Build upper body strength and support good posture with this workout: the 6 best chest exercises for women. This chest workout requires just a set of dumbbells to build strength in the chest and arms. Reach muscle fatigue in under 30 minutes with this strict set format — a set of push ups breaks up each strength set in this workout!
Improve posture and build a strong chest with six dumbbell chest exercises.
Chest exercises are often skipped by women in particular. There’s a misconception that since women have breasts, they don’t need to train the chest muscles or pectoralis muscles.
This isn’t true. A strong chest supports good posture and helps build upper body strength, which can improve your workouts in the long run. Chest workouts are just as important for women as they are for men.
This 25-minute chest workout at home uses a set of dumbbells to tone the arms and build chest muscles. We’ll hit muscle fatigue with the strict set format and add a set of push ups between each strength exercise for good measure.
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Chest Exercises for Women FAQs
What Are The Best Chest Exercises?
The best chest exercises include chest presses, chest flys and push ups. Today’s workout includes several variations of dumbbell chest presses and chest flys to target the chest muscles from different angles. The strict set format will challenge your muscular endurance, and each strength set will be followed by a set of push ups for a total chest burnout.
What Are The Benefits Of Chest Workouts For Women?
The primary functions of your chest muscles are to: flex your upper arm (raise), adduct your upper arm (bring back) and medially rotate your upper arm (turn inward). You use your chest muscles every time you pick something up, hold something, or push something, so a strong chest makes everyday activities easier.
Can Chest Exercises Improve Your Posture?
Yes! Chest muscles play an important role in maintaining good posture and upright stability. Your pecs support your shoulder blades (scapula muscles). If your pec muscles are shortened (common if you sit at a computer all day), they’ll pull down on the shoulder muscles, creating bad posture.
Timed Intervals (40 seconds of work per exercise, followed by 20 seconds of rest)
Strict Sets (repeat each chest exercise x 2 sets, back-to-back)
Perform 10 Push Ups After Each Chest Exercise
Note: we re-filmed this chest workout to improve video and sound quality (and changed up some of the moves). You can find the original best chest exercises for women video here if you’d like to compare them.
Targets: Chest (pecs), shoulders (deltoids) and triceps.
How To Do A Dumbbell Chest Press
Lay flat on your back (on the ground, on a bench, incline bench, or on a stability ball) with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Hold one dumbbell in each hand (palms facing knees), elbows bent at a 90-degree angle.
Exhale as you push both dumbbells overhead at the same time; dumbbells stacked over shoulders at the top of the press. Make sure your wrists are strong and in line with your shoulders.
Lower the dumbbells back towards your chest with control.
Dumbbell Chest Fly
Targets: Chest muscles, both the larger pectoralis major and the smaller pectoralis minor.
How To Do A Dumbbell Chest Fly
Lay flat on your back (on the ground, on a bench, or on a stability ball) with one dumbbell in each hand, arms extended above your shoulders, palms facing in towards each other. Press your feet firmly into the floor.
Inhale as you slowly open your arms, lowering the dumbbells in a wide arc until they reach shoulder level (or the ground). Your elbows should remain soft and not over-extended (slight bend in the elbows).
Exhale as you pull the dumbbells back to starting position, squeeze your chest muscles together. Keeping your chest puffed out and your elbows slightly bent.
Standing Chest Fly
Targets: Upper arms, chest, shoulders, abs and core.
How To Do A Standing Chest Fly
Stand with your feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent. Hold one dumbbell in each hand at your sides; palms face out away from the body (underhand grip). Shoulder blades pulled down towards your hips.
Squeeze your chest as you lift your right hand across your body bringing the dumbbell in the right hand parallel to your left shoulder. Think “right pinky finger to left shoulder”. Palm faces up towards the ceiling.
Keep a soft bend in your elbow as you lower the dumbbell back to starting position with control.
Repeat on the left arm, alternating arms with each rep.
Dumbbell Svend Press
Targets: All heads of the shoulder muscles including the anterior deltoid, medial deltoid and upper portion of the pecs (chest muscles); AND abs and deep transverse abdominal core muscles.
How To Do A Dumbbell Svend Press
Stand with your feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent. Hold one dumbbell in each hand at your sides vertically; palms face in towards the body. Shoulder blades pulled down towards your hips. Press the heads of the dumbbells together so they’re touching.
Press the dumbbells straight out in front of you at shoulder height, keeping a slight bend in the elbows.
Hold for a moment, then pull the dumbbells back in towards your chest. Brace your core tightly as you push the dumbbells away and pull them back.
Modification: Option to hold one dumbbell vertically with both hands.
Lay flat on your back (on the ground, on a bench, or on a stability ball) with one dumbbell in each hand, elbows pinned at your sides, dumbbells at mid-chest point, and palms facing in toward one another. Press your feet firmly into the floor.
Exhale as you press the dumbbells up in a straight line, ending with your arms straight overhead, wrists over shoulders.
Lower back to the starting position and repeat.
Alternating Reverse Grip Chest Press
Targets: Pectorals (chest), deltoids (shoulders), and triceps.
How To Do An Alternating Reverse Grip Chest Press
Lie flat on your back (on the ground, on a bench, incline bench, or on a stability ball) with knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
Hold one dumbbell in each hand in a reverse grip (palms facing in towards you), arms extended and dumbbells in line with shoulders.
Inhale as you lower the dumbbell in your right arm towards the ground, elbow bent at a 90-degree angle.
Exhale to push the dumbbell overhead, returning to starting position.
Repeat, this time lowering the dumbbell in your left arm towards the ground. Then exhale as you push it up, returning to starting position.
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