Women don’t always put their chest on top of the list when it comes to fitness. The focus is generally on hips, stomach and thighs where fat can easily get accumulated. Since work from home became a thing, back exercises also started getting attention. But you should know that chest exercises are not just for women who want to transform their chest or firm up their breasts. Chest exercises for women are extremely important as they can add more strength to do daily activities.
HealthShots reached out to fitness expert Varun Rattan, who shared why you women shouldn’t skip chest exercises. The chest involves some of the biggest muscles in the body. The chest muscles should be exercised as regularly as any other muscle group to get it stronger and well-defined, suggests Rattan.
When you do multi-joint exercises like the bench press, a large number of muscles are used, enabling you to lift more weight. This will burn more calories during your workout than if you only did a bunch of isolation exercises such as front raises or triceps extension. Be it pushing a door or throwing something, your chest works in these activities. Training your chest will make you stronger in doing these daily activities.
5 best chest exercises for women
1. Bench press
• Lie down on a bench and hold the barbell with your hands placed slightly wider than shoulders.
• Unrack the barbell by lifting it up and slowly lower it to the base of the sternum.
• Push the barbell back up by pressing yourself into the bench.
There are different variants of this exercise, such as incline and decline bench press, dumbbell press, cable press, and smith machine bench press, says the expert.
2. Cable press or crossover
• Set up two cable pulleys at shoulder height and take a handle in each hand. • Step forward and extend your arms outwards, keeping the elbows slightly bent.
• Bring your hands together in the front of your chest and pause for a second before returning to the start position.
3. Chest pass
• Hold the medicine ball in both hands at chest level. You can do this either seated or standing, in front of a wall or with a partner.
• Thrust the ball away from your body. As you’re catching it, make sure to flex your elbows and shoulders to absorb the shock.
4. Push ups
• Get into a kneeling position on a mat or floor and then straighten your legs behind you.
• Your hands should be shoulder-width apart and fingers pointing forward. Engage your abdominal muscles, glutes, and quads to maintain a rigid torso and make sure your head is aligned with the spine.
• As you inhale, lower yourself towards the floor, letting your elbows flare out as your chest touches the mat or floor. • While exhaling, push your body back up until your elbows are completely extended. Make sure to keep your spine in the neutral position, and don’t let your lower back sag or hips rise up (push up variations).
5. Banded punches
• Stand in a split stance with your back tall, and knees bent slightly.
• Secure a band around a pole that is at shoulder height. Turn your back to the pole, and firmly grasp the band’s other end with your palm facing downwards.
• Steady your feet into the floor, engage your core, and straighten your arm forcefully.
• Once you reach the end of the motion, hold it for a second before slowly returning to start position.
Tips to keep in mind for chest exercise
Yes, chest muscles are important for our everyday activities. But don’t overstrain any particular muscle group. You might end up with postural imbalance. Rattan of The Body Science Academy, Noida, says that it is just as important to exercise the back muscles like the rhomboids, trapezius, erector spinae, and rear delts. They act as anti-gravity, helping us to maintain an upright posture. Neglecting your back muscles and only working on chest exercises can give a slouchy appearance.