Chest exercises are some of the most popular and easy to do at home and in the gym. For men, a good set of "pecs" is a must to achieve a manly man appearance….and for women, these moves can help raise the ta-tas and even add some definition to that cleavage!
But these exercises are also a given for anyone who wants to lose weight and achieve that healthy, balanced appearance!
Most chest moves also work a lot of muscles at the same time, giving you that “big bang for your buck” and time saving advantage.
Exercising the chest muscles and other large muscle groups will help you save time when it comes to losing weight!
Unlike the back muscles, the chest is usually NOT forgotten when it comes to working out. For years the most popular exercise in gyms has been….drum roll please….that’s right, the bench press. No surprise there, huh?
And the most common question asked among guys in the gym? “So, what’s your bench?” Of course, these are usually statements heard from the men. I can’t remember the last time I heard a girl ask another girl what her bench was….
Anyway, as far as LOSING WEIGHT goes, the chest muscles are some of the largest in the body! Energizing them with a variety of compound movement exercises will help you burn a lot of calories and speed up your metabolism.
Learn HOW the chest muscles work…so you can FEEL it when you work it out!The pecs are almost a direct opposite of the lats. Just to remind you here (so you don’t have to click over to that page) the lats attach along your lower spine on one end and on the other end they attach to the back of your upper arm.
There are many muscles that make up the chest area, but the main one is the pectoralis major. This is a fan shaped muscle that attaches along the sternum in the center of the chest. The other end attaches to the front of the upper arm. When it contracts and shortens, your upper arm moves!
The pecs are mainly responsible for movement at the shoulder joint. It brings the upper arm forward as in clapping with outstretched hands, or pushing out as with the bench press and pushing open a door.
They also pull the arm down when it’s outstretched to the side, as if you were flapping your arms like a bird. It also helps rotate the upper arm inward, as it does in arm wrestling.
Moves that work…There are a lot of great chest exercises! Most of them are multi-joint exercises that work a lot of other muscles at one time.
Let’s take the PUSHUP for example: Chest muscles and your ANTERIOR DELTOIDS extend your upper arm. The TRICEPS (the back of the upper arm) extend your elbow as you push up.
But that’s not all! During the pushup, your CORE MUSCLES – abs and lower back – have to stay tight to keep your torso from sagging. Your quadriceps (front of your leg) have to stay flexed in order to keep your legs straight.
There are many variations of PUSHUPS! The difficulty level can be adjusted to fit the BEGINNER or the ADVANCED…a beginner can lean against a table or a bench. An experienced exerciser can elevate their feet or even use one arm!
A great tool that can assist you in doing pushups is a set of rotating handles called THE PERFECT PUSHUP. These can ease the strain some people feel in their wrists and they allow your joints to rotate more naturally through the pushing movement.
There are many types of chest press machines available in gyms. They all work basically the same: you sit on a seat with your back supported. You adjust the weight, place your hands on the handles and extend your arms!
Note on exercise machines….Exercise machines are great and can have a place in anyone’s workout routine –especially for beginners. I like to think of most machines as a bicycle with training wheels: you don’t have to keep balance; you just push in a straight line...
Using free weights is like TAKING OFF THE TRAINING WHEELS – you have to keep balance while you are pushing....
By doing this your muscles have to work a lot harder. I also believe free weights allow your joints to move a little more freely and naturally than when using machines.
Of course, there is also the famous BENCH PRESS. This is commonly done with a barbell, but can also be done with dumbbells. The DUMBBELL CHEST PRESS is a great move because each arm has to work independently and keep balance.
There are many variations of bench presses and dumbbell chest presses… Bench presses with a barbell can be done with varying grips from wide to narrow. A NARROW grip causes you to have to bend your elbows more, which makes your TRICEPS work harder because they have to move through a greater range of motion.
The angle of the bench can be adjusted for both as well, from lying flat on a bench to decline and incline. The more incline you are, the more your ANTERIOR DELTOIDS kick in to help.
One variation isn’t better than any other – it just provides variety and targets muscles from different angles. As with any exercise, use proper form and don’t do any moves that make your joints feel as if they are in a bind or doing something they are not meant to do!
DIP EXERCISES are also a great multi-joint chest exercise…
This move can also be adjusted for a BEGINNER or ADVANCED person. It can be done by simply sliding your butt forward and off a chair. It can also be done between two chairs, which is a little more comfortable for the shoulders! More advanced exercisers can do bodyweight dips and extra weight can be added as well.
EXERCISE BANDS can be used for chest exercises… as well other HOME EXERCISE MACHINES like a BOWFLEX and the TOTAL GYM! Home exercise machines like this are great because so many multi-joint exercises can be done on them!
Chest exercises should be a part of any weight loss exercise routine! There are endless combinations of moves where you can energize these muscles while hitting other muscles at the same time. This will help you burn a lot of calories, lose weight and feel and look great!