Although it stores some of the biggest muscles in your upper body, the chest doesn’t always get as much attention as it should. Your chest is made up of two primary muscles: your pectoralis major and pectoralis minor, also known as your pecs. Your pecs are responsible for moving your arms and as well as lots of daily functional tasks like pushing open doors and lifting heavy objects. It’s crucial to keep your chest muscles strong, especially as you age. If you’re interested in building your upper body strength, check out the best chest workouts for women below!
Benefits of Chest Workouts for Women
1. Improved Posture
Your pectoral muscles play an important role in maintaining good posture and balancing the upper body. While the back and shoulders tend to get all the attention when it comes to posture, the chest plays an equally important role. Good posture results in better breathing, improved digestion and good circulation, so it’s key to your overall health.
2. Overall Upper Body Strength
Your chest muscles are pivotal to doing many day to day activities, from picking up grocery bags to moving furniture around the house and getting up off the floor. Almost every upper body activity we do involves our pecs to a certain degree. As we get older, we lose muscle mass, which can make everyday living harder to do if we don’t work to maintain our strength.
3 Exercise Essentials to Invest In
1. A Pair of Dumbbells
A set of dumbbells is a must for chest workouts. Many at home chest strengthening exercises, such as chest presses and squeezes require you to use weights, so it’s a good idea to have a pair at the ready.
2. Resistance Band
A resistance band is another great tool to use for chest exercises. As the name states, it provides resistance to your moves, helping to strengthen and tone your chest even more.
3. Exercise Mat
Many chest workouts require you to use your body weight and are done on the floor. Use an exercise mat to provide comfort and prevent injuries during your workout.
7 Best Chest Workouts for Women
Whether you do them from your toes or your knees, pushups are one of the best chest workouts you can do. Grab an exercise mat and place your hands on the ground, slightly farther out than the width of your shoulders. Either rest on your knees, lifting your lower extremities, or straighten your legs behind you, resting on your toes. Keep your spine in a neutral position and engage your abdominal muscles. Bend at the elbows, lowering your body towards the ground, keeping your neck in a straight line with your spine. Return to the starting position and repeat.
2. Dumbbell Chest Press
This move targets your pecs, delts and triceps. Lie on the ground with your feet flat and knees bent. Hold a dumbbell in each hand, extending your arms directly above your shoulders. Your palms should be facing toward your feet. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and slowly bend your elbows, lowering the weights out to the side until your elbows form 90-degree angles. Slowly drive the dumbbells up to the starting position, squeezing your shoulder blades the entire time. Repeat.
3. Plank Shoulder Taps
Start in a plank position with your hands directly under your shoulders and your core and glutes engaged. Tap your left shoulder with your right hand, then return to plank and tap your right shoulder with your left hand. Continue alternating sides, keeping your body as straight as possible. While this exercise challenges your chest, it also engages your entire body!
4. Plank Rows
If you’re looking for something a little more advanced than plank shoulder taps, plank rows are just what you need. They target the chest, arms, shoulders, back and legs and offer a great challenge for your entire body. Start in a plank position with your hands on dumbbells directly under your shoulders and your feet hip width apart. Engage your core as you lift your right weight off the floor, driving your elbow toward the ceiling. Pause at the top then return to the starting position. Repeat on the opposite side.
5. Chest Squeeze
Start standing with your feet hip-distance apart and holding a dumbbell in each hand. Bend your arms at a 90-degree angle at shoulder height and keep the angle as you rotate your arms together so that your forearms are as close as possible. Squeeze as hard as you can for 10 seconds, then release and return to starting position. Repeat.
6. Hook Punches
Switching up the types of exercises you do is key to getting stronger and adding a boxing move in there can really help you tone up. Start standing in a true boxing stance. Bend your left arm at a 90-degree angle and swing it across your body as though you were punching someone in the jaw. Rotate your hips and pivot your knee, then repeat with the opposite arm.
7. Resistance Band Arm Pulses
This move is great for enhancing your posture on top of strengthening your chest. Stand tall with your feet hip width apart. Place the resistance band around your wrists. Pull your shoulders back and down to maintain good posture throughout the movement. Raise your arms shoulder width apart and pulse straight arms out to the side.
3 At Home Chest Workouts for Women
10 Minute Dumbbell Chest Workout At Home | Caroline Girvan
If you’re looking for a quick workout to get your chest exercises in, this video is excellent! The main movement is a regular chest press, followed by variations of the chest press and other movements, like decline pushups and pull overs that target the chest area. All you need is a set of dumbbells as well as the use of some living room furniture!
Toning Chest Workout for Women, At Home, No Equipment | Corpao Fitness
This toning chest workout requires no equipment, so get ready to do lots of body weight exercises. From diamond press pulses to walking planks to inverted pushups, these chest exercises will define, lift and strengthen the area. Make sure to grab a workout mat as this workout is all on the ground.
10 Mins Intense Chest Workout | Beginners to Advanced | Chloe Ting
This chest workout is great for all fitness levels and requires the use of a pair of light dumbbells. If you’re more advanced or as you get stronger, be sure to increase the weight of your dumbbells over time. Work through the video with her as she takes you through moves like the standing chest upward fly, the reverse grip chest press, the dumbbell fly and more!
If you’re looking to build or maintain your chest strength, make sure to add these chest workouts for women to your weekly routine!