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Opinions: Best Chest Activating Exercises?

Hey all!

I want to build a big chest! (Don’t we all)
I’m finding I just struggle to activate my chest on more pressing movements, I feel like I’m bringing too much shoulder into it! On more fly involved movements/cables the mind to muscle is great!

So my question is what are everyone’s go to chest excercises for maximum growth and mind to muscle?


I never really understood the whole activation thing but I used to do an exercise I believe was called a squeeze press to feel the chest.

Two dumbbells on your chest then you try to smash them together then press. This would really hit the pecs. It works better with hex dbs as you can take a hammer grip but it also works with round dbs and a barbell grip

Christian Tibaudeau recommends dips as THE best exercise for chest hypertrophy.

I got a burst of chest growth when I added dips to my routine.

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I tried, the problem is, since it is basically close grip press, triceps gets tired a lot quicker than you’d want to.

I am always into simplicity, so I don’t like doing more than 2-3 moves for one part in my entire routine. And I am all into excercises that make me feel my muscles, because I want to build them, not to be a powerlifter. So I don’t really care for bench press etc.

For chest the best activation I got from cable flyes. Really, if you are looking for that mind muscle connection, it is the excercise for you. You will never feel so much control over your chets doing any press.

My second excercise to go is chest dip - however please note doing them correctly isn’t easy. I see a lot of people thinking they have to jsut lean forward and it will activate the chest. No, most of them still destroys their tris. You need to really get the feeling of elevating with your chest - if you can do this, this is a great choice.

As my finishers I use cable crossovers - chest press, just milion times better. Bigger range of motion, constant tension (ropes want to pull you back + you have to keep balance) and opposite to any pressing move, you get to make your hands be as close as possible to get the stretch.

For me its where i can get a stretch…i dont feel barbell bench in my chest for example but pushups with my hands on pushup bars i do. Same with dips, flys, pec dec and so on. But i never really did feel bench in my chest…machine chest press is hit or miss. One gym i was at the machine press was excellent…others not so much. I find suppersetting dips and light flys work very well for me

I feel it most of the pec deck with a 5 second hold at the peak contraption, works wonders for me being s long armed lifter.

I get a juicy chest pump even off arched benching, so dunno if I’m the best person to give input here

But I think dumbbell pressing would be great, maybe with pre-exhaust flies if there’s still an issue

I always figured dips were the best because every old school BBer did them and they all had much better development than many of today’s crop.

I never could do them without some discomfort so I found that low decline presses with DBs and a neutral grip hit the spot for me.


My chest is shit, but I would say Dips closely followed by Incline DB Press.

You should be pressing inwards more than up. Just as a general rule, the top portion of most movements involves the triceps, you may feel it better by focussing on the bottom two-thirds of these chest movements than involve extension at the elbow.

What about a couple silly little moves to develop MMC and practice pec squeezin before real lifts?

I just found this video right now, so i haven’t messed with these moves myself, but the lat move Meadows mentions is awesome.

For what its worth - I used to love dips. Nothing made my chest burn like weighted dips. And nothing looks more bad ass than a couple of 20kg (45lb) plates hanging of you whilst you bust out a few sets.

However since surgery in 2017 dips are a no go.

In the last few months I’ve done an ascending / descending pec deck thing.

Start at a VERY light weight - do 20 reps. Move the weight up. Keep ascending until you can just about get 10-20 reps out. And do just one work set.
Then descend the same way. meaning I have 3-4 drop sets of 8-15 reps depending.

Its hard work. But since doing this I feel like my chest is popping out.

Now big are you now and how long have you been lifting.