You either love or hate chest exercises. There is no in-between. Working on your pecs does much more than just improving your physique. For men, strong and prominent pectoral muscles are usually sought-after, while not a lot of women seem to be interested in doing these chest workouts. As Dr. Amy Ravindra, a fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeon, said, “Many people, especially women, are intimidated and hesitant to incorporate strength training into their exercise routines.”

If you’re looking for chest day workout ideas or an avid fan who wants to try some new routines, check out these chest exercises that you could do.

More Than Just For Flexing

Before we proceed with that, let’s discuss first the importance of working your pecs out, in case you might be asking, “Why should I do these exercises?”

Here’s the thing: The muscles in your chest, pectoralis major and minor, are greatly involved in essential functions that are necessary for your daily activities, be it in your everyday life or in performing a variety of other workouts. Oh, and guess what? Your pec muscle is also necessary for moving your rib cage during deep breathing.

The muscles that stabilize the pectoral girdle make it a steady base on which other muscles can move the arm. (OpenStax CollegeCC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Trifocus Fitness Academy also listed some of the other benefits of pectoral strength that are worth noting:

  • Strong pectoral muscles can improve your posture. Good posture is important to help us function optimally in everyday life as well as while performing physical exercises. The correct form while exercising is crucial. Good posture plays an important role in getting your form right.
  • A strong chest improves the strength in your back muscles. Together, these muscles keep you upright and ensure good posture. Tight chest muscles can lead to your shoulders slouching. This means it is important to strengthen the chest muscles but stretch them as well.
  • Strong pectoral muscles contribute to overall upper-body strength. This is because the pectoral muscles are involved in so many different upper-body movements
  • Strong chest muscles improve your ability to push things.
  • Your chest muscles play a vital role in your ability to push a heavy object.
  • Simple movements like pushing yourself off the ground are also affected by pectorial strength – a simple push-up can be quite difficult if you have no pectoral strength.
  • Strong pectoral muscles also improve your ability to perform swinging movements. A round of golf would not be that easy if you had no pectoral strength as would be a tennis match.
  • Besides the physical benefits of pectoral strength, the aesthetic benefits are also great especially if you are a bodybuilding athlete or competitor. Strong pectoral muscles mean that you can lift heavier and train harder. This will in turn improve the appearance of the muscle.

If you’re already convinced, then it’s time we talk about the workouts that you could try on your next chest day if you are not doing them yet.

Standard Push up

Airman executing a push-up as part of the United States Air Force Fitness Test (United States Air Force, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

This classic workout is anything but ineffective in terms of waking up your sleeping specs, and it’s fantastic at that. To do this, start by lying face down on the floor while your hands are in line with your shoulders. Extend your arms as well, so they are straight. Get up on your toes while keeping your body straight from your heels, all the way up to your neck. Your hips or back should not be flexed or curved.

Bend your elbows and lower your chest down as close to the floor as possible before pushing it back up, extending your arms back to your starting position. That’s one rep. It is important to maintain your form the whole time so that you can get the full benefit of it.

Flat bench press

U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Chandelle Stone, a psychological operations noncommissioned officer with the 320th Psychological Operations Company, competes in the Forward Operating Base Lightning bench press competition. (Spc. Alex Amen, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

For this workout, you’ll need a barbell or dumbbells and a flat bench.

Here’s how: Lie on your back on the bench. Your knees should be bent, and your feet should be flat on the floor. Grab your barbell (or your dumbbells) with your thumb wrapped around your chosen weights, and your palms should be facing your feet. Lift the weights and press your arms straight and toward the ceiling and over your chest level. Then, slowly lower it down by bending your elbows at a 45-degree angle, pulling it toward your chest. You can pause for a few seconds before pressing the weight back up to the starting position.

Lying resistance band pullover

Resistance band pullover (Photo: Skimble)

Take your resistance band and anchor it on something sturdy, not too high from the ground. Next, lie on your back with your head toward where you anchored the band. Your head should be one to two feet away from the anchor point. Grab the band with both of your hands while keeping your thumbs pointing upward and your arms facing away from each other. Then, keep your core tight and your elbows straight before you pull the band down toward your hips. Slowly return to your starting position while maintaining control. That’s one rep.

Note: Please make sure to use a strong and reliable resistance band as you don’t want it to snap and hit you on the face.

As always, seek professional guidance if you’re performing these workouts for the first time to avoid injuries. Also, if you’re having trouble doing regular pull-ups, you can check these out.