Chest Exercises

Incorporating Chest Exercises into your routine, in conjunction with back exercises, helps you achieve a balanced upper body. Like I said with back exercises, building your upper body will help you achieve the hourglass figure that so many women want. Having a strong chest also helps you develop good posture. It also helps you complete other exercises correctly, as all the muscle groups work together!

chest muscle
Chest Muscle

(image source: bodybuilding.com)

All underlined exercises hyperlink to the exercise as it appears in the bodybuilding.com Exercise Database

Dumbbell Bench Press

  1. Sit down on a flat bench with a dumbbell in each hand resting on top of your thighs. The palms of your hands will be facing each other.
  2. Then, lean back and lie down, using your thighs to help raise the dumbbells up, and lift the dumbbells one at a time so that you can hold them in front of you at shoulder width.
  3. Once at shoulder width, rotate your wrists forward so that the palms of your hands are facing away from you. The dumbbells should be just to the sides of your chest, with your upper arm and forearm creating a 90-degree angle. Be sure to maintain full control of the dumbbells at all times. This will be your starting position.
  4. Then, as you breathe out, use your chest to push the dumbbells up. Lock your arms at the top of the lift and squeeze your chest, hold for a second and then begin coming down slowly.

Tip: Ideally, lowering the weight should take about twice as long as raising it.

Caution: When you are done, do not drop the dumbbells next to you as this is dangerous to your rotator cuff in your shoulders and others working out around you. (1)

Cable Crossover

  1. To get yourself into the starting position, place the pulleys on a cable machine in a high position (above your head), select the resistance to be used and hold the pulleys in each hand.
  2. Step forward in front of an imaginary straight line between both pulleys while pulling your arms together in front of you. Your torso should have a small forward bend from the waist. This will be your starting position.
  3. With a slight bend on your elbows in order to prevent stress at the biceps tendon, extend your arms to the side (straight out at both sides) in a wide arc until you feel a stretch on your chest. Breathe in as you perform this portion of the movement. Tip: Keep in mind that throughout the movement, the arms and torso should remain stationary; the movement should only occur at the shoulder joint.
  4. Return your arms back to the starting position as you breathe out. Make sure to use the same arc of motion used to lower the weights.

Variations: You can vary the point in front of you where your arms meet. (2)

Dips – Chest Version

(Note: I use an assisted pull-up/dip machine for these)

  1. For this exercise, you will need access to parallel bars. To get yourself into the starting position, hold your body at arm’s length (arms locked) above the bars.
  2. While breathing in, lower yourself slowly with your torso leaning forward around 30 degrees or so and your elbows flared out slightly until you feel a slight stretch in the chest.
  3. Once you feel the stretch, use your chest to bring your body back to the starting position as you breathe out. Tip: Remember to squeeze the chest at the top of the movement for a second. (3)

Dumbbell Flyes

  1. Lie down on a flat bench with a dumbbell on each hand resting on top of your thighs. The palms of your hand will be facing each other.
  2. Then using your thighs to help raise the dumbbells, lift the dumbbells one at a time so you can hold them in front of you at shoulder width with the palms of your hands facing each other. Raise the dumbbells up like you’re pressing them, but stop and hold just before you lock out. This will be your starting position.
  3. With a slight bend on your elbows in order to prevent stress at the biceps tendon, lower your arms out at both sides in a wide arc until you feel a stretch on your chest. Breathe in as you perform this portion of the movement. Keep in mind that throughout the movement, the arms should remain stationary; the movement should only occur at the shoulder joint.
  4. Return your arms back to the starting position as you squeeze your chest muscles and breathe out. Tip: Make sure to use the same arc of motion used to lower the weights. (4)

Note: If your shoulder/rotator cuff starts to hurt as you are bringing your arms down, STOP. Do not go so far as to hurt your shoulder. I’ve noticed this sometimes if I go too far down. Try to feel it mostly in your Chest. It may take some practice to find the right movement.

 

< Back to Exercise Database