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5 BEST Chest Exercises For Women (25-Minute Chest Workout At Home)

Add these five chest exercises for women to your weekly workout routine! Chest exercises, often skipped by women, are important for supporting good posture and building upper body strength. This 25-minute chest workout at home uses a set of dumbbells to tone the arms and build chest muscles.

Shoulder, bicep, tricep and back muscles likely have a regular place in your upper body fitness routine. But women specifically tend to overlook and under-train THE CHEST MUSCLES. 

There’s a misconception that since women have breasts they don’t need to train the chest muscles or pectoralis muscles. This is NOT true. Chest workouts are just as important for women as they are for men. 

So I’ve rounded up five of THE BEST dumbbell chest exercises for women in today’s post. No need for tons fancy gym equipment — all you need is a set of free weights.

Benefits of Chest Workouts For Women - Dumbbell Chest Fly

The chest is one of the largest muscle groups in the upper body and is actually made up of four different muscles:

  1. Pectoralis Major Muscle — fan-shaped muscle directly beneath the breast tissue in the upper chest.
  2. Pectoralis Minor Muscle — smaller chest muscle located in the upper part of the chest, beneath the pec major.
  3. Serratus Anterior Muscle — located on the side of the chest along the ribs.
  4. Subclavius Muscle — a small triangular muscle, located between the clavicle and the first rib.

So why is strengthening the chest muscles so important for women? There are so many benefits that impact your everyday activities — and can help you see definition in your entire upper body.

Chest Exercises For Women FAQs

What Are The Benefits Of Chest Workouts For Women?

Chest exercises make everyday activities easier because the chest muscles mimic daily activities. Most upper body movements actually involve the pectoral muscles. 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. If your pec muscles are weak from disuse, the simple act of carrying and loading grocery bags into your house can feel like a challenge (Shape) and could lead to injury.

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). And if your pec muscles are shortened (super common if you’re slouching over at a computer all day), they’ll pull down on the shoulder muscles creating bad posture. If you have good posture, your chest remains upright and open which makes it easier to take deep breaths.

Can Chest Exercises Also Work Other Arm Muscles?

Chest workouts are a great way to build defined, toned arms. These five dumbbell chest exercises focus on the pecs, but they also work other major muscle groups in your upper body — including the triceps, small stabilizing muscles in the shoulders, and back. Building the chest muscles can push breast tissue up and forward, so chest workouts for women might even perk up your breasts or tighten your chest skin.

Chest Workout for Women | Dumbbell Chest Press

25-Minute Chest Workout At Home

Sculpt your upper body and build strong, toned arms with these five chest exercises for women.

This 25-minute chest workout for women specifically targets the pecs, but also engages the shoulders, triceps and back muscles.

Add this chest workout at home to your upper body workout routine 2-3 times a month.

Workout Equipment:

Medium to heavy set of dumbbells. I recommend between 8-25 lb dumbbells. I’m using 12 lb and 15 lb dumbbells in this workout video.

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Workout Instructions:

Follow along with the guided Chest Workout on YouTubeled by certified personal trainer, Lindsey Bomgren. 

Your Workout Looks Like This:

  • 5 Dumbbell Chest Exercises
  • EMOM Format ‘Every Minute On the Minute’. Set a timer for 20 minutes. At the start of the first minute, complete 15 repetitions of the first chest exercise. Then rest for the remaining time left in the minute. At the start of the second minute complete 15 repetitions of the second chest exercise. Then rest for the remaining time left in the second minute. Repeat this format for all 5 exercises, a total of 5 minutes.
  • NOTE: Allow yourself 15 seconds of rest between each exercise — so even if you haven’t completed all 15 reps, at the 45 second mark, stop and take your 15 seconds of rest before beginning the next exercise.
  • Repeat All 5 Chest Exercises for Women x4 Sets

Workout Outline

  1. Push Ups
  2. Dumbbell Chest Press
  3. Narrow Chest Press
  4. Dumbbell Chest Fly
  5. Army Crawl

Prefer to Watch On YouTube?

youtube icon Chest Workout

5 Best Chest Exercises For Women

Push Up

Targets: Chest, shoulders, triceps, back, abs and core muscles.

Benefits of Push Ups for Women: Push ups are hands-down one of the best bodyweight exercises and most effective ways to build upper body strength for women.

how to do a push up | chest workouts for women

How To Do A Push Up

  1. Start in a high plank position with your shoulders stacked over your wrists, weight evenly distributed amongst all 10 fingers. Pull your kneecaps up towards your belly, feet hip-width apart. Option to place your hands on weights if you have wrist pain.
  2. Hold this plank position, maintaining a straight line with your body, gaze slightly in front of you.
  3. Slowly lower your chest down towards the ground as your elbows fall back towards your hips (not out to the sides).
  4. Once at the bottom of your push up, exhale as you push back up into high plank position.

Modification: Substitute incline push-ups by placing your hands on a chair or bench; or drop to your knees for modified push ups.

Dumbbell Chest Press

Targets: Chest (pecs), shoulders (deltoids) and triceps.

Benefits of Dumbbell Chest Press for Women: The dumbbell chest press or bench press is a great way to isolate the chest muscles or pectoralis major. When done with heavy weights, chest presses will build chest strength fast.

how to do a dumbbell chest press | chest exercises for women

How To Do A Chest Press With Dumbbells Or Dumbbell Bench Press

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Lower the dumbbells back towards your chest with control.

Narrow Chest Press

Targets: Chest (pectorals), shoulders and triceps.

Benefits of Narrow Chest Press for Women: Using a narrow grip increases upper body pushing strength. The narrow grip effectively activates your chest as you squeeze the pectorals while pressing the dumbbells overhead.

how to do a narrow chest press with dumbbells | chest workout at home

How To Do A Narrow Chest Press With Dumbbells

  1. 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.
  2. Exhale as you press dumbbells up in a straight line, ending with your arms straight overhead, wrists over shoulders.
  3. Lower back to the starting position and repeat.

Dumbbell Chest Fly

Targets: Chest muscles, both the larger pectoralis major and the smaller pectoralis minor.

Benefits of Dumbbell Chest Fly for Women: Opens the chest muscles. This exercise is great for posture and can help reduce upper back pain, increase range of motion, and reduce tightness in the upper body.

how to do a dumbbell chest fly | chest workouts

How To Do A Chest Fly With Dumbbells

  1. 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.
  2. 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).
  3. 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.

Army Crawl

Targets: Full body; primarily the abs, core, lower back, shoulder, chest, triceps and quads.

Benefits of Army Crawl for Women: This exercise engages your entire body, focusing on strengthening the ab and arm muscles at the same time. A great bodyweight chest exercise you can do at home if you don’t have access to dumbbells.

How to do an army crawl | bodyweight chest exercise

How To Do An Army Crawl

  1. Start in a high plank position with your shoulders stacked over your wrists, hands shoulder-width apart.
  2. Hold this high plank position, maintaining a straight line with your body, gaze slightly in front of you.
  3. Then drop your left forearm to the mat. Followed by dropping your right forearm to the mat; so you are now in a low plank or forearm plank position with your shoulders stacked over your elbows.
  4. Exhale as you push yourself back up to the starting high plank position; starting with your left arm and following with your right arm, while trying to maintain stable hips, square to the ground.
  5. Repeat this alternating forearm drop, leading with your right hand and following with your left hand.

Modification: Substitute incline army crawl by placing your hands on a chair or bench; or drop to your knees for modified army crawl.

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The Best Chest workouts for women At Home | pin for pinterest

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  1. You are the BEST trainer!!
    I have been following you since Covid-19 won I set up a small ‘gym’ in my family room at home. I’m a competitive runner and built strength in my upper body doing your videos— which really helped my running. Thank you!!!!!!

    • Barb! You are so kind! I’m so glad you’re loving the workouts and love that you’ve set up a home gym too! You are so awesome. Keep up the great work and keep coming back for more! -Lindsey

  2. Ugh, pushups! 🙂 Thank you for this post. How would you incorporate this with your workout calendar? Just after all the upper-body only videos? Thanks!

    • Hi Karen…I had to laugh, you’re not alone in disliking push ups that’s for sure. But I’m glad you find this post helpful. Fortunately, most of these exercises are included in the ‘arm’ and ‘total body’ workouts on the 30-Day Calendar so GOOD NEWS, you’re covered! That said, if you’re specifically striving to get off your knees with push ups or improve push up form you could tack-on an additional set of push ups (10-20 reps) daily or every other day. I hope that helps + keep up the great work! -Lindsey