best exercises for your pectoral muscles
Building strong chest muscles—known officially as your pectoral muscles—is important not only because it’ll help you better execute some exercises, but also because it’ll help you with more everyday movements, too. Here’s what you need to know about this often-overlooked muscle group.

Decline Dumbbell Bench Press

The exercise zeroes in on your lower chest, building serious size. Lie on a decline bench with your shins hooked beneath the leg support. Hold a pair of dumbbells above your chest with your arms straight. Your palms should face your feet and the weights should be just outside your shoulders. Lower the dumbbells to your chest, pause, and then press them back up to the starting position.

Band or Chain Barbell Bench Press

Adding chains or bands to the ends of a barbell changes the load as you move through the different phases of the lift. Each chain link weighs X amount of pounds, and that poundage is now something you’re actually lifting and managing. As you move through the eccentric part of the lift, lowering the weight to your chest, you’re lessening the load as there is more of the chain on the ground. When you press the weight up, you lift more links of the chain up, bringing that extra weight up. Bands work in a similar manner using the constant tension on the bar. Hang a chain over each end of the barbell, or anchor resistance bands to the bench and place them over each end of the bar. Start without weight, in order to get used to the unstable bar. Grab the barbell and lie on a bench. Using an overhand grip that’s just beyond shoulder width, hold the bar above your sternum, keeping your arms straight. Lower the bar to your chest, and then push it back to the starting position.

Plyometric Pushup

This explosive pushup nails the fast-twitch muscles in your chest, priming them for growth. Get into a pushup position, your hands just outside your chest, your feet shoulder-width apart, and your body forming a straight line from head to heels. Brace your core. Lower your chest to the floor and then press up explosively so your hands come off the floor. If you can pull it off, clap your hands together before returning to the starting position on the ground.

Single-Arm Dumbbell Bench Press

This exercise hits your chest like any awesome bench variation. But what makes it particularly special is that your other side has to lock down so the dumbbell doesn’t pull you off the bench. The end result: It sculpts your chest and abs to a greater degree. Lie with your back flat on a bench holding a dumbbell in your right hand. Press the dumbbell directly over your chest until your arm is straight. Slowly lower the dumbbell to the right side of your chest. Pause, then press it back up. Do all your reps on your right side, and then repeat on your left.

Suspended Pushup

Performing pushups with your hands in an unstable suspension trainer works your core, chest, and stabilizer muscles harder than doing pushups on the floor. Grab the handles of a TRX strap and extend your arms in front of your chest. Your feet should be shoulder-width apart and your body anywhere from 45 degrees to parallel from the floor. Your body should form a straight line from head to heels. Lower your chest toward the floor until your hands are just outside your shoulders. Keep your elbows in and your head in a neutral position as you lower. Brace your core throughout the movement.

How to implement these pec exercises into your routine?

Unless your goal is to build maximum muscle on your chest (like if you are bodybuilding), you don’t need a separate day dedicated to chest exercises. Instead, shoot to incorporate pec exercises and pushing exercises into your regular workouts. If you’re strength training three times a week, try to include one to three pushing exercises in each workout.

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