If you have a chest,which all humans do, then you should be making sure you include it in your strength program. Regardless of your gender, age or profession, a strong chest helps with posture and balances out your development in both a functional and aesthetic way. Are you just starting out in the fitness scene and feeling a bit unsure about what movements you should incorporate into your fitness program? Check out these chest essentials to get you going.
Dumbbell Bench Press
While the barbell bench press is the traditional go-to chest exercise, the dumbbell bench press offers some extra benefits. The dumbbell press utilises a very similar technique to the barbell bench press, but it is slightly more difficult due to the necessity to stabilise each arm. That generally means the capacity to lift large amounts of weight decreases, but you’ll find that by including this press into your program, your overall ability to bench press will increase. Not only that, but you’ll be able to address individual arm imbalances – with a barbell, one arm may compensate for the other, but when you separate the weight out, there’s nowhere for different sides to hide.
To perform this move, lie on a bench (or a fitball) and grasp suitable dumbbells. Lower the dumbbells down until they are level with your chest – your upper arms should be at an angle down from your body. Then use your chest to raise the dumbbells until your arms are perpendicular to your body, but try and prevent the weights from crashing together at the top.
The chest fly is best performed with light weights and controlled movements – this is not a move designed to boost your ego. The action itself stretches out your chest and then utilises a powerful contraction to help shape and strengthen the pectoral muscles.
To do a chest fly, lie on a bench (once again, you can use a fitball instead) and extend your weights to be above your body. Keep a slight bend in the elbow and lower the weights down until your arms stick out from your body. You can stop when they are level with the rest of you, or you can let them go a bit lower if you have good mobility and a controlled action. Then squeeze your chest to raise your arms back to the starting position, ensuring a strong contraction throughout the movement.
Push-ups are the all-rounder of the chest workout world. Let’s break it down: you can do them anywhere, you can scale them for difficulty, they target multiple muscles groups while integrating the core and there are several different versions you can try. The push-up is super versatile and perfect to use to superset any weighted work for that extra burn.
To perform a push-up, assume a plank position, with your hands underneath your shoulders. Keep your core strong to stop your body from sagging or bending and lower your chest to the ground by bending at the elbows. Once your chest touches or comes very close to touching the ground, use your chest and arms to push your body back to the original position.
The beauty about these movements is that they are easy to do with minimal (or no) equipment. You can pick up basic fitness equipment from experts that live and breathe fitness, like the team at Fitness Market.
What’s your favorite chest exercise? How do you incorporate it into your training program?