Your pectoral muscles or "pecs" are your chest muscles that, if toned, will give you a physically-fit appearance. If you are a man, tight pecs will give you a firm, muscular upper body; if you are a woman, tight pecs will give you a firmer, more lifted bustline. Tightening your pecs is a three-stage process: weightlifting, cardiovascular exercise, and eating right. You need to do all three to most effectively tone your pecs.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Challenging
Reduce simple carbohydrates like white bread, sugars and pasta. These foods do not give you as much sustained energy as other foods, so you will end up eating more, which will then hinder your fat loss efforts.
Increase complex carbohydrates that are high in fibre. Whole wheat bread and oatmeal are two good examples. These are more "slow-burn," and will give your muscles the energy they need to grow, while also filling you up.
Increase your protein intake, particularly right after you lift weights. This will give your muscles the fuel they need to grow and firm up.
Perform a cardiovascular exercise that gets your heart beating and your body sweating every second day. This can be 20 minutes of extremely hard exercise, 30 minutes of slightly less-hard exercise, or an hour of mild exercise. It can be running, swimming, rowing, cross-training, boxing, or anything else that leaves you breathless and makes your heart pound.
Perform regular bench presses with a barbell. To do these, load your weight up, lie under it and lift it up, ensuring you can control it. Once you are certain you can, bring it down to your chest and push it back up, keeping your elbows in. This will work your chest and serve as a cardiovascular, fat-burning exercise.
Perform isolation exercises, like pec flys, after your bench press. These only work your pecs, as opposed to the bench press which works your pecs, shoulders, back and triceps. To do these, egrab two dumbbells, lie on a bench with the dumbbells to your sides, and bring them together over your chest.
Tips and warnings
- Start the chest exercises with a low weight or just the bar. Once you have your form perfected, you can start raising the weight, working up to a point where you can only do 8-12 reps with perfect form.
- Remember that the weight training is in addition to cardio and diet change; to firm your pecs it is important that you lower the body fat covering them.
- Make sure you have a spotter when you lift heavy weights.
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