Most athletes loves to perform chest exercises for their sizing-boosting gains. But did you know that chest exercises are also a valuable tool for improving performance and reducing injury?
Chest exercises primarily strengthen the pec muscles, specifically the pectoralis major and minor; however, they also strengthen the delts, triceps and other upper-body muscles that stabilize the shoulders, helping the upper body work as a cohesive unit with no weaknesses, making you a stronger athlete and preventing injuries.
The exercises below will help improve skills in several different sports:
Select two or three of the following exercises and incorporate them in your upper-body workout two times per week. Warm up properly beforehand to prevent injury.
This multi-joint bodyweight exercise effectively builds the chest muscles and strengthens the shoulders, triceps, back and core. Or, choose a Push-Up variation to specifically target different chest areas.
The Bench Press is the most popular exercise for building the chest. It's an excellent tool for dramatically increasing strength and size, but don't overdo it. The Bench Press should be a part of your upper-body program, not the whole program.
Sets/Reps: 2-3x6-10 with moderate to heavy weight
Another popular chest exercise, the Dumbbell Fly isolates the pecs. As such, it should be used as a supplement to multi-joint exercises.
The Barbell Pullover is an often-overlooked exercise that strengthens the chest, shoulders and upper back.
Dips are a multi-joint exercise involving almost the whole upper body as well as the core. Perform them leaning forward to further engage your chest along with your triceps.
Still interested in more ways to work your chest? The STACK Chest Guide contains a rich variety of exercises designed to help you meet your goals.
Jim Carpentier is a certified strength and conditioning specialist, a New Jersey-licensed massage therapist and a health/fitness writer. He currently serves as associate health and wellness director at the Greater Morristown YMCA in Cedar Knolls, N.J.
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