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One great thing about exercising your chest is that there are plenty of different exercises that can effectively work this group of muscles. There are pushups, dumbbell flyes, alternating floor presses and the barbell bench press – just to name a few. Considering the plentiful amount of chest exercises that are available, you should have no trouble putting together a good workout.
In order to help you do just that, let's take an in-depth look at some different chest exercises.
The barbell bench press is a classic exercise that's used to develop and tighten the muscles in your chest. To do this exercise you'll need a workout weight bench and a barbell. While laying flat on your back on the bench, place your hands on the bar above you at a medium width. Begin at the starting position by raising the bar from the rack and holding it above you with locked arms. Inhale while lowering the bar down slowly so that it touches the middle of your chest.
Now, as you exhale, use your chest muscles to push the bar back up to the starting position. Pause for a second with the bar above you with locked arms before you slowly lower the barbell back down to the lowered position. Not only will you work your chest with the barbell bench press, but also your shoulders and triceps as well.
One very important thing to keep in mind while practicing the barbell bench press is that lowering the bar should take longer than raising it. If you've never done barbell bench press before, then it's best to have someone there to assist in case you are unable to lift the bar back up on the rack.
This is a great exercise to do if you have kettlebells. To perform the alternating floor press, lie down on the floor with two kettlebells close enough to reach with your hands. Next, you'll raise both of the kettlebells in the air – locking your arms in place above your chest. Also, your palms should be facing away from your face. Bring the kettlebell down slowly, rotating your wrist so that your palm is facing in. Raise this kettlebell, lock your arm in place, and then lower the other one while remembering to rotate your wrist so that your palm faces in. Do this exercise and you'll not only tighten your chest, but also your abs, shoulders, and triceps as well.
The "around the worlds" chest exercise can be done with dumbbells, soup cans, water bottles, or whatever else you have available; the size of dumbbell will depend on personal capabilities. To begin, you'll lie down on a flat bench with a dumbbell in each hand. Hold your dumbbells so that your palms are facing up towards the sky, while holding your arms parallel to the floor. For the starting position hold your arms next to your thighs, with palms facing up and your elbows slightly bent. The movement you'll be using will be similar to making snow angels; inhale as you make semi-circles by moving your arms above your head while keeping both of your arms parallel to the floor at all times. Exhale as you return your arms to the starting position. This exercise will mainly target your chest, but your shoulders will also benefit from this movement.
Everyone is familiar with how to perform a pushup, but there are a few variations. For the less skilled, or for someone new to doing pushups, it's suggested that you start on your knees or against the wall. Pushups will not only help strengthen your chest, but also your biceps, triceps, abs, back, hips and thighs.
Decline pushups are advanced, and should be performed properly so you don't get injured. To execute the decline pushup, you'll need to elevate your feet on a workout bench, stool, or aerobic step. Hold your weight on your hands by placing them just a little wider than shoulder width; now your body should be a straight line. Be sure to engage your abs and tighten the glutes so that your body isn't sinking down. Face the floor at all times while performing this exercise to help keep your spine in a straight line. Perform the decline pushup as you would the basic pushup by bending your elbows at a 45-degree angle, and then pushing your body back up.
This is an exercise performed by both beginners and seasoned individuals, and all you need is an exercise ball. To begin, get on your hands and knees next to your exercise ball. Then place one elbow on the ball while keeping your arm next to you. Lower your chest toward the floor and hold this pose for 20-30 seconds before pushing your torso back up to the starting position. Repeat this on the other side.
To perform the incline bench press, you'll need to have a weight bench and dumbbells available. You will begin by setting up your weight bench so that your upper body is sitting at an incline of about 45 degrees. You should already have dumbbells in your hands, resting them on your upper thighs with your palms facing each other. Raise your dumbbells up – positioning them on the sides of your chest with your elbows at about a 90-degree angle. Exhale as you push the dumbbells up and touch them together above you, keeping your arms perpendicular to the floor. Repeat this for 10-15 reps with weights appropriate for your personal strength.
Begin by sitting down on your bench with a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing each other and resting on your thighs; now lie back on the bench. If the weights are substantial, use your thighs to assist in raising the dumbbells up one at a time in front of your chest at shoulders-width apart, with your palms still facing one another. Raise your dumbbells up so that they're both above you, and hold them there as this is the starting position. Keep a bend in your elbow to avoid injury, and open your arms up, lowering them down until you feel the stretch in your chest muscles; exhale as you raise your arms back up to the starting position.
With these exercises, it's easy to get injured so make sure you have a spotter on hand to assist you if there's a problem. It's also important not to perform these exercises every day because your muscles need plenty of rest to recover and become stronger.