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Best Chest Exercise?

Posted Mar 23 2010 12:33pm
Yesterday I was in the locker room where two members stopped me and asked,

'Lance, what's the BEST 
chest exercise?'

It was kinda funny because they were both shirtless at the time and I wondered where this question originally came from...

Although, I have a strict policy when it comes to l ocker room etiquette , this situation was appropriate enough to field their question.

First off, I hate 'best' questions as there's always multiple ways to approach something and it usually varies from person to person.

So I turned the question back on them to find out what they meant by 'best'.

Did they mean an exercise that would give them identical matching 50 inch, hairless, tanned chests?

Probably a cycle of steroids, 30 pack at the tanning salon, and a Phillips Body Groomer!

They decided 'best chest exercise' actually meant, what exercise activates the pecs the most.

Ah, okay, now I could answer the question more specifically by using functional anatomy!

For an exercise to activate the pecs the most you need at least three things
1. Shoulder Flexion
2. Horizontal Shoulder Adduction
3. Internal Humeral Rotation

Shoulder flexion means the exercise should make your upper arm go straight out in front of your body.

Horizontal Shoulder Adduction means that the arms/hands should come together toward the middle of your body.

Internal Humeral Rotation means that your upper arm bone (the humerus) needs to rotate inward during the exercise, do this by twisting your wrist from palm up to palm down as you push or press.

Most exercises will have shoulder flexion built in to them, but ensuring horizontal adduction and internal rotation will make your chest exercises even better.

Using cables, dumbbells, or resistance bands will allow your hands to come together and twist at the top of the contraction.

  • A barbell has a fixed hand and wrist position which limits bringing the hands together and turning the wrist inward
  • The perfect push-up allows for turning of the wrist, but not moving the hands together
  • A dumbbell chest press allows for all three actions

To conclude, there is NO BEST chest exercise - there are BETTER chest exercises.
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