Training

10 Best Chest Exercises for Women

Ok Ladies… It’s time to train our chest! A decent chest workout will help build strength, improve posture, have you feeling leaner and give you more confidence. A lot of women neglect chest workouts due to fear-based on myths and misguided information but in actual fact, women should be training their chest regularly not only for the above reasons but a stronger chest can help you in your day to day life and give your breast a bit of a natural lift too. So let’s go train and add these exercises into your next chest workout…

10 Best Chest Exercises for Women

1. Bench Press

Muscles Targeted: Chest and Arms

Equipment required: Barbell and Bench 

Technique: Lie down on your back with it flat on the bench and your feet should be planted firmly on the floor. Reach up and place your hands on the bar just wider than shoulder-width apart around the first ring on the barbell. Engage your core and drive your lats down, lift the bar off the rack and start the movement by bending your elbows and lowering the bar. Let the bar just touch your chest, then drive it back to full extension in one motion, do not overlock the elbows. Ensure you are in full control of both the eccentric and concentric movement, to help yourself count to 3 as you lower the bar to your chest and as you return to full extension.

Sets and Reps: 3 sets of 10-15 reps

2. Press-ups

 Muscles Targeted: Chest and Arms

Equipment required: N/A

Technique: Starting in a high plank position. Engage your core by sucking your belly button to your spine and squeezing your glutes. Start the movement by bending at the elbow and lowering your chest towards the floor. Just before your torso reaches the floor, push through your hands and return to the starting position, ensuring to keep your core engaged throughout. 

Sets and Reps: 3 sets of 12-15 reps

 

3. Dumbbell Chest Press

 Muscles Targeted: chest, arms[1] 

Equipment required: Bench, Dumbbells 

Technique: Lay down on your bench (you can also do this movement with the bench at a slight incline), hold the dumbbells in your hands, engage your core and pull your lats back and down. Start the movement by slowly lowering both arms at the same time by bending at the elbow, lower them till your elbows are at 90 degrees. Hold for a second before reversing the movement and slowly pushing the dumbbells back up towards the ceiling to start position. Count yourself through both the eccentric and concentric movements by count 3 seconds down and 3 seconds up.

Sets and Reps: 3 sets of 10-12 reps

 

4. Dumbbell Chest Fly

 Muscles Targeted: Chest, Arms

Equipment required: Bench, Dumbbells

Technique: Lay down on your bench (you can also do this movement with the bench at a slight incline), hold the dumbbells in your hands, engage your core and pull your lats back and down. Extend your arms and hold them straight above you. Start the movement by slowly lowering both arms out to the sides at the same times, lower them till they are parallel to the floor at shoulder height. Hold for a second before reversing the movement and slowly raising them back to start position. Count yourself through both the eccentric and concentric movements by count 3 seconds down and 3 seconds up.

Sets and Reps: 3 sets of 10-12 reps

 

5. Cable Crossover

 Muscles Targeted: Chest and arms

Equipment required:  Cable Machine

Technique: Stand with your feet about hip-width apart and one foot slightly further forward. Hinge slightly from the hip keeping your core engaged and your spine neutral but so your chest is slightly forward. Grip the cable handles in each hand. Your arms should be slightly above your shoulders and fully extended with soft elbows. Start the movement by slowly bringing your hands together in a wide arc motion to meet in the middle of your chest. Reverse the movement and control the return to the starting position and then repeat.

Sets and Reps: 3 sets with between 10-15 reps.

 

6. Dips

 Muscles Targeted: Chest, Arms

Equipment required: Dip Machine/Parallel bars 

Technique: Start with yourself between the bars and place one hand on each bar in line with your shoulder and lift yourself off the floor (or place your knees on the assistance platform if using parallel bars you can use a resistance band to aid you), lean your chest forward slightly and start the movement by lowering yourself by bending your elbows. Keep your core engaged throughout, lower till your elbows are at 90 degrees. Reserve the movement by pushing but up to starting position.

 Sets and Reps: 3 sets to failure

 

7. Incline Bench Press

 Muscles Targeted: Chest and Arms

Equipment required: Barbell and Bench 

Technique: Set your bench to a slight incline and sit on it with your back flat on the bench and your feet should be planted firmly on the floor. Reach up and place your hands on the bar just wider than shoulder-width apart around the first ring on the barbell. Engage your core and drive your lats down, lift the bar off the rack and start the movement by bending your elbows and lowering the bar. Let the bar just touch your chest, then drive it back to full extension in one motion, do not overlock the elbows. Ensure you are in full control of both the eccentric and concentric movement, to help yourself count to 3 as you lower the bar to your chest and as you return to full extension.

Sets and Reps: 3 sets of 10-15 reps

 

8. Plate Press Out

 Muscles Targeted: Chest, Arms 

Equipment required: Plate

Technique:  Stand with your feet hip-width apart, soft knees and core engaged. Hold the weight plate between your hands with your palms flat against the plate and fingers facing away from you at chest height. Squeeze the plate between your hands as tight as possible, keeping that squeeze pushing the plate out in front of you until your arms are fully extended. Hold out for a second, keeping your chest engaged draw your shoulders back and bring the plate back towards your chest and repeat.

Sets and Reps: 3 sets of 10-15 reps

 

9. Laying Med Ball Push

 Muscles Targeted: Chest, arms 

Equipment required: Mat, Med ball

Technique: Lay down on the mat flat on your back, bend at the knees and have your feet flat on the floor, press your back into the floor and keep your core engaged throughout. Hold the med ball in the middle of your chest with hands slightly underneath, start the movement but driving your hands up away from your chest and throwing the ball up towards the ceiling with your arms fully extended with as much power as possible, catch the ball on the return and then lower back to your chest and repeat. 

Sets and Reps: 3 sets of 10 reps

 

10. Decline Press-ups

 Muscles Targeted: Chest, arms 

Equipment required: Bench or Box

Technique:  Starting in a high plank position but with your feet on an elevated platform such as a bench/box. Engage your core by sucking your belly button to your spine and squeezing your glutes. Start the movement by bending at the elbow and lowering your chest towards the floor. Just before your torso reaches the floor, push through your hands and return to the starting position, ensuring to keep your core engaged throughout. 

Sets and Reps: 3 sets of 12-15 reps



Amy Golby

Amy Golby

Writer and expert

Amy has been a sportswoman for over 18 years playing rugby and netball up to a national level, she has been a qualified personal trainer for 5 years and further her nutritional knowledge with a diploma in sports and exercise nutrition as well a psychology degree. She has been training in a gym and weightlifting for over 10 years and continues to learn and improve her training in order to reach her goals. She believes in both the physical and mental advantages of sport and fitness as well as a balanced diet and lifestyle. Amy has created programs around sport and fitness for Red Bull, Look magazine, Spartan UK, as well as Mental Movement UK around how fitness can help improve your mental health. In her spare time, Amy enjoys playing sport, socialising with friends, and fuelling her shopping addiction to gym wear. She can be found here - https://www.instagram.com/dreams_and_dumbbells/?hl=en


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