If one of your target areas of exercise is your chest, you are likely looking to add both muscle mass and definition to your pectoral muscles. Whether you’re a professional body builder or simply an active human being, your chest muscles accentuate your upper body strength and provide flexion to your movements.
Great chest exercises engage both chest muscles – the major and minor pectoralis – by creating tension. Most will use machines either at the gym or in your home, though you can also improvise and use household items to bolster your workouts. It is usually a good idea to purchase a quality set of dumbbells if you are interested in working out your pecs.
One of the most basic chest exercises that you can start with is the inclined flies, which can be performed either on an inclined workout bench or on an inclined chair. Lie down with your back flat against the incline and your legs either straight out in front of you or planted on the ground at your sides. Put one dumbbell in each hand, and ask a spotter to stand at your head.
Lift your arms up above your head with the dumbbells in hand, but do not lock your elbows. Then slowly but steadily move your arms apart until your upper arms are parallel with the ceiling, keeping your palms turned toward one another. You should feel the burn in both your chest and your arms, and your elbows should be bent at an almost 90-degree angle. Then, slowly bring your arms back above your head to complete themovement.
There are some chest exercises that you can fit in anywhere during the day without the need for complex machinery. Push-ups are a tried-and-true favorite that can strengthen the pecs faster than anything else, as long as you’re doing them correctly. Once you’ve gotten to the point where regular push-ups don’t cause you any strain, you can do them with your feet on a bench for declined push-ups to make them more difficult.
For these chest exercises, place your hands directly underneath your shoulders, and make sure your back is straight through the entire movement. Raise yourself up until your elbows are nearly locked, then lower yourself until your nose almost touches the floor, then back up again. You can hold for a two-count on the downside of the push-up if it makes it more challenging.
You can also liven up the traditional push-up with an exercise ball, which lifts your legs higher than a standard workbench to work your lower pectoral muscles. This type of chest exercise will help provide the definition you’re seeking, and will ensure a well-rounded workout.
Chest exercises are often forgotten in a standard workout regimen, so make sure you devote ten or fifteen minutes to this every time you hit the gym. Within just a few weeks, you should start to notice a difference.