More and more women in bodybuilding and fitness are realizing the value of having a healthy, chiseled chest. Improving muscle tone in the area of the chest behind the breasts is an excellent way to enhance the appearance of the bust. It is essentially a “lift” without the use of a scalpel.
The postural alignment for all chest exercises is essentially the same. Throughout all chest exercises, remember to consciously focus and contract the muscles of the chest while maintaining proper postural alignment and form.
Women should concentrate on four areas of the chest:
- Exercises such as the Incline Bench Press can help tone the upper chest (Db).
- Exercises such as the bench press (Db), chest dips, and push-ups strengthen the overall pec area, which attaches to the breasts and provides support.
- Upper Chest Outer Area with exercises like the Incline Flys (Db).
- Exercises such as Incline Cable Crossovers can help tone the inner upper chest area.
Dumbbells are the best option.
Dumbbells are recommended for chest exercises because they provide a wider range of motion and a deeper stretch at the bottom of the movement. Furthermore, they improve muscle isolation and contraction at the top of the movement, assisting in the recruitment of more muscle fibers within the chest and surrounding musculature.
Furthermore, because they are more difficult to control and hold than a barbell, they help to strengthen and develop the antagonistic and synergistic muscles of the chest and shoulder.
Lifting the Correct Way
The sequence of movements below will teach you how to properly lift a dumbbell off the ground and into position to begin many of the exercises, all the way through to completion.
- When picking up dumbbells, bend at the knees and lift the weight with your legs.
- Lift with your legs rather than your backs! Bending over to pick up the weight can easily injure your lower back.
- Place the bottom plate of the dumbbells against your thighs while standing and keep them there as you sit on the bench seat. By keeping the dumbbells against your thighs as you sit, you will be able to easily manipulate them to the top of your thighs.
- Begin by positioning your body in the proper postural alignment, working your way up from the bottom.
- Your feet should be about shoulder-width apart.
- Throughout the movement, make sure your knees are pointing straight ahead.
- Do not try to muscle up the dumbbells as you raise them to the starting position on top of your thighs with your arm muscles. This will only deplete your strength and may result in injury. You need your full strength for the exercise and cannot afford to waste it on something you can easily avoid. Follow these guidelines to properly raise the dumbbells from your thighs into exercise position; you will be using your leg muscles and momentum to help place you and the dumbbells into position. Thrust one leg up while sitting upright, with the dumbbells on your thighs bringing one dumbbell up to your chest level
- Immediately thrust the second dumbbell upward, allowing momentum and the dumbbells to guide you back into the lying position while your abdominal muscles help safely ease you in. The reason for lying back immediately after thrusting the second dumbbell upward is to avoid injuring your shoulder joints or lower back from holding the dumbbells in that otherwise awkward position. Lying back and immediately following the dumbbell’s momentum will help ensure your safety and keep your strength at its peak for the exercise. This may appear to be difficult, but it is not. It is the safest and simplest way to position the dumbbells (especially if you are using heavy dumbbells).
- Lay back until your back touches the bench after you’ve raised the dumbbells.
- Dumbbells should now be placed at the sides of your chest.
- Once again, keep your feet shoulder-width apart and flat on the ground at all times.
- Check that your knees are straight.
- At all times, your lower back should be flat against the bench, with no excessive arch in the lower lumbar region (small of the back).
- Check that your back is flat against the bench, your arms and elbows are out to the sides, and your forearms are perpendicular to the floor. When you’re in the proper position, retract or squeeze your shoulder blades together. It may appear strange or uncomfortable at first, but do not underestimate the importance of this technique. You must learn to maintain this position throughout the movement, which will require consistent practice. By squeezing your shoulder blades together and keeping your entire back in constant contact with the bench, you will remove the anterior shoulder from the exercise. The weight is lifted by the chest muscles.
- Maintain a relaxed posture throughout the movement, and avoid twisting or lifting your head from the bench.
The Content is not meant to be a replacement for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any questions about a medical condition, always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider.