Barbell bench press
The king of all chest exercises. The flat barbell bench press has long been the standard for strength prowess. If you could only choose 3 exercise to create a full body workout, the flat barbell bench press would have to be on the list. This is also the same exercise used in any big 3 powerlifting competition.
Dumbbell bench press
The flat dumbbell bench press is like core chest exercise #2. This is one awesome way to make sure you don’t have any strength imbalances between the two sides of your body. The dumbbell bench also more closely follows the intended function of the pecs by not only pressing but also by moving the weight toward the midline of your body.
You have to admit, aside from using the smith machine, that it’s pretty hard to do any maximally explosive benching. Sure, you can use a Westside Barbell style dynamic effort day in which you use 45-50% of your 1 rep max for 9 sets of 2 reps.In any case, this exercise will be used to develop explosive power in your chest, shoulders, and triceps. The two main methods I recommend are clapping push ups and plyometric push ups where you jump your hands up onto an object for each rep.
Similar to the triceps version, chest dips closely resemble what you would be trying to accomplish with decline pressing except that you are focusing on building triceps strength for chest pressing rather than trying to work the phantom ‘lower pecs’. If you have bad shoulders consider skipping this exercise or work at it slowly by shallow dipping rather than deep dipping.
How important are flyes? In my opinion not very important, but I needed a fifth exercise for this list. Honestly I would rather fill up my chest workout with flat and incline benching and dumbbell pressing, and end off with some heavy weighted chest dips. Some people just insist that flyes are the key to growth and flexibility, and I will admit flyes do have a purpose when it comes to bodybuilding.There are many variations of flyes including dumbbells, cables, and any angular position you can put yourself in by either using an adjustable incline bench, or by standing and leaning over with the cables.