Many individuals aim to build strong chest muscles for the aesthetic appeal.
However, strong chest muscles also help support proper posture, as well as the upper back and shoulder. The key is to also include upper back strengthening exercises and stretches for the pec muscles. These exercises will help prevent a slouched appearance and muscular imbalances.
The following offers a 6 exercise chest workout. It is quick, efficient, and will help you effectively build chest mass.
If you feel any discomfort or pain during your workout, stop. Assess your form and adjust. If the pain continues, stop your workout for the day. Make sure to stay hydrated throughout your session.
Begin with a quick 3-5 minute warm-up, consisting of jumping rope or running. The warm-up should get your blood pumping, preparing your body for your workout.
Now, let’s get moving!
1. Chest Push-ups
Chest push-ups challenge your pec muscles. The 2 pectoralis muscles are the pectoralis major and the pectoralis minor. They are located across the chest, spreading from the shoulder to the sternum. These 2 muscles assist the shoulder in making movements, including when you move your arm up and straight out to the side.
Chest push-ups do not only work the chest muscles, but also target the major muscles of the shoulder. This is highly beneficial since the shoulder is a very unstable joint due to its wide range of movement.
- Begin in a full plank position. Your body should create a straight line from your head to your toes.
- Spread your hands wide, a few inches past shoulder-width apart.
- Slowly bend your elbows, lowering your body and bringing your chest almost to the floor.
- Slowly push back up, extending your arms straight.
- Repeat 12 times for 2-3 sets.
2. Chest Push Up Holds
This exercise is very similar to the first one. The difference is that we hold the push-up at the bottom. The chest push up hold is an isometric exercise, meaning you are contracting your muscles but no movement is taking place. You will feel your shoulders and chest after this exercise. Make sure to only hold for as long as you comfortably can – don’t push it and risk injury, especially if your form becomes jeopardized.
- Begin in a full plank – the same as the chest push ups.
- Slowly lower, bending your elbows.
- Hold the lowered position for as long as you can. Aim for 20-30 seconds to start.
- Do the exercise a total of 2-3 times.
3. Pike Push Ups
The best way to build the chest muscles is through push ups. Another push up variation is called the pike push up. Again, the shoulder muscles are also worked, as well as your core and back. This exercise can help strengthen your whole body.
- Begin in a full plank position.
- Lift your hips and buttocks high to the sky, forming an upside down ‘V’ with your body. Keep your arms straight.
- Bend your elbows and slowly lower your head forward toward the ground in between your arms.
- Slowly straighten your elbows, returning to the start position.
- Repeat for 12 repetitions and 2-3 sets.
4. Chest Dips
Chest dips require parallel bars or a dip bar. These may require you to first build up some chest muscle mass. It is not a beginner exercise. If you can’t quite do chest dips yet, don’t panic. Work on the other exercises outlined in this workout and you will get there.
- Hold onto the bars with both hands and your palms facing in.
- Begin with your arms straight and your torso leaning slightly forward.
- Slowly bend your elbows, lowering your chest and your body forward and down.
- Slowly push back up.
- Repeat the movement 12 times for 2-3 sets.
5. Chest Press
The chest press is the classic go-to chest exercise. And it isn’t a surprise why. It’s simple and efficient. For this exercise, you will need weights or a bar.
- Begin lying face up on a bench.
- Hold a bar or weights with your arms extended straight above your shoulders.
- Slowly bend your elbows out to your sides, lowering the weights down toward your chest.
- Slowly straighten your arms back up to the starting position.
- Repeat 12 times for 2-3 sets.
6. Pec Stretch
The pec stretch should be completed at the end of your workout. After working any muscle, it is important to stretch. It helps to reduce muscle soreness and tightness. For the chest muscles, in particular, it prevents the shoulders from creating a hunched posture which could potentially place stress on other muscles and joints.
- Find a doorway to perform this stretch in.
- Bend your elbows and place your forearms, with your elbows bent, on the doorframe.
- Step forward and gently lean the chest through the doorway. You should feel a slight stretch in your chest and shoulders.
- Hold for 20-30 seconds and do 2-3 sets.
For the best results, perform this workout 2-3 times a week and in combination with an upper back workout. Make sure to leave 24-48 hours in between your workouts to allow time for the muscles to grow and repair. Remember, if you can’t complete a chest dip, don’t become discouraged. With time and consistency, you will get there. Keep at it!