Focusing on your chest when you exercise helps to sculpt the muscles and add definition.And it doesn’t matter whether you are male or female - the best chest exercises can make you stronger and leaner, especially when combined with a high-protein diet.
So, what are you waiting for? Let’s discover some of the best chest workouts.
Why should you exercise your chest?Exercising your chest is not just about looking good. It also helps to balance out the upper body’s muscles while improving your posture.1
Regular chest exercises can also add power to the muscles and arms, making it easier to do everyday tasks such as carrying the shopping and lifting heavy objects.
Women should not neglect their chest muscles, either.While many females are worried about building a muscular physique, when combined with a healthy diet and regular exercise chest exercises can improve muscle tone.2
Exercise is also proven to be just as beneficial for mental health as it is for the body.It can help reduce anxiety, cognitive mood and depression while alleviating symptoms of low self-esteem.3
Bodyweight chest exercises
You do not always need heavy weights and tonnes of equipment to get a good workout.Bodyweight exercises (using the weight of your own body in strength training) can be just as effective as weight training when done correctly.4
Try out some of these upper chest workouts from the comfort of your home.
The classic pushup is one of the easiest chest workouts you can do indoors – or outdoors!
And better still, they do not require any equipment – just time, dedication and determination.Pushups build upper body strength by working the triceps and pectoral muscles.5 They also work the body’s core and abdominal muscles.
As you get stronger and your muscles get heavier, you can challenge yourself by varying the difficulty of the exercise.
You can do this by increasing the number of reps or incorporating other movements into the exercise, like claps between each pushup or a couple of reps with one hand behind your back.
Dips are another great at-home exercise. They are performed using a flat surface, such as a bench, chair, or any piece of furniture that is raised from the ground.Bench dips target your triceps along with your chest and anterior deltoid.6 This is the front section of your shoulder. They strengthen the muscles and form part of an effective exercise routine.
Keeping your legs straight and your bum raised from the ground, place your hands on the flat surface with your fingers facing towards your body.
Dip down and back up slowly, keeping your elbows nice and supple.
The star plank is harder than it looks!
To get started, move into the pushup position and spread your arms and legs as far apart as they can comfortably go. You should make a star position with your body.
Hold the position for as long as you can, keeping your torso straight and your abs taut. For a more effective workout, repeat it a couple of times, or until your body cannot hold it any longer.Not only are you exercising the chest, but the abs and shoulders get a good workout too.7
Chest workouts with dumbbells
The gym is one of the best places to get an effective chest workout using weights and machines.
But did you know you can get also get a great chest workout at home with dumbbells? The following dumbbell chest exercises are some of the most effective.
Dumbbell flyThe dumbbell fly is a great inner chest workout, as it isolates the chest muscles so that they become bigger and stronger.8
It is also one of the classic bodybuilding movements as it helps to improve the overall look of the chest.The exercise helps to open up the chest muscles, reducing back pain and tightness in the upper part of the body.9
To perform the dumbbell fly, safely pick up a pair of dumbbells and lay down on a bench or flat surface.
Straighten your arms above your chest and, keeping your elbows bent, slowly bring the dumbbells down in a curve until they are in line with your chest.
Repeat the move for several reps. 10-15 is a good place to start.
Dumbbell bench press
The dumbbell bench press is a good chest workout for the pectoral muscles.This move allows a greater range of movement and trains each side of the chest in isolation, meaning strength is built evenly across the body.10
A dumbbell bench press requires a set of dumbbells and a bench or flat surface.
Laying with your back flat and your palms facing forwards, extend your elbows to push the weights above you, then bring them back down slowly.
Repeat this for 10-15 reps or until muscle fatigue sets in.Shop Sports Nutrition
Last updated: 5 February 2021
Author: Bhupesh Panchal, Regulatory Affairs
Bhupesh started his career as a clinical toxicologist for Public Health England, advising healthcare professionals all around the country on how to manage clinical cases of adverse exposure to supplements, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, industrial chemicals and agricultural products. After 7 years in this role and a further year working as a drug safety officer in the pharmaceutical industry, Bhupesh joined Holland & Barrett as a Senior Regulatory Affairs Associate in 2019.Bhupesh specialises in vitamins & minerals nutrition, health benefits & safety of botanicals and traditional herbal medicines. View Bhupesh's LinkedIn profile. In his spare time, Bhupesh likes to cycle and has been learning to speak Korean for several years.
9 https://www.healthline.com/health/exercise-fitness/dumbbell-chest-fly#benefits10 https://www.coachmag.co.uk/chest-exercises/7391/how-to-do-the-dumbbell-bench-press