10 Of The Best Chest Exercises For Women

Are chest exercises part of your fitness routine? Many women have specific training goals, a smaller waist, a shapely butt and firm arms and thighs, but very few women train the chest. Training your pectorals, the muscles of the chest under your breasts, will help lift and tighten your breasts, increase your chest circumference while also strengthening and toning your arms and shoulders as well as improving your posture. A larger chest will also make your waist appear smaller in comparison.

Before You Start

  • Always warm up and stretch prior to exercising.
  • Spend 3-5 minutes getting your body physically as well as mentally prepared for your workout. Warming up properly will make your training more effective and reduce injury risk.
  • Perform the exercises slowly and with correct form, never use weights that you can’t control.
  • If an exercise requires weights, choose dumbbells over a barbell as they promote a deeper stretch and require the use of the core muscles to help stabilize your body with a weight held in each of your hands.

1. Push Ups

These focus on the chest while working the entire upper body as well as the shoulders and triceps, the muscles on the backs of your arms. If you are beginner, you can perform the push ups kneeling then advance as your strength increases.

How to do them: Start facing down on the floor with the hands below the shoulders and push your body upwards by straightening your arms while maintaining your body in line from head to ankles. Pause briefly at the top of the movement then lower your body till your chest is just above the floor and pause again. Repeat this movement 10 to 12 times.


2. Stability Ball Push Ups

These increase the difficulty of your pushups and require your body to stabilize itself as you perform your push ups. This stabilization will strengthen the core and abdominal muscles and also improve posture.

How to do them: Start from your push up position and move one and then the other foot to the top of your inflatable “Swiss” or stability ball and perform your push ups 10 – 12 times.


3. Close Hand Pushups

These move the focus to the center of your chest and develops and tones the muscles directly below your cleavage and over time can literally increase the depth and appearance of your cleavage. Moving your hands closer together will also add more stress to your triceps and tone the backs of your arms.

How to do them: Assume your regular pushup position but instead of placing your hands below your shoulders, place them together until your thumbs touch. If you also move your forefingers together you will form a diamond shape, another name for this push up is diamond pushups. As you do each pushup, squeeze at the bottom pausing briefly and again at the top to enhance the training effect.


4. Dumbbell Bench Presses

These work your pectorals over the entire chest. Use dumbbells rather than a barbell if available as it increases the difficulty and requires you to focus on stabilizing each weight.

How to do them: While on your back on a sturdy bench or the floor, hold a dumbbell in each hand. Start with the weights level with the chest and push both upward simultaneously until the arms fully extend. Pause for a brief moment at the highest point and pause again at the bottom. This movement can be repeated 10 – 12 times.

Dumbbell Bench Presses

5. Stability Ball Dumbbell Presses

These will add core training to your chest workout and allow for a wider stretch at the bottom of your “bench” press.

How to do them: With a weight in each hand, sit on your inflatable stability ball and slowly roll until the ball is in the center of your back. Perform your dumbbell presses as before allowing your chest to stretch further at the bottom of the movement. Repeat this movement for 10 to 12 repetitions.

Stability Ball Dumbbell Presses

6. Dumbbell Flyes

These will help stretch and widen your chest. Similar to your dumbbell bench press, flyes use a different angle and arm placement to change the focus of the movement.

How to do them: Start on your back with the weights at arm’s length directly above your chest. While holding the weights up and together spread your elbows until your arms are curved, imagine hugging a large tree trunk or barrel and maintain your arms in this position as you allow the dumbbells to be lowered to the sides of the chest. Pause and stretch when they reach the bottom and squeeze and stretch when at the top. This movement can be repeated 10 – 12 times.

Dumbbell Flyes

7. Stability Ball Dumbbell Flyes

These will add stability and core training to your chest workout and allow for a much wider stretch at the bottom of your dumbbell flyes.

How to do them: With a dumbbell in either hand, sit on your stability ball and slowly roll until the ball is in the center of your back. Perform your dumbbell flyes as before allowing your chest to stretch further at the end of the movement. Remember to keep the curve in your arms and include your pause and stretch at the bottom and pause and squeeze at the top. This movement can be repeated 10 – 12 times.

Stability Ball Dumbbell Flyes

8. Resistance Band Chest Presses

These simulate cable exercises without expensive machines.

How to do them: Anchor a strong resistance band at or below chest level with a handle in each hand. Plant your feet firmly and push/pull your hands forward and then together at chest level until they touch. Pause, hold and squeeze briefly and then slowly allow the bands to pull your hands back as you resist. This movement can be repeated 10 – 12 times.

Resistance Band Chest Presses

9. Incline Dumbbell Presses

By increasing the angle of your upper body you will shift the focus to your upper chest. This exercise will lift the breasts by toning the underlying muscle.

How to do them: Set your incline bench at a 30 – 45 ° angle and then lie back on the bench holding a dumbbell in either hand. Lift the dumbbells up to the sides of the chest with the upper arms parallel to the floor and slowly press the weights upward till they touch at the top. Pause and squeeze, slowly lowering the dumbbells to the start again. This movement can be repeated 10 – 12 times.

Incline Dumbbell Presses

10. Dumbbell Pullovers

These are an excellent “finishing” exercise for your chest. Pullovers will open and stretch your ribs and chest allowing it to expand.

How to do them: Hold a dumbbell or lightweight weight plate across your chest as you lean back across a bench or the bottom of a sturdy chair. Place your feet firmly and allow your arms and the weight to drop behind the head as you hold and stretch. Bring the slowly weight in an arc close to your body until the weight is above your chest and abdomen, pause and then reverse the arc until the weight drops down behind and below your head and stretch again. This movement can be repeated 10 – 12 times.

Dumbbell Pullovers