Chest muscles

Let’s focus on the chest muscles in this series of exercises. A well-defined chest is one of the most noticeable parts of your body. Strong chest muscles are responsible for many arm movements including hammering a nail, throwing or pushing an object. So the next time you feel the need to rearrange the furniture you can do so with ease after consistently doing chest exercises. A strong set of pecs or pectoralis, as the chest muscles are called, also tells the next person that you’ve spent sometime working out  . . . . that you can take care of your-self if the need arises.

They are developed with two basic movements: chest presses and flyes.

Exercising your chest involves multi-joint movements. This means that you are strengthening the shoulder, elbows and wrist joints when doing these exercises. You are also developing your deltoids, triceps and forearm muscles with chest exercises.

For these exercises we will use the barbells and bench, and a set of dumbbells.

Barbell Press

The first exercise is the barbell press. There is no need to go heavy here.  As you become stronger and more proficient, you can progressively add more weights. Be sure to use safety clips to secure both ends of bar to prevent weights from sliding off.

Bench Press

Lie back on the bench and grasp bar. Raise it off its supports and hoist bar directly above your chest. This is the starting position. Lower the bar to the chest area, until it is almost touching your chest. Pause for a second and then forcibly push the bar to the starting position above your chest. Do not lock your elbows but raise the bar enough so that your arms are almost fully extended. As you lower the bar, breathe in. Exhale, as the bar is raised above the chest, where you will pause for a fraction of a second before repeating movement. Use enough weights to allow you to do ten to twelve repetitions. Do three sets and rest.

The above chest exercise can also be done from an incline or decline position. Raise the bench to about a 45-degree angle for incline presses or lower it for declines. Many gyms are equipped with standard incline and decline exercise benches.  If possible use these since they are already set at the proper angle. With the incline presses you will be targeting the upper chest area and declines will be hitting the lower chest. It is not necessary to do all three types of exercises. Select at least one each time you exercise your chest.

Dumbbell press

The next set of exercises will be the dumbbell presses. You will be using the flat bench and working with weights that will allow you to complete ten to twelve repetitions.

Dumbbell decline press

Grasp weights in both hands and lay back on bench.  Raise weights directly above the chest area and lower for one repetition.  Breathing techniques are the same as those used for the barbell presses. Do three sets and rest. Dumbbell presses are great for giving definition to the chest. Be sure to use proper form to prevent injuries.

One of the advantages of using dumbbells is that you are forced to use your stabilizer muscles since both arms will have their individual weights to control. It also makes you have more of a stretch at the bottom of the press and better contraction at the top of the press than barbells.

On the days that I do light exercises I substitute dumbbell presses for regular barbell presses in my routine.

As with barbell presses, you can do incline and decline dumbbell presses.


We can finish off the chest exercises with flyes. Flyes develop and give definition to the entire chest area.

To do these we will be using light enough dumbbells to allow you to do ten repetitions. They can be done on either the flat exercise bench or from an incline position. Grasp weights and hoist over your chest area. Lower arms to either sides of your chest as though you are giving the weights to someone standing on both sides of you. Raise weights to starting position as if giving someone a bear hug. Do three sets of ten repetitions and rest.

Many gyms have standard flye machines, which allow you to adjust the amount of weights being used. You might even find a cable machine, which is great for doing flyes. Cables exert continuous tension on the muscles throughout the exercise. These are my favorite because I get the best results from them.

Other chest development exercises

Push-ups and modified push-ups are also effective for developing your chest and they can be done at home. A modified push-up is done from a kneeling position as opposed to the standard position where your legs are extended behind you.

How does chest exercises help diabetics?

By doing chest exercises you are building muscles in your upper torso which will help to improve your metabolism. We all know by now how an improved metabolism can help the body remove excess sugar from the blood stream. This protects against diabetes. Your body will become more sensitive to insulin.

Do chest exercises twice per week and you will be amazed at the way you look after four weeks.

To a healthier you,

Owen Lecky

Exercises for diabetes



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15 Responses to Chest Exercises . . . How to Develop a Strong Upper Body

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  14. […] By incorporating a good chest exercise program into your routine your entire chest cavity will benefit. You will breathe better, your […]

  15. […] are two basic movements that targets the chest muscles — flyes and chest presses. Doing chest exercises involves not just your chest muscles but also brings into play your triceps, […]

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