T Nation

What's Your Chest Workout?


I follow 5/3/1. I'm a tall lifter, and my bench is pretty weak. I'm looking to hear what others have as their accessories on bench day.

My accessories are usually incline DB, hammer strength incline machine, and then cable crossovers or DB flies. Recently I've fiddled around with using weighted dips or decline press instead of the incline hammer, and then maybe emphasizing on the upper pecs for flies at the end.

Personally, working upper pecs helps my pathetic chest look more full and strong. I also want to build my bench, and I know weighted dips can really help with that.

What's your recommendation? What has worked for you guys? Any additional information or tips would be greatly appreciated.... I want to build my bench up so bad... Haha


I change up my accessory work frequently, but things I have appreciated are as follows:

Incline bar and/or dumbbell press
Extra wide pause bench
Close grip bench
Slight decline dumbbell press
Dumbbell squeeze press
Light dumbbell or cable flies
Weighted dips
Deadbench pin presses from chest

I usually do one or two of these after my bench workout. I rotate through them over the course of a few months.


Cool man. I like that selection. Is it possible to kind of overdevelop your lower chest, causing a droopy look?
Because that's why I've been kind of using two incline accessories, worrying that if I do too much lower chest and not enough upper, it may cause that droopy look. I'm probably overthinking it and being paranoid.


Are you looking to build your chest or build your bench?


At this point, I'd have to say build my chest. But at least slowly progress in getting a stronger bench.


There was an article in January called something like bench like a boss,I've being following it for about 6weeks now and I'm happy with the progress I'm getting. It came just as I was finishing a run of 531 and fancied a change and to focus on my chest for a while. Give it a read.


Changes slightly every time, but an example of the sort of thing I'd do would be:

-decline dumbbells - 15, 12, 10, 8 then work up to the heaviest 8 I could manage (might only get 6 or 7 but 8 is the target)
-incline dumbbells - same rep scheme as the declines
-machine chest press - same rep parameters as before
-cables either high to low, low to high or both. Usually do some kind of dropset or superset with these. Reps are kept 10-15, rest periods short for this.


I'm on my second run of Matt Kroczaleski's 16 week bench program laid out in "Insane Training" (a similar program is featured here on T-Nation). I've honestly enjoyed it, since everything is laid out and easy to follow, and it has allowed me to progress on my bench while still pushing my strongman training hard.

For assistance work, I do dumbbell pressing. I only have a pair of 105s, so I worked up to 3x10 on the flat bench, and have been gradually increasing the incline. Once I can hit 3x10 at one setting, I move the incline up 1 notch and start the process over again. Seems to be having a positive impact. After the 3 sets, I throw on a reactive slingshot and do as many reps as I can with that.


Pretty much the same for me, Ill bench and OHP early in the week, then OHP and bench with some variation later in the week.


My personal preferences are weighted dips for overall chest size, and wide-grip slight incline presses for upper chest. I'm using rings for the dips right now, because that's what I have access to, but there doesn't seem to be anything implicitly better or worse for the chest using the rings for weighted dips. For the wide-grip slight incline, these are fairly high on the chest, and cutting the ROM short a bit on the bottom; just get a good stretch and reverse.

Just the things that have worked best for me so far.


I hit chest (along with everything else) twice per week, one session heavy, the other with higher reps & slightly more volume .. as per below...


BB Incline press 3x6
DB Flat press 3x6
DB Fly 3x8


DB incline press 4x10
DB flat press 4x10
DB fly 4x10

doesn't need to be rocket science imo...


I haven't seriously done bench press in a long time because it used to hurt my shoulders. The exercise that works very well for me is the weighted dip. Also weighted pushups are good but not as good as the dips.

Does anyone believe that you NEED to bench for a big chest?



seldom do BB flat bench unless I really want to test my strength ... feel like it only does half the job as a chest movement .. find DBs allow a nice deep stretch at the bottom and a squeeze at the top.


My problem with just using dumbbells is I don't want to do sets of 20, and have a difficult time loading heavier ones to only do sets in the 8-12 range. That way, I use them after doing my flat bench work that is building strength and tiring out my muscles some.


I bench press and overhead press. But the overhead isn't really accessory since I work it the same as bench. Do back off sets count as assistance? Because if not, I don't do any assistance.


Thanks for all of the responses so far.

My training split is structured like this:
Day 1- Upper body (Chest/Back- 5/3/1 Bench)
Day 2- Lower body (5/3/1 Squat)
Day 3- OFF
Day 4- Upper body (5/3/1 OHP- shoulder and arms accessories)
Day 5- Lower body (5/3/1 Deadlift)

So my question is, if I want to remain obsessed with building a nice upper chest, can I have the best of both worlds? On Day 1, could I bench, incline DB, weighted dips, upper chest focused flie or crossover; and then on Day 4, do my OHP, followed by maybe more incline work (incline barbell, close grip incline barbell)?

There's a couple of different options. I could do that, or I bench day, add hammer
Incline press instead of weighted dips, and then do high to low cable crossovers or flat DB flies, and then on OHP day, do flat close grip bench, or weighted dips then?

Which option is best?


A basic routine from 531 (triumvirate) you can do without frankensteining it

Monday or Thursday OHP - accessory dips and pullups
Tuesday lower body
Thursday (or monday) Bench - accessory dumbell press (paused inclines are great imo) and rows
Friday lower body

I like to do some backoff pre-pump sets with the big lifts, and then go to failure on the dips and incline
(Ring) Flyes&pushups are also a great option




So, I think I will focus on two incline accessory lifts, along with cable crossovers or flat DB flies to finish. On OHP day, I think I will focus on dips more so for triceps, and use close grip flat bench as a main assistance movement after OHP. That sound alright?

Personally, I feel when I blast my upper chest, it really helps make my chest look more square. If I do flat bench, incline DB, weighted dips, and then flies, I almost feel like my chest is kind of droopy, or looks droopy. I'm pretty lean, but I know I still need to cut a little more fat. Being 6'6", and having these long ass limbs, really sucks sometimes, haha.


I don't bench, so much as I floor press with a high pad under me replicating a bench top to allow full ROM. I do this twice a week with overhead press and pull ups between every set. So far, so good.