Iron Gym Chest-Toning Exercises

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The Iron Gym targets the chest with push-ups and a few handy variations.

The compact Iron Gym home fitness accessory divides its workouts into four basic groups: pull-ups, push-ups, sit-ups and dips. If you're looking to tone up those pecs on upper-body day, you'll want to take the bar down from your door and hit up the push-up category.

Like push-ups sans Iron Gym, this accessory-assisted body-weight exercise hones in on your pectoralis major, the large, fan-like breast muscles that you probably just call your "pecs." Regular push-ups can get you that tone, but mixing up your form a bit helps make for a more intensely focused chest routine.

Classic Push-ups

If you're familiar with standard push-ups, you and your pecs will be right at home with Iron Gym push-ups.

HOW TO DO IT: Start with the Gym flat on a stable floor, with the horizontal bar positioned near the front. Grasp the arched bar grips, with your extended arms supporting your upper body while your legs stretch out behind you, supported on your toes. For any push-up, keeping your back straight as a board is crucial.

Pay special attention to keeping your spine, legs and neck in line throughout the exercise. Lower your body so that your sternum makes contact with the Iron Gym's horizontal bar, exhaling as you make a smooth and controlled movement. Inhale as you return to the starting position, where your elbows should rest about about a 45-degree angle from your sides.

Like standard push-ups — but with the potential for a bit of added intensity, due to the Iron Gym's elevated position increasing your range of motion — this tried-and-true push-up squarely targets the sternal pectoralis major. It also recruits the clavicular head of the pectoralis major, or the upper pec muscles just below the collarbones (not to mention the deltoids, triceps, biceps, back and core muscles, too).

Iron Gym push-ups plus weight plates equals more challenge.

Chest-Toning Push-Up Variations

For a simple adjustment that brings your chest muscles into the spotlight, all you need to do is change your hand position on the Iron Gym. Rather than grasping the arched grips, hold the outer bar grips in an overhand position. While the going with narrower hand placement using the inner grips puts more emphasis on your triceps, widening your grip helps target the chest and shoulders.

If you've got a spotter and an Iron Gym handy, you're feeling comfy with standard push-ups and your pecs thirst for more challenge, give the weighted push-up a try.

Add a weight plate to your back, enlisting a buddy to gently hold it in place between your shoulders as you push-up and gradually increase the amount of weight as you grow more comfortable. This push-up tweak works the same muscles as a regular Iron Gym push-up, but it definitely ups the challenge factor.