Chest exercises are a great way to both tone up your upper body and to increase your strength. There are all kinds of chest exercises that you can do both in and out of the gym – some can be done without equipment and some will need equipment to give you maximum benefit.
It’s a good tip – if you haven’t already done so – to invest in an exercise ball, a workout mat, and if your budget permits a pair of dumbells as this will make some of the exercises more comfortable, give you some diversity and allow you to get maximum benefit for very little cash outlay!
And, you can of course use the fitness equipment for all kinds of other workouts as well.
Pushups are a great overall exercise as they work on the whole body – but the best benefits you’ll see are to the chest and upper arms. For the most effective pushup keep your hands apart level with the shoulders. Bend your arms and go down as far as possible before straightening your arms and pushing up again.
2. Bench Press
A pair of dumbells will give you excellent additional benefits from a bench press exercise. Lie on the bench (or in this case, exercise ball) and hold the dumbbells straight up then bend your arms and lower the dumbbells to just below your chest.
3. Incline/Decline Bench Press
This exercise is the same as a regular bench press except you’ll be doing it on a bench that is in either an inclined or a declined position. Again, the exercise ball provides an excellent and cost effective replacement for a bench.
4. Chest Flies
Chest flies can be done on a bench – or, for a different approach, on an exercise ball. Lie on the bench (or balance your shoulders/upper back on the ball) and hold some dumbells straight up in both hands before lowering out to the side.
5. Chest Press using a Resistance Band
Secure the band behind you and then hold and pull the handles until you get the right tension. Move your arms out to the sides and then in again.
You’ll need some kind of parallel bars for dips. Take hold of the bars (palms facing each other) and straighten out your arms while bending your knees. Lean your body slightly forward and push up and down on the bars. The chest is emphasized in this exercise by the amount of leaning forward you do…
7. Chest Stretch
This stretch works great with a resistance band. Sit on the floor in a cross-legged position and hold the band over your head with your hands apart. Pull your arms out and lower them down slowly. Let the resistance band expand or contract as the band goes over your head and behind your back…then reverse the motion in the opposite direction
8. Pushups with Resistance Tube
This exercise works much the same as regular pushups but you’ll use a resistance tube/band to make things more challenging. Loop the band around your upper back and hold on to the ends then pushup as usual.
9. Pushups with a Medicine Ball
These pushups use a medicine ball to give a variation on standard pushups. First, put one hand on the ball and the other on the floor and assume the pushup position. As you pushup here you can also pass the ball across the floor to the other hand which will also do some work on your abs.
10. Chest Squeeze
Sit on a chair or on an exercise ball and take hold of a medicine ball. Keep your back straight and hold the medicine ball at chest level. When you squeeze the ball you’ll feel your chest contract. Keep squeezing the ball and slowly turn to one side slowly pushing the ball outwards as you go. Go back to the middle and repeat for the other side.
Remember to pace yourself – if you are unsure about the best chest exercises for your level then a personal trainer or an online personal trainer will be able to give you the best advice.