The pectoralis major and minor are the two muscles that make up the chest muscles. They’re known as the “pecs” when they’re all grouped. The pectoralis major is the larger muscle, with an upper portion (known as the clavicular head) and a lower part (known as the pectoralis minor) (called the sternal head). The pectoralis minor is a triangular-shaped muscle that functions in conjunction with the pectoralis major. It’s typical to hear fellow fitness buffs brag about a tough leg workout or a great biceps/triceps day. On the other hand, exercises for the chest don’t get the attention they deserve. Your chest muscles help you move around a lot in your upper body. It assists you in moving your arms up and down, pressing, and pulling.
Chest workouts are just as challenging as squats or a bicep circuit and maybe just as much fun. Some of the advantages of chest exercise may astound you. Pushing the arms away from the body using some resistance is a common chest exercise.
Types of Chest Muscles
It is a thick, fan-shaped, or triangular convergent muscle. It lies beneath the breast and makes up the majority of the chest muscles.
The pectoralis minor is a narrow, triangular muscle. It is in the upper chest area, beneath the pectoralis major.
The serratus anterior is a muscle that originates on the surface of the 1st to 8th ribs on the side of the chest and inserts along the full anterior length of the scapula’s medial border. The scapula is pulled forward around the thorax by the serratus anterior.
The subclavius, a little triangle muscle between the clavicle and the first rib, is one of the most critical muscles in the body. The subclavius muscle and the major and minor pectoralis make up the anterior axio appendicular muscles. It is often known as the anterior wall of the axilla.
Health Benefits of Chest Exercise
The pecs, one of the largest muscles in the upper torso, are crucial for healthy posture. In addition to your back and shoulder muscles, Pecs aid in shoulder joint stabilisation.
Strengthening and extending your chest muscles and improving your posture will help you breathe more deeply. The lung capacity increases because your pecs are connected to your ribs, which expand with each breath.
Maintains Muscle Equilibrium
Muscle balance is essential for both symmetry and minimising muscle overcompensation. You can observe muscle imbalance in the form of overdeveloped arms and undeveloped leg muscles.
Enhances the Efficiency of Everyday Chores
You may discover that actions that were once difficult now need less effort as you get into the swing of chest training. Strengthened chest muscles can help with everything from lifting boxes to changing furniture and carrying an armful of groceries. In addition, your chest muscles might become more efficient as they become stronger. The more powerful your chest muscles are, the more powerful your entire upper body will be.
Increases Muscle Mass
Muscles must adapt to handle the weight being pressed or pulled when used repeatedly. The results show that the weighted stimulus increased the size of the group’s pectoral muscles and triceps.
The HealthifyMe Note
One needs to train all muscle groups for a strong and toned body. For a total body workout, you should divide exercise into days like chest and abs, legs, core and whole body.
Best Chest Exercises
Push-ups help you focus on other portions of your torso, such as your back, shoulders, triceps, and even your biceps, in addition to your chest muscles. As a result, push-ups are still one of the most intense chest workouts, despite being one of the oldest exercises in the history of chest workouts.
- Step back into a high plank position, starting on your hands and knees. Your hands should be about an inch broader than your shoulders, and your quads should be straight. It would help if you stretched your hamstrings, and your spine should be in a neutral position.
- Maintain a straight line from head to heel by bending your elbows at a 45-degree angle and lowering your chest toward the floor while keeping your core firm.
- Aim to get as low as possible without jeopardising your core support or spine and pelvic alignment.
- Pull your chest away from the ground and straighten your elbows.
- Repeat until you’ve completed 8–12 repetitions. Do three sets.
Note: Keep your hips in line with your shoulders and ankles. You can do this exercise on your knees if it’s too difficult to do on your feet.
Incline Push Up
It is an excellent warmup to get your chest ready for work. A dynamic warmup has been demonstrated in studies to help prevent injury before training. In addition, lower resistance exercises like Incline push-ups warm up the muscles for the effort ahead.
- Begin by placing your hands on the wall or a countertop. Then, walk your feet back until your body is at a 45-degree angle to the ground.
- Lower your chest towards the surface you’re leaning against, keeping your body straight and your spine neutral.
- Return to the starting position after a brief pause.
- Make sure the resistance is light enough for you to finish up to 20 reps. Move closer to your hands to make it easier; step further away to make it more challenging.
Dumbbell Floor Press
For a shoulder-safe chest pump, lower your dumbbell press to the floor. Because all you’ll need are some weights and some space to spread out, this is another excellent choice for building up your chest with home workouts.
- Lay down on the floor with a pair of dumbbells in each hand.
- Keep your feet flat on the floor and squeeze your glutes while driving with your heel.
- To keep your shoulders safe, keep your elbows at a 45-degree angle to your torso.
- At the peak position, press the dumbbells up and squeeze your chest.
- Allow your elbows to rest briefly on the ground as you lower your back with control.
Some may claim that this exercise is primarily intended to strengthen the back but can also be used to strengthen the chest. The dumbbell pullover is one of the few exercises focusing on the chest from a new position and with a top-to-bottom contraction, setting it apart from the other chest routines.
- Lie on a bench with your upper back supported, your head and neck supported, and your feet flat on the ground.
- Extend your arms above your head while holding a dumbbell.
- Slowly drop the dumbbell backwards, keeping your elbows bent and enabling them to connect with your ears.
- When you’ve stretched as far as you can without bending your elbows, switch directions by flexing your chest and lats and bringing the dumbbell back overhead.
Barbell Bench Press
It is the most popular and effective gym workout for developing your pecs. On a chest day, the barbell bench press is one of the most popular exercises. This workout may appear simple but usually focuses on your trunk muscles.
- Take a seat on a flat bench.
- Lift the bar off the rack with a medium-width grip and hold it straight over your head with your arms locked.
- Breathe deeply and slowly lower the bar until it hits your centre chest from the starting position.
- Push the bar back to the starting position after a brief pause, breathing out to complete one rep.
The chest dip is an excellent workout for targeting chest muscles. It will also engage the triceps and shoulder muscles indirectly. Chest dips, like the decline bench press, effectively target the lower portion of the pec. It does, however, move in a vertical pressing pattern, which provides a unique stimulus for the chest muscles. Before using weighted vests, belts, or chains, it’s best to master the bodyweight variant of this exercise.
- If possible, climb onto the dip station and maintain a neutral grip with your hands.
- Begin the dip by freeing your elbows and lowering your body until your forearms are virtually parallel to the floor.
- Control the descent to parallel and then push through the palms to return to the starting position.
- Repeat as many times as you want.
The chest fly is one of the most popular chest workouts. Squeezing is the game’s name here, not flapping your arms like a bird to take flight, as the name implies. As a result, you’ll likely use less weight than you think.
- Lay down on a flat bench with dumbbells in each hand.
- With your pinkies turned slightly inward, press the weights above your chest, keeping them from touching. Then, on the bench, maintain full-body tension.
- Lower your arms, moving only at your shoulders and keeping a slight bend in your elbows. Go only as far as your shoulder mobility allows.
- Squeeze your shoulder blades to return the weight to its starting position, focusing on the squeeze in your chest at the top.
The pec deck fly focuses on almost all of your chest muscles. It causes the muscle fibres in the centre of your breastplate to spring to their full potential. Compared to other exercises that use free weights, the pec-deck pits your pecs directly against resistance while providing a wide range of motion and a lower risk of injury.
- Place your lower back on the pad and your feet flat on the floor.
- Maintain a 90-degree angle with your elbows and forearms flush against the pads.
- To disengage the weight from the stack, move your arms slightly forward.
- From here, flex your pecs to bring the handles out in an arc in front of your body.
- Pull hard, then gradually return to your starting position.
- Repeat once more.
The lower pecs are kept tense by this single-joint movement. You can also move the focus of the exercise from the lower pecs to the middle pecs if you bend too much at the waist.
- Begin by standing away from a high pulley cable machine or an overhead resistance band. Next, choose a light to moderate weight.
- As you step forward with one foot, grab your hands (or the ends of the band). Maintain sufficient tension and control over the handles to keep them in front of your chest.
- Contract your chest muscles and bring the handles down and forward across your body, roughly at the level of your belly button. You can cross your hands to emphasise the serratus anterior muscles.
- Hold for a moment, then slowly return to the beginning. Then do it again.
- Perform three sets of 8–12 repetitions.
Resistance Band Pullover
The resistance band pullover is an upper-body workout focusing on the back, chest, and shoulders muscles.
- The band should have a solid foundation. Then, lie down with your head facing the anchor point. The band should be about a foot and a half above your head.
- Grasp the band above your head and pull it tight. Keep your hands facing each other, and your thumbs pointed to the sky.
- Pull the band towards your hips, keeping your core firm and elbows straight. Then, slowly and steadily return to your starting position.
- Perform three sets of 8–12 reps.
The HealthifyMe Note
You should plan chest exercises1-2 times a week, depending on the kind of exercises you do. If you plan to lift very heavy weights, taking two days break in between two chest days would be ideal.
Safety and Precautions
Exercising is one of the most effective strategies to improve self-esteem and live a healthy life. It’s vital to keep in mind, though, that exercise should never cause any harm or pain. Assess your present level of physical fitness before undertaking any workout, and be realistic about what you can and cannot achieve.
You should do new workouts gently and cautiously at first. Once you’re acquainted with the movements and needs of the exercise, you can progressively increase the number of repetitions, the weight you use, or the time you spend performing it. If you have any doubts or queries about an activity or a fitness regimen, seek professional advice.
A well-developed chest muscle is one of the indications of a strong self. You may want to participate in sports, carry a large number of groceries, lift your children in the air, or look and feel good. Whatever it is, it is critical to exercise and build stronger muscles. Working the chest muscles can only improve your quality of life. These activities may help the muscles grow in size and strength. However, it is vital to eat a high-protein diet. Warm up properly with low-impact movements like the incline pushes to prepare your body for larger loads and reduce the risk of injury.