting position. Make sure to use the same arc of motion used to lower the weights.
  • Hold for a second at the starting position and repeat the movement.
  • Repeat for 15 repetitions. 3 sets.


Dumbbell squeeze press

This exercise primarily focuses on your chest and secondary on your shoulders and triceps.

How to execute this exercise correctly.

  • Lie on a flat (targeting mid-chest) or incline bench (targeting upper chest) and hold a dumbbell in each hand with your arms straight above your chest with a neutral grip (palms facing each other). That is your starting position.
  • Slightly bend your arms through elbows and slowly, controlling your negative lower dumbbells down so your dumbbells slightly touch your chest, keep your weights close, so they are nearly touching.
  • Exhaling pushes the weights up to the starting position.
  • Squeeze your chest at the top and pause for a second. Repeat the cycle.
  • Repeat for 15 repetitions. 3 sets.


Final thoughts

These are very simple and one of the best chest exercises with weights. Don’t forget to always keep your form, don’t rush through exercises and try to choose a right weight so you could execute the exercises with correct form, controlling your negative movement and attempt to do somewhere in between target repetition range.

If you can do more repetitions, just do it, don’t’ stop once reached your repetition target if you can do more. Do as many repetitions as you can, but for the next set use a heavier weight. If you can’t hit your minimum repetition range, do opposite and for next set take the lighter weight. Follow my, advice, be patient and you will start seeing results very quickly.

As always, if you ever need a hand or have any questions, feel free to leave them below and I will be more than happy to help you out.

All the best,

Marius Mickevicius

Founder of ihealthylifestyle

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14 thoughts on “Best chest exercises with weights”

  • It’s about time I hit the gym again. Working at home puts on more belly fat than I’ve imagined. And when I’ve gone without exercise for months, the muscles have turned flabby.

    Personally, I’m not a fan of barbell, but I like the tips you shared on the cable crossover. I’ll be trying that in the gym soon.

    • Thank you for reading my article Kenny. If you don’t like barbell exercises, you can always change barbell to dumbbells, I would even recommend using dumbbells more than barbell, because of wider range of motion, which helps you to stretch chest muscles to a maximum.

  • Awesome article, I go to the gym at least three times a week my self and as you mention in your article training my chest is definitely one of my favorite thing to do. I will definitely be applying the techniques you have here, a strong body is crucial to healthy living. Great article.

    • Thank you Victor. As they say if you have strong and healthy body you have strong and healthy soul! Continue your great work at the gym and happy that my article can help to achieve your goals.

  • I do hit the gym at least 5 times a week doing all body exercises but I never focused on weighted dips on a parallel bar gonna try today to see how much stress it puts on my chest.

    Thanks for the post Marius.

    Vikrant B.

    • Well done Vikrant, you are doing great work, I usually go to the gym 4 times a week. Yes it is really good to try weighted dip and pull ups to put more stress on your muscles and that way at can lead to better muscle growth.

  • Hi Marius

    Thanks for a great article, it is great to having an explanation as well as a workout video accompanying. Chest is one of my favourites.

    Keep the posts coming, look forward to some more content

  • Very nice article explaining “CHEST EXERCISES WITH WEIGHTS”.

    During my young age, I used to go to the gym for exercise, and I can remember my trainer always suggested to focus on Leg and back before building the chest. Many people often forget about the leg. But it is too important.

    “WEIGHTED DIPS’ is a very useful freehand, and I used to practice this more than lifting the weight. CABLE CROSSOVER is also a very important one, I liked this too.

    However, you step by step explanation with the proper video guide made things easy to understand. Thank you for sharing.

    • Your trainer was right. People focusing on chest and arm exercises too much these days, and often forget to train most important body parts for overall strength and muscle mass growth, which are legs and back. Chest should be third priority after these two. Weighted dips is great exercises as it will give your muscles more shock and stimulate the for growth more. Try weighted dips for sure.

  • Great Stuff Marius! Personally nothing burns my chesticles better than dips or high cable chest fly! What do you think about decline bench?

    • Thank you Gilvydas, these two exercises are great I love them too. For most people, a flat bench press is enough to develop lower chest, usually, upper chest is behind and we have to do incline bench press. But if you feel like your lower chest is behind or you want it bigger, the decline bench press is great exercises to really hit that lower chest.

  • Really enjoying your blog. Getting back into the gym after a lot of quarantine time off has literally been like starting over in many areas. Making new gains every time I work out now feels great. Love the new techniques and the science behind it.

    • I’m very happy that you are enjoying my blog John. I’m feeling exactly the same, it is not easy to get back to the gym after such a long quarantine break, but at the same time it feels so good to exercise again.

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