Exercises have been known to be extremely beneficial for men and women alike. While doing exercises, your body releases happy hormones. About half an hour of exercise can activate a certain set of endocrine hormones. This tends to last for a longer time even after exercise. Hence a daily routine of exercise is recommended for all.
While we exercise, there are usually some main areas of our body that we target. For instance, men tend to focus more on quads (muscles on the legs) biceps, triceps(muscles on the arm) and pectorals (muscles on the chest). Women on the other hand, tend to focus on abs (the abdominal muscles), glutes (the muscles that make up the buttocks) and quadriceps (the muscles in your thighs).
We see that women don’t work out their pectorals as much as men do. This is due to many misconceptions. Let’s take a look at all the misconceptions surrounding this before we go into the benefits of workouts for the chest for women.
- Chest workout will make my breasts smaller: Breasts are made of fatty tissue and the only reason they reduce is, if the total fat content in the body reduces. Exercise doesn’t cause reduction in the size of breasts. In fact, if done well, workouts can increase the size as per your desire.
- Chest workout will firm my breasts: Chest exercises are for the muscles underneath the breasts. It doesn’t affect the breasts in any way. As explained before, since breasts are made of fatty tissue, exercise doesn’t really affect them.
- Losing the feminine touch: Training or working out with weights won’t make you look huge or masculine. Exercising the pectorals will in fact help in ways that you wouldn’t have imagined.
- There are breasts, then why should I exercise my pectorals: It is a major misconception, that the pectorals and breasts constitute the same muscles. The pectorals are the muscles underneath the breasts and that need as much exercise as any part of the body since they are connected to the back and helps in posture.
What are the benefits of doing chest exercises?
Although the chest muscles are right up there, they are the most ignored group by women. Women should pay attention to it just as much as their male counterparts do. There are a lot of benefits in working out your chest muscles. Let’s look at them one by one.
- Improving posture: It is extremely important that we take care of our posture in our daily lives. Usually the muscles that we focus on when we think about correct posture, is the back and shoulder muscles. But the muscles that we ignore the most is one of the largest muscles in our upper body. The pectoral muscles help in maintaining the posture by balancing the shoulder and shoulder joints. Hence by exercising the chest muscles, the posture can be maintained the most optimal level.
- Breathing becomes easier: By improving your posture, you are not only helping in maintaining a straight back, in turn you are allowing for the space to open up for the lungs to expand and breathe to the maximum capacity. It helps the diaphragm to open up and let all the air in and out without any blockages.
- Increase firmness and shape of breasts: By doing chest exercises, there is a firmness that comes to the pectoral muscles which are just underneath the fatty breast tissue. This in turn leads to firmer looking breasts. Sometimes even leading to better cleavage too.
- Hidden benefits helping in daily life: Increasing the strength of your pectoral muscles, will help you in your daily chores. These include lifting of heavy groceries, carrying children, pushing heavy doors and in fact any motion that involves the upper body. The main reason for this being that, pectoral muscles are linked to the muscles on the hand. While we strengthen the pectoral muscles, the connection between our hands and shoulders strengthen. Hence, making chores like these an easy task. It doesn’t seem as daunting as it would be if you do not exercise at all. All forms of exercises tend to give you more energy and strength to carry on with normal life in an extraordinary way.
Now that the misconceptions have been cleared and the benefits have been discussed, the next important point of discussion should be what the best ways are. The best ways to exercise chest muscles in women for the finest results. And make sure that the exercises that are chosen should be in line with the outcomes that are to be achieved.
Which are the best chest workouts for women?
Any exercise should start with a stretching routine, which forms the basic backbone of any regime. A good stretching exercise, a slow run up to the exercises, moving on to more intense forms of exercises and then a relaxation session, all these constitute a good regime. Women should try to do chest workouts three times a week for a period of 10-15 minutes. This would be advantageous for the hand muscles, shoulder muscles and back muscles in addition to the chest muscles.
There are a group of stretching exercises that can be started with. The best in this case is a basic standing chest stretch. This is one of the easiest and targeted stretching exercise when it comes to chest muscles.
Benefits: Stretching ensures that it decreases stiffness in muscles, they help to reduce the risk of injury and increase the body’s flexibility before we move to the hard-core training. Camel pose is one of the poses from yoga which is very useful while stretching and preparing for heavy duty muscle building exercises. It helps to open up the entire chest area and stretch the back too.
Standing chest stretch:
How to do it?
Stand up your abs tight and spine straight. Lift the arms to roll your shoulders back. Bend them at the elbows. Your face is now parallel to the forearms. Focus on opening up the chest by pushing your hands behind. This stretching pose should be held for close to half minute. This makes one rep. A good beginning is 5 Reps of 2 sets. Hey! Don’t forget to relax your body for about 15 seconds between the reps.
How to do it?
Place your knees on the floor and keep them a little apart. Now bend backwards, and touch your heels with the arms by taking both your arms behind. This opens the chest. You can feel the stretch all the way from the chest up to the back. This stretching pose should be held for close to half minute. A good beginning is 5 Reps of 2 sets. Hey! Don’t forget to relax your body for about 15 seconds between the reps.
2. Exercising with weights:
The benefits of this exercise are that it works well on both the chest muscles and the upper back muscles. Training with weights will help to strengthen and increase maculation.
Seated Dumbbell Fly
This is one of the best beginner’s level exercises. It only requires a set of dumbbells and a floor to practice on.
How to Do it?
Sit on a bench with your spine straight, legs wide apart parallel to the shoulders, shoulders stretched back and abdominal muscles tight. Let your hands relax by taking a dumbbell in both your hands and leaving them freely. Then, lift your arms till the shoulder level and exhale as you do it. Lower your hands and inhale at the same time. This makes up one rep.2 sets of 12 reps.
Lying Dumbbell Fly
This is another version of the seated dumbbell fly but a little more advanced as you will observe. A stability ball is required in addition to the dumbbells for this workout.
How to do it?
Take a stability ball and sit on it. Be very careful about your balance while sitting on the ball. Take one dumbbell in both your hands. Also, both your feet should be kept wide apart, a bit more wide than your shoulder-width, and make sure to keep your spine erect. Move forward using walking motions on the floor with your back on the ball. Keep going up until your upper body and floor are parallel to each other. Now the stability ball will touch only the back end of your shoulders. Your abs should be engaged, and make sure that your chest, leg muscles and pelvic region lie straight. Now slowly raise your arms, chest above, don’t forget to inhale slowly. The palms will face each other now. Look up straight up. Spread your arms as if you want to fly the next minute, and exhale. Lower the arms until the dumbbells reach the level of your chest. Again, inhale and take your arms back. This makes up one rep. 3 sets of 10 reps.
Incline Dumbbell Press:
This is another exercise that targets the chest. It requires an exercise bench that is put on an incline mode in addition to the dumbbells. Hence the name inclined dumbbell press. This exercise can be done in three different angles, neutral, incline and decline. All three positions help to work out different areas of different muscles and different angles of the same muscles too.
How to Do it?
Lie on the exercise bench placed in the incline mode. Make sure that your back is straight, and the shoulders are comfortably pushed back. Take one dumbbell in both your hands (of your desired weight) and raise your hands with the dumbbells. Inhale slowly while raising the hands. Your hands should be straight position with the palms facing each other. Now exhale and slowly bring the dumbbells down into an inverted “V”. When they reach the sides of your chest then stop. Inhale and slowly raise your hands back in the same imaginary inverted “V”. The inner heads of both the dumbbells should now touch each other. This makes up one rep. 3 sets of 15 reps
Push ups are a basic part of all exercise’s regimes. It mainly includes raising and lowering of your upper body to give it a premium workout. There are a wide range of push ups that are focused on specific sets of muscle exercises. They range from very simple ones to more complicated one which use more equipment.
Wide push up:
Wide push ups are basically very much like the basic push up, but the only difference is that the hands are placed wide apart than normal. They are wider than shoulder wide width. By placing the hands wider apart they are able to focus more on the chest.
How to do it?
First you need to be in the push-up position. That is balance on your hands and toes while keeping your spine straight. Make sure that the abs are tight too. Now the difference from a normal push up is that you move your hands wider apart.They should be wider than shoulder width apart and at the same time in line with your shoulders. Now as you would do a normal push up, go down by pushing your elbows and go down. Exhale while pushing down and inhale while you push yourself back to the starting point. That makes up one rep.
3 sets of 10 reps.
In decline push ups, we need to have a support ball or a plank to help do the push up. It’s a bit more difficult than a normal push up. It focuses more on the chest muscles than the normal push-up.
How To Do it?
Place your toes and the lower segment of your leg firmly on the raised platform. You can use either a stability ball or a block or any kind of raised surface. Keep your hands at shoulder width. Push down your upper body with the help of your elbows. Remember to exhale and inhale while going down and up respectively. This counts for one rep.3 sets of 5 reps
Triangle Push ups
This is very similar to a normal push. The only difference is that we place the hands in a triangle position while doing the push up.
How To Do it?
Place your arms firmly on the ground in the push up position. Now make a triangle for, with your hands and fingers on the floor. The toes must be extended and the back straight. Now slowly lower your upper body and bend your elbows and move downwards. Push up and slowly return to previous position. Breathe in and out continuously according to how you push down and up. This makes up one rep. 3 sets of 7 reps.
Burpee with push up:
This push up is a mix of two exercises. In this you do a push up and then jump up to the standing position and then go back to the push up position.
How To Do it?
Begin withstanding with your feet wide apart. Then drop into squat position and exhale. Kick your feet back and get into push up position. Do one push up. Exhale when you go down and inhale when you come up. Now kick back and push your feet into lower squat position. Exhale. Next get up into standing position and inhale. This makes up one rep. 3 sets of 5 reps
There are a number of presses that you can work out which are comparatively easy. Firstly, an isometric press, where you stand with feet apart and then bend your knees a little. Now bend your elbows towards yourself. They should be in the form of two 90 degrees angles. Press your arms together. Hold it for 50 seconds. That makes up 5 reps of 3 sets.
This was one of the easier presses to do. There are a lot of complicated presses that are done with dumbbells. They also help in working out the chest
Planking works the best to strengthen your core. If modified, it can help in building of the chest muscles too.
How to do it?
For this exercise we need two dumbbells. Place this dumbbell on the mat. It should be at a shoulder difference. Begin the exercise by kneeling on the mat, then lean forwards and take the dumbbell in both your hands. Make sure that you hold them exactly below your elbows and shoulders. Now go for leg extensions while you hold the dumbbells. Lift your right hand and begin complete extended rotations to the left. Continue to maintain the right hand extensions while looking towards the dumbbell. Remember to keep the left hand relaxed. However, you may twist your left leg and give support. Eventually, complete the right hand planking and repeat the same with your left hand. This makes up one rep. It is good to behn with 3 reps of 3 sets.
Chest exercises give lot of strength to the core and to the chest muscles. These in turn help to strengthen the hand muscles, back muscles and shoulder muscles. We need to be aware of the best exercise suited for out body type and our health conditions.