Workout Routines

The best chest workout for beginners

Looking to pump up your pecs for a fuller, more three-dimensional upper body? Start with these five moves.

Man doing bench press exercise
Frazao Media / Getty
Frazao Media / Getty
Duration 30
Exercises 5
Equipment Yes

If you desperately want huge, defined pecs but your chest is basically concave—or if you're struggling to get rid of your man-boobs—this chest workout is the perfect starting point.

"A beginner’s chest workout needs to be well-rounded," says Simon King, P.T., owner of Cre8 Fitness gym in London. As a beginner, you'll want to use barbells, dumbbells, cables, and your own bodyweight—the full range of gym implements, basically—to challenge your muscles not only with varying degrees of weight but also different stabilization demands, ranges of motion, and levels of difficulty.

This routine hits all those marks. It comprises some of the best chest exercises for beginners.

"You hit all areas of your chest because each exercise targets a different angle—leaving no gaps in your muscular development," King says.


During the workout, rest 90 seconds between exercises and 60 seconds between sets. Start off with lightweight dumbbells, no or very little weight on the barbell, and light weight on the cables. Focus on perfecting the movements before adding weight.

Once you find you're not getting the same stimulation any more, shock your muscles with these 10 supersizing chest exercises to develop the best pecs in the gym, and/or start rotating through these 10 chest day workouts. For more mass-building options, try the ultimate dumbbell-only routine to build a colossal chest, the best bodyweight exercises for your chest, and the top full-gym chest workout.

The best chest workout for beginners 5 moves to pump up your pecs

Exercise 1.

Pushup How to
Pushup  thumbnail
3 sets
8-10 reps
90 sec. rest

Exercise 2.

Bench Press You'll need: Barbell How to
Bench Press thumbnail
3 sets
8 reps
90 sec. rest

Exercise 3.

Incline Dumbbell Bench Press You'll need: Dumbbells How to
Incline Dumbbell Bench Press thumbnail
3 sets
8 reps
90 sec. rest

Exercise 4.

Cable Crossover You'll need: Cable Machine How to
Cable Crossover  thumbnail
3 sets
8 reps
60 sec. rest

Exercise Finisher

Partner Medicine Ball Chest Pass You'll need: Medicine Ball How to
Partner medicine ball toss thumbnail
1 sets
As many reps as possible in 2 minutes reps
0 sec. rest