💪 6 Worst Chest Exercises You Need to Ditch


Today’s newsletter is sponsored by Tru Grit. Be sure to browse Tru Grit’s durable (and affordable) fitness equipment by heading here.

Here’s what we’ve got for you today: 

  • Fitness influencer Jeff Nippard ranks the best and worst chest exercises for hypertrophy 

  • A breakdown of the pros and cons of deadlifts and why it may not be the best movement for muscle growth

  • A deep analysis into how Figure bodybuilder Ashley Lakomowski trains her back before a competition 


Chest Hierarchy 

Credit: Jeff Nippard

Are you looking to sculpt a powerful chest? Renowned bodybuilding coach and fitness influencer Jeff Nippard has curated a list of the top 20 chest exercises and ranked from most to least effective for optimal muscle growth. Nippard breaks down each movement based on the following:

1. Stretch and Tension: The depth of the stretch at the bottom of the motion.

2. Feeling Good: Ensuring the target muscle is activated without pain, promoting smoother resistance and a stronger mind-muscle connection.

3. Easy Progression: Ability to increase weight or reps for continuous chest muscle growth.

See where your favorite exercise falls from the most effective (S tier), such as the machine chest press and seated cable flies, to the least effective (F tier). That lowly group includes the likes of the hex press and dumbbell pullover. Unlock the key to maximizing your chest gains with Nippard's tier system. 


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Stop Dead 

Credit: I T A L O / Shutterstock

Deadlifts are celebrated as one of the premier exercises for strengthening the posterior chain and gauging overall power. However, is this weight room staple the best choice for muscle growth? BarBend senior writer Jake Dickson weighs in.

Dickson argues that preparing for and executing deadlifts, particularly with heavy loads, demands significant time — a resource that could be deployed to increase your workout's volume. Deadlifts also engage numerous muscle groups in primarily isometric contractions, which don't yield the same muscle mass gains as movements involving concentric and eccentric actions. Furthermore, they’re exhausting, depleting your energy reserves and potentially compromising the effectiveness of the rest of your workout. 

For strength, deadlifts are still king (or at least they’re in the royal court.) But for pure muscle growth? That’s another story. Read the detailed analysis below.


Enhance Your V-Taper 

Credit: Ashley Lakomowski / YouTube

To achieve the sought-after V-taper, you’ve got to concentrate on your back training. And pro Figure competitor Ashley Lakomowski recently revealed the back routine she uses in the weeks before a bodybuilding event. 

For this workout, Lakomowski executes six targeted back exercises, employing specific training techniques like a neutral grip on lat pulldowns to enhance her width. She further optimizes muscle contraction in the lats and rhomboids by using slow eccentrics and pause reps. She also meticulously monitors her body positioning and grip during each pulling exercise.

Discover her training secrets to sculpt a V-tapered back below.


Zane’s Iconic Stomach Vacuum

Credit: @TheRealFrankZane / Instagram

  • Legendary bodybuilder Frank Zane had one of the best “stomach vacuums” in the game. Learn how to do this pose and reap the benefits. 

  • Stretching your muscles is as important as working them to maximize your lifting potential. These are the best triceps stretches to excel past your bench press PR. 

  • A treadmill in your home is a convenient way to burn calories and improve your heart health. Here’s a review of the nine best models currently on Amazon.