Turns out there are a bunch of usual suspects on the list of the best chest exercises for men. In the hopes of keeping our workouts short while still giving our chest a respectable size, we looked to science to tell us which chest exercises activate the most muscle fibers. In turn, that’ll help us exhaust the muscle quicker.
Of course, our bodies are adaptive and we’ll need to switch up variables on the regular. Stuff like the number of reps executed, the weights use, the type of resistance employed, etc. All that stuff has to change in order to avoid plateaus, which is meathead talk for hitting a dead end. Anyway, researchers from the University of Wisconsin, Lacrosse performed a study in which participants engaged in nine popular chest building exercises. The researchers used electromyography (EMG) to directly measure and rank the effectiveness of the exercises according to the percentage of pectoral muscle fibers activated during the exercise. The top three were …
1. Flat Barbell Bench Press | Muscle fiber activation: 100 percent
It’s often the benchmark of strength, although why that is we’re not sure. Part of the big three — bench, squat, and deadlift — the bench press was found to engage all of the pectoral muscles when moderate to heavy weights were used. Just be sure to switch angles, including incline and decline bench press, to build a well-rounded set of pecs.
2. Pec Deck Machine | Muscle fiber activation: 98 percent
The pec deck is just a machine flye exercise. When performed with strict form and moderate weight — meaning, you put as much effort into the concentric portion of the movement (pulling the weigh as you do with the eccentric portion of the movement — this exercise effectively isolates the pecs. J
3. Cable Crossovers | Muscle fiber activation: 93 percent
When performing cable crossovers, be sure to bend forward 30-45 degrees to engage the upper pectoral muscles as well as the lower pectorals. Also, be safe and control the weight at all times, particularly when stretching out the pecs at the top of the movement. Feet may be placed side by side — shoulder-width apart — or slightly staggered with one in front of the other for balance and stability.
Now That Your Chest Is Huge, Work On Your Forearms …
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