The 5 Best Chest Exercises

Why Your Chest Needs Working Out

Your upper body is technically a large muscle group. Giving it a proper workout is a must as it helps the rest of the body function properly. Doing chest exercises is also a great introduction to your fitness routine.

Muscles in the Chest

Your chest is comprised of two major muscles — coming in at the front is the pectoralis major and under this is the pectoralis minor. Out of the two, the pectoralis major is the larger muscle. It is divided into parts: the clavicular head (upper) and the sternal head (lower).

Just like all the other muscle groups found in the rest of your body, the chest is mainly responsible for the movement of your arms. If you will notice, chest exercises require your arms to move away from your body, or your body pushed away by the arms.

The Functionality of Chest Exercises

Many of the everyday things you do involve the chest — bringing food to your mouth, opening the door, switching the lights on, driving — these activities use the chest practically the whole day. Including a chest workout in your fitness program is important. Keeping them strong means that you will be able to do these activities (and a lot more) with ease. A strong chest means you have a strong body.

In terms of exercises, push-ups require chest muscles to push the entire body off the ground. Don’t underestimate your pecs; it can handle heavy weight, making each chest workout a certified calorie buster. Chest exercises are also an awesome prelude to a workout that involves other muscle groups.

“Why Isn’t My Chest Getting Bigger?”

The 5 Best Chest Exercises

Quite a common question, and one that bears answering.

There are a few reasons why you have been having a hard time looking like the mean machine you truly are:

Your technique is wrong – If you think “quick is better” then you’ve probably got it all wrong. Pumping fast reps won’t help you gain bigger pecs. Slow and steady is the key to adding inches to your chest size.

You’re not warming up properly – Any form of physical activity needs some warm up exercise. By not warming up properly you’re not activating your muscles enough.

You’re doing the wrong form – This is something that needs to be corrected, pronto. Doing any exercise in its wrong form can cause serious injury to your body. Professional trainers or coaches are happy to assist you correct your form.

The Best Chest Exercises

There are actually quite a few chest exercises but we’ve narrowed it down to the lucky few that are guaranteed to help your chest size grow

Dumbbell Squeeze Press

This is an amazing chest exercise. By simply bringing the dumbbells together during a chest press, you are emphasising the movement to your pectorals. This simple yet effective change in the chest press activates the muscles during the entire exercise – from start to finish.
How: On a bench, lie flat on your back with a dumbbell in each hand. With solid yet neutral grip, hold the dumbbells with your arms straight above you. As you bend your arms lower it to the sides of your body, enough for the dumbbells to lie just above your chest. After a short pause, raise your arms again and repeat.

Incline Barbell Bench Press

Doing a press on an inclined bench activates your clavicular head. The effect? A bulging pair of pecs.
How: Set the bench on an inclined angle. Lie down and with your palms facing away from you as you grip the barbell, lift it to shoulder height. As you push the barbell upwards, breathe out. Squeeze your chest muscles and lock out your arms before you go back to the starting position.

Incline Dumbbell Bench Press

Bench presses are a staple whenever it’s chest day and dumbbell presses have been grossly underestimated when it comes to the pec-building department. The division of weights – one in each hand – gives a variety of motion. This, of course, activates other muscles in the area.
How: Set your bench to a 45-degree angle and lie flat on it. With two dumbbells in each hand, lift the weights over your chest. Make sure your palms are facing away from you. Lower one arm then push right back up, squeezing your chest. Do the same with the other side.

Challenge yourself by lifting the weight all the way to the top and keeping your chest tensed as your lower it back down.

Close-grip Barbell Bench Press

You’re placing less strain on your shoulders when you do a close-grip barbell bench press. Doing so also shifts the focus to your chest and triceps.
How: Lie flat on a bench and place your hands on the barbell (just inside of a shoulder width). Lower the barbell and as you do, breathe in. Lower it enough that it barely touches the mid section of your chest. With a burst of power lift the barbell and breathe out. The key here is to use your chest muscles. Focus on that as your do this exercise.

Decline Press-up

This topsy turvy exercise focuses on another area of your chest, your lower pecs, making it an exercise that gives you a more well-rounded look.
How: With your palms flat on the floor, place both feet on a bench. Lower your body to the ground, low enough that your chest nearly touches the floor. Push your body back up to starting position, squeezing your chest.

How Often Should I Work Out My Chest?

You can easily incorporate chest exercise into your fitness program. Three non-consecutive days are enough to help get those pecs big and strong.

If heavy weights are part of your regimen (heavy enough that you can only do six to eight reps max), then a rest period of two to three days will be needed so that your muscles have enough time to recuperate. Most likely you’ll be working out your chest once or twice in a week.

To simply tone your muscle, one to three sets of 12 to 16 reps each will be enough. Rotate two to three of the exercises we’ve suggested or simple try one when you feel like your program is becoming boring.

Getting strong and fit isn’t exactly a walk in the park. It takes hard work, patience, dedication, and the right fitness program and gym. Rec Xpress has its doors open to you. Become a member and enjoy a $11/week fee. No lock in periods. No hidden charges. Just you and your fitness goals. Drop by any of our six branches and our staff members will be more than happy to assist you.

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