While you often hear people planning their workout regiments by “arm” day and “leg” day, it is important to be sure you’re not leaving out an important muscle group: the chest.
The most common chest exercises tend to be pushups, chest flies, and chest presses.
To perform chest flies, lie on the floor or a bench. Hold weights over the chest with the palms facing each other. Keeping the elbows slightly bent, lower the arms out to the sides and down until they’re level with the chest. Squeeze the chest to bring the arms back up, as if you are hugging a pole. Be sure not to lower the weights too low and to keep the elbows in a fixed position.
To perform a chest press, lie on the floor or a bench. Hold the weights in each hand straight up over the chest, palms facing towards your feet. Bend the elbows and lower the arms down until the elbows are just below the chest (as if the arms are goal posts.) Press the weights back up using the chest muscles, bringing them close together. Be sure to focus on the chest and don’t lock the elbows.
While most people think they know how to do push-ups, many people perform them incorrectly. Be sure you are not leading with your chin, and keep your head down so that your neck is aligned with the rest of your body. For a proper demonstration, check out this video.
Regardless of which chest exercise you choose, be sure you’re varying your routine every 4-6 weeks to avoid plateaus.
I turned to some of my favorite bloggers to find out what their favorite chest exercises were, and here is what they had to say:
- “Cable flies!” – Tabi
- “Chest press and reverse flies!” – Kaitlin
- “Walk out Burpee push-ups and awesome chest moves that really get the heart rate up!” – Laury
- “I love this YouTube video by SarahFit and Jessica Bergenfield!” – Kate
- “Push Ups” – Alex
- “Push ups (but make sure you watch this video on the right and wrong way to do them!)” – Kymberly
- “Single arm chest press on the ball (works core and glutes as well as the chest)” Tamara
- “There is nothing better, in my opinion than push ups! They are my favorite. I feel a huge differencbetween body weight exercises and weights.” – Mindy
- “I love chest flies with dumbbells, with your back supported on a BOSU ball. These allow you to work your chest but also target your core at the same time!” Angela
- “Good idea to mention modifications like incline push-ups on a chair or even against a wall.” – Jenn
- Jody uses a bosu-ball for pushups.
What are your favorite chest moves?