Looking to target those chest muscles and tone your bust? Read on to discover the best chest exercises for women…
If you’re hoping to work on those chest muscles, a more toned bust might be all that’s on your mind. However, strengthening your chest can offer a range of benefits beyond pert boobs.
If you spend many hours in a car or in front of a desk, it’s likely that your upper body has become weakened due to slouching. In fact, prolonged sitting can constrict the chest muscles and lead to tension in the back. Taking the time to work on your chest muscles can reverse this damage and improve your posture.
Ready to reap those benefits? Here are some of the best chest exercises for women…
Best chest exercises for women
Standing cushion press
Benefits: This deceptively easy exercise engages all the muscles in your chest area.
- Holding a cushion between your palms, stand up with your feet shoulder-width apart, your back upright and your core engaged.
- Lift your arms smoothly to chest height.
- Push your hands together for a count of 10, engaging your chest muscles throughout.
- Lower your arms and repeat eight to 15 times.
Quick tip! The firmer the cushion, the better the benefits
Benefits: Works your chest muscles, shoulders, arms and deep core.
- Place your hands on the floor shoulder-width apart, fingers pointing forwards. Keep your arms extended but your elbows slightly bent to support your bodyweight. Knees should be just behind your hips, with your ankles crossed and your head in line with your
- Bend your elbows outwards and lower your body so you hover just above the floor (B).
- Use your arms and chest muscles to push yourself back up to the starting position. Aim to do eight to 15 reps.
Quick tip! Keep your spine straight, with your chin neither tucked in nor extended.
Split squat to overhead press
Benefits: Great for your chest, but also a fabulous boost for your lower body and triceps.
- Secure your resistance band somewhere sturdy and step forward until there’s no slack.
- Grab the band with your right hand and, holding it at shoulder height, step forward with your left leg.
- Lower into a simple split squat, with a straight back. Keep your front knee over your front foot (A).
- As you straighten your legs, extend your right arm to its full range (B). Return to the squatting position.
- Repeat eight to 15 times on each side.
Quick tip! Keep your front foot rooted flat throughout the exercise
Benefits: Primes your cardiovascular system, tests your agility and opens up your chest.
- With your left foot placed about a metre in front of your right, bring your hands up to the guard position, elbows close to the body. Flex your right heel from the floor (A).
- Throw out a range of punches, such as jabs (straight out) (B), hooks (from the side) and uppercuts (up) (C).
- Use your whole body in each punch, pushing off your legs, and twisting your shoulders and torso as you punch.
- Keep it fast and fluid to get your heart pumping. Aim to keep boxing for one to two minutes.
Quick tip! Move around quickly to raise your heart rate
Dumbbell flye on gym ball
Benefits: Great for toning the upper body and, with the addition of the gym ball, your core too.
- Lie back on a gym ball so your head and shoulders are supported and your body is in a straight line from head to knees.
- Hold the dumbbells above your chest with your palms facing each other and a slight bend in your elbows (A).
- Lower your arms to the sides in an arc until you can feel the stretch in your chest (B), then draw your arms back to the start. Aim to do eight to 15 reps.
Quick tip! Use your core muscles to minimise the wobble of the ball.
Decline press-up on step
Benefits: Builds strength in the chest, upper arms and core.
Place your hands slightly wider than shoulder- width apart on a mat, with your feet on a slightly elevated step or bench, keeping your body in a line from head to heels (A). Your upper arms should be perpendicular to your body and you should be focusing on the mat.
Slowly bend your arms to lower your body until your elbows are flexed at right angles (B). Return to the start, making sure not to lock your elbows. Aim to do four to eight reps.
Quick tip! Don’t bounce in the press-up – make sure the movement is smooth
Dumbbell press on gym ball
Benefits: Tones up your chest and stabilising muscles.
- Take a dumbbell in each hand and position your upper body on a gym ball, focusing straight up, with your feet and knees in line and feet pointing forwards.
- Bend your elbows at 90°, keeping them in line with your shoulders (A). Your forearms should be vertical to the floor and your knuckles pointing towards the ceiling.
- Engage your pectoral (chest) muscles and drive the dumbbells up until your arms are completely straight (B).
- Return to the starting position. Aim to do eight to 15 reps.
Quick tip! Don’t rest your hips on the ball – keep them in line with the rest of your body
Benefits: Targets your shoulders, obliques, back and core, as well as your chest.
- Assume a press-up position, with your knees off the floor and your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width.
- Keeping your spine straight, move smoothly into the bottom of a press-up (A).
- At the top of the press-up, push up powerfully, twist your torso to the right and raise your left arm overhead (B). Engage your core to keep your body as straight as possible, hold, then return to the start. Aim to do four to eight reps on each side.
Quick tip! Keep your feet apart to help you stay balanced as you twist.