Top 5 Exercises for Ripped Pecs

Are you looking for the best exercises to get ripped pecs? Having a well-developed chest can give you an aesthetically pleasing physique. To achieve this, you need to know what exercises you should be doing to target your chest muscles.

We’ve used the term “ripped pecs” which is a poor term to use, and it should be noted that getting ripped does not necessarily mean functionally strong. You can be very strong in your pecs without being “ripped”. If you do want to get that ripped look, you’ll need a combination of focussed heavy weightlifting on your chest, combined with a high protein diet, and fat-loss programme.

The pectoralis major is a large, fan-shaped muscle located in the chest. It is one of the two major muscles that make up the chest wall and is the larger of the two. It is responsible for connecting the humerus (upper arm bone) to the sternum and ribs, as well as for providing stability to the shoulder joint.

The pectoralis major is responsible for a variety of important movements, including abduction (moving the arm away from the body), adduction (moving the arm towards the body), flexion (bringing the arm up and across the body), and internal and external rotation (rotating the arm inwards and outwards). It is also used in pushing and pulling activities, such as in swimming, weightlifting, and when pushing off the ground.

The muscle is composed of two parts: the sternal and the clavicular heads. The sternal head originates from the sternum, while the clavicular head originates from the clavicle. Its fibres run in an oblique direction, insert into the humerus, and are innervated by the pectoral nerves.

The pectoralis major is an essential muscle for everyday activities, such as lifting and carrying objects, reaching overhead, and pushing and pulling movements. It is also important for providing stability to the shoulder joint and protecting the shoulder from injury. Injury to the pectoralis major is rare, but can be caused by repetitive motions or sudden intense movements. Common symptoms include pain, decreased range of motion, and difficulty using the affected arm.

Strength training exercises for the pectoralis major include bench press, push-ups, and chest flies. Stretching exercises, such as chest stretch and doorway stretch, can help maintain flexibility and reduce the risk of injury. It is important to consult a physical therapist before beginning any strength or stretching exercises. We see some of the UK’s top weightlifters at Surrey Physio, including a number of current British Champions. So, we have a pretty good idea how to get functionally strong in the pecs.

The following are the top 5 exercises for ripped pecs:

1. Bench Press-Up: This is one of the most popular chest exercises and is an excellent choice for overall chest development. It is a compound movement that works both the upper and lower pectoral muscles. Position yourself in a press-up position, with your arms straight and resting on a bench. Keep your body in a straight line, with your bottom tucked under and your back flat. Drop your chest towards the bench by bending your elbows. Return to the start position. This is a chest, core, back and shoulder strengthening exercise. Repeat 10-12 reps.

2. Barbell Bench Press Eccentric: Training eccentrically is just another way to strengthen the chest and pecs, popular with weightlifters. You can be assisted on this exercise too with someone spotting you. Lie on the bench with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart to create a stable base with your head on the top of the bench, arms straight with your shoulder blades retracted and hands in an overhand grip on the bar. Lower the bar over a 3-5 second period to your chest and aim for the sternum, touch the bar with your chest while ensuring your elbows don't flare outwards and that they remain tucked close to your body. Press the bar up back to the starting position and repeat 10-12 reps.

3. Weighted Press Up: Press ups, or Push-ups as they are also commonly known as are a great bodyweight exercise that can be done anywhere and are an effective way to target the chest muscles. Lying flat on the floor with your hands in a standard and comfortable press up position on your toes with your shoulder blades retracted, push yourself off the ground with a braced trunk keeping the elbows tucked close to the body, at the top of the push up straighten your elbows but do not lock them. Slowly descend to the floor maintaining tension on the chest and triceps and repeat 10-12 reps. To make the exercise harder, place a weight plate on your back.

4. Dumbbell Fly Decline Bench: Pec Fly’s are a popular exercise that target the chest muscles from multiple angles. This exercise is great for sculpting and defining the chest muscles. Lie on the bench with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart to create a stable base with your head on the top of the bench, start the movement with a dumbbell in each hand with your palms facing inwards with straight arms. Retract your shoulder blades and drive the dumbbells vertically away from you, with your elbows bent at the top of the movement. Lower the dumbbells laterally away from your body while your elbows remain locked, lower to the chest line and bring back up to the starting position and repeat for 10-12 reps.

5. Alternating Cable Crossovers: Crossovers are an effective exercise for targeting the lower chest muscles as well as the inner chest muscles. Stand with one foot in front of the other to create a stable base with a cable machine handle in each hand, bend your elbows slightly and retract your shoulder blades. Drive one handles towards your chest line keeping tension on the pectoral muscle and ensuring the bicep muscle does not overly assist while the opposite arm stays stationary. Once the arm is at the chest line, in a controlled movement bring it back laterally maintaining a slight bend in the elbow and repeat with the opposite arm. Repeat for 10-12 reps.

These 5 exercises should be included in your chest routine if you want to get ripped pecs. Make sure to add in some variation of these exercises and to always use proper form when performing them. With consistency and dedication, you can achieve ripped pecs, but remember that being ripped does not necessarily mean being strong or being functional.

(Therapists: these videos are provided by Rehab My Patient – the best exercise prescription software for therapists to prescribe exercises Patients: if you are a patient needing advice, call Surrey Physio to book a telephone/video consultation with one of our expert physios or osteopaths, or book in face-to-face for an appointment. You can call us on 0208 685 6930 or book online by clicking the link at the top of the page).