The Chest Workout for Mass

By Bryan Alger on March 30, 2016

Arms and chest - if it weren't for your workouts being visible to your friends on Gravitus, I bet that's the only muscle groups a lot of us would workout. We love the feeling of a heavy barbell on our back and struggling to walk down the stairs as much as the next powerlifter, but today is about building a chest workout routine for mass. We'll skip over the obvious like the Bench Press and go straight to our personal favorites, key exercises we've experienced the best results from over years of lifting.

Dumbbell Incline Press

First up on the list is going to be our primary pushing movement: the Dumbbell Incline Press. We're only including one pressing movement so we need it to be all encompassing. If this is done as an accessory, I use a 45 degree angle, but when I'm doing incline presses as my primary chest exercise, I do it at a lower angle. Set your bench to 30 degrees so that you can handle more weight and there is less emphasis on the upper chest. Pick a weight that you can comfortably control and be sure to use a full range of motion. Dumbbells allow us to stretch our chest at the bottom of the movement and engage more of the muscle with a greater time under tension that can stimulate those chest gains.

Weighted Dips

Weighted dips will help us hit the lower chest with a pressing movement. When executing the dip, keep your feet behind your body and lean forward to place more emphasis on the chest. Your elbows will naturally flare out some when performing the dip for your chest just as your elbows are further away from your body when doing a regular bench press versus one with a close grip that targets your triceps.

Pec-Deck Machine

Along with dumbbell flyes, the pec-deck is the ultimate chest isolation exercise. I prefer to use the machine over free weights here because I find it easier to keep the correct form as my chest reaches exhaustion. Be sure to adjust the guides so that your chest constantly stays under tension rather than resting at the end of the movement. Focus on squeezing your pecs at the contraction as the handles come together and pause briefly. This exercise isn't about moving huge weights as much as fully engaging and stretching the muscle so take your time with it.

Dumbbell Pull-over

I like to occasionally include pull-overs at the end of my chest workout as a great finishing movement that hits your chest in a different motion than our other exercises. Experiment performing these on a flat bench or at an incline and pick the one you like the most. The most important aspect of this exercise is that you keep your elbows slightly bent, but steady throughout the entire motion so that all of the rotation occurs around the shoulder.


These are some of my staple exercises when I put together a chest routine for mass. Together, you can get a great chest workout using the exercises above that offers a fun changeup from the barbell focus of most strength training routines. Don't see your favorite exercise on the list? Let us know what your favorites are in the comments below!

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Bryan is the Co-Founder of Gravitus and also a Marine Corps veteran and seasoned engineer. The only thing Bryan likes more than hacking code is pumping iron.