Best Chest Exercises To Get a Chest Like the Great Arnold Schwarzenegger
The greatest name ever in the bodybuilding industry. The winner of 6 Mr. Olympia Titles from 1970-1975 and 1 title in 1980. An all total of 7 Mr. Olympia titles. Many bodybuilders of the present generation are inspired by him. I am sure you are also inspired too. Many of us dream to achieve such a figure. In this article, you will know about the 5 best chest exercises which will help you develop a chest like the great Arnold Schwarzenegger.
But Let Us First See How Arnold Built The Best Chest Of All Time.
Arnold Schwarzenegger’s chest measurement was an incredible 58 inches. His pecs had everything that is needed to be the best of all time.
From size, shape, balance, and definition his chest had everything that is needed to be the best among all others.
A perfect reason to idolize him.
Nowadays the bodybuilders like Phil Heath, Kai Greene, Dexter Jackson, Shawn Rhoden can achieve a much bigger physique with advanced training techniques and improved diet programs.
But 30 years ago, the same thing was almost an unthinkable thing to achieve.
Along with the chest, it was also his arms that made him the greatest ever bodybuilder winning 6 Mr. Olympia from 1970-1975 and 1 title in 1980.
But there is something we need to figure out.
Back in the 1970s, bodybuilding wasn’t as developed as of now. Back then the athletes didn’t have many techniques to enhance their training techniques.
So how did Arnold Schwarzenegger built a physique of all time?
What Are The Best Chest Exercises Arnold did?
What was the exact workout he did that developed the best chest of all time?
The basic training principle that Arnold followed was to train his chest as often as he could. Sometimes he trained his chest almost 3 times a week. Also sometimes training his back with chest has helped him a lot in adding the required mass.
Back then he opted for some chest exercises which turned out to be the best muscle building chest exercises of all time.
This workout regimen surely helped him in adding the desired amount of muscle. As the size of his chest increased from a small 39 inches to a much bigger 58 inches. A gain of 19 inches of muscles.
1970 was the year when The Austrian Oak first lifted his Mr. Olympia title. By that time he already had the largest muscular chest in the world.
But back in 1968, he lost the title to Frank Zane. Frank was much more defined and sculpted than Arnold at the competition.
So he knew that bigger is not always the better.
That defeat proved that quality muscles are as important as the quantity muscles when it comes to winning titles in bodybuilding.
In 1972 the competition got much tougher. There were great bodybuilders like Sergio Oliva, Franco Columbo, Frank Zane, and Serge Nubret. Arnold knew the competition will be much tougher now and decided to take his physique to a whole new level by adding a much more advanced technique.
Best Chest Exercises To Add Muscles Like Arnold
Exercise 1: Barbell Bench Press
As you know the first exercise you do should always be a compound exercise. Barbell Bench Press is a great compound exercise to start your chest workout. It is one of the best chest exercises which many people like to do even if they are not planning to compete at the grand stage.
Barbell Bench Press is an exercise which will not only help you pack some muscles but also help in gaining strength. The main muscle working muscles are the chest muscles. But the shoulders and triceps are also trained during the barbell bench press.
How to do the Barbell Bench Press Correctly:
Step 1: Lie with your back on a flat bench. Use a medium grip to lift the bar up from the rack. Hold it straight over you with the arms locked. This the starting position of the exercise.
(A medium grip is a kind of grip that creates an angle of 90 degrees between the forearms and the upper arms in the middle of the movement.)
Step 2: Breathe in. And now from the starting position, bring the bar down slowly until the bar touches the middle of your chest.
Step 3: Pause for a second. Then slowly push the bar back to the starting position and breathe out. You need to focus on pushing the bar with your chest muscles. At the top of the motion, lock your arms and squeeze your chest in the contracted position. Hold your position for a second at the top and then start coming down slowly again.
(Repetition is considered as a good repetition when lowering the weight takes the same time like raising the weight.)
Step 4: Repeat the movement for the targeted amount of repetitions you want to do.
Step 5: Place the bar in the rack when the set is complete and stretch the pumped up muscles.
Since this is a compound exercise targetting your chest muscle while increasing your strength. So if you are doing the exercise for the first time, I advise you to use a spotter for your safety.
If you don’t find any spotter, go for lighter weights. There is no shame in lifting lighter weights for your own safety.
Remember the correct form is when the bar touches the middle chest and not anywhere else. So don’t make the mistake of drifting the bar too forward.
I saw many people doing this mistake very often. They bounce off the weight from their chest. This is as stupid as it is dangerous. Make sure you can control the bar fully.
Exercise 2: Barbell Incline Bench Press
Barbell Incline Bench Press is another version of Barbell Bench Press. The only difference is that it is done in a 40-degree incline bench. This exercise targets the upper pecs of the chest muscles. It is also a strength training exercise. Just like Barbell Bench Press, Incline Barbell Bench Press is a compound exercise. The primarily targeted muscles are chest muscles, but the shoulders and the triceps are also trained as secondary muscles.
Incline Barbell Bench Press is one of the best chest exercises which target the upper chest effectively. Arnold’s popped up upper chest was created by doing this workout regularly and effectively.
How To Do Incline Barbell Bench Press Correctly:
Step 1: Load the bar with an appropriate weight for your training. Choose the weight in which you are comfortable to train.
Step 2: Lay on the bench with on your back and feet straight to the ground. Arch your back when you lay on the bench and keep your shoulder blades retracted.
Step 3: Your grips must be a medium grip as it will allow you to have a 90-degree angle between the forearms and the upper arms. Lift up the bar from the rack and hold it right above your chest and with extending your arms. This is the starting position of your exercise.
(Instead of going for neutral grip, hold the bar with pronated grip covering the holding spot of the bar)
Step 4: Lower the bar to the sternum bone of your body. Remember flexing the elbows so that it creates an angle of 90-degrees between the forearms and the upper arms. Control the movement and remember not to bounce the weight of the chest.
(Slightly draw in your elbows and keep your lats tight.)
Step 5: After touching the bar with your torso, extend your elbows and return the bar to the starting position.
As you know the Incline Barbell Bench Press is a compound exercise and also undoubtedly the best chest exercise which can add some serious muscle to the upper pecs. So don’t try to go heavy on it. If your form isn’t good, the heavy sets won’t help you grow any amount of muscles.
And if available, try to get a spotter behind you. It is better to play safe than to be sorry.
Exercise 3: Dumbbell Flyes
Dumbbell Flyes are isolation exercise for chest muscles. It is the best replacement for a heavy compound chest exercises like barbell bench press or the incline barbell bench press. This is also a best strength training isolation chest exercise which works on shaping the chest muscles.
How To Do a Dumbbell Fly Correctly:
Step 1: Hold a dumbbell on each of your hands resting on your thighs. Lay down on a flat bench on your back. Make sure the palms of your hands are facing each other.
Step 2: Raise the dumbbells with your hands if you can or use your thighs to raise the dumbbells. Lift the dumbbell at one time. This will help you in placing the dumbbell in front of you at your shoulder width. Raise the dumbbells like you are pushing it upwards. Now you are lying on a bench with your hands up holding the dumbbells. This is your starting position.
(While you raise the dumbbells, you have to make sure that your palms are facing each other)
Step 3: To prevent unwanted strains in the biceps tendon, slightly bend your elbows. Now lower your arms out to both sides by forming a wide arc. keep lowering it until you feel the stretch in your chest muscles. Breathe in when you perform this portion of this movement.
(Remember your shoulder joint will be responsible for the fly movement, your hands will be stationary)
Step 4: Now return your arms back to the starting position and while the movement, squeeze your chest muscles and breathe out at the completion of the movement.
(When you raise the dumbbells, make sure that you use the same arc which you used while lowering the weight)
Step 5: Hold your squeeze for a second while your dumbbells are still at the top and then again perform the same movement for your desired number of repetitions.
Even if this exercise is an isolation exercise, it can still harm your muscles and tendons if any repetitions are done with the wrong form. Make sure your repetitions are slow and you feel your each and every repetition.
Exercise 4: Parallel Bar Dip/Chest Dip
Parallel Bar Dip or also known as Chest Dips are a kind of bodyweight exercise which mainly works on the muscles like Chest and Triceps. But the triceps variation of this exercise is performed mainly on a triceps dip machine. The triceps dip variation is known as Triceps Dips.
Don’t get confused with the two exercises and remember just because the exercise looks the same, it isn’t the same.
How To Do a Parallel Bar Dip/Chest Dip Correctly:
Step 1: Find a parallel bar in which you can perform the exercise. Stand between the parallel bar and place your hand in each bar. Jump slightly which will help you to get into the starting position. Lock your arms so that you don’t get down.
Step 2: Start by flexing your elbows. Your elbows will help you in lowering down your body. Lower your body until an angle of 90-degree forms between your forearms and upper arms.
(To perform this exercise properly with good form, you have to stop swinging and maintain some good posture)
Step 3: Complete the exercise by pushing your body upwards to the starting position.
Step 4: Complete the desired amount of repetitions in the set.
Parallel Dips or Chest Dips is undoubtedly one of the best bodyweight chest exercises. To be safe while doing this workout, try to do it slowly. Do not jerk your body and jump to pull your body off to the starting position. Instead, try to do it with the correct form even if you fail to do a complete set at the beginning.
Exercise 5: Straight-Arm Dumbbell Pullover
This is by far one of the most underestimated chest workout ever. You’ll find a very few guys performing this workout on their chest day. The reason is that many people think that this workout targets the lats muscle. Indeed it targets the lats muscles, but the Straight-Arm Dumbbell Pullover targets the chest muscles as the primary muscle.
Straight-Arm Dumbbell Pullover is a strength training workout which focuses on developing the inner chest muscles. This is a highly recommended exercise on the chest day because Arnold Schwarzenegger himself used to this exercise on his chest day. So you already know this is one of the best chest exercises ever.
How To Do a Straight-Arm Dumbbell Pullover Correctly:
Step 1: Find a spotter or tell your partner to support you by handing you the dumbbell when you lie on the bench. Or you yourself can place a dumbbell on a flat bench. Just make sure the dumbbell is placed securely at the top.
Step 2: Lie perpendicular to the bench. The correct position is when your torso will be across it. Your shoulders will only be touching the surface of the bench. Make sure your hips are well below the bench and feets firmly stable on the ground. Keep your head off the bench.
Step 3: Grab the dumbbell with both hands. Hold the dumbbell over your chest at your arm’s length. Place your palms against the underside on one of the sides of the dumbbell. This is your starting position.
Step 4: Slowly lower the weight in an arc position behind your head. But make sure your hands are straight while you are performing this movement. Keep it lowering until you feel a stretch on your chest. Breathe in while performing this movement.
Step 5: Stop lowering the dumbbell when you feel the stretch on your chest. Now with the same arch, bring the dumbbell back to the starting position and breathe out. Now perform the same movement for as many repetitions as you want.
Variations: You can perform this exercise using an e-z bar which comes as a much safer option.
When you perform this exercise, make sure that the dumbbells you are using are secure and safe. Pick the correct weight which is appropriate for you. Using a dumbbell with loose plates can result in dumbbell falling apart and falling on your face. Better you choose dumbbells which are fixed on both sides and are not too heavy to lift.
I know that getting a chest like the great Arnold Schwarzenegger is a very big thing to achieve.
Many athletes over these years have been training had to be like him. But not everyone succeeds I am certainly not demotivating you but getting a physique like him is quite a hard thing.
But who knows right! Hard Work can do miracles.
These 5 exercises are the best chest exercises which if done correctly can give the shape, size, definition of the chest like Arnold Schwarzenegger. All you need is a good diet, hard work, consistency, and most importantly patience.
Now that you know the key secrets, go on and have some gains!
Howdy friends, I am Rituraj Mazumdar, a graduate student by profession, a fitness enthusiast by heart and a fitness blogger by passion. Here in my blog, I will discuss all my knowledge and experience I gained in my journey of fitness.