Guest Article by Fitness Expert and Triathlete Ben Greenfield
Whether you’re a guy or a girl, a better chest is something that can help you look better in a swimsuit or business suit. But getting a better chest goes far beyond simply looking good or having nice pecs.
This is because the chest muscles are responsible for flexing your upper arm bone (as you’d do when swimming), moving the arm inwards (as you’d do when holding bike handlebars) rotating the arm bone towards the body (as you’d do when running), and breathing deeply (as you’d do during intense exertion).
Because of those actions, getting a better chest is crucial to both aesthetics and performance – whether you’re a power lifter or an endurance athlete.
So here are three ways to take your pecs to the next level and get a better chest:
1) Press From All Angles.
Don’t just bench-press or do push-ups. Instead, include exercises on a decline or incline bench, or with your feet or hands elevated to work all angles of your chest. On a weekly basis, you should include incline, decline, and flat chest pressing or push-ups so that you attack your chest muscles from all angles. For variety, do exercises like decline pushups, incline bench press, and dumbbell chest press.
Flies help develop the inner pec muscles that presses have a hard time targeting, and there are many variations of the fly that you can use, including machine chest flies, decline dumbbell flies, flat dumbbell flies, seated cable flies, and standing cable flies. When you do flies, don’t go outside your comfortable range of motion, as it can be easy to hurt your shoulders if you don’t do flies properly.
3) Work Your Postural Muscles.
Slouched shoulders can make your chest look droopy, so when you’re working your chest, you also need to include shoulder posture exercises like seated rows, single arm cable or dumbbell rows, pull-downs and pull-ups. When you’re at your computer, reading a book, or sitting in a car, bus or airplane, always make sure you’re not letting your neck or shoulders roll forward, as this can lead to a sagging chest.
No discussion of how to get a better chest would be complete without addressing “man boobs”, which are medically referred to as gynecomastia – or abnormally large mammary glands. This condition is not physically harmful, but can be embarrassing and an indicator of more serious underlying hormonal conditions. If you’re a guy, and you find that no matter how much you work your chest, you can’t get rid of the extra tissue, you should:
1) See an endocrinologist or a naturopathic physician. Sex hormone imbalances and a reaction to pharmaceutical drugs are commons causes of man boobs.
2) Wear compression garments. Compression sports-wear, such as supportive t-shirts, can help with both appearance and comfort as you work on getting rid of man boobs.
3) Watch your diet. Some folks simply store more fat in certain areas – and any caloric excess is going to go straight to your trouble spot, especially if that’s mammary tissue! For getting rid of man boobs, pay special attention to limiting alcohol, sugars, and processed fats such as baked goods and vegetable oils.
If you want to learn more about how to swim, bike and run lightning fast, but also have a nice body, (and get access to the other 6 articles in this series) then head over to Tri-Ripped for a brand new approach to training for the ultimate triathlon body.