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Barbell Chest Exercises



These are going to show-up in almost every chest workout routine. It’s a staple. Barbell chest exercises are some of the most popular exercises in the weight room. They are great for adding strength in size. You can hit all parts of your chest. Simply put, these exercises work your chest out better than most other chest exercises out there. Whether you’re already incorporating these exercises into your chest workouts, or if you’re just getting started with them, take a look at some of our tips below.

Breathe While Working Out

Inhale as you lower the bar toward your chest, exhale consistently as your raise the bar back to the starting position. This is especially true for barbell chest exercises as you’ll be on your back pushing heavier weight than with dumbbells. It’s important to breathe this way for a few reasons: 1) to make sure you don’t injure yourself or raise your blood pressure while working out and 2) maximize your lifts with proper exercises technique. Be mindful of your breath the next time you lift – it’s a fundamental that even veterans sometimes overlook.

Hand Placement on the Barbell

The range of motion might not be as good on the barbell as it is with dumbbells, but you can still use your grip to hit different areas of the chest. On Daily Spot, chest workouts will rely heavily on grip to hit the different areas of the chest, so pay attention to what your trainer is recommending. The general idea for hand placement on a barbell is this: close-grip positioning will primarily target the triceps, slightly wider than shoulder-width will hit the complete pec, and a few inches wider that that will get the outer chest. All grips serve their own purpose in a workout. We’ve included some barbell chest exercises below. If you’re curious about how to add these to a chest workout, check out one of the trainers on Daily Spot. New chest workouts update every single day.

Examples of Various Exercises

Take a look below at examples of chest workouts that can be performed with a barbell. You can add these exercises to a routine to create a great chest workout. We update our chest workouts every day on Daily Spot

Incline Barbell Bench Press

Lie on a incline bench with your feet securely on the ground. While holding the barbell over chest, exhale and push the weights up by extending your arms. Do not lock out your arms.


Barbell Bench Press

Lie with your back on a flat bench and your feet placed on the ground. Grab the barbell slightly wider than shoulder width. Lower barbell to chest. Exhale and push the weight up by extending your arms.


Barbell High Pull

Stand over a dumbell with arms shoulder-width, knees bent. Push through the legs to a standing position. Keeping the bar close to the body, pull the bar to just under chin height by raising your elbows up.



Bodyweight Chest Exercises

When talking about dumbbell and barbell chest exercises, we emphasized that most workouts came down to a modification of a few things. The first is that a majority of the workouts can be tied back to either a press or a fly. This would seem limiting, but adding incline and decline introduces a larger variety of workouts. Finally, with barbell chest exercises we discussed that different hand positioning could target different areas of the chest (or even take a chest exercise and turn it into a tricep exercise). Without any equipment, flyes become more difficult to improvise – not impossible, but definitely more difficult. We know the push-up is a trusted ‘press’ exercise. Let’s discuss how to modify bodyweight chest exercises to help them target the entire chest.


Dumbbell Chest Exercises

You’ll have to adjust the weight a bit when it comes to dumbbell chest exercises compared to barbell exercises, largely because dumbbells require a bit more stability and have a larger range of motion than the barbell. The lower weight doesn’t make dumbbell chest exercises any less important. They’re absolutely key to every well-rounded workout plan.