There are two reasons why people do the exercises they do (or most anything else really). Number one is that someone told them to. They picked it from some magazine’s list of chest exercises, copied it from some big guy or got told “Hey, bro, check this exercise out!”. Reason number two is that it feels right. The exercise gives a good pump, looks great in the mirror or makes you feel like a badass. This article is about reason number three, which is that the exercise provides the optimal stimulation of the target muscle(s).
Rather than rehashing my principles of exercise selection or how a muscle’s structure determines how it should be trained, I’m going to focus on the practice and application of this information. I’ve picked two exercises that should require no introduction and give you advice on how to improve them along with my preferred variation.