If you want a chest that looks like that of Arnold Schwarzenegger or Franco Columbu you need to abide by the same training philosophies they did. Their chest workouts consisted of multiple sets of presses following by a stretching exercise for the chest such as dumbbell flyes. Although this may sound basic it happens to be the most widely used style of chest training in the sport of Bodybuilding and Powerlifting.
Franco Columbu contributed 95% of his chest developments to chest presses done at varying angels in the incline, flat, and decline barbell and dumbbell presses. He claimed all the other auxiliary exercises contributed to the other 5%.
A chest workout consisting of 95% presses is ideal for Powerlifters. The only difference is that a Powerlifter would specialize, obviously, in the flat barbell bench presses and consider other conjugate exercise such as the floor press or pin press an addition to less frequently performed incline and decline presses.
The priority of all chest workouts is that presses are to be performed first unless using some other advanced training principle such as muscle confusion where exercises often are performed in reverse order within a workout.
Presses are always done first as they are the meat and potatoes of your program. You need to have full energy and be able to exert maximal impact squeezing out every last inch potentially with the help of a spotter.
After you have finished traumatizing the chest with presses and the muscles are tight, it is time to stretch them out. The other remaining 5% of your chest workout should not be overlooked. 5% can be the difference between champions and those who tried their best.
It is important to remember that these exercises are not intended to build size and strength. If you were going to try doing the splits would you use a 180lbs dumbbell? The same principle applies to other stretching exercise for the chest such as the dumbbell flye, cable crossover, and lying dumbbell pullover across a bench. These exercises are used to stretch the chest and lengthen the muscles. Longer muscles beds equal bigger muscles.
The ideal chest workout is a process of trial and error and is a bit different for everyone depending on your goals, strengths and weaknesses. However, keeping in mind that 95% of chest development can be acquired through pressing exercises, this should be reflected in your workout.
Remember to start with heavy barbell presses (incline, flat, decline) before moving to dumbbell presses and once the muscles are completely fatigued worrying about other auxiliary exercises for the chest. Don’t be one of the morons who tears their pecs trying to do heavy dumbbells flyes. Instead, use that energy to do several extra sets of presses.