Your chest muscles are some of the largest and strongest muscle groups in your upper body. The pectorals, or “pecs” are actually a complex mass of tissue in the front of your chest that control how your arms move across the body as well as upwards and downwards motion.
Most of the time at the gym, you can always see big guys all lining up to use the bench press, desperately grunting and straining themselves in an effort to create a massive chest. While this can be a nice goal to have, chest training is not just for the boys.
Even if you’re not aware of it, the pectoral muscles are an extremely functional part of your body that you probably use just about daily. Every time get up off of the floor, open a heavy door, or push your baby stroller down the street, you’re using your chest muscles.
For those who play sports, the chest is critical to throwing a fast baseball pitch, swinging a tennis racket, and doing competitive laps in a pool. Some other benefits of training your chest are improved posture, and because your pectoral muscles are attached to your ribs, strengthening and lengthening your chest muscles aids in improved, deeper breathing.
So no matter how you look, your experience, or what your age is, you should be training this area of your body at least once per week.
Most Chest exercises utilize a pushing movement to engage and strain your pectoral muscles. While pulling movements train your back, it’s the motion of pushing weight out in front of you that will challenge this key muscle.
Some great movements to get started with are the Push Up, the Chest Press, and the Chest Fly. Your triceps and shoulders are also some secondary muscles that are worked by these exercises.
Joel Runyon is the founder of IMPOSSIBLE® - performance lifestyle brand encompassing performance apparel & formulas, IMPOSSIBLE Fitness® programs, and a philanthropy arm. An endurance athlete and entrepreneur - he's also the creator of MoveWellApp and owns Ultimate Meal Plans. Find out what next challenge Joel is crossing off his impossible list here.