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Chest Workouts for Girls
Many women and girls may avoid resistance training as they worry it will create bulky muscle or that it will reduce breast size. However, these worries are unfounded. Building chest strength — your pectoral muscles — will increase your upper body strength while improving your posture and lifting your breast tissue. Use lighter weights and higher repetitions to tone your chest area. For a full workout, do only one set of all exercises for a complete circuit and repeat three to four times.
The chest fly can be done with only dumbbells and a bench to lie on. Chest flys build your pectoral muscles while also providing a gentle stretch. Lying on your back on a bench, hold a lightweight dumbbell in either hand in an underhand grip. Extend your arms straight out to the side so that your hands sit slightly below your chest, no more than 10 to 15 degrees lower, and slowly raise both arms up at the same time, letting them meet over your chest. Gently bend your elbows as you raise your arms. Slowly lower them back to starting position and repeat 10 times for three sets.
For the bench press, when attaching the weights to the barbell, choose a lighter weight until you know your personal limits to reduce the risk of injury. Lying with your back on the bench and your feet flat on the ground, a little more than hip-width apart, lift the barbell off the rack with a sideways overhand grip. Bring the barbell close to the middle of your chest and extend your arms straight up. Slowly lower the barbell and repeat 10 times for two sets. Have someone spot you while you do this exercise to ensure you don't accidentally drop the barbell during the workout.
The pushup is a basic exercise that requires no additional equipment or weights. Because of this, pushups can be done almost anywhere. Placing your hands a little more than shoulder-width apart, lie down on the floor, keeping your legs straight and together. Push up from your hands, fully extending your arms so that you are balancing on your toes and your body forms a straight line from head to heel. Slowly lower yourself to the floor by bending your elbows, keeping your body straight, stopping when you are between 2 to 5 inches from the floor. Gradually push yourself up. To reduce the difficulty, you can balance on your knees rather than your toes, but still keep your torso straight. Repeat the pushup 10 times for three to five sets.
As your pectoral muscles are large muscles, a chest workout requires you to not only build strength in the area, but to also stretch out the muscle so that it does not become compacted and tight. Stand with your right side close to a door frame with your feet hip-width apart and your feet pointing forwards. Raise your right arm up so that your elbow is bent at a 90-degree angle and place your forearm against the door frame. Take a large step forward with your left foot, bending slightly at the knee, keeping your arm in place and your torso forward until you feel a stretch in your chest muscles. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds, rest for 10 and then repeat three times. Switch sides so that you stretch your right chest muscle as well. If your muscles are very tight, start with a shorter stretch.
Lana Billings-Smith has been writing professionally since 1997. She has been published in the "Montreal Gazette" and the "National Post." She also teaches and lectures at McGill University. A certified personal trainer, she holds a Bachelor of Arts with a specialization in leisure sciences and a minor in therapeutic recreation.