The best chest exercises for MEN focus on growing chest muscle as quickly and efficiently as possible and at the same time, widening the chest to give you that unstoppable masculine look.
When it comes to burning chest fat and losing man boobs, while at the same time, growing muscle and sculpting an unstoppable masculine chest, this one exercise is perhaps the best I’ve ever known. It’s far better than bench presses, pushups, cable crossovers, dumbbell flys and the like.
I was first convinced about using this exercise when I learned about a guy called Vince Gironda. Now let me tell you a little about Vince. Vince was a bodybuilding legend who was known as the ‘Iron Guru’, and known for getting his clients big and ripped in record time.
For 50 years, he trained more champion physique competitors than anyone in the business. He trained some of the most famous bodybuilders, as well as some of the world’s best actors and actresses. He was also known to get great results with regular joes like you and me.
Vince was the “go-to” guy for absolutely anyone who wanted to get into shape. Now you could argue that there were and are plenty of other guys around who know a lot about training, but Vince was different.
Back in the day, Vince came up with a lot of weird and controversial ideas about exercise and nutrition, a lot of people thought he was crazy and avoided taking his advice, or even going to his gym. But what we’re finding now, is that new scientific research is showing us that Vince was right all along!
One of Vince’s most controversial ideas was that the bench press is a poor exercise for the chest. In fact, he threw out all the benches in his gym and replaced them with dipping stations. Vince believed that when it comes to developing the chest, the chest dip is a far superior exercise to the bench press, and guess what? Electromyogram (EMG) studies today, reveal that he was right!
If you could do just one chest exercise to carve out a set of pecs that you see on the statue of a Greek god, the Hulk or a mythological beast, it would be chest dips. Not the bench press, not pushups, and certainly not dumbbell flys.
Chest dips work the entire upper body, and really give you that hormonal boost you need to grow muscle, tone your chest and lose those man boobs. They work your arms, your shoulders, your chest and your upper back.
When it comes to both performance and sculpting your body through muscle-growth and hormonal stimulation, bodyweight exercises always come on top. This is largely because unlike weight-training, which tends to isolate one particular body-part, bodyweight exercises require you to stabilize your entire body as it moves through space.
When you use your core stabilizers and other muscles throughout your body, not only do you get a bigger testosterone boost from the workout, you also lose more fat, gain a more even distribution of muscle throughout the body, which means better posture, less injuries and a better more attractive appearance.
Since most guys rely almost completely on the bench press for building chest muscle, let’s discuss…
Why Dips Are FAR Better Than The Bench Press For Building A Hurculean Chest
Disadvantages Of The Bench Press
1. A Poor Exercise For The Chest
Now don’t get me wrong, many bodybuilders DO use the bench press to build some huge muscles. But did you ever stop to think how many people fail with the bench press? Almost every guy that goes to the gym spends time on the bench press – but how many of these guys end up getting a huge, wide, stone-slab-like chest that gets women weak at the knees?
See, the trouble with the bench press is that it is more an exercise for the front deltoids of your shoulders, than it is an exercise for the chest. EMG studies reveal that the front deltoids receive the same stimulation as the pectoralis major of the chest during the flat bench press.
Since the front deltoids are a very small muscle compared to the huge pectoralis major of the chest, it stands to reason that during the bench press the deltoids of your shoulders will fatigue way before your chest even starts to get a proper workout. As a result you will end your workout before fully involving your chest.
2. The Most Common Cause Of Shoulder Injuries In The Gym
Due to the rising popularity of the bench press, rotator cuff surgery is at an all time high.
The bench press places too much strain on the rotator cuff muscles of the shoulders, and very commonly leads to injury, damage and wear & tear of the rotator cuff over time.
For this reason, the bench press is widely reported as being the most common cause of shoulder injuries in the gym.
3. Kills Shoulder Flexibility, Leading To More Injuries
The bench press kills shoulder flexibility. The massive strain on your shoulders from this exercise makes your rotator cuff muscles tighter and tighter over time. The first sign of this is when you start to find it difficult to reach behind your back as if to do up a bra (not that I have ever tried one on, but you know what I mean 😉 ).
Contrary to popular belief, it isn’t having big muscles that makes you inflexible, but rather, incorrect training. If you have read ‘Stretching Scientifically’ by Thomas Kurz, you’ll know that big muscles actually make you MORE flexible.
4. Torn Pecs (Pectoralis Major Rupture)
Yet another common injury with the bench press. Here’s a video of a guy tearing his left pec during a set of bench presses. Warning: this video is NOT for the faint hearted.
With this injury, the tendon that attaches your pectoralis major muscle to your upper arm bone, is torn right off the bone. It can be extremely painful and in most cases requires surgical repair. It will take many months before you are lifting anything again.
Advantages Of Dips For Developing The Chest
1. Faster And Better Development Of The Chest
When doing dips, you are moving your arms in a downward motion. This downward motion ensures that you bypass the shoulders and isolate the chest muscles far better than any other compound exercise for the chest. Although your shoulders are still involved to a large extent and get an excellent workout, they are not as engaged and overloaded as they are during the bench press.
Studies have shown that the deltoids are much less involved during the decline bench press, compared to the horizontal bench press. Since chest dips are a bodyweight variation of the decline bench press, this means that more focus is placed on the chest than on the shoulders while doing dips compared to the bench press.
|Chest dips give you wider chest development than the bench press.|
2. Wider Chest Development
I’ve seen guys with 6-pack abs who look like scrawny wimps when they have a shirt on. The key to looking like an unstoppable alpha-male is to work on widening that upper body, namely your chest and upper back.
Chest dips performed with a wide grip and the elbows flared to the sides, target the outer chest better than pushups, bench presses, or any other exercise for that matter. In doing so, they give you that huge, wide chest that resembles a set of stone slabs set on your chest sideways.
This is yet another reason why chest dips are one of the most powerful chest exercises you can do.
3. Increased Shoulder Flexibility
At the bottom of the movement your shoulder muscles are both strengthened and stretched, giving you improved flexibility.
Do be careful however, since if you already have inflexible and/or weak shoulders, you can still suffer shoulder injuries while doing dips, especially with weighted dips. The key is to only go as low as you feel comfortable. Over time, your shoulders will get stronger and you’ll be able to descend write the way down, thereby fully stretching those pecs.
4. Dips Are Functional – They Give You Strength That You Can Use
Dips require you to lift and move your entire body through space. You need to keep your body tight so you maintain your posture, and as a result you not only involve your chest, upper back, shoulders and arms, but also your legs, abdomen and lower back. It is a true whole-body workout that trains your body to function as a unit as opposed to targeting individual sections of the body.
By working your entire body in this way, dips will help you to lose weight, look better and build strength all round. They will help make you a better athlete, better able to handle yourself in a fight, better able to manage your body weight, and even help you bench more.
5. Hormonal Stimulation – Better For Weight Loss And Man Boob Reduction
Because dips engage your entire body, they result in a greater release of testosterone and growth hormone both during and after the workout. Increased levels of these hormones help to reduce man boobs, burn fat and pack on extra muscle.
How To Do Chest Dips
Dips can be modified to focus on the triceps, upper back or chest. Here I will tell you how to do chest dips.
Place your hands on two parallel bars on either side of you. If you don’t have access to parallel bars, you can also use two tables, or the top of the back-rests of two chairs facing away from each other. If you are using the chair option, it helps to wear a set of garden gloves to take the pressure off your hands.
|1.||Prop yourself up with your arms straight and your elbows locked out.|
|2.||Bend your knees so your feet are behind you. This helps to balance your weight as you lean forward. Leaning forward is necessary to target the chest.|
|3.||Bending at the elbows, lower your body in a slow and controlled fashion, without ever touching your feet or knees to the ground. Breath in while doing this.|
|4.||Stop when your shoulders are level with your elbows, then while breathing out, slowly raise yourself back up to the starting position.|
|5.||Repeat steps 3-4, always making sure to maintain good posture and a forward-leaning position.|
In case that ain’t clear enough, check out the following video:
Incorporating Dips Into Your Training
Changing The Resistance
The only real problem with bodyweight exercises is unlike with weights it isn’t easy to change the level of resistance. But not being easy doesn’t mean it’s impossible. All you need is a little creativity and you can change the resistance all you like.
If you’re not accustomed to training, or you are a little on the heavy side, you may find it difficult to perform even one repetition of dips. If this is the case with you, then all is not lost since there are many things you can do to work around the problem. This includes getting someone to help you, letting your feet touch the ground and aiding the lift with your legs, doing static holds at the top position or doing partial reps and negative reps to condition yourself until you are strong enough to do full reps.
If you find dips to be too easy, you can do weighted dips by wearing a backpack and throwing some weight plates into it, or using a weight belt with weights hanging off it, holding a weight plate between your knees, or getting your buddy to jump on your back.
Combining Dips With Other Exercises
If you just did dips and nothing else, your chest and upper body would look phenomenal. You will however get better results if you combine dips with other exercises that target different portions of your chest – like incline and decline pushups and, in the gym, cable crossovers and the pec dec.
|If you are working on your chest, it’s also important to work on your upper back for good posture, symmetry and that wider look.|
In order to get that truly wide, masculine and unstoppable upper body physique, it’s important also to do upper back exercises like bent-over rows, pullups and lat pulldowns.
If you only worked out your chest, your shoulders would be pulled forward in a hunched position. If on the other hand you work out your chest and upper back equally, your shoulders will be in a neutral position in the middle and to the sides, giving you a wider appearance.
It is also important to throw some whole-body training and leg training into the mix, to help get rid of those overlying layers of fat.
Dips may be a good exercise for building muscle and burning fat, but it is well known that nothing gets rid of excess fat than whole-body training and a good diet.
I go into detail about all the intricacies of perfect chest development using bodyweight exercises like dips in Bodyweight Chest Exercises For Losing Man Boobs.
“Won’t Dips Make Your Man Boobs Stick Out?”
I’m yet to see this happen. It is theoretically possible that in a minority of guys, dips will stimulate more of the lower chest than the upper chest. However, EMG studies have shown that, surprisingly enough, the decline bench press stimulates the upper portion of the pectoralis major muscle, better than it does the lower.
I’m willing to bet that dips (again, dips being like an extreme decline bench press) stimulate the upper chest just as well as the lower, since all of my clients who only do dips, end up getting perfectly even chest development.
But hey, EMG studies also show that the incline bench press does isolate the upper chest more, so if you are for whatever reason, afraid that your lower chest will get bigger and your man boobs will stick out if you do dips, then you can always do both dips and incline presses to even things out.
Dips are a powerful exercise that target the entire upper body. They are arguably the fastest way to build a wide muscular chest, while at the same time making you stronger, increasing your core strength, and helping you to lose chest fat.
Not only are dips more effective than the bench press at working out the muscles of the chest, they are also safer, work out more muscle groups (effectively the whole upper body) and – by targeting the outer pecs – give your upper body a much wider and more powerful appearance. For these reasons, dips are easily one of the most powerful chest exercises for men.
Other Powerful Bodyweight Chest Exercises For Losing Man Boobs
But dips are only one piece of the puzzle. If you want to build the perfect chest, then you need to combine dips with other powerful bodyweight chest exercises that hit your chest from different angles (some of these exercises are way more difficult than the standard dip). Find out about these other powerful bodyweight chest exercises here: