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Chest Strengthening Exercises

Chest muscles are actually a bundle of tissue consisting of the pectoralis major and pectoralis minor muscle fibers. Pectoral muscles cover the upper ribcage and breastbone, and are mainly responsible for moving your arms in toward your chest. Definition in the chest is easily observable, and well-developed pectorals symbolize strength and vitality in many societies. There are a number of aspects to consider when strengthening chest muscles.

The angel at which you execute a chest-focused exercise will, in part, determine the success of your program. Push-ups or bench presses performed at an incline will place the bulk of the workload on the upper chest. Those done in a decline concentrate on the lower pectorals. Exercises that push weight straight out from the chest will primarily work on the center muscles. Developing a strong chest requires a routine that involves all three areas, as well as the internal muscle fibers.

Pectorals are very large compared with other muscle groups in the upper body. For this reason, more resistance is needed to achieve the desired level of fatigue. Perform two to three times as many chest-centered sets as you do with those focused on the triceps or biceps. Do as many as 12 exercises on the chest alone, splitting the routing into three of four separate exercises.

The sequence in which you execute different exercises will have a direct effect on your results. When starting a weightlifting routine, begin with free weights. Working out with free weights requires a great deal of effort from the small stabilizer muscles that balance movement. These muscles will be burned out later in the routine, and therefore unable to assist you adequately. It's also recommended that center-focused movements are done before inclines and declines, for similar reasons. However, altering the routine occasionally will produce the best results. Muscles adapt over time, even to the sequence in which they're used. Varying your movements will keep them challenged.

When lifting on a bench, keep your lower back in a natural curve. Either arching too much or lying too flat can cause injury. Both will put too much pressure on the back, and could damage the shoulders as well. The spine cannot go completely flat, though, as it is fashioned in a curve. Leaving a small space between your back and the bench will give you the most leverage, and greatest return on chest development.

Six to 8 weeks is usually enough time for muscles to acclimate to a certain routine. Using the same training regimen beyond this time frame will produce minimal, if any, results. To continue strengthening the muscle, increase your workload by 35 percent every 1 1/2 to 2 months. Start by doing more repetitions. At the point where you can do more than 15 reps with perfect form, it's time for a heavier weight.