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04 May 2009

Exercises for a Big Chest


For full development of the chest muscles, you'll need to perform a variety of chest exercises that target your pecs (pectoral muscles) from a number of different angles.

There are many different exercises to choose from. Here are a few of the best chest exercises to get you started.
Bench PressNumbered List

How to do it:

  1. Start by lying face up on a bench with your feet planted firmly on the ground.
  2. Tighten your abs to flatten your back against the bench. This will protect your lower back.
  3. Keep your shoulder blades pinched together to focus the lift on your chest rather than the front of your shoulders.
  4. Push the barbell or dumbbells towards the ceiling squeezing the chest muscles as you go. Make sure you don't lock the elbows at the top of the movement.
  5. Lower the bar until your upper arms are parallel with the floor. Lowering any further can place excessive train on the shoulder joint.
  6. Repeat the movement.
Seated Chest Press

How to do it:

  1. Sit in the seat with the height adjusted so that the handles are at the same height as the middle part of your chest muscles.
  2. Push the handles forward concentrating on squeezing your chest muscles.
  3. Slowly lower the weight to the starting position just before the weight stack touches down and then repeat.

Dumbbell Flyes

How to do it:

  1. Lie on the bench after adjusting it to the required angle.
  2. Hold the dumbbells out to the sides with your elbows slightly bent.
  3. Move the weights up and over your chest in an arc.
  4. Lower back to the starting position.
Cable Crossovers

How to do it:

  1. Lock each pulley into a high position, above the level of your head.
  2. With your arms out to the sides, grasp one pulley handle with each hand. Your body should form a t-shape.
  3. Stand with one foot in front of the other.
  4. Bring your arms down and together in front of you. Squeezing your chest muscles and holding for one second at the peak of the movement.
  5. Let the weights slowly pull your arms back to the start position, giving your chest muscles a good stretch. Then repeat the motion.
Muscle Building Tips for all these Chest Exercises:

The concentric phase (lifting the weight) should take about 1-2 seconds.

The eccentric phase of the exercise (lowering the weight) should take about 3 seconds. Much of the muscle building power of resistance exercises comes from this 'negative' part of the exercise so, once you've lifted the weight, don't waste it by just dropping it.

At the top of the movement, make sure you don't lock out your elbows as this can put excessive strain on the joint. Always keep a slight bend.

Always make sure you've warmed up and have stretched the muscles before training. This will help prevent injury. Resistance training tends to shorten muscles, you should always stretch the muscles you've trained after your workout to prevent this effect. Stretch your chest muscles to ensure they don't pull your shoulders forward giving you bad posture.

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