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Time Crunch Training: The Three Best Chest Exercises

Need to squeeze in a workout? These research-proven resistance training exercises will get your chest muscles ripped fast.

Many exercises target the chest, but which ones will help you get ripped fast?

To find out, researchers brought 14 men to a gym and asked them to do nine different chest exercises—using free weights, resistance machines, and bodyweight—while electrodes measured their muscle activation. The guys all did 5 reps at 80 percent of their one-rep-max, and here's what ended up being identified as the top three chest exercises:

  • Barbell bench press
  • Pec deck machine
  • Bent-forward cable crossovers

Their scores were almost interchangeable, meaning “all three of those exercises are basically going to give you the same amount of muscle activation in the chest and are equally effective,” said John P. Porcari, Ph.D., one of the authors of the study, sponsored by the American Council on Exercise (ACE).

Trailing the pack were standard, stability ball, and suspended push-ups. Exercises that fell in the middle included seated chest press, inclined dumbbell flys, and dips.

You may not need to ditch those low-activators just yet, but if you’re feeling the time crunch, focus on exercises that give your chest muscles the most intense workout ... and you'll be ripped in no time.

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