8 Brutal Chest Exercise Variations
I hate training chest. There, I said it.
For the rest of you guys that adore training chest and upper body, here are some brutal chest exercises only the craziest of people will perform.
Related – 4 Chest Workout For Mass and Strength
Some exercises you may already perform, while others you may never have heard of. Most exercises don’t take a great deal of expertise to complete, although I would start light before you take a trip to snap city.
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#1 – Barbell Bench Press With Bands
Think you’re pretty good at benching? Wait til you’ve tried these.
Buy yourself a set of resistance bands and grab some kettlebells or light dumbbells. Tie up the weight with your bands and then hang them from the bar.
If you’ve ever seen a baby giraffe trying to walk for the first time, this is going to be how it feels benching. Wobbly, scary, and you may hate it.
Bench as if it was a regular set, except go a little slower to help stay in the groove. This will blast all of your stabilizer muscles and really help you stay in your groove as you bench.
#2 – Paused Bench Press
One of the best chest strength builders I know paused bench press is fun, easy, and can really push yourself to the limit.
If you’re like most bros out there, you use your chest as a trampoline instead of a place to stop and touch the barbell. This gives you a huge advantage in how much you can bench and you look like an idiot doing it.
Paused bench is as simple as pausing for even one second on your chest and then exerting all of your power to push it up. Anywhere from a one to three-second pause is plenty to skyrocket your chest gains.
#3 – Weighted Chest Dips
Like dips? No, we’re not talking about sour cream and onion or cheese dips… But we are talking about chest dips.
Dips on an assisted dip machine or regular dips really pound your triceps and chest. Add a weight belt or weighted vest to add more resistance to your workout.
Be sure to keep your feet back so there is more pressure on your chest than your triceps.
#4 – Incline Dumbbell Pullovers
Dumbbell pullovers are one of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s favorite chest exercises. It helps expand the rib cage, build some massive pecs, and even helps sculpt your lats.
Performing dumbbell pullovers on an incline bench helps you hit areas of your chest you forgot about and can give you a great stretch.
This exercise is a must for anyone who sits all day at work. Whether you’re on a computer or working a machine, this exercise will help alleviate back problems and posture.
#5 – Iso-Tension Contractions
Another Arnold favorite, iso-tension contractions is a technique that he brought to the limelight.
No matter what Arnold trained, he would end his session with posing and flexing. This got more blood and nutrients to those muscles he just worked out.
“I pose my chest by doing the side chest pose where the rib cage is fully expanded with the sucked in. I do this from waist both sides. Then I squeeze and crimp the pecs as hard as I can from all angles to bring out the height, thickness, and shape. This not only gives me better control of these muscles, but it also brings out all the veins and muscular striations, which improves the definition.”
Arnold may be onto something, are you willing to try it out?
#6 – One-Arm Dumbbell Bench Press With Iso-Hold
Similar to iso-tension contractions, one-arm dumbbell bench press with an iso-hold exhibits many of the same characteristics. Simply perform one side at a time, leaving the inactive side in a paused bench press hold. The tighter you can squeeze and hold, the better.
This is going to force blood into your muscles and in turn, build some impressive pecs.
#7 – Chest Press Machine Drop Set
Have a chest press machine you like? Good.
Do your regular sets and for your last set push yourself to do the biggest drop set you can.
What is a drop set?
A drop set is basically when you drop the weight and keep going. So 10 reps at 100 pounds, strive to do 10 at 90, 10 at 80, etc.
Push yourself to the max and drop weight when you start to fail your reps.
#8 – Run the Rack Incline Dumbbell Press
If you’ve never heard of playing run the rack, you’re in for a fun treat.
Similar to the chest press machine drop set, you will be doing incline dumbbell presses and running up and down the rack.
Start off at 10 pounds and work your way up to as heavy as you can get 10 to 12 reps in. Work your way back down to 10 pounds.
This is going to be one of the most painful and extreme sets you do, but you’ll be addicted to how fun it is.
Bonus Chest Workout
Do you want a bi-weekly chest workout that will add some slabs of meat to those pecs?
Replace your current chest workout with this and enjoy the gains.
This is a simple alternating-week workout that will keep you on your toes, keep your training fun, and spark some life into the gym that’s become monotonous.
- Barbell Bench Press
- Paused Bench Press
- Run The Rack Incline Dumbbell Press
- Iso-Tension Contractions
- Close Grip Bench Press
- Incline Dumbbell Pullovers
- One-Arm Bench Press With Iso-Hold
- Chest Machine Drop Set
- Iso-Tension Contractions
Wrapping It Up
Going to the gym should be fun. Try these new exercises and spark some life into the gym.
The more fun you have at the gym, the more consistently you’ll go. You’ll eat better, look better, and feel better.
There’s nothing more satifying than to have someone ask you “what in the hell did you change” when they see explosive growth.