These Are Jay Cutler’s Top 4 Chest-Building Exercises

The four-time Mr. Olympia reveals his favorite exercises to grow champion-sized pecs.

On April 30, 2022, four-time Mr. Olympia champion Jay Cutler delighted his YouTube viewers with a high-volume chest, biceps and calves training session. The bodybuilding legend revealed his top four best mass-building chest exercises.

Cutler narrated his full workout while getting a 20-minute cardio session on an exercise bike outside the Fit Club LV gym in eighty-degree Las Vegas, NV. Check out the detailed training session via the video below. Cutler hits exercises on the machines, with free weights, using barbells, and cables:

[Related: Bodybuilder Chris Bumstead Reveals Favorite Arm Exercises For Mass Gains]

Before the workout, Cutler downed a serving of his pump and pre-workout supplements and it was time to get down to business. 

Training Calves

While many gym-goers avoid training the calves altogether, Cutler prioritizes them on chest days and likes to get a good pump before training his upper body.

Machine Standing Calf Raise and Seated Calf Raise

Cutler launched his workout session with standing calf raises using the machine variation where the shoulders and traps support the weight. The calves consist of two main muscles — gastrocnemius and soleus. There’s a common notion that standing calf exercises involve more of the larger gastrocnemius due to its anatomy and function in the lower leg. 

Cutler prefers using a faster tempo and a “one-two motion” to get a full contraction in the calves at the top of each rep. He started with two “feel” sets to warm up and then pounded his calves with four working sets in the 10 to 12 rep range. 

To ensure Cutler fully stimulates his calves, he included three to four sets of seated calf raises. The IFBB legend would have preferred to use the donkey calf raise machine instead if the gym had one. Seated variations are believed to hit more of the smaller soleus calf muscle located beneath the gastrocnemius. Cutler worked up in weight and performed three sets for 10 to 12 reps each.

Chest Training

Cutler shares his top four muscle-building chest exercises. Here they are below: 

Incline Hammer Strength Machine Chest Press

Cutler likes to kick off his chest training with the beloved Hammer Strength incline press machine. 

I just feel it better, especially at my age, getting the body warm.

The ergonomic handles and upright position are some of the advantages of using this chest machine. Cutler started with two 45-pound weight plates on each side and increased it to three for a top set. The number of sets performed were not mentioned. 

Dumbbell Chest Press

Cutler prefers using dumbbells for his free-weight pressing movements due to having a slight strength imbalance between his left and right side. Unilateral exercises — where the limbs move separately — are great for identifying and correcting this issue or preventing it from worsening.

Favorite exercise, if you asked me what the best exercise to grow your chest, is the seated lying flat dumbbell press.

Cutler did his first set with the 70-pound dumbbells, then moved up to the 80, and 85-pound dumbbells for three sets total. 

Cable Standing Flye

It seems there is not a bodybuilder on Earth that doesn’t include some flyes in their chest training, and the four-time Mr. O is no expectation.

I don’t come down too much, I come out.

At the start of the video, Cutler referred to this workout as one of his “contractive volume” days, and flyes allow him to get the tightest contraction in the chest.

Some call it a finisher movement, I don’t agree, I think it can really be a mass movement also.

For those who think the cable flye is only suitable as a warm-up or to shape the pecs, Jay Cutler believes otherwise.  Three sets of 10 reps were performed for this exercise.

Dumbbell Flye

Cutler likes the dumbbell flye variation for emphasizing the lower and outer chest. The Massachusetts native keeps his back arched and chest up to accentuate his pecs’ contraction. He stuck with a modest 50-pound pair of dumbbells and knocked out three sets.


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A post shared by Mr Olympia Jay Cutler (@jaycutler)

[Related: Bodybuilder James Hollingshead Squats 340 Kilograms for a Triple and Then 300 Kilograms for 9 Reps]

Biceps Training

While Cutler included arm days during his years as a competitive bodybuilder, the legend now pairs biceps with chest and triceps with shoulders. 

Single-Arm Machine Biceps Curls

The next movement was machine curl training, one arm at a time. Cutler adjusted the machine so that the elbow and shoulder were level. He feels a better contraction in the biceps by looking in the opposite direction of the working arm. He did three sets of 10 to 15 reps. 

Standing Biceps Curls W/ Thick Grip EZ Curl Bar 

Cutler picked up a fat grip EZ curl bar that looks like a caveman would use — it was very thick.

I do not like to curl with a thin bar.

Cutler prefers the thicker EZ curl bars to a standard one, even if it means using less weight. The three-time Arnold Classic winner (2002-04) did not use picture-perfect form as he pointed out but who’s going to criticize one of the greatest bodybuilders of all time. He completed four sets.

Seated Cable Curl and Standing Alternating Dumbbell Hammer Curl

Making his way around the weight room, Cutler landed on the cable machine next where he attached an EZ curl bar and leaned back to get a good stretch as he performed each rep. He completed three sets of 12 reps. 

To get that thickness from the side of your arms, it’s a good exercise, it’s going to work all the way down into your forearm.

For the last biceps exercise and to wrap up the training session, Cutler did three sets of alternating hammer grip curls. He likes to mix it up with this exercise such as the two-arm or cable rope variations. He does them every other week to blow up his bi’s and forearms.


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A post shared by Mr Olympia Jay Cutler (@jaycutler)

[Related: Powerlifter Hunter Henderson Squats 305 Kilograms at 82.5KG for All-Time World Record]

Jay Cutler’s Chest, Biceps, and Calves Workout

Below we’ve listed all of the exercises in the exact order they were performed by Cutler during his workout session. Due to the provided details in the video, we could not include the number of sets and reps for all of the movements. 

  • Machine Standing Calf Raise: 4 Sets x 10-12 Reps
  • Machine Seated Calf Raise: 3 Sets x 10-12 Reps
  • Incline Hammer Strength Machine Chest Press
  • Dumbbells Chest Press: 3 Sets
  • Cable Standing Flye: 3 Sets x 10 Reps
  • Dumbbell Flye: 3 Sets
  • Machine Biceps Curl: 3 Sets x 10-15 Reps
  • Standing Biceps Curl: 4 Sets
  • Seated Cable Curl: 3 Sets x 12 Reps
  • Dumbbell Alternating Hammer Curl: 3 Sets

Cutler is still smashing it in the gym at 48 years of age. The elite former professional athlete continues to challenge himself in the gym, and his physique remains impressive even as he is almost 10 years retired from competitive bodybuilding.

Featured image: @jaycutler on Instagram