5 Excellent Workouts to Tone the Chest or Pectoral Muscles

Photo credit: Bigstockphoto
Photo credit: Bigstockphoto

Developing and toning the pectoral muscles is a critical part of any fitness/strength training or body building program. The chest is made up one single mass of muscle. However, this muscle could be engaged in different ways to tone all the areas. Think of it this way, the chest muscles are broken down into three: upper, middle, and lower chest. Each of these areas have to be engaged to achieve a great form overall.

Best Workout to Develop Pectoral Muscles

Bench Press

The barbell bench press is the quintessential upper body exercise; so if you want to develop a toned chest, you need to incorporate this to your routine. The barbell bench press is perfect for increasing muscle mass; achieving a leaner, toner form; and developing the pecs through controlled pace.

There are many ways to do the barbell bench press. The bench could be inclined to increase resistance. Because it’s hard to thicken the muscles on the upper portion of the pecs with regular bench press, you can incline the bench to engage these muscles.

Dumbbell Press

The dumbbell bench press is similar to regular barbell presses but because you use dumbbell, the range of motion is different. Dumbbell presses are done on multi-angular, adjustable benches so again, you can adjust the resistance any way you like. When doing the dumbbell press, make sure you engage the different muscles using various angles.

Weighted Dip

The weighted dip engages all chest muscles because the motion uses your own body weight to move through space. The weighted dip activates the muscle fibers effectively, engaging the lower and outer pecs at the same time. The weighted dip is usually done to tone the triceps but it could be used to develop the upper chest too.

To develop the chest, lean your torso forward to activate the chest rather than the triceps. Use your chest muscles to pull yourself out and try to do a full stretch using your pecs, not your arm muscles.

Cable Cross-Over

While press movements are meant to bulk up the chest muscles, cable cross-over helps stimulate muscle growth. Unfortunately, some people tend to put too much weight when doing the cable cross-over, turning the exercise into some form of presses. We recommend using moderate weights strictly to achieve a better form. Just squeeze hard with every rep to tone your chest muscles and use different points to stimulate the muscle fibers.

The Pullover

Of all the chest exercises, the pullover is probably the most unique of all. It gives a one-of-a-kind stretch to the pecs from the bottom to the top while expanding the rib cage. It’s one of the oldest chest exercises and it’s still one of the best there is.

To maximize chest development, this exercise has to be done in a cross-bench style where you lie on your back perpendicular, while your shoulders rest on the bench. Drop the hips low throughout the set. Always take a deep breath as you stretch the weight up and down with your elbows slightly bent at all times so the upper chest is targeted effectively with every motion.

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