Whether you’re looking to strengthen or tone chest muscles, a variety of different exercises is the key to ensuring you don’t become bored with your workout routine or hit the dreaded muscle plateau. This means you should avoid spending the majority of your gym time solely on bench press and explore your exercise options that engage your pectoral muscle groups (pectoralis major and minor). When putting together an efficient chest workout program, remember to include both compound exercises (an exercise that requires the use of more than one major muscle group) and isolation exercises (an exercise that requires the use of only one muscle group). Here are five chest workouts that will help you efficiently build pec muscles with help from exercise physiologist, Bowflex fitness advisor, and author of Beat the Gym, Tom Holland:

“My Recommendations: Mix it Up! The body gets acclimated to any exercise over time,” Holland told Medical Daily in an email, adding:

Rotate these exercises to maximize your results. Use appropriate weight, or a weight where you can perform 10-12 repetitions where the last few reps are difficult, yet you can still maintain good form. Focus on the quality of the movement rather than the quantity when performing bodyweight exercises like the push-up. Do bodyweight exercises for a few weeks, machines for a few weeks, and free weights for a few weeks. You can also do this formula within one week if you are exercising 3 days or more, i.e. doing machines on Monday, bodyweight on Wednesday and free weights on Friday.

1. Bench Press

There’s a reason the bench press remains one of the most popular upper body workouts. A recent study sponsored by the American Council on Exercise evaluated nine of the most popular strength-training chest exercises, including barbell bench press, pec deck machine, bent-forward cable crossovers, chest press machine, inclined dumbbell flys, dips, suspended push-ups, stability ball push-ups, and standard push-ups. Among all nine workouts, barbell bench press led to the highest activation of the pectoralis major muscle group. To decide each workout’s efficiency, they were all statistically compared to the barbell bench press.

2. Bent-Forward Cable Crossovers

Out of all nine workouts included in the ACE-sponsored study, bent-forward cable crossovers landed in the top three most effective chest workouts by eliciting 93 percent muscle activation. Bent-forward cable crossovers are considered one of the most effective chest workouts because they put constant tension on pectoral muscles. Unlike barbell or dumbbell bench press, which causes a loss of momentum during the downward phase of the exercise, bent-forward cable crossovers require complete muscle tension throughout the entire workout.

3. Flat, Incline, or Decline Dumbbell Flys

Although inclined dumbbell flys were ranked fifth by the ACE-sponsored study due to a muscle activation of 69 percent, flys are a quality isolation exercise that are a good way to add variety to your chest workout routine. Pectoral fly exercises are often considered a great finishing movement that targets upper chest muscles. Similar to bent-forward cable crossovers, flat, incline, or dumbbell flys put constant tension on pectoral muscles when performed correctly. When performing dumbbell flys be careful with the amount of weight you’re using and how fast you’re performing the exercise. Too fast and too much weight can easily lead to a rotator cuff injury. Like all exercises, start at a controlled weight and a controlled motion.

4. Dips

Many of us associate dips with a strength-training triceps routine, however, chest dips are an essential part of any muscle-building chest workout routine. Not only do dips target the pectoralis major muscle group, but they also engage the pectoralis minor muscle group as a compound exercise. Be mindful that dips can work the entire upper body, including arms, back, and shoulders. To isolate your chest, practice a slightly forward lean with your legs sticking out behind your body.

"One of the best chest exercises is the dip movement" Mike Clancy, fitness expert and founder of MikeClancyTraining, told Medical Daily in an email. "Dips, done on parallel bars, stresses the chest musculature, such as the pec minor. To emphasize the focus on the chest, perform the dip exercise with your legs placed behind you, forcing your torso to maintain an upright position. This type of closed-chain exercise is also a great way to build strength throughout other pressing muscles, such as the deltoids and triceps."

5. Pushups

When all else fails, rely on pushups. One of the biggest upside of adding pushups to your chest workout routine is the variety of ways you can perform this simple exercise. That’s part of the reason pushups show up three times on the ACE-sponsored study of nine of the most effective chest workouts in the form of suspended push-ups, stability ball push-ups, and standard push-ups. Proper pushup form is considered the pinnacle of physical fitness. Unfortunately, many people fail to practice the appropriate pushup execution. Remember:

1. Keep your hands directly under your shoulders with your shoulder blades pulled back and abdominal muscles engaged.

2. Make sure your body is in a plank position (straight as can be from the top of your head to your feet) throughout your entire set. Do not falter toward your last couple of reps.

3. As you descend to the floor, allow your elbows to bend slowly while staying close to the side of your body. Keep your abs, glutes, and thigh muscles engaged when descending to meet the floor with your chest or chin and do not allow your lower back to sag.

4. When ascending to complete your pushup, press upward with your arms by bringing your elbows to a straightened position. Again, do not allow your lower back to sag or hips to hike upward while keeping your torso stiff and head aligned with your spine.