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Chest Workouts for You

Apr/28/2022 / by KT Hall
chest
Image credits: Shutterstock

Women often overlook exercising their chests. Women tend to focus on their arms and legs, but the chest and back muscles need equal attention. And the pectoralis muscles are as important as other muscle groups in your body.

When you stretch, tone and strengthen your upper body, it contributes to better posture and stability. Workouts are also important if you lift your small children or if you carry a lot of groceries, or rearrange your furnishings in the fall and spring. With the right exercises, you can reduce the risk of injuries to the neck and back.

Another incentive is that you can exercise your triceps. The compound pushing that comes from push-ups and chest presses is like doing multiple exercises at once. So, win-win!

We will explore chest workouts and which are the best chest exercises to tighten and tone your muscles. We’ll also take a look at the best chest exercises for building your chest size naturally!

Your Chest Muscles Defined

When you look at your chest muscles, they are made up of different muscle groups. These include the serratus anterior, pectoralis (or pec) minor and pec major.

Pec majors are the biggest muscles that help with flexion, internal rotation and adduction of your shoulder (humerus). Your pec minor is triangular and covers your shoulder blades and ribs.

The serratus anterior, the scapular protraction muscle, is located laterally in your chest wall, its role is to push things away from the body.

Best Chest Exercise Tips

When you start exercising your upper body muscles, a few tips can reduce the risk of injury and improve your workouts.

These include:

  • Completely retract the scapula by pulling the shoulder blades back first and then down.
  • Do full-body exercises by partnering lower body exercises with your chest exercises. For example, try rows, lunges, squats, bridges and deadlifts.
  • Start with a bar and then progress to dumbbells. The bar forces you to stabilize your arms for more control.
  • When doing chest exercises at home, watch your posture when you do push-ups. Instead of push-ups starting on bended knees, do them with a couch or chair. The knee version doesn’t exercise your full core. Hence it can be harder to do regular push-ups or planks.
  • Include a tempo movement in your chest workout routine to add an extra, much heavier step. The extra challenge makes your muscles work harder while using the same weights.

Best Home Chest Workout

The exercises below maximize your workouts. These can help you challenge your muscles and target every muscle group in your upper body. Get ready to feel the burn as you exercise your core, triceps, back and shoulders.

For an optimized routine, mix beginner chest workout exercises into your other exercise routines. And, pick workouts that use your body weight and/or gym weights. You should also mix up which exercises you select, so do some that have you kneeling, seated, on a medicine ball or gym equipment.

Add in your dumbbells, resistance bands, free weights or kettlebells to really challenge yourself so that you don’t become bored. We also recommend allowing time to build muscles. If you’re a beginner, it might take several weeks or months to learn and expertly master planks and push-ups. But, that’s the best part about your chest workouts. You’re gaining muscles and building new muscle fibers over time!

Stretch 10-minutes before your workouts and for 10-minutes after to reduce the risk of injury. If you feel pain, stop immediately. Consult a physician before starting any new exercise routine.

Arnold Press (Seated Version)

Targeting the shoulders, this move also gives you a good chest workout at home.

  • Sit down with your legs in front of you and your back slightly sagging back. Keep your feet planted on the ground. Hold dumbbells in each hand at your side.
  • With your palms facing you, bend your arms at 90-degrees and engage your pecs until your elbows are in front of your body and lined up with your shoulders.
  • Maintain this form as you draw your arms out to the sides and push the dumbbells up to the sky.
  • Reverse the movements and get back into the starting position. Do 12-15 reps for 3 sets total.

Bear Planks with Shoulder Taps

You’ll really engage your core with this chest move.

  • With a mat or towel down, get on your hands but have your knees a few feet from the ground.
  • Maintain a straight back, engage your core abs and have your hips and shoulders level. To avoid your shoulders and hips dropping, envision pulling your belly button into your spine.
  • Lift your left hand up and bend at your elbow to touch your right shoulder.
  • Bring your hand back down as that counts as one rep. Do 12-15 reps for 3 sets total.

Chest Flys (Lying Down Version with Dumbbells or a Medicine Ball)

You’ll notice the fly movements differ from presses and push-ups.

  • Lie back on a towel or mat with your feet on the ground and your knees bent.
  • Grasp a dumbbell in both hands or hold onto a medicine ball and let your elbows rest on the ground at 45 degrees.
  • Push down to the ground as you tighten your abs and let out a breath.
  • Push your arms up over your chest while holding the object and keep a slight bend in your elbows. Reverse the movement and go back into the starting position. Do 12-15 reps for 3 sets.

Chest Press into a Tricep Extension (Kneeling Version)

A combination of two exercises, this targets your arms and chest for double the effect.

  • Kneel with your knees slightly wider than hip-width and hold a dumbbell in each hand. Put your arms out in front of your chest.
  • Bend your elbows and draw the dumbbell close to your chest but avoid arching your back or letting your ribs/core stick out.
  • Next, straighten your arms back out and lift the dumbbell over your head. Bend your elbows to bring the weight slowly behind your head.
  • Then, stretch your arms to bring the dumbbell back overhead and get into the starting position. As this counts as one rep, do 12-15 for 3 sets total.

Decline Push-Ups

For harder push-ups (if you’re already good at regular push-ups and planks) that challenge your shoulders and core, try this version with your feet raised.

  • Get in a traditional plank position but have your feet elevated on a step, bench or stable chair.
  • Lower your body and have your elbows pointing out 45 degrees from your ribs/core. Stop when your upper arms become parallel with your towel or mat.
  • Push back up and that counts as one rep.
  • Do 10-12 reps for 5 sets.

Floor Press (Alternating Version With Dumbbells)

Ensure you do this exercise evenly on both sides of your body to minimize strength imbalances.

  • Lie back on a mat or towel with your feet flat on the ground and your knees bent.
  • Grasp a dumbbell in each hand and push your arms up above your shoulders with your palms facing in.
  • Bend your left elbow to 45 degrees and lower your arm until your tricep reaches the ground. Then, return to the starting position and do the other side. The opposing arm should stay straight when the arm with the dumbbell is bent.
  • Do 12-15 reps for 5 sets total.

Floor Press (With Dumbbells)

A great way to strengthen your pecs, this move will also challenge your upper back muscles.

  • Lie back on a mat or towel with your knees bent and your feet on the ground.
  • Grasp a dumbbell weight in each hand and let your upper arms rest on the ground. Keep your elbows at 45 degrees during these movements.
  • Push the dumbbells straight up into the air and bend your elbows to lower the weights until your triceps touch the ground.
  • As that counts as one rep, do 10-12 reps total for 3 sets.

Glute Bridge Press

Targeting the chest, this move also engages your core, glutes and hamstrings.

  • Lie back with your knees bent and have your feet hip-width apart. Keep your arms up above your head and hold dumbbells in both hands.
  • Draw your hips up to the ceiling as you engage your core and squeeze your glutes.
  • Lift the weights up to the ceiling and hold that position for 2-3 seconds.
  • Bring the weights down and get back into the starting pose. Do 12-15 reps for 3 sets.

Incline Push-Ups

A modified push-up, this approach can still increase your upper body strength.

  • Start on the floor in a high plank position. Have your hands elevated on a sturdy chair, table or bench.
  • Keep your shoulders over your wrists and engage your core abs as you lock your legs and keep them straight.
  • Stay in a straight plane with your head down and elbows at 45-degrees away from your chest.
  • Press back to do one push-up and go back to the starting position. Do 12-15 reps for 3 sets.

Isometric Chest Squeezes

Use dumbbells to get a good burn with this isometric exercise.

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart and hold dumbbells in each hand near your chest. Keep your elbows bent and have your palms facing in toward your body. As you tighten your core abs, don’t let your ribs or belly stick out.
  • Put your left foot slightly ahead of the right one and have your hips facing forward.
  • Draw the dumbbells together and up to the air until your elbows are above your shoulders.
  • Hold this position for 3 to 5 seconds and then return to the starting position. Do 12-15 reps for 5 sets total.

One-Arm Deadbug Press

Focus on balance and coordination with this one-armed move that engages your chest and core.

  • Lie on a towel or mat and bend your knees so they are parallel with the ground.
  • Lift your left arm up to the sky (palm in) and grasp a free weight in your right hand. Your elbow should be on the floor and 45 degrees from your core and ribs.
  • Raise your right arm and lift the weight up to the sky but ensure your back maintains contact with the ground.
  • When you extend your arm fully, give a slight bed to your elbow and bring the weight down to the starting position for one rep. Do 12-15 reps on both sides for 4 sets total.

Plank Get-Ups

Engaging your chest and core, this move targets the triceps, too!.

  • Get in a low plank position on the floor with your elbows directly under your shoulders. Lift your left forearm and extend your arm out straight.
  • Return to the starting position and do the other side but in a high plank.
  • When you go low to high, put your hand in the area where your elbow was and keep your hips level and avoid rocking them.
  • Return to the starting position as that counts as one rep. Do 12-15 for 3 sets total.

Push-Ups

Push-ups when done correctly (full body, not on your knees) can engage your entire body. The trick is to raise your body up instead of bending your knees if you’re a beginner.

  • Get in a high plank position on the floor and have your shoulders over your wrists. Keep your core abs tight and your legs straight and stiff.
  • Have your elbows out at 45-degree angles away from your chest. Your head should be down facing the ground so you are in one even plane.
  • Press with your hands to raise your body up and use your elbows to help lower your body back down.
  • Do 12-15 reps for 3 sets total.

Push-Ups (Hand Release Version)

Targeting the arms and chest, use a mat or towel with this exercise.

  • Put a towel or mat on the floor and get into a high plank pose with your face down toward the ground. Ensure your shoulders are over your wrists.
  • Engage your core and with your elbows bent at 45-degree angles, lower your body to the ground.
  • Once you get to the bottom, bring your hands up a couple of inches and then back down.
  • Get back into the starting position as that counts as one rep. Do 10-12 reps for 3 sets total.

Push-Ups (Mountain Climber Version)

A full-body workout, this move will get your heart rate pumping, but make sure your shoulders stay over your wrists.

  • Begin face down with a high plank pose and do a single push-up. As you complete it, draw your left knee into your chest.
  • Stretch it out and get back into the starting position and do the other side.
  • Alternate both sides four times for a single rep.
  • Do 12-15 reps total for 4 sets.

Best Exercises for Firm Breasts / to Increase Breast Size

Do you feel like your breasts are too small? What about saggy breasts that you want to have a natural lift? While your breasts are mostly fatty tissue over your pectoral muscles, you can exercise and strengthen them if you want to increase your bust size.

Here are a few exercises that can possibly increase your upper body muscles and you don’t need surgery!

Habits to Avoid Sagging Breasts

If you have sagging or loose breast tissue, there are plenty of ways to help make your boobs perkier. Check out the tips below and incorporate these into your daily habits.

To keep your breasts shapely:

Wear a supportive bra

If your bra doesn’t fit, it can lead to elasticity. However, sports bras and supportive bras will adequately lift your breasts and give you more bounce! Ditch the old bras in your closets if they are stretched out and get refitted for new bras at your lingerie shop. The flexible materials won’t lead to stressed-out breast tissue or collagen.

Quit smoking

Cigarettes can contribute to a loss of skin elasticity, which might lead to your boobs drooping because you’re losing collagen and your blood circulation is decreasing. If you’re unsure how to go cold turkey, try natural, ayurvedic/homeopathic remedies to stop smoking.

Avoid crash diets

Extreme diets can put a strain on your breast tissue especially if you’re repeatedly gaining and losing weight. Because the body tends to lose its ‘snap back’, work on maintaining a consistent weight. Look for books like the Keto Diet, Mediterranean Diet, SetPoint Diet and Ayurvedic eating tips to lose and maintain weight naturally.

Skip harsh sunlight

If you love sunbathing and burn easily, harmful UV rays can damage your skin and make you age prematurely – and who wants wrinkles or crinkles in unsightly areas? Instead, use sunscreens and SPV and try natural bronzers for that golden glow!

Exercise more and use proper posture

Your chest muscles are stronger when you exercise and use proper posture and lifting techniques. Sit up straight and stand tall. Avoid hunching over on your computer or staring down at your tablet as this can arch your back and shoulders excessively.

Look for exercises that open your chest area and wear a sports bra to avoid collagen breakdown with high-impact exercises. That way you can always stand tall!

For more fitness stories on SEEMA.com (and why they matter), check out The Joys of a Workout Routine