Your chest muscles are important for many things (other than filling out a t-shirt). They are responsible for flexing your upper arm when you swim, moving your arm inwards when you are riding a bike, rotating your arm bone toward your body while you walk or run, and also simply breathing deeply.
The Get-Fit Guy Chest Builder Workout
After all that, you are probably wondering where to start. Well, here is a chest-strengthening workout to try. It addresses all the areas we talked about and more!
Incline dumbbell bench press. The main benefit of performing incline presses is to develop the upper portion of the pectoral muscles.
Flat dumbbell bench press. Flat bench press activates both heads of the pectorals evenly, which makes this exercise great for overall chest strengthening.
Straight bar dips. Done properly, dips (any dips) will increase the strength and mobility in your chest, shoulders, arms, and core.
Incline dumbbell flyes. This exercise targets the sternal heads of your pectoralis major muscles and also strengthens your deltoids, biceps, triceps, wrist flexors, and brachialis muscles.
Any type of postural or pulling exercises. You can mix this one up each time, choose between seated rows, single arm rows, pull-downs, and pull-ups
High to low cable crossovers. This is a great finishing exercise (to failure) that can help you burn out and break down your pectoralis major and minor. Pro Tip: Cross your hands in front of your body to get a more full range of motion.
This is the order that I do this workout in but you should order it based on weakest to strongest. Or, if muscle size is what you are after, start with the parts where you want to see the biggest gains.
How Many Reps and Sets?
I would suggest following the old rule: More Reps For Muscle, More Sets For Strength.
For strength, the key factor is less metabolic stress and more mechanical tension. Meaning that the total TUT (time under tension) to build strength is lower. Focus on faster tempos, lower rep ranges, or a combination of the two.
For muscle gain, more metabolic stress and less mechanical tension is key, meaning that the total TUT needs to be higher. Focus on slower tempos, higher rep ranges, or a combination of both.
Training the pectorals is just as important for women as it is for men. So if you have been neglecting those muscles, it's time to give them some tough love and undivided attention. As you learned, these muscles are involved in many functions that you need throughout any ordinary day as well as the fancy moves required in a variety of sports and athletic pursuits. The stronger your chest muscles, the stronger your entire body.
For more chest info, pec tips, and to join the strong conversation, head over to Facebook.com/GetFitGuy or twitter.com/getfitguy or find me at BrockArmstrong.com. Also don't forget to subscribe to the Get-Fit Guy podcast on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, Google Play or via RSS.