Workout Routines

The Straight-Up Chest Workout

Press and flye your way to a more chiseled pair of pecs with this barebones routine.

incline barbell bench press
Duration 30 min
Exercises 4
Equipment Yes

Save the plyo pushups and medicine ball throws for your “functional” workout. The first order of business is sculpting some size and shape into your chest. The best way to do that is through good old-fashioned freeweight presses and flyes. This is exactly what you’re getting with the following routine, designed by Jim Ryno, a personal trainer and owner of luxury home gym design firm Iron House in Alpine, NJ. (

SEE ALSO: 6 Worst Things to Do for a Bigger Chest

Nothing fancy here. Just tried-and-true exercises in hypertrophy -- friendly rep ranges (8–12) and a press-flye superset finisher for good measure. “This combination of a multijoint and single-joint move will really force the muscles to respond,” says Ryno of the final two exercises in the workout. “The way I see it, great muscle symmetry is built around a nice, fully formed chest. That’s why I stuck to pure mass-gaining rep schemes and basic movements. You don’t need to get too clever to build bigger pecs. Hit your presses hard and balance that out with some isolation flye movements and you’re good to go.”

The Exercises

Flat-BenchDumbbell Flye

“Personally, I like to have people go superdeep on flyes and come only about a third of the way up,” says trainer Jim Ryno. “This keeps real isolation on the pecs. Back in the day, Arnold used to perform them in this fashion. Seemed to work for him.”

Incline Barbell Bench

If you have access to an incline rack with an adjustable bench, Ryno recommends setting the angle to 15–20 degrees instead of the standard 45 degrees. The lower angle will de-emphasize the anterior deltoids to place more stress on the pecs.

Flat-Bench Dumbbell Press

Don’t lock out your elbows at the top of the rep and don’t feel as if you need to touch the dumbbells together. Stopping just short of full extension will keep constant tension on the chest.

Decline Dumbbell Press

The declined angle should allow you to use more weight than with flat and incline presses, so feel free to overload the muscles with the biggest dumbbells you can handle.

The Workout

Exercise 1

Incline Barbell Bench Press You'll need: Barbell, Bench How to
Incline Barbell Bench Press thumbnail
4 sets
8-12 reps
30-45 sec rest
Perform this exercise at lower than a 45-degree angle if you have access to an adjustable incline bench with rack.

Exercise 2

Decline Dumbbell Bench Press You'll need: Bench, Dumbbells How to
Decline Dumbbell Bench Press thumbnail
4 sets
8-12 reps
30-45 sec rest

Exercise 3A

Dumbbell Press You'll need: Bench, Dumbbells How to
Dumbbell Bench Press thumbnail
3 sets
8-12 reps
-- rest

Exercise 3B

Flat Bench Flye How to
Flat Bench Flye  thumbnail
3 sets
8-12 reps
60 sec rest