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Chest Workouts for Women: 15 Top Home and Gym Exercises

10 mins read
Isobel Krüger
Written by Isobel Krüger
Isobel Krüger

Written by Isobel Krüger

Isobel is a health and fitness writer, and also a health and fitness fanatic in real life. She loves researching the latest health and fitness topics and trends that can make life healthier, happier, and easier.

on November 03, 2022

Having a toned and strong chest area doesn't only look great, but it's also an area of our bodies that require more development for overall health. Take a look at the top exercises you can do to strenghten and define your chest area.

Table of content

Getting a toned and strong chest starts with knowing how to make the most of chest exercises, whether you're doing them in the gym or at home. Start your chest exercise journey with some top tips:

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5 Pro Tips to Shape Your Chest

  • Pull back your shoulder blades
  • Incorporate isometric movements into your chest workouts
  • Focus on exercises that also work other major muscle groups
  • Quality over quantity - fewer reps with proper form is better than more reps in poor form.
  • Focus on achieving progressive overload

Is it Difficult to Build Your Chest? 

Exercises that isolate or include your chest muscles will naturally make your chest stronger and firmer. However, incorporating a calorie-controlled and balanced eating regime that prioritizes proteinwill help build lean muscle, making you see results faster. 

How Many Sets of Chest Workouts Do I Need to Do Per Week? 

Focus on your chest during workouts at least twice a week. Three times a week is ideal. If you're new to chest exercises, starting with more accessible options and bodyweight exercises can help you build the strength and stamina to incorporate heavier weights as you progress in your chest workout journey.  

The 15 Best Female Chest Exercises

With Dumbbells

If you're into working out, chances are you have a pair of dumbbells lying around at home, or if you go to the gym regularly, you have dumbbells of different weights at your disposal. Exercising with dumbbells helps you to develop control and coordination while adding lean muscle.  

Dumbbell Chest Press

The dumbbell chest press is a great way to target multiple upper-body muscles with the main focus on your chest. You can do a dumbbell chest press lying down on an exercise mat, so you need minimal equipment for this one. 

Why it rocks:

You're putting minimal strain on your back as dumbbell chest presses are done lying down. This super pumper works your pectorals (chest), deltoids (shoulders), and triceps (arms).

How to:

  • Lie on your back with knees bent, and feet placed flat on the ground.
  • With a dumbbell in each hand, extend your arms upward, palms facing forward.
  • Slowly bend your arms and lower them to the side, keeping them parallel with your shoulders. Keep lowering until your elbows almost touch the floor.  
  • Slowly reverse the movement and return to the starting position. One rep done!
  • Do ten to fifteen reps, depending on the weight of the dumbbells and your strength level. 

Pro Tip:

Ensure your lower back touches the floor to maintain good form and avoid adding unnecessary strain.

Dumbbell Inner Chest Press

The inner chest press is a fun variation of the original dumbbell chest press that you can add to add a spicy burn to your routine. 

Why it rocks:

This version of the chest press also focuses on your triceps or the back of your arms, a muscle we often but unintentionally neglect, even when focusing on arm exercises.

How to:

  • Lie on your back, knees bent, and feet flat on the ground. Take a dumbbell in each hand and extend your arms upward with your palms facing each other.
  • While keeping the weights together, bend your elbows to bring your hands towards your chest.
  • Move your hands back upwards slowly and controlled until you're in the starting position.
  • This is a high-rep exercise, so try and do two sets of ten reps.

Pro Tip:

Get the most from this press by squeezing the dumbbells together. This will activate the pectoral muscles and triceps and give you more bang for your buck. 

Alternating Dumbbell Floor press

Doing alternating dumbbell exercises require extra focus and improves coordination while offering the same benefits for your chest muscles.  

Why it rocks:

By focusing on one side at a time, you're making sure you don't rely too heavily on one side of your body while neglecting the other. 

How to:

  • Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. 
  • Hold a dumbbell in each hand and extend both arms in line with your shoulders, palms facing forward. 
  • Keeping your left arm straight, slowly bend your right elbow, lowering it until your right tricep touches the floor. 
  • Press the dumbbell back up, and repeat with your left arm.
  • Complete 8 to 10 reps for each side. 

Pro Tip:

Make sure your elbows are at 45-degree angles throughout the entire movement.

At the Gym  

Seated Chest Press

You can do a seated chest press at the gym using the Chest Press Machine. This nifty piece of equipment assists with maintaining proper form and posture by supporting your back. 

Why it rocks:

The seated chest press helps build your chest muscles, biceps, and upper back. It's a great move if you want to kill multiple birds with one stone! 

How to:

  • After setting the machine at the desired weight (start with a lighter weight rather than a heavier one), sit with your feet firmly on the floor, shoulder-width apart. Adjust the height of the seat if you need to. 
  • Fully grip the handles, ensuring your wrists align with your forearms. 
  • Push outward until your arms are fully extended without locking your elbows. Keep your back and neck still, and use the back support to maintain a good posture. 
  • When your arms are fully extended, take a pause.
  • Controlling the movement, slowly bend your elbows back to the starting position.
  • Start with one to two sets of 10 reps. 

Pro Tip:

Keep your core activated to maintain a straight back while ensuring your entire back is pressed against the backrest. 

Barbell Chest Press

This chest press exercise is a top option to ensure you use equal force from both sides. 

Why it rocks:

By targeting both the major and minor pectoral muscles, you're getting a full chest-strengthening experience while also building your deltoids and triceps. What a combo!  

How to:

  •  Take a full-length Olympic bar and start by lying on a bench with your feet up and hands wider than your shoulders. 
  • Unrack the bar and position it directly over your chest - arms fully extended, elbows unlocked. 
  • Actively lower your shoulders down toward your hips. Then, allow the bar to slowly lower toward your chest by bending your elbows. 
  • Pause with the bar just above your chest. 
  • Activate your chest muscles and, using control, press the bar straight back up.
  • Try one set of five to ten reps, focusing on your form. 

Pro Tip:

Keep your lower back pressed against the bench while keeping the core engaged in helping activate your chest muscles.  

Low Cable Chest Flys

The cable machine is a multifunctional piece of gym equipment offering lots of different exercises to build your arms, chest, back, and core. 

Why it rocks:

Chest flys build strength but also focus on the mobility of your shoulders and deltoids. 

How to:

  • Align the two cables at thigh length. Choose a lighter weight for this one.
  • Gripping the handles with your palms facing forward, take a small step forward. 
  • Keep your head up, shoulders back, and push your chest out. 
  • Pull your elbows towards your sides, contract your chest muscles, and lift the handles until they are parallel to your chest.
  • Lower your arms, control the movement and keep your elbows in position. 

Pro Tip:

Use lighter weights and actively contract your chest muscles for the best results. 

Chest Workouts at Home

Chaturanga Pushup

A full Chaturanga is more challenging than it looks, especially as it's a controlled movement that targets your upper body with additional full-body activation. The Chaturanga pushup helps you build strength in your chest and arms to easily flow through the movement. 

Why it rocks:

The Chaturanga pushup focuses on strengthening your chest and triceps by simply using your body weight. Easier said than done, though! 

How to:

  • Start in a high plank position with your back straight and your shoulders above your wrists.
  • Engage your core, legs, and glutes while pushing your heels back, and lower your body down to the floor. 
  • Keep your elbows tight against your sides, and your body elongated in a straight line.
  • When your torso reaches the floor, press up onto your knees and move back into a high plank. 
  • Try five to ten reps, really focusing on keeping your body in a straight line. 

Pro Tip:

If you find keeping your back straight throughout the movement challenging, start with your knees touching the ground. 

Decline Pushup

If you're ready to challenge yourself, put your feet up and your head down for this challenging pushup variation. 

Why it rocks:

Elevating your feet increases the difficulty of the pushup and activates your core muscles.

How to:

  • Start in a plank position with your feet elevated on a step, bench, or chair, depending on the desired decline. 
  • With your elbows pointed 45 degrees from your body, lower down until your upper arms are parallel to the floor.
  • Then press back up. 
  • Go for five to ten reps. 

Pro Tip:

Before attempting a decline pushup, make sure you can comfortably do at least 10 to 15 traditional pushups.

Pushup to Mountain Climber

Want to ramp up that heart rate? The pushup mountain climber is a multifunctional gem that tones your entire body. 

Why it rocks:

This move strengthens your upper body and targets your core muscles, all while adding a spicy cardio element.

How to:

  • Start in a high plank.
  • Perform one pushup.
  • Then, perform a mountain climber by pulling your right knee toward your chest, followed by your left knee.
  • One pushup mountain climber equals a single pushup followed by four mountain climbers. 
  • Start off with five to seven reps. 

Pro Tip:

Nail this move by keeping your shoulders stacked over your wrists and your core engaged. 

No Equipment/Bodyweight Chest Workouts

Inchworm Pushup

Pushups are pretty tough, and inchworms add pressure on the arms, core, shoulders, chest, and hips, exercising all major muscle groups. 

Why it rocks:

The Inchworm is a dynamic exercise that improves full-body strength and flexibility. Add a pushup, and you've got yourself a chest and total-body burner. 

How to:

  • To perform an Inchworm Pushup, stand with your feet together and your legs straight. Then bend from the hips to reach for your toes with your hands.
  • Contract your quads or thigh muscles. Then, bend over until you feel a stretch in your hamstrings or the back of your thighs.
  • As your body lowers to the floor, place both hands on the ground and walk forward until you're in a high plank. 
  • From a high plank, lower down into a pushup. 
  • Push back up into a high plank and, while keeping your legs straight, walk backward until you reach a standing position.  
  • Try doing five to eight of these, making you stay in form. 

Pro Tip:

Keep your core engaged and your back straight throughout the entire exercise. 

Commandos

Ready to burn out your chest, arms, and abs? Let's get to it with this unique plank-based exercise. 

Why it rocks:

Commandos really work the chest, core, and triceps with a splash of cardio action added just for fun.

How to:

  • Start in a high plank with your palms on the floor and your shoulders parallel to your wrists.
  • Bring down your left arm into a low plank position, arms facing inwards. Lower the right arm into the same position. Make sure to keep your body as straight as possible.
  • With both arms on the floor, use your left hand to push back into high plank, followed by your right arm. Start the next rep with your right arm going down first. 
  • Try eight to ten reps, each consisting of lowering the left arm first, going back up, and then doing the same with the right arm.  

Pro Tip:

Keep your hips as still as possible for some extra core action. 

The Classic Pushup

Who doesn't want to master the pushup? Getting it right will have you brimming with confidence and a sense of accomplishment.

Why it rocks:

The pushup is one of the best ways to use your body weight to strengthen your chest muscles. 

How to:

  • Start in a high plank position, core and legs engaged, and shoulders over your wrists.
  • Keep that straight line from head to feet, and bend your elbows to lower your entire body to the floor. 
  • You can opt to stay down for a moment or two for some extra isometric benefits and then lift yourself up again. 
  • Do eight to ten reps for starters. 

Pro Tip:

Make sure your elbows point out 45 degrees away from your ribcage.

Easy Chest Exercises

Stability Ball Pec Squeeze

This move is all about actively contracting your upper body muscles, including your chest, arms, and back. 

Why it rocks:

If you have back problems or you're recovering from an injury, this move does the job without adding extra strain.

How to:

  • Start in a kneeling position, sitting down on your heels. 
  • Bend your arms slightly and hug the stability ball towards your chest.
  • Squeeze the ball while contracting your chest and arms. Stay in this position for three to five seconds and release.
  • Aim for ten to fifteen reps. 

Pro Tip:

Actively focus on contracting your chest, arms, and back and keep your core engaged. 

Kneeling Chest Press to Triceps Extension

You only need one dumbbell to do this chest and tricep shredder. 

Why it rocks:

This dynamic duo offers an extra tricep burn, giving you a top combo right there!

How to:

  • Start in a kneeling position with your knees spread slightly wider than your hips. 
  • Hold a dumbbell against your chest with both hands, and extend both arms straight in front of you. 
  • Then, bend your elbows, and bring the dumbbell back to your chest. 
  • Reverse this movement and bring the dumbbell back to starting position. 
  • Raise the dumbbell overhead, then bend your arms backward so the dumbbell falls behind your head. 
  • Reverse this movement and return to the starting position. 
  • Do 8 to 10 reps of these, making sure you count one rep as both movements.

Pro Tip:

Stick out those ribs while keeping a straight back and an engaged core. 

Isometric chest squeeze

This chest scorcher looks easy, but it's all about slow and controlled movements and activating the chest and arms by squeezing them as tightly as possible. 

Why it rocks:

Exercises incorporating isometric movements offer a fantastic approach to strength development. By staying in an active position while contracting your muscles, you add the resistance your muscles need to develop. 

How to:

  • Stand up straight with your right foot slightly forward, and both hips facing forward.
  • Hold a pair of dumbbells together at chest height, palms facing toward you and elbows bent.
  • Squeeze the dumbbells together while maintaining bent elbows, and press them up until your elbows are slightly above your shoulders. 
  • Hold it there for five seconds, and bring them down to the starting position. 
  • Do ten to twelve reps, really squeezing those muscles. 

Pro Tip:

Keep your ribs tucked in and engage your core muscles for extra burn. 

Final Takeaway

Focusing on strengthening your chest will give you a pert and defined upper body and help you maintain crucial upper body strength that is essential for reducing the risk of injury as you age. A strong chest and upper body improve overall mobility and quality of life.

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Unimeal does not diagnose or suggest treatments. Any description of the diet, training plan or supplement should be discussed with your current physician or nutritionist. This article does not address specific conditions and is simply meant to provide general information on healthcare topics. Following any advice is at your own initiative and does not impose any responsibility on the blog authors for your health and safety.

Sources:

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