Exercises to Tone Women's Chest Muscles

Exercises to Tone Women's Chest Muscles

Many women shy away from chest exercises because they seem masculine, or they're afraid of building bulky chest muscle, or they're too difficult -- think push-ups and bench presses. Rest assured, none of the above is true. Modified push-ups and chest presses and flyes on a stability ball are all effective and easy-to-do exercises that will help reveal sexy, sleek chest and arm muscles.

Push-Ups: Modified to Regular

Push-ups are challenging, especially for women who have proportionately less upper body strength than men. But working through a series of progressions that will help you build the strength to eventually do a regular push-up will also tone and sculpt your chest in the meantime.

Wall push-ups: Stand arm's length from a wall with your arms at shoulder-height. Place your palms against the wall about shoulder-width apart. Slowly bend your elbows, bringing your chest close to the wall. Keep your elbows close to your sides and keep your body in one line from your shoulders to heels. Press back out to the starting position. To make the exercise harder, walk your feet away from the wall.

Bench push-ups: Place your hands shoulder-width apart on the edge of an exercise bench, park bench or low, sturdy table. Walk your feet out until your body is in one straight line from your shoulders to heels. Contract your core muscles and maintain a plank-like shape with your body. Slowly bend your elbows, lowering your chest down toward the bench. Press back to the starting position.

Knee push-ups: Start on all fours on an exercise mat with your hands under your shoulders. Walk your knees back so that your body makes one straight line from your shoulders to your knees. Lift your shins and feet off the mat and cross them at the ankles. As you did with the wall and bench push-ups, slowly bend your elbows, keeping them close to your sides. Lower your body down toward the mat as far as you can without actually touching, maintaining your plank position. Push back up to starting position.

Work through this progression, starting with the exercise that is challenging for you but not so challenging that you can't complete 12 repetitions. Once you're able to do two sets of 12 repetitions with perfect form, move onto the next exercise. Eventually, you'll be ready to lift your knees off the mat and do regular push-ups.

Chest Presses on a Stability Ball

When performed on a weight bench with a barbell, chest presses are called bench presses. But there are many other ways to do a chest press to tone your muscles without entering that largely masculine milieu of the weight room. A resistance band and a stability ball are all you need.

Choose a light resistance band to start. You can always move to a heavier resistance on your second or third set.

Place the band underneath the stability ball, sit down on the ball and grasp one handle in each hand. Roll back on the ball so your middle back is supported and parallel with the floor. Keep your feet flat on the floor.

Position your hands at your armpits with your elbows in line with your shoulders. Extend your arms straight up over your chest, then return to the starting position with control.

Do two to three sets of 12 to 15 repetitions.

Knee push-ups tone your chest without equipment.

Resistance Band Flyes

You can easily transition from chest presses on a stability balls to flyes without changing equipment or your position.

Holding the handles of the resistance band in each hand, extend your arms above your chest, elbows slightly bent, palms facing in toward each other.

Slowly open your arms out to the side bringing them just about parallel with the floor. Keep your elbows pointing down toward the floor.

Contract your chest muscles and bring your arms back in toward each other, returning to the starting position.

Do two to three sets of 12 to 15 repetitions.

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