Best Chest Exercises for Women

Step-by-Step Instructions and Videos Below



The best chest exercises can be done with free weights, weight machines, and even just the weight of your body. This page lists some of the best weight lifting exercises you can do using free weights and provides step-by-step instructions for each.

Remember that your chest muscles are also called your pecs, or more technically, our Pectoralis Major muscles. The pecs are located on the front of the rib cage and cross our upper chest.

Strengthening our pecs, or any other muscles, helps us to more easily perform life's daily activities and gain lean muscle mass. One of the side benefits of muscle strengthening is that it helps us to lose weight, too. See Chest Exercises for Women for more benefits.

Best Chest Exercises with Dumbbells

You'll need two dumbbells and, ideally, a weight bench for these exercises. However, you can also do them on the floor without a bench, or even on an exercise ball.

Dumbbell Bench Press (or Dumbbell Chest Press)
  1. Lie on your back with a dumbbell in each hand.

  2. Place your feet flat on the floor or, for extra low back support, bend your knees and place your feet flat on the bench.

  3. Lift both dumbbells straight up over your chest with your palms facing towards your feet.

  4. Bend your elbows and lower your arms until your elbows are just below your chest. To prevent injury, do not lower your elbows more than this.

  5. Press the weights back up and bring them together over your chest. Your palms will still face towards your feet.

  6. Repeat this complete movement for 8 to 12 repetitions and one to three sets, depending upon your workout routine.

Please read the Additional Pointers for best chest exercises below for a safe and more effective workout.

Dumbbell Fly

  1. Lie on your back on a bench or the floor.

  2. Place your feet flat on the floor or, for extra low back support, bend your knees and place your feet flat on the bench.

  3. Hold the dumbbells up over your chest with your arms in a slightly bent position. Your palms should face each other.

  4. Keeping your elbows slightly bent and in a fixed position, lower the dumbbells out to your sides and down until the weights are level with your chest. Don't go lower than this.

  5. Bring your arms back up to the starting position over your chest, keeping your elbows slightly bent.

  6. Repeat this complete movement for 8 to 12 repetitions and one to three sets, depending upon your workout routine.

Note: This Dumbbell Fly is usually more difficult than the Bench Press, so you will probably want to use lighter weights. The Dumbbell Fly focuses more on the outer part of your chest.

Best Chest Exercise with a Barbell

One of the best chest exercises you can do to strengthen your pecs is the Barbell Bench Press, also called the Barbell Chest Press.

In addition to a barbell, you'll need a weight bench. However, you can also do the press on the floor without a bench.

Barbell Bench Press
  1. Lie on your back on the bench. Place your feet flat on the floor or on the bench for greater low back support.

  2. Start by holding the barbell just above your chest. Your hands should face towards your feet and be positioned on the bar a little wider than shoulder distance apart.

  3. Lift the barbell straight over your chest. Be careful not to lock your elbows.

  4. Bend your elbows and lower the bar until your elbows are just below your chest.

  5. Repeat this complete movement for 8 to 12 repetitions and one to three sets, depending upon your workout routine.

Of course, if you're just starting out, you won't be lifting the amount of weight that is in this video! Please read the Additional Pointers below for a safe and more effective workout.

Additional Pointers for Best Chest Exercises

Slow and Steady

For all weight training exercises, keep the movement slow and controlled. You should not be using momentum to move the weights. Remembering this important tip will provide you with greater results and help to prevent injuries.

Using an Incline Bench

All of the above best chest exercises can be modified by using an incline bench. As the name implies, an incline bench is a bench that inclines at an angle. Placing your head at the top of the angle will work the upper part of your pecs.

Workouts on an incline are usually more difficult, so you may have to decrease the weight you're lifting.

Don't Lock Your Elbows

Do not lock your elbows at anytime during the movements. Do not let your elbows drop below the horizontal line of your body as this could cause injury to your shoulders.

Protect You Low Back

Tighten your abdominal muscles during these exercises to help protect your lower back. You can tighten your abs by pressing your back against the bench or the floor.

Repetitions and Sets

We traditionally have been taught to do multiple sets of our weightlifting exercises. And this may in fact be best for your particular goals.

However, according to the Mayo Clinic, "a single set of 12 repetitions with the proper weight can build strength as effectively as can multiple sets of the same exercise." The trick is to use a weight that tires your muscles at 12 repetitions. Of course, as you get stronger, you should gradually increase the amount of weight.

Beyond the Best Chest Exercises

If you're interested in comprehensive weight training for women that targets not only your pecs, but your whole body, then check out Tom Venuto's Burn the Fat Feed the Muscle.

Venuto's workout program is one of the top selling exercise and nutrition programs on the internet. His system can totally reshape your body, help you lose weight, build muscle and feel great.

Didn't find what you were looking for?
Search here for more fitness information.


From Best Chest Exercises to Weight Training for Women Home













Search this site

**FREE**
Karen Sessions "Training Each Muscle Group" chapter with our E-zine subscription

Email


Name

Then

Don't worry -- your e-mail address is totally secure.
I promise to use it only to send you Women's Weight Training E-zine.