Regardless of whether your male or female, the right chest exercises help create an attractive and fit looking physique.
For men, developing large pectoral (chest) muscles is one of the first priorities. Having a well-developed chest is a sign to others of your dedication to weight lifting and what is very important, It improves the way you look, with or without your shirt on.
What many women do not realize is that performing chest exercises can help to greatly improve their physique as well. While the female breast is made up primarily of fatty tissue, women still have the same muscles lying underneath and those are the large and powerful pectoral muscles. Developing these chest muscles can help “prop up” sagging breasts.
In addition to being great for developing the chest muscles, these chest exercises are great for developing the triceps and shoulders. As a matter of fact, one of these chest exercises is also one of my favorite triceps exercises.
Performing A Balancing Act
One very important thing to remember is to always ensure that your workout program is balanced. As a young teen, I gave my bicep and chest exercises great priority. After all, these are the “show me” muscles. The trouble with this approach is I, like millions of people ended up with a muscular imbalance.
A muscular imbalance occurs when one group of muscles is worked more than it’s antagonistic or opposite muscle group. In this case, I had greatly developed my chest muscles but neglected to strengthen my back muscles to the same degree.
The result was rounded shoulders, a forward protruding neck and all the neck and back problems that went with it. As I have already mentioned, this could have been prevented by balancing my workout routine better. Something else you can do to prevent muscular imbalance is to stretch every muscle group regularly.
I chose to mention the subject of muscular imbalance in this article because tight and overly developed chest muscles is one of the most common imbalances found in people who lift weights. So be sure that you perform the same or similar number of repetitions for the
back exercises as you do for the chest exercises.
When performing the following chest exercises, or any exercises for that matter, always make sure to…
Use Perfect Exercise Form!
Why is it so important to use perfect exercise form? There are two main reasons…
- It ensures you are actually using the muscles you want to use and getting the most of the exercise. I see it so often. People spending coutless hours doing exercises over and over again…the wrong way. Any results these people do get could have been gotten in less time and if they had been using proper form, their results would have been much more impressive.
- It greatly lessens the chances of injuring yourself. Getting injured is one of the biggest momentum busters you can experience…right up there with getting sick. It can disrupt your workouts, but being injured affects the rest of your life as well.
Best Chest Exercises Pick #1: “Wobble” Push-Ups
- You will need two small medicine balls or something similar. Be sure that they are inflated to similar air pressures.
- While sitting on your hands and knees, position the balls shoulder width apart or slightly wider.
- Place your hands on top of the balls with your fingers spread apart.
- Position your body so that your hands are directly under your shoulders. Your arm should form a straight line from the shoulder to the wrist.
- Extend one leg straight back with the foot pointing straight down, toes pulled back.
- Extend the remaining bent leg back witht the foot pointing down.
- You should now be supporting your body on balls of your feet and on your hands with your arms fully extended.
- Keep your head up slightly. Your head, neck and back should be in alignment.
Performing The Movement
- Begin by bending the elbows, lowering your body towards the floor.
- Inhale through the nose as you descend towards the floor.
- Stop your descent when your arms form a 90 degree angle at the elbows.
- Pause briefly at the bottom position.
- Begin your ascent slowly, exhaling through the mouth. Stop when your arms are fully extended.
Throughout the exercise, your body should form a straight line from top to bottom. Lifting the hips too high will lessen the effectiveness of the exercise. Maintain a flat, rigid body position by tensing the legs, buttocks and abdominals as you perform the exercise. Always remember, not to position the hands out in front of the shoulders. This will place the shoulders in a less stable position and could open you up to injury. Keep the hands directly under the shoulders.
Best Chest Exercises Pick #2: Incline Chest Press
- Set an adjustable bench at about a 30 degree incline from the horizontal position.
- Sit on the bench with the dumbbells set vertically on the top of your thighs, just above the knees.
- Lift the dumbbells up into position.
- In the proper position, your forearms should be vertical to the ground when viewed from both the front and side.
- Your feet should be placed flat on the floor or raised platform if you are not able to put your feet on the floor.
- Place your head against the bench seat.
Performing The Movement
- Inhale through your nose.
- Press the dumbbells straight up towards the ceiling.
- Maintain vertical forearms throughout the movement.
- Press the dumbbells until your arms are fully extended above you.
- Return the weight slowly, inhaling through the nose.
- Raise and lower the weight in a slow, controlled fashion, taking approximately 2-3 seconds to lift and 2-3 seconds to lower. Always wear non-slip shoes and perform the exercise on a non-slip surface.
- Reduce the arch in your back by keeping your heels in front of your knees.
- If you can not place your feet flat on the floor, use an elevated non-slip surface. It needs to be high enough so that the arch in your back is reduced.
Best Chest Exercises Pick #3: Parallel Bar Dips
- As we have already discusses in our triceps exercises, you will need to find parallel bars and make sure the bars are wider than your shoulder width.
- Now, move into the starting position of the exercise and prepare to the movement.
- Lift your feet off the platform and bend your knees.
- Do not forget to inhale right before you start the movement.
Performing The Movement
- Keep your elbows in tight to the body while you are lowering your body down towards the floor.
- When your upper arms are parallel to the floor, you can stop the movement and wait for a couple of seconds.
- After the pause, continue pressing your body back up to the starting position.
- Exhale while you are pressing your body back.
How To Use These Chest Exercises
A general guideline is to do 2-3 sets of 10-12 repetitions as we always recommend. 10-12 reps will be enough to develop your chest muscles. If you feel that you can lift heavier weights, you can make the exercise more challenging by adding weight to your dumbbells, or a belt.