5 chest exercises for toning
Listen up ladies! Don’t be scared to train your chest! As a trainer, I’ve had so many women tell me that they don’t train chest or they don’t want to train chest. Reasons being they are scared that training chest will shrink their chest or even make their chest bigger. Women have the wrong idea about training chest and here are 5 reasons why I believe every woman should do chest exercises.
#1 Reason – Avoid injury and upper body balance: having developed your chest muscles will help you lift heavier on your other upper body movements and even lower body movements. When you are squatting, if you have no chest muscles, how will you be able to keep your chest up when driving out of the hole of a squat. Your chest won’t be strong enough to do that. Meaning your squat won’t be at its full potential.
#2 Reason – Burn more calories training chest than any other upper body muscle: Your chest muscles are the biggest muscle in your upper body, just like your quads are the biggest muscle in your lower body. Any time you train chest or your quads you are burning more calories than if you were training shoulders or your calves. What does that all mean? It means when you train chest you are burning more fat throughout your workout. You burn more calories and fat on chest days than shoulders day.
#3 Reason – When training chest you train more muscles than just your chest muscles: When you do most chest exercises, the chest is not the only muscle you are working. When you are benching, if you have trouble finishing your bench (locking out), your triceps need work. So, you are working your triceps. Also, when you are setting up for a bench, you must engage your lats to have proper setup and a proper bench. Meaning you are working your lats as well. The list can go on and on. But the point is when you do bench press you are working more of your upper body than just the pectoralis!
#4 Reason- Improves your posture: What’s the number one complaint people have when it comes to their body? Their back aches. Either their lower back or their upper back. We all have terrible posture and all for several reasons. But if you don’t have a strong chest to keep up than your back is going to do all the work to keep you upright. Think about the saying “Keep your chest up”. Your Grandma either told you that when you were young to help with your posture or your gym buddies will yell that at you when you are squatting and trying to get up. “Chest up!” You need to have a strong chest to improve your posture.
#5 Reason -Makes your Breast lift:You cannot train your breasts directly, because they are made up of fat tissue. You can, however, train the muscles underneath the breasts, like the pectoralis. The pectoralis muscle helps hold the fat tissue in place. When you strengthen that muscle, it will help keep the fat tissue up, meaning the breast will seem perkier. Not that they are any bigger but that they might visually look bigger because you trained the muscle to keep them more in the place they should be.
I would like to note that these exercises below are for both men and women! Try to incorporate these exercises into your next workout routine!
- Bench Press
Select a weight with which you can perform between eight and 12 presses. If you cannot complete eight, the weight is too heavy. If you can complete more than 12, the weight is too light. A standard barbell weighs 45 pounds. If the barbell alone is too heavy, select a lighter bar. If the barbell isn't heavy enough, you can slide weight plates onto both ends to increase the resistance.
Step 1: Lie face up on the bench with your eyes underneath the barbell. If your feet reach the floor and you can keep your lower back, head, butt and shoulders pressed onto the bench, you are in the right position. If not, bend your knees and place your feet on the bench or on a box on the floor.
Step 2: Grasp the bar with your palms facing toward your feet.
Step 3: Position your hands slightly wider than shoulder-distance apart
Step 4: Push up to lift the barbell off the supports. Inhale, bend your elbows and lower the bar toward the middle of your chest
Step 5: Allow your elbows to drop lower than your sides. Exhale, straighten your elbows and push the barbell up.
Step 6: Keep a slight bend in your elbows at the top of the movement.
Step 7: Repeat the process to complete 3-4 sets hitting around 10-12 reps If you are lifting heavier weight than you are use to (with good form). Aim for 3-4 sets hitting around 4-8 repetitions.
Step 8: Place the bar back on the rack when the exercise has been completed.
- Incline Bench Press
Select a weight with which you can perform between eight and 12 presses. If you cannot complete eight, the weight is too heavy. If you can complete more than 12, the weight is too light. A standard Olympic barbell weighs 45 pounds. If the barbell alone is too heavy, select a lighter bar. If the barbell isn't heavy enough, you can slide weight plates onto both ends to increase the resistance.
Step 1: Lie down on an incline bench. Gripping the bar with a medium-width grip, lift the bar off the rack. Hold it straight, keeping your arms locked. This is the starting position for the exercise.
Step 2: Inhaling slowly, move the bar down toward your upper chest.
Step 3: After a slight pause, push the bar back to the starting position. Exhale while doing so. Arms should be locked. Squeeze your chest and hold for a second before bringing the bar down again.
Step 4: Repeat the process to complete 3-4 sets hitting around 10-12 reps If you are lifting heavier weight than you are use to (with good form). Aim for 3-4 sets hitting around 4-8 repetitions..
Step 5: Place the bar back on the rack when the exercise has been completed.
- Middle Cable Fly
Use lighter weight- Don’t try to be a hero with cable flyes. The point is to burn out the muscle, which works best with a minimum of 10-12 reps. This applies especially if you pair the exercise with push ups.
Step 1: Set the pulleys to the middle position on both sides
Step 2: Stand upright with a handle in each hand and your arms extended out to the sides
Step 3: Keep your arms only slightly bent, head forward, reach your arms together horizontally across your body while maintaining your posture.
Step 4: Complete 3-4 sets hitting around 10-12 reps.
Step 1: Begin in a plank position with your arms straight. Your shoulders should be over your wrists and your body should form a straight line from head to toe. Keep your core engaged and don’t let your hips sag.
Step 2: Slowly bend your elbows and lower your chest towards the floor
Step 3: Press upwards back to plank position. You can start on your knees or try it against a wall or bench to modify this exercise.
Step 4: Complete 3-4 sets hitting around 10 or 12 reps
- Standing Plate Press
Step 1: Stand with your feet slightly wider then shoulder width apart and your knees bent slightly as well.
Step 2: Pick up a weighted plate and hold it at chest level with your elbows bent.
Step 3: Push the weight straight out and lock your elbows out.
Step 4: Bring the weight back into your chest. This completes one repetition.
Step 5: Complete 3-4 sets hitting around 10-12 reps.
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