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Video:Weight Lifting Exercises for the Chest

with Jonathon E. Stewart

As your pectoral muscle wraps around your entire chest, it's a pretty big muscle and needs to be exercised in a variety of ways. Start with a few basic weight lifting exercises to get you going.See Transcript

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Transcript:Weight Lifting Exercises for the Chest

Hey guys - Jonathon Stewart here for About.com. Your chest represents a pretty big part of your upper torso. So working it out can require a variety of exercises. From bench presses and flies to inclines and dips, here are a few great ways to get your pecs in shape, whether you're bulking, toning, or both. Check it out.

Starting a Chest Routine

Since there are so many weight lifting exercises for the chest, people often think that it's comprised of several bunches of smaller muscles that all work together. But, there is only one: the Pectoralis major and minor. The goal of these exercises then, is to hit this big muscle in as many specific areas and from as many different angles as possible.

Using free weights instead of machines will help you with this, so try starting out with three sets of 10 repetitions of each, with about 30 to 60 seconds in between each set. Use a light weight that will allow you to finish all 30 reps without too much difficulty. You can always adjust your weights and reps later as you get more familiar with the exercises.

Weight Lifting Chest Bench Press

The bench press, an old standby, is an all-around great strength builder. Lie on a flat barbell bench with your feet firmly placed on the floor. Take a wide, overhand grip on the barbell, and carefully lift the weight off of the rack. Bring it forward slightly, then lower the weight slowly toward your upper chest. Without allowing it to touch or bounce off your body, press the weight up until your arms are fully extended. After 10 reps, gently ease the weight back against the rack, and relax.

Weight Lifting Chest Dumbbell Incline Bench

Targeting the upper portion of your pecs, the incline press is great for hitting the traditionally weaker part of your chest. Start with a dumbbell in each hand, resting on your thighs as you ease back onto an incline bench. Carefully bring each weight to about shoulder height, then press upward until your arms are fully extended and the weights come together. Bring them down slowly until your elbows are at a 90-degree angle, then press them up again.

Bench presses and incline dumbbells are primarily strength and bulk-building exercises, but the next two will help you tone and shape. Feel the burn.

Cable Crossovers(Chest Fly)

On a cable frame machine at your gym, grab a high pulley dumbbell handle in each hand and allow your chest to stretch out as you stand directly between them, arms extended, palms facing in. In a hugging motion, bring your hands toward each other and cross them over slightly, bending your elbows as you go. Being careful to maintain form and control, slowly let the weights return to rest as you extend your arms again.

Weight Lifting Dips

On a dip frame, grab the bars at your side with your palms facing inward, and allow your full weight to be supported by your chest and upper arms. Lower your body down until your elbows reach about a 90 degree angle, then press your body upward until your arms are fully extended. Repeat until failure. If you're just starting out, weight-assisted machines can allow you to do this exercise, even if you can't initially support your full weight.

Chest Weight Lifting Tips

It's never a bad idea to have a partner spot you for any weight lifting exercise to make sure you maintain your form and avoid dropping weights on your chest, or anywhere else for that matter. As you get these exercises under your belt, don't hesitate to branch out to others. Routinely mixing it up is one of the best ways to keep your muscles in tip top shape.

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