How to Build Up Chest and Shoulder Muscles

Written by nikola goddard
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How to Build Up Chest and Shoulder Muscles
Building up the chest and shoulders can create an impressive physique. (bodybuilding,muscle image by yam from Fotolia.com)

The chest and shoulders are made up of eight main muscles that can be targeted through specific exercises. The shoulders consist of the anterior, lateral and posterior deltoids and the supraspinatus, which are responsible for raising and rotating the arms at the shoulder joint. The chest consists of the sternal and clavicular pectoralis major, the pectoralis minor and the serratus anterior, which are responsible for specific movements of the arms and assist in deep breathing. Building up all of these muscles can lead to an impressive physique and will increase strength during activities such as arm wrestling.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • 2 1.8kg. hand-held dumbbells
  • 2 wide dip bars
  • Swiss ball (optional)
  • 2 padded benches

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Place both hands behind your head with your elbows straight out to the sides. Pull your elbows back until you can feel a pull across your chest. Hold for 15 seconds, then release.

  2. 2

    Hold onto a door frame with your right hand at shoulder height. Turn your body away from your hand slowly until you can feel a pull across the right side of your chest. Hold for 15 seconds, then repeat using the left hand.

  3. 3

    Sit on the floor and lean back onto your hands with your fingers pointing away from your body about shoulder-width apart. Shuffle your body slowly forward until you can feel a pull in the front of your shoulders. Hold for 15 seconds, then release.

  4. 4

    Bring your right arm across your chest with the elbow slightly bent. Hold the elbow with your left hand and push gently into the chest until you can feel a pull in the shoulder. Hold for 15 seconds, then repeat with the left arm.

  1. 1

    Lie facedown on the floor with palms flat on the ground on either side of your shoulders. Push up through your palms to adopt a full push-up position. Bend your elbows out slightly to lower your upper body toward the floor. Keep the rest of your body straight. Once you can feel a pull across your chest, push back up through your palms to return to the start position. Repeat 10 times every other day.

  2. 2

    Repeat step 1 with feet resting on a step or bench to increase the downward slope of your body as you perform the push-up. Repeat 10 times every other day.

  3. 3

    Lie down on your back with your arms straight out to your sides and a 1.81kg. hand-held dumbbell in each hand. Lift both dumbbells simultaneously towards each other until they meet above your chest. Keep your arms straight. Slowly lower the dumbbells back to the ground to return to the starting position. Repeat 10 times every other day. To increase the intensity of the exercise, lie with your upper back on a Swiss ball so that your arms are suspended throughout the exercise.

  4. 4

    Grasp a wide dip bar with each hand and position your body in between them. Push up through your palms until your arms are straight, with your shoulders directly above your hands and your body suspended between the bars. Bend your knees to keep your feet from touching the floor during the exercise. Bend your elbows out to the sides slightly to lower your body toward the ground until you can feel a pull across your chest. Push back up through your palms until your arms are straight. Repeat 10 times every other day.

  1. 1

    Kneel on two parallel benches with one leg on each bench. Grip the ends of each bench in front of you and tuck your fingers underneath. Lift your buttocks into the air so that your legs, back and arms are straight and your body weight is resting entirely on your hands and tiptoes. Bend your elbows back toward your feet to lower your head between the two benches until you feel a pull in your shoulders. Straighten your arms to raise your head and torso back to the start position. Repeat 10 times every other day.

  2. 2

    Stand up straight with a 1.81kg. dumbbell in each hand and palms facing your thighs. Pull the dumbbells up to your shoulders in a rowing motion with your elbows bending out to either side of your head. Slowly lower the weights to the start position. Repeat 10 times every other day.

  3. 3

    Stand with your hips and knees slightly bent so your upper body leans forward slightly. Grasp a 1.81kg. dumbbell in each hand in front of your upper thighs with palms facing each other. Slowly raise each dumbbell out to the side until your elbows are level with your shoulders. Keep your arms straight. Hold the position for five seconds, then slowly lower your arms back to the starting position. Repeat 10 times every other day.

  4. 4

    Stand up straight with a 1.81kg. dumbbell in your right hand. Hold the dumbbell in front of your right thigh with your palm facing out (so that your little finger is the finger closest to the ceiling). Lift the dumbbell up diagonally to the front right side of your body until it reaches just above shoulder height. Slowly lower the weight to the start position. Repeat 10 times with each arm every other day.

Tips and warnings

  • Perform the exercises slowly to increase their efficacy of building muscle.
  • With each of the chest and shoulder exercises, increase the number of repetitions once your body becomes comfortable with the exercise.
  • As you grow stronger, use heavier weights to increase the intensity of barbell exercises.
  • Take regular rest days to allow the muscles to recover and grow.
  • Always consult a doctor before beginning any exercise regime.
  • If you notice any sharp or unexpected pain while exercising, stop immediately and consult a doctor before continuing.

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