This is Part 1 in a series of articles about how to get the best weight loss and sculpt results from your Chest training routines. You’ll learn why you need chest training to boost your metabolism and accelerate weight loss, how to use chest training exercises for faster results and what mistakes to avoid during workouts!
Part 1 The best exercises for training the chest.
Part 2 Common mistakes in chest exercises and training routines
Part 3 Chest workout routine, how many sets and reps.
Part 4 Muscles and exercises that help support injury free chest training.
Let’s get started with Part 1: The best exercises for training the chest.
The chest muscles may not be the largest group in the body, but when training for weight loss and sculpt there are some important chest exercises you should include in your routine. Chest training is probably more of a priority for men than it is for women. Women tend to think that by training the chest they are going to lose their bust, but that is definitely not true! When you train your chest muscles, you actually strengthen the muscles underneath the breast tissue.
Let’s face it, breast tissue is just FAT!! Whether you are a guy or girl, it’s all the same. Women usually have more body fat than men, and most commonly, will have extra fat storage in the breast area. Training the pectoral muscles underneath is not going to reduce breast cup size. If anything, it is going to help support and make breasts less droopy!
Chest training is definitely going to make a favorable impact on your body composition! The chest is a large muscle group and as such, will burn more calories while you train it. Remember, the lean muscle formed from weight training will burn more calories than cardio while you are at rest! When you are training for weight loss, tone and/or fitness you’ll want to train the chest properly for best results!
Chest Exercises & Angles
There are two major movements or exercises for the chest. The first one is pressing movements. Those are done when you are on your lying on your back or incline/decline bench. If you are sitting straight up, then you are going to be doing a shoulder movement. The shoulders are activated when you are training chest, so you definitely want to be aware of your bench angle whenever you are doing chest presses that are not flat.
The other main chest movement or exercise is the flye. The flye movement can also be done on a flat bench or on an incline/decline bench using dumbbells. Flyes can be done with cables, machines, or tubing. Although there are various ways to work the chest muscles, you basically have two main exercises – presses and flyes. As such, your routine for chest would definitely include at least one exercise of pressing and one exercise of the flye movement.
If weight loss is your focus, then you will want to do two sets of each exercise, maybe three, and keep your repetitions in the 10 to 12 range. You could take your repetitions up to 15, but no more than that, because the idea is to tone and strengthen, not go for endurance. We’ll get more specific on workout routines in Part 3.
You can vary the exercises easily with a by changing the angle of the bench. For example, one week you can do the flat version of each exercise and the next week you can do the incline or the decline version of the flye or press. Variety can be in the method of the exercise too. For example, you could use dumbbells for the flye or press and a machine for the other exercise. There is an infinite number of ways to mix it up!
Dips are another great chest exercise, however, they can be difficult to do for people with injuries or issues with the neck and shoulders. Dips are similar to a pressing motion. Dips work the chest when you take a very wide grip. Dips also work a lot of the shoulders, so be sure to adjust your shoulder workouts to avoid over training! Which would mean you would back off a little bit on your shoulder workouts if you are doing dips. You’ll want to give your shoulders a chance to recover, because ultimately, they are used in everything that you do in your workouts and you certainly don’t want to overload them to the point where they can get injured.
Now, what do you do if you don’t have any equipment at all? Well, push ups are the best exercise for the chest, when done correctly. You can vary your width of your hands to target more chest, shoulders, or more triceps. The wider your hands, the more of your chest you are going to work. As you bring the hands closer together and more underneath you, you are going to be using more of your shoulders. A close grip, in which your hands have probably the thumbs touching or they are very close together, will emphasize the triceps. Keeping your elbows tucked in underneath you, will force the triceps to work harder. In summary, there are three types of push-ups. Push-ups that isolate the chest, push-ups focusing on the triceps, push ups that are a little more in between the first two kinds, giving more work to the shoulders.
Change it up!Want to vary your push-ups even further? Change the angle of a push up! How? Well, you would elevate your feet. You could put your feet on top of your bed, a box or some stairs to change the angle. Alternately, you could place your hands on something that is higher than your feet. A step bench, some stairs, a sturdy table or your bed will make it more of an incline type chest press/push-up. This exercise might be easier for beginners because they will use some of their shoulders and have better leverage as well.
The stability ball is a fun way to mix up your training as well. You won’t be as strong, so you will have to use a little bit of a lighter weight. For variety, you can do your chest presses and your chest flyes on the ball. You want to make sure your head and neck are fully supported on the ball. Your shoulders may be on or off the ball. You can do a lot of different things for stabilization to help with strengthening on some of the smaller muscle groups like the rotator cuff muscles and the abdominals. Another stabilization challenge with the stability ball, would be doing all one side and then on the other side or even alternating the sides. Not only is this fun, but it also forces your abdominals and obliques to work harder!
When you sit down to write out your workout plan for the next three to four weeks, you can take advantage of these exercise suggestions! This will prevent mental boredom and physical plateaus.