Ask Men’s Fitness: “How Much Do I Need to Bench in Order to Have a Big Chest?”

Main bench press more weight now

The bench press is probably the most popular lift in strength training, but it’s actually a mediocre exercise for the pecs. Don’t make the common mistake of thinking that it automatically correlates to chest mass.

The bench is a cornerstone lift because it does build the upper body, but if you’re really trying to zero in on your pecs, focus on dumbbell pressing and pushup variations instead. These exercises work the pecs more directly and harder because they take them through a greater range of motion. They’re also less risky for the shoulders.

This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t bench-press if you want to, but chasing a specific number of pounds on the bar won’t guarantee a certain number of inches on your chest.

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