10 Amazing Barbell Exercises for Chest

Published by Roshan S Pillai on

Barbell exercises for chest

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There are so many ways to train your chest, but what if I gave you one barbell and told you to perform the chest exercises with it. You might be limited to a barbell bench press.

So here, in this article, you will find some best barbell exercises for the chest which you might have not done before. You will find bench press exercises here as it is one of the best exercises out there, but I will share some other unique exercises which you might have not done before. So read the entire article to know about each exercise.

Barbell Exercises for Chest

1. Barbell Bench Press

This is one of the old school favorite exercises which you might have seen many famous bodybuilders like Jay Cutler or Arnold use to do. It is a very effective way to build the size and strength of your chest, so have this in your workout routine.

How to do

1. Lay down on a flat bench with your feet placed on the floor. Your feet should be under the knees.

2. Grab the barbell with both hands placed slightly wider than the shoulder width. Have a spotter behind you to lift the weights for you.

3. Lift the barbell up and hold it at the top. The barbell should be in line with your mid chest. This will be your starting position.

4. Bring the barbell down towards the mid part of your chest. Breath in as you go down.

5. Pause at the bottom when the barbell is almost touching your chest and then push the weights up back to the starting position. Breath out on the way up.

Make sure that you do some warm-up sets before starting your main set. Also, some rotator cuff exercises before doing a bench press.

2. Reverse-grip Bench Press

This exercise will help you to build up your upper pec muscles which are mostly underdeveloped in many individuals. Also, a reverse grip activates your upper chest more by 30% according to one research. So try it out if you haven’t already!

Muscles Targeted- Upper chest ( pectoralis major and minor)

How to do

1. Lay down on a bench with your knees bent and lower back slightly arched.

2. Grab the barbell with your hands in a reverse grip position with both hands placed wider than the shoulder width (Your index finger and thumb should be slightly relaxed to avoid any wrist pain).

3. Lift the barbell off the rack with the help of the spotter and start bringing the bar down to your lower chest.

4. Bring the barbell close toward the nipple region and then push the weights up.

5. Squeeze your upper chest as you move the barbell up and then repeat the movement.

You don’t need to go heavy at the beginning even if you can do heavy regular bench press because your body is not used to this movement. So start with some light weights and gradually progress to the heavy weights without messing your form.

3. Incline Push Ups with Barbell

This is a good way to use a barbell for some amazing push-up movements. This is a good exercise for your lower chest especially for beginners.

Muscles targeted- lower and mid-chest

How to do

1. Place a barbell on a squat rack and adjust the height according to your level. Beginners should place it slightly up.

2. Grab the barbell by keeping your hands slightly wider than your shoulders. Your back and knees should be straight.

3. Start moving your body down while keeping your elbows at a 45° angle and puase when your chest is just above the bar.

4. From there, push your body up by squeezing your chest and extend your elbows at the top. Your core and lower back should be stable.

5. Then repeat the same movement and do around 10-12 reps depending upon your strength.

Make sure that you are not bending your lower back too much as this can make the exercise less effective. Also, keep your neck straight and abs tight while performing this movement.

4. Incline Bench Press

Incline press is a very effective exercise to build your upper chest. Many people have underdeveloped upper pecs, so I would highly recommend you to include those exercises which target your upper chest.

Targeted muscles– Pectoralis major and minor ( upper chest)

How to do

1. Lay down on an incline bench with your feet on the floor.

2. Grab the barbell with both hands slightly wider than the shoulder width. Have a spotter behind you to lift the weights for you.

3. Lift the barbell and hold it at the top. This will be your starting position.

4. Bring the barbell down towards the upper part of your chest. Breath in as you bring the weights down. Your elbow should be at about 45° angle.

5. Pause at the bottom and then push the weights up back to the starting position. Breath out on the way up.

You can go heavy on this but your form should be perfect. Also, focus on your upper chest when performing this exercise and feel those muscles getting pumped up!

5. Landmine Eccentric Pullover and chest Press

This exercise is specifically for advanced lifters who want to add some variations to their workout. This is a very high intensive exercise only recommended for advance individuals.

Muscles targeted- mid and upper chest

How to do

1. Place one end of the barbell at the corner of the wall or attach it to a machine.

2. Add a plate onto the barbell and the place it above the base as seen in the above video.

3. Lay down flat on the floor next to the bar bell and hold one end of the barbell with your hands.

4. By keeping your elbows in, lift the barbell straight up and from there, move it back slowly until it touches the base.

5. Relax and then again bring the barbell towards the chest level and repeat the movement.

Note: If you start feeling any pain in your shoulder joints or anywhere in the back, then stop the exercise immediately. There are other exercises available here, so you can do those instead of hurting your shoulders.

6. Landmine Single-arm Chest Press

This is another easy way of doing a floor press. Here you can target each side of your chest separately. So the people who have uneven chest can perform this exercise and can focus on each side separately.

Muscles Targeted- Pectoralis major and minor

How to do

1. Place one end of the barbell at the corner of the wall or attach it to a machine.

2. Now lay down on the floor next to the barbell such that the other end of the bar is close to the chest.

3. Hold the barbell and lift it while keeping your elbows in contact with the ground and this will be your starting position.

4. From there, press the barbell up and extend your elbows at the top. Your elbow should be at about 60° angle.

5. Slowly return back to the starting position and then repeat the movement.

When you are done with the exercise, you should use your other hand to place the barbell on the floor rather than forcefully dropping it down. You should repeat the same set on the other side to complete one full set.

7. Floor Press with Barbell

Another great way to do a chest press. Here, you just need to lay down on a flat surface and that’s it, you don’t need any bench here. It is a great exercise to build the strength of your upper body.

Muscles Targeted- Pectoralis major and minor ( mid chest)

How to do

1. Lay down on a flat surface near to the squat rack where it is easier to place the weights after the exercise.

2. Grab the barbell with both hands slightly wider than the shoulder width. Have a spotter behind you to lift the weights for you.

3. Lift the barbell up and hold it at the top. The barbell should be in line with your upper chest and your legs should be lying straight down.This will be your starting position.

4. Bring the barbell down towards the lower part of your chest. Breath in as you go down. Your elbow should be at about 45° angle.

5. Pause at the bottom and then push the weights up back to the starting position. Breath out on the way up. Remember not to overarch your lower back.

You dont have to touch your chest during this exercise as the floor will not allow you to bring the weights down to the bottom. This will put less stress on your shoulders which will be beneficial for those who have shoulder pain or are uncomfortable in performing the regular bench press.

Apart from that, many powerlifters also perform this exercise during the off-season as a variation to bench press to improve their PR numbers.

8. Landmine Bottom-up Chest Press

This is an advanced version of the landmine press. You can try this exercise if you already have some experience lifting heavyweights. I will not recommend this exercise for beginners because this requires a lot of balancing and focus.

Muscles targeted- chest and abs

How to do

1. Place one end of the barbell at the corner of the wall or you can also attach it to a machine.

2. Put one plate inside the barbell and lay down on the side of the bar.

3. Pick the barbell up by placing one hand under the plate the other hand on bar. Your body should be under the barbell and the plate should be parallel to the shoulder.

4. Now slowly bring your hands down into a pressing position and then push the weights up. Your other hand should be just below the barbell for safety.

This looks easier but trusts me guys, it’s a tough exercise. If you are good at the bench press and other unilateral pushing exercises then you could be able to do this. But don’t try this if you are a beginner or even at an intermediate level.

9. Double-hand Landmine Press

This is a functional way of training your chest. Here, you are in an athletic position that will engage your core and other stabilizer muscles. It’s a good way to improve your pushing strength, especially for athletes.

Targeted muscles- upper and inner chest

How to do

1. Place one end of the bar at the corner of the wall and stand straight with slightly leaning forward.

2. Hold the bar from both hands and then pull it up towards the level of your chest and this will be your starting position.

3. With your back straight and abs tight, start pushing the bar up and extend your elbows at the top. Your body should not come forward.

4. Slowly bring the bar back towards the starting position and then repeat the movement.

Make sure that you are squeezing your upper chest while pushing the barbell up. Also don’t overarch your lower back and engage your abs throughout the movement.

10. Decline Bench Press

This is probably one of the best exercises to build the strength of your lower chest. This exercise also puts your shoulders in a better position which may prevent you from any shoulder injuries.

Targeted muscles– Pectoralis major and minor ( lower chest)

How to do

1. Lay down on a decline bench with your feet supported at the high end of the bench.

2. Grab the barbell with both hands slightly wider than the shoulder width. Have a spotter behind you to lift the weights for you.

3. Lift the barbell up and hold it at the top. The barbell should be in line with your upper chest. This will be your starting position.

4. Bring the barbell down towards the lower part of your chest. Breath in as you go down. Your elbow should be at about 45° angle.

5. Pause at the bottom and then push the weights up back to the starting position. Breath out on the way up.

Keep in mind that your hips should not come up during the movement. Also, remember to have a spotter behind you till the end of the workout. You can go heavy on this, but your form should not go wrong.

Final Words

So these were some great barbell exercises you can do to build and strengthen your chest. All these exercises should be done with the right form and technique to get better results from them. You can include any of these exercises into your cheat routine, but make sure that you are also doing some dumbbell and bodyweight exercises along with it for the best results.

If you found this article helpful, then share it with your friends or relatives who can also get benefit from it. If you want me to write on some other topics, please feel free to mention them in the comment section below.


Roshan S Pillai

Roshan Pillai is an ACSM Certified Personal Trainer with more than 6 years of experience in lifting weights and guiding people to get fit. He is the owner and editor of fitnessproworkout.com, and has worked as a fitness coach in gyms and is passionate about fitness and helping people to get in shape.

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