At times when booty workouts have taken center stage, people tend to forget about chest exercises. Don’t forget that you need to work on your pecs, back and front. Everyone needs to work on their chest muscles, which are located beneath their breast tissue. From improving your posture to carrying out daily tasks to breathing easily, chest exercises are important for more reasons than one. If you’ve been neglecting those muscles, it’s time to mix some chest workouts into your routine.
Why do you need to do chest exercises?
Believe it or not, your chest is probably one of the most neglected parts of your body. Studies have shown that performing chest exercises can help strengthen your muscles and define them. Fitness expert and author Bhavna Harchandrai says that certain chest exercises like push-ups and bench presses engage multiple muscle groups, including:
- Pectoralis major (chest muscles)
- Anterior deltoid (front shoulder muscles)
- Triceps brachii (back of the upper arm)
- Biceps brachii (front of the upper arm)
- Serratus anterior (located along the sides of the chest and ribcage)
Best chest exercises for beginners
Harchandrai suggests you do 3 sets of 15 repetitions for each of these chest exercises. Here are some of the best chest exercises that beginners can do to strengthen their chest muscles and tone their chest:
To perform this exercise, you don’t need any equipment. Here’s how you should do it:
1. Get on a mat and on your fours like you would in a plank position.
2. Ensure your hands are slightly wider than your shoulders, your legs extended and your back straight.
3. Keep your core tight and lower down your body as you inhale. With an exhale, lift your body up by pressing your palms until your elbows are fully extended.
2. Incline bench press
For this exercise, you would need a barbell or a dumbbell and an inclined bench. Here’s how you can do it properly:
1. Begin by lying on your back on the incline bench, with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
2. Hold the barbell or dumbbells in your hands, with your thumbs wrapped around it and your palms facing towards your feet.
3. Press your arms straight towards the ceiling to lift the weight off the rack.
4. Position the weight above your collarbone.
5. Lower the weight down to your chest slowly, targeting the chest area just above your nipples.
6. Pause for a bit, then press the weight back to the starting position.
3. Decline bench press
You need a barbell or dumbbell and a declined bench angled down at least 15 degrees. Here’s how can do it properly:
1. Lie down on a declined bench so your legs are a bit higher than your head, and secure your ankles behind the ankle rests.
2. Grasp the barbell, ensuring your thumbs are wrapped around it, and your palms are facing towards your feet.
3. Lift the weight off the rack by pressing your arms straight toward the ceiling.
4. Position the weight over your chest level.
5. Gradually lower the weight down to your chest by bending your elbows at a 45-degree angle. Aim to keep the bar approximately in line with your nipples.
6. Pause briefly, and then press the weight back to the starting position.
4. Cable cross over
1. Place pulleys above your head and hold one pulley in each hand.
2. Take one step forward and stretch the cables so that it feels that the weights are pushing back your hands.
3. Keep your back straight at all times and put one foot ahead of the other with the knee bent to maintain balance.
4. Now, pull your hands in an arch shape as you inhale and you should feel the stretch in your chest.
Hold the position for a few seconds and bring your arms back into the initial position as you exhale.
Repeat the movement for the desired number of repetitions.
5. Chest dips
1. Begin by standing facing two parallel bars and holding them with your palms facing in.
2. Straighten your elbows and press into your hands, lifting your body up.
3. Now, lower your chest towards your hands while bending your elbows.
4. Hold for a few seconds and go back to the initial position.
5. Do 8-12 repetitions of this exercise.
Who should avoid doing chest exercises?
“People with angina symptoms or chest pain that occurs at rest should consult their doctor first before starting a new workout regimen. Chest pain can result from various factors that are not necessarily related to underlying diseases. Some examples include heavy lifting, weight lifting, trauma to the chest, or even swallowing a large piece of food. It’s essential to consider these potential non-disease-related causes when assessing the source of chest pain. If the pain persists or is severe, seeking medical advice is advisable to rule out any serious underlying issues,” adds the fitness expert.
Make sure that you are not suffering from an underlying disease or pain before doing any of these exercises. You should also get proper guidance from your doctor or get your condition assessed to make sure its safe for you to exercise.