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Isolated Lifts – How to Use the Best Three to Build Chest Muscles

What are the best-isolated lifts to build the chest? To build the chest you must combine the right exercise with the right amount of volume and proper form. Everyone dreams of getting a bigger chest as their ultimate bodybuilding goal. There are numerous popular chest exercises performed in workouts. However, this article will specifically focus on isolated lifts to build the chest.  Isolated lifts provide multiple benefits like fixing muscle imbalance, targeting specific muscle groups, and recovery from injuries.

Best Isolated Lifts to Build the Chest

A study by ACE Sponsored Research on The Top Three Most Effective Chest Exercises found after crunching the numbers and data that the chest was activated more by the almighty barbell bench press, which was no surprise. Compound lifts consistently outperform isolated lifts when it comes down to building muscles.

But what was surprising was that the pec deck (at 98% of muscle activation compared to barbell bench press) and the bent-forward cable crossover (93% of muscle activation) elicited nearly equivalent muscle activation as the barbell bench press.

Other research studies showed that when the mind focuses on a specific muscle during a workout, that muscle works 22 percent harder according to the muscle’s electrical activity. Consequently, the study also found that isolation movements like bicep curls or flyes yielded more outstanding results when concentrating on the muscle worked.

What are isolated lifts anyway? The isolation principle states all muscles act as stabilizers, synergists, antagonists, or agonists. When you make a specific muscle like the chest, the primer mover, you isolate that muscle as much as possible and apply more stress. A NEWS FLASH that you probably already know, but I will say it anyway, “muscles don’t like constant stress.” Stress makes muscles angry, causing them to get more significant and more vital to confront stress.

1.    Dumbbell Flyes

When it comes to isolated lifts that build the chest, everyone agrees that the dumbbell flyes are one of the best. This popular exercise specifically targets pectoral or chest muscles.


When you maintain a proper elbow position, this exercise limits shoulder participation. Therefore, it can directly engage the chest muscles and, specifically, upper pecs.


Generally, you must perform the dumbbell flyes in moderation with 8-12 reps per set. Do at least three sets with a 30-second break in between. Moreover, if you are a beginner, start with lightweight. You can increase the weight based on your fitness level, and to make it more challenging, add variations like incline dumbbell fly or standing Chest fly.

2.    Cable Chest Press

Cable chest presses are used to strengthen pushing muscles, including the chest, shoulders, and triceps. Moreover, it is a variation of the bench press. Thus, it is one of the best-isolated lifts to build the chest.


It can continuously keep your pectoral muscles under stress. Moreover, by slightly changing your form, you can work out various parts of your chest, like the upper and lower pectoral muscles.


Do at least 12-16 reps of 3 sets with 30 seconds of rest. Keep in mind that there is no free weight involved in cable chest press, and therefore it is safe to perform.

3.    Pec Deck

One of the best chest exercises to build chest muscles is the pec deck, as mentioned earlier by the study. It involves a high level of muscle activation; therefore, pour it on like ketchup.


It helps to increase muscle mass and strength, which can build a massive chest. Besides that, it helps to strengthen the core. Consequently, it can offer a broad range of motions and reduce the risk of injury compared to free weights.


Pec deck is a machine-based exercise that targets your chest muscles. You can repeat this exercise for the required number of reps; there is no limit.

Final Words on Isolated Lifts to Build the Chest

Isolated lifts can build chest muscles like cable chest press or a pec deck. However, the key is to use the correct form and technique to get the desired results. The benefit of isolated lifts is lighter weight, constant stress applied to the muscle, less joint, and other injuries, and finally, you do not need a spotter.

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