The Top 5 Chest Toning Exercises for Women

woman performing chest exerciseBest Chest Toning Exercises for Women!

We must, we must, we must increase our bust! Remember chanting this as a pre-teen during your late night slumber parties while using books to do chest flies? We used to try everything under the sun to increase our bra size, not realizing that all the creams and potions would not do a darn thing. It takes genetics and good muscle tone to have an impressive bosom; plastic surgery certainly helps too!

If you need a little extra lift and want to improve the definition of your chest, but don’t want to spend thousands of dollars on surgery, here are some helpful exercises that can begin to reshape and elevate those pecs. No scalpel needed!

The Pectoralis Major and Pectoralis Minor lie directly underneath your breast tissue and are attached to your breastbone. They, along with other smaller muscles, make up the extent of your chest. Strengthening and toning these muscles have a direct effect on the amount of “lift” a woman has in her breast region. This, along with good genetics, can create a lifted and enhanced bosom to behold! Even if you are not a buxom gal, building up the pecs can have quite an effect on your figure, even allowing you to go up a bra size!

Best Chest Toning Exercises for Women at Home

#1: Push-Ups:

Nothing beats a good push-up! I know, most women hate them; we simply don’t have the upper body strength like men do and this exercise can be really hard to sustain for more than one or two reps, unless you know some modifications. Think of doing your push up differently; such as trying wall presses, chair presses, and modified push-ups instead, and you are on your way to pumping up the chest, back, and shoulders in one fell swoop! You can do a basic floor push-up, just modify it!  For a basic floor push-up, get down on your hands and knees keeping the back flat.  Try to flatten your back and create a long body by walking your hands forward a few inches beyond your chest, while still keeping the knees on the floor. Place your hands shoulder width apart. Bend the elbows and come down a few inches while looking outward about 3-5 feet in front of you. Press back up into the starting position with straight arms. Try 8-10 at a time to see how you feel. Make no mistake, push-ups, even modified ones, are tough! Modifications for the push up can be further simplified by using the wall, counter top, or the back of a chair.  Simply create an angel by stepping back and pivoting on your toes. Arms can be in the same shoulder width position or this can be varied to create more work for the chest and also target other areas such as the upper pack and triceps.

#2. Bench Press on Ball:

Stability balls are an inexpensive “bench” that you can use for bench pressing barbells or dumbbells. The added balance aspect can also help to work your core while you are chiseling out your chest. Simply lie back onto the ball with your knees bent and your feet firmly on the floor. Keep your core engaged and remain in a table-top position while you do the presses. Holding a dumbbell in each hand, keep them horizontal and at chest level. Push upward until the arms are straightened and then come back to the starting position. Try doing 8-10 reps and do 1-3 sets depending on experience and how much weight you are using.

#3. Chest Fly on the Ball:

Lying flat on the ball in the same way, hold weights above your chest with straight arms, palms facing inward. (Always have slightly bent arms, like you are about to hug a tree.) Dumbbells are lowered with control out to the side of your body until the weights are just slightly below chest level. You will feel a slight pull as your chest muscles stretch a bit. Return to the starting position above the chest and repeat for the desired amount of reps; your slightly bent elbows should be maintained through this movement.

#4. Straight Arm Pullover on Ball:

This is an awesome exercise that not only works your chest, but targets your back as well; you get more bang for your buck! In the same table-top position with your shoulders and head supported by the ball, take one weight and hold it with both hands. Take your arms up over your head then lower straight back behind you until you feel a little stretching in your chest. (Arms should be even with the shoulders or just slightly below.)Pull the weight back up towards the ceiling to the starting position. It will be right above your face, so make sure you have a firm grip on the weight and that you are not using too heavy of a weight. Women should really start light at around 5-6 pounds and then move up to 7-8 as they begin a free-weight program.

#5. Burpees (Bonus)

Is there a cardio exercise that can target the chest muscles? Why yes there is! Look no further than the Burpee! Burpees have been around for a long time but have recently found their resurgence in the multitude of Boot Camp style workouts that have been cropping up over the past 10 years. This exercise uses all of the same muscles as a push up, but the fast pace of the movement with the added hop/jump really gets the heart rate going! Put a few burpees into your interval program to add more chest work to your calorie-burning exercises. Take a look at the example in the video to understand the dynamics of this exercise, and how to add it to your HIIT training.

Chest Exercises at the Gym

Weight Room Exercise Options for the Chest:

chest exercises for women at the gymYour local gym will mostly likely have a variety of muscle training machines that are either cam driven, cable, pneumatic, or in other ways initiate some type of variable resistance. Most pieces have instructions right on them, but one of the trainers at the club can usually take you around and show you the basics at no charge. Some of the most popular exercise machines for the chest that you will see are the chest press, chest fly, and pull over.  Adjusting the seat position, handles, and changing your grip can work different muscles in different ways and the trainer should go over this with you.  Of course, there is always the free-weight room and cable cross over machine, and there are a variety of exercises that you can perform to work your chest muscles effectively. Again, set up an appointment with a trainer to get instructions on the best and most appropriate exercises for you.

General Nutrition Tips

womens exercise nutrition tipsPlease refer to previous articles for general nutrition tips on how to keep your calories in check and create a ripped physique by decreasing bloat and puffiness.

Additionally, anyone who is trying to build muscle is usually concerned about adding more protein to their diet. Although most of us get our protein requirements each day with our normal diet, it is always good to know how much we should really be getting; 10%-15% of our daily calories should be coming from protein. Some people get quite a bit more, especially if they are following one of the high-protein diet fads that are so prevalent nowadays.

Here are protein recommendations for what the average person really needs:

  • Babies need about 10 grams a day.
  • School-age kids need 19-34 grams a day.
  • Teenage boys need up to 52 grams a day.
  • Teenage girls need 46 grams a day.
  • Adult men need about 56 grams a day.
  • Adult women need about 46 grams a day (71 grams, if pregnant or breastfeeding)

Take a look at food labels to determine how many grams of protein are in what you are eating, or use some of the tricks below to understand portion size and grams for your protein source. Try spreading your protein throughout the day to help keep you feeling full. This diet strategy alone can shave loads of calories off of your day!

Top Sources of Protein

high protein nutrition food sourcesRed Meat:

Beef, pork, and lamb are protein powerhouses, but try to pick leaner options like round and loin (sirloin, tenderloin, and top round), and ground beef that has 5% or less fat. Make sure to watch your portions; a 3-ounce serving of meat (the size of a deck of cards) has about 21 grams of protein.

Poultry and Eggs:

Choose lean poultry like skinless chicken breasts and turkey cutlets. A 3-ounce chicken breast has 31 grams; more than half the protein you need each day! An egg has 6 grams and they are a wonderful source of protein, but if you have high cholesterol limit your intake to no more than 3 whole eggs per day.

Fish:

Fish is a terrific source of protein!  A 3-ounce salmon steak has about 17 grams. Other high-protein, heart-healthy choices include tuna, sardines, and trout.

Dairy:

Dairy foods are full of muscle-building protein! One cup of skim milk has 8 grams of protein. If you want even more, try fat-free Greek yogurt. One serving can have up to 18 – 20 grams of protein; more than traditional yogurt, and it has a denser, richer texture.

Soy:

Here is some interesting info about soy! Soybeans have a ton of protein. You can eat the beans (edamame), drink soy milk, use soy paste (miso) in sauces and soups, or eat meat alternatives and tofu. One cup of cooked edamame has 29 grams of protein; more than a steak. One cup of soy milk has almost as much protein as regular milk. Many protein shakes have soy as its protein base and come in a variety of flavors. If you are on hormone therapy or have had breast cancer, check with your doctor before using soy products.

Beans:

You can get plenty of protein from plant-based sources like vegetables and beans. Beans, including red, black, and kidney, can have up to 18 grams of protein per cup. A cup of cooked peas has 9 grams of protein.

Protein Powders and Bars:

It’s always best to get protein from food, but if you’re not getting enough from your diet or you want to mix up a quick meal, protein powders and bars are a great alternative. Blend protein powder, fat-free Greek yogurt, soy, nut, or skim milk, frozen fruit, and some leafy greens for a nutrient-charged protein drink that is sure to fill you up. There are a slew of protein bars on the market with different levels of protein and various price points. Choose the ones that fit your budget and palate preferences.

Nuts and Seeds:

Nuts are often a forgotten source of protein. You get 8 grams of protein from 1/2 ounce of pumpkin or sunflower seeds, 1 tablespoon nuts, 12 almonds, 24 pistachios, seven walnuts, or 2 tablespoons of peanut butter. Nuts are higher in calories, so limit your intake to a few ounces each day.

It’s a Wrap!

There you go; the best chest exercises that you can do to improve your physique and increase your bust size! Use these exercises along with eating your protein to help build strong, sexy muscles that will keep you toned, defined, and ready to strut your stuff! No matter what bra size you are!

References:
1. http://www.webmd.com/healthy-aging/nutrition-world-3/slideshow-how-to-get-protein
2. http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/protein

See Also:

Author Profile: Heather Preston

Heather is certified by the American College of Sports Medicine as a Personal Trainer, is a certified Wellness Coach through WellCoaches, and is a NCHEC Health Education Specialist.She also holds a Master’s Degree in Health Education/Promotion and a B.A. in Health Care Studies. Her mission is to make wellness seem “doable” for everyone, regardless of fitness level or hectic schedule. Find out more about Heather by visiting:

Disclaimer: The views of the author are his or her own, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Ask The Trainer.
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