If you go down to the gym today then you’re in for a big surprise ‘cos it’s not just the guys who are working away at pumping up their pecs (AKA the pectoralis major and minor), the girls are getting in on the action too. Since the dawn of time, men have wanted broad, chiselled chests with peaks to rival any you’ll find in Switzerland. But now, as the trend for a stronger physique for women becomes more mainstream, women are paying more attention to training their chests too and revelling in the increased upper body strength and flexibility it offers, not to mention improved posture. So this Ultimate Chest Workout is for anyone wanting to sculpt and strengthen their chest- just get ready to stake your claim at the cable crossover station!
1) Cable crossover. Probably one of the best chest exercises you can do and brilliant for targeting your pectoralis major as well as your deltoids. Set your weight on the crossover machine, if you’re working on building muscle and strength then work on increasing the weight each time, but decreasing the reps, for example 10, 8, 6. For endurance and fat burn, lower the weight but increase the reps, such as 4 sets of 20 reps. Start with a firm stance with one leg in front of the other for balance, then grab a handle in each hand so your arms are out to the sides in a horizontal line. Slowly bring the handles as close together as you can, then take it back to starting in a controlled movement.
2) Medicine ball press ups. Press ups are the do-anywhere, no equipment needed chest exercise that targets the pectoralis major and minor and also throws in some triceps for free. As this is the Ultimate Chest Workout though, we’re not going to keep it that easy and are adding in a medicine ball. Set yourself up as you would for a press up, but instead of placing your hands on the floor get them gripping the medicine ball at each side, extend your arms and away you go on press up number one. The medicine ball will add extra challenge as you attempt to keep it stable, but if you can’t stabilise and perform a perfect press up, then ditch the medicine ball until your chest strength develops.
3) Dumbbell incline. Probably the one you see those guys and girls sweating on at the gym, the dumbbell incline is one of the most popular chest exercises, because it just does what it’s meant to do- develops the major pecs muscle. Grab a bench and lift the back so it’s half way up, and sit back with two weights shoulder width apart and just above your shoulders. Slowly raise the weights up above your head. This move can also be done with a barbell.
4) Overhead dumbbell pullover. This is another exercise that’ll pull double duty on working your pectoralis major and minor, whilst giving your lats and your triceps a workout too. Claim the bench once more and, holding onto one weight, place just your upper back on the bench with your knees bent in front of you to support your lower body. Carefully lower the weight behind your head, letting your chest drive the movement to bring the weight back up so that it is above your chest.
5) Chest dips. The final exercise in the Ultimate Chest Workout and one of the most challenging, chest dips. Get yourself a spot at the dip station where you’d normally tone your triceps but instead of keeping your body upright lean your upper body forwards to engage your chest, and widen your grip so your arms aren’t as close to your body. Then dip until your arms are almost fully extended and bring yourself back up. Told you this one was tough! Aim for 3 sets of 20 to really finish your Ultimate Chest Workout with a bang!