Why it's on the list: It's popular to hate on the bench press these days, but it's one of the most popular lifts in the gym for a reason. For one, the standard barbell bench allows you to move the most weight. It's also an easier lift to control than pressing with heavy dumbbells. The exercise is also relatively easy to spot—so don't be afraid to ask for one!

The bench press also responds well to classic protocols like 5x5 for muscle and strength, or even 10x10, aka German Volume Training, for pure mass. If you want to get serious, there are systematic bench press programs like Bench 300 to help you chase a big number.

Barbell bench press

Barbell Bench Press Variations for Chest Growth:

In your workout: Bench toward the start of your chest workout for heavy sets in lower rep ranges, such as 5-8 reps. There are better moves for high-rep chest burnouts. Vary your grip width and style for more complete chest development.

Strategic Training for a Big Bench
Strategic Training for a Big Bench
Eyeing a big, round number? Bench 300 tells you exactly how much to lift, how many times, and how often, plus just the right amount of accessory work. Nothing is left to doubt.
Chest Chest Workout