Woman using uppper wrist wraps

7 Of The Best Chest Exercises For Women

by Evelyn Valdez

Women often are skeptical about training the upper body due to fears of becoming too bulky. This form of thinking is old, and more and more women are strength training and lifting heavy weights, but there's still one major muscle group that tends to get left behind... the chest muscles. 

Despite what you may think, women can benefit from building muscle in their chest just as much as men do! And fortunately, the best chest exercises for men are the same for women.

That said, we put together seven of our favorite beginner-friendly chest exercises. We've also included snippets of Iulia - Founder of UPPPER and One Fitness App - performing the exercise to help ensure your form is correct!

Bench Or Inclined Push-Ups

Bench or inclined push-ups are variations of the traditional push-ups that target your chest muscles from a slightly different angle. These exercises are excellent for beginners or those who want to gradually build strength in their chest.

How to do it:

  1. For inclined push-ups, find a sturdy elevated surface like a bench or a low wall. Place your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart on the surface and step back to create a straight line from head to heels.
  2. Lower your body by bending your elbows until your chest nearly touches the bench or surface. Keep your core engaged and your back flat.
  3. Push through your palms to straighten your arms, lifting your body back to the starting position.
  4. Repeat for the desired number of reps.

Tips: Adjust the height of the surface to increase or decrease the difficulty of the exercise. The higher the surface, the easier the push-up.

Bench press

The bench press, also known as the chest press, is second to push-ups when it comes to key chest exercises. This is the building block of chest exercises because it zeroes in on the pectoral muscles, while also engaging other muscles (depending on the variation you're doing).

The barbell bench press is the best for activating all muscles in the chest, but also your shoulders, triceps, lats, traps, and rhomboids. However, for those new to bench pressing, start the movement with dumbells first and work your way up.

If you need help with wrist stability or additional support to push extremely heavy weights, grab a pair of UPPPER Wrist Wraps - you'll be able to push heavier weights for longer!

How to do it: 

  1. Grab a pair of dumbbells with an overhand grip and lie face-up on a flat bench (or floor for home workouts) and your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Extend elbows to a 90-degree position, triceps should be resting, while holding dumbbells above your chest.
  3. Exhale and brace your core while extending the dumbbells toward the ceiling. Pause, and bring the weights back down to the starting position.

Tips: Only your arms should be moving during this exercise, your legs should remain planted on the floor. If legs begin to flail and lift off the ground then the weight you're using is too heavy, in this case, switch to light dumbbells.

Chest fly

This is a great exercise, also known as the dumbbell fly, for opening your chest muscles, it also can help reduce upper back pain and tightness in the upper body. It mainly targets the chest, but it also works the stabilizing muscles in the shoulders, triceps, and core.

This move can be quite difficult with a heavier weight, so start off with light dumbbells then work your way up to heavier ones.

How to do it: 

  1. Lie on the floor or bench with a dumbbell on each hand and rest on the tops of your thighs with palms facing each other. Lift the dumbbells to hold them with extended arms directly over your chest.
  2. Keeping a slight bend in your elbows, inhale and lower your arms out to the sides in a "T". Don't allow your elbows to dip below the bench or fully touch the ground.
  3. When the dumbbells reach shoulder height, pause, exhale, and squeeze your chest to pull the dumbbells back to the starting position.

Tips: This is primarily a chest move so remember to move through it slowly to feel your chest go through the movement. To make it more challenging, simply use a heavier weight, just make sure you're able to do the last few reps with correct form and without over-arching your back.

Low cable chest flyes

This exercise is not entirely home-friendly since it does require a cable machine, typically found only in gyms. Cable exercises are similar to resistance bands, unlike free weights, they provide a steady level of resistance.

This is one of the best upper chest exercises you should try if you're able to! It helps specifically to work your clavicular head to the muscle found on the upper chest. So, if building your upper chest is a goal of yours incorporate it into your upper chest workouts.

How to do it: 

  1. Place the pulleys at a low position, select the resistance to be used, and grasp a handle in each hand.
  2. Step forward, gaining tension in the pulleys. Your palms should be facing forward, hands below the waist, and your arms straight. This will be your starting position.
  3. With a slight bend in your arms, draw your hands upward and toward the midline of your body. Your hands should come together in front of your chest, palms facing up.
  4. Return to the starting position after a brief pause.

Tip: Want to work your lower chest? The best lower chest exercise is this one's counterpart! Simply set the cables at the highest setting and perform a high cable chest fly to help target the lower chest.

Dumbbell pullover

This exercise targets mainly the pectoral muscles but also hits the upper arms, specifically the lats, shoulders, and triceps.

How to do it: 

  1. Lie on your back on a bench, or the floor. Flex hips slightly. Grasp one dumbbell from behind or from the side with both hands under the inner plate of the dumbbell.
  2. Position the dumbbell over the chest, directly above your head, with elbows slightly bent.
  3. Keeping elbows bent slightly throughout the movement, lower the dumbbell over and past your head until your upper arms are in line with your torso. Pull the dumbbell up and over the chest.

Tips: Do not let the dumbbell go too forward! The starting position places the weight directly above your head, so it should not go any further than that.

Seated Arnold press

The Arnold press is a variation of the shoulder-dominant move the shoulder press. This variation puts a bigger emphasis on the chest, along with the triceps. This makes it a great move for push days because you hit all three major muscles!

How to do it: 

  1. Start by sitting down with your torso slightly leaned back, legs extended in front of you knees bent softly, and heels on the floor. Your arms should be at the sides holding a set of dumbbells.
  2. Bring arms in front of the body with elbows bent at a 90-degree angle and in line with shoulders. Keep the shape as it is, but bring your arms wide out to the sides and press weights slightly above you.
  3. Then reverse the movement and bring elbows back in front of the face.

Tip: The exercise is as it is displayed above, except to target the chest lean back a bit more by adjusting the bench, and squeeze your chest muscles as you bring elbows together.

Incline Dumbbell Squeeze Press

Yes, this is another chest press move, but adding a different angle challenges different muscles, as does holding the dumbbells together instead of at the sides. The incline helps you work the top section of the pecs and also works your shoulders and triceps more than the regular bench press.

How to do it: 

  1. Sit down on an incline bench (between 45 to 60 degrees) with dumbbells resting on the lower thigh.
  2. Once you're laying back on the bench, bring the dumbbells up and press those bad boys together using a neutral grip (palms facing each other).
  3. Press dumbbells up with elbows to sides until arms are extended.
  4. Begin to slowly lower weight to the sides of the upper chest until a slight stretch is felt in the chest or shoulder.

Frequently Asked Questions

How often should these chest exercises be done to see noticeable results?

The frequency of these chest exercises depends on your fitness level, goals, and overall workout routine. As a general guideline, performing chest exercises 1-2 times per week can help build strength and muscle definition. However, it's essential to listen to your body and avoid overtraining. If you're new to these exercises, start with 1 session per week and gradually increase as you become more comfortable and stronger.

Are there any modifications or alternatives for people with pre-existing shoulder or wrist injuries?

Depending on the specific injury, modifications may include using lighter weights, adjusting the range of motion, or opting for alternative exercises that put less strain on the injured area. For example, doing inclined dumbbell chest presses instead of a bench press. Using wrist wraps for added support can also help reduce joint pain when lifting heavy weights.

Where can I find more chest workouts for women?

If you're looking for a fitness app that plans your goal-focused workouts every week, has space to track your progress, and even track your macros - join the One Fitness App!

It will become your all-in-one resource for a healthier lifestyle.

Train your chest for better overall strength

Implementing these seven exercises, along with other chest variations, into your training routine will help you build strength in your chest.

And in case you need some extra support when pushing heavier weights, check out UPPPER Weightlifting Wrist Wraps! Using wrist wraps will help stabilize your wrist and allow you to push heavier weights. They come in a pair, are the perfect length, and come in various colors so you can match them with your lifting gear.

Who are we?

We're UPPPER Fitness Gear – your new favorite fitness gear company! We strive to make lifting gear that is high-quality, durable, comfortable, stylish, and most importantly, designed to help elevate your workouts to the next level. 

Find what your gym bag is missing at UPPPER Collection.

1 comment

  • Great Job. your artical in-details and easy understood. keep it

    ABHAY -

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