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Don’t Neglect Your Chest!

Posted December 7, 2010 by

Want to know one of the best ways to shape and lift the bust? Exercising the chest muscles. Want to know one of the best ways to enhance the separation between the breasts? Exercising the chest muscles! Want to know one of the best ways to enhance the “V” taper that makes the waist look slimmer and the body more balanced overall? I’ll give you one guess…

I think it’s safe to say that most women desire to maintain a feminine, youthful-looking chest that defies gravity throughout their lives. The fact of the matter is that one of the most effective ways to avoid the “sag” of later years is to make sure you exercise your pectoral muscles–those that make up the chest. Doing so will help accentuate your curves, keep your upper body looking toned and improve your overall appearance.

I’m sure many of you are thinking, “But I don’t want to have a chest that looks all muscly like a female bodybuilder!” Remember though, as I’ve said many times before, it is next to impossible for a woman to extremely muscular on accident, and even when that’s the goal, it’s still very difficult and requires the use of steroids and a specific nutrition and exercise plan designed solely for that goal. So no, you won’t suddenly wake up with a chest that would make Arnold Schwarzenegger envious… but training with the proper intensity WILL give you the athletic, toned look that you want!

Unfortunately, even when women move past the stage of completely ignoring the chest during workouts, they typically still fail to use a training intensity that will produce optimal results. Like all exercise, you need to train past the point of comfort and really tire the muscles out. You need to constantly progress each subsequent workout to either more weight, more repetitions, or a combination of both. This means that if you’ve been performing 10 repetitions of dumbbell chest press with 5 lb dumbbells for the last year, you’re doing it wrong!

The same goes for if you’re using body weight, such as with push-ups and their many variations. One of the biggest sticking points I often notice among my clients and other trainees is the use of poor form. Using poor form may be easier in the short term than using correct form, simply because you’re used to performing them with poor form, but in the long term this is going to prevent you from progressing efficiently (or perhaps at all!). It would be a lot better for you to adjust your form first, even if it means you can’t perform as many repetitions as you can with poor form, and then work back up. What you will notice is that you will blast through your old plateau because your body is now working efficiently. So again, if you have been performing 15 half-assed pushups for the last year without fixing your form and progressing to more and more repetitions, adding weight, changing the angle, etc… then you’re doing it wrong!

Regardless of whether you’re a man or a woman, you need to lift with great intensity and constantly progress that intensity. You need to maintain proper form during your exercise to ensure that you don’t injure yourself or hit a plateau, and of course, you need to dial in your diet in order to optimize your results! By following these rules and including exercises that use the chest muscles, you will not only increase your functional strength but will sculpt your upper body into a well-balanced, attractive form!