You’re a woman; you don’t need to work on your chest muscles … or do you? I mean, we are endowed with breasts, isn’t that enough? Why do I need to work on muscles that aren’t even visible? you might ask. The answer quite simply is this: Well-developed chest or pectoral muscles will not increase your cup size, but they will make your breasts ride higher, make them appear more ‘perky’ and improve your posture!
If you spend all day hunched over behind a desk then you’re shortening and weakening your chest muscles, making it all the more necessary that you spend time toning and balancing your pectorals. Follow these exercises, and you will find you stand taller and pack a more powerful push!
Dumbbell Chest Press
You’ll do 4 sets: the first set should be 15 repetitions; then 10 reps; then 8 reps; then 6. Allow a 30-60 second rest in between sets
- Lie down on the floor or a flat bench (or a stability ball to make it more challenging) with a dumbbell in each hand, resting on your thighs with palms facing outward.
- Lower your elbows to your sides until they’re bent at 90-degree angles with forearms parallel and wrists in a straight line with elbows. (This is your starting position.)
- Slowly and in a controlled manner, extend both arms up and directly over your chest, with palms facing forward, until your arms are almost straight but not locked.
- Lower to starting position and then repeat according the number within the set you are doing.
You’ll do 4 sets of 8 repetitions
- This is the same exercise as described above only at an incline. So, either use an incline bench (adjusted to a 45-degree angle) or use a stack of pillows under your head and shoulders if you don’t have access to a workout bench.
- Follow the exercise as outlined in dumbbell chest press.
You’ll do three sets: the first set is 8 repetitions; the second 6 reps; the last 4 reps
- Same exercise, but now on a decline.This requires a workout bench, which allows you to lower it such that your head is lower than the rest of your body at a 45-degree angle.
- You will probably have to reduce the dumbbell weight to accommodate gravity and until you are comfortable with this position. It’s fine to do less than the recommended amount of repetitions until you are more at ease.
- If you feel light headed even for an instance, immediately put the weight down and bring your head back to neutral position.
You’ll do 2 sets of 15 repetitions
- You might have to use lighter weights for this exercise than you do for the presses to avoid injury.
- Lie on the ground or on a flat bench (or stability ball for added challenge) with a dumbbell in each hand, above the chest, with elbows only slightly bent and palms facing each other.
- Lower the arms to the sides and down, until they’re more or less level with your chest, but there’s no change in the bend of the elbow. (Almost like you’re opening your arms to give a bear hug).
- Squeeze your chest to bring your arms back to starting position (bear hug).
You’ll do anywhere from 2 sets to whatever it takes to feel fatigued
- You can do this with your knees bent or full body stretched out. You can also vary the intensity by having your arms positioned closer to your body with your elbows tucked tightly by your side.
- If all you are able to do are 2 push-ups, that’s fine! Don’t beat yourself up about it. Just be sure to rest a minute and do two more, or even one more if that’s all you have in you.
- Remember you have to start somewhere, and before you know it, you’ll be doing 8-10 push-ups without a problem!
- Doing an exercise to fatigue means doing it till you feel like you just don’t have it in you to do another single rep. In the case of a push up, doing it till you feel like your arms won’t support you anymore. (But, please don’t fall on your face! Believe me I’ve done it!)
Do these exercises as part of your total body workout regimen as they are, or modify them to suit the level of your abilities. There are also ways to do these exercises with barbells and cables, the latter enable you to isolate the muscles more, whereas exercising with dumbbells require you to stabilize your arms which engage the core muscles, giving you a greater workout. Whatever works for you, the key is to get out there and do it.
If you need assistance with form or posture, don’t hesitate to write to us! We’re here to help you meet your fitness needs and help you challenge yourself constantly!