Exercises for Pectorals & Upper Back
- There are a variety of exercises especially designed to work out the pectoral muscles, which are located in the chest. If you have a gym membership you can use machines created for this purpose. Or, you can use a weight bench and dumbbells at home. Get the maximum benefit by lying flat on the bench and lifting the dumbbells up and down slowly. Remember to breathe as you exercise. You can recline or incline the bench for a workout with greater intensity. If you are at an intermediate fitness level or above, you can trade the dumbbells in for barbells.
There are several exercises you can do to strengthen chest muscles that do not require additional equipment. Push-ups strengthen the chest, arms, legs and the abdominals. Do traditional push-ups or challenge yourself with push-up rotations. With rotations, you perform the push-up in the standard manner. When the arms are fully extended, you swing your torso to one side and lift your arm while the other arm supports your body weight. This type of push-up is very difficult to do. Keep your back straight for push-ups of all types.
Upper Back Exercises
- Your back contains several muscles that benefit from exercise. The rhomboids and trapezius muscles are located in the upper back and the latissimus dorsi muscles (lats) on either side of the back. You can use weights, a barbell, an exercise ball or pull-up bar to perform upper back exercises.
Work the rhomboids and trapezius muscles by using a rowing machine or a firmly attached cable row. Exercise bands are another good option. Secure the middle of the band behind one foot while sitting, legs extended, and use the band resistance to strengthen muscles as you pull back. Or use dumbbells to perform one-arm rows. For rows, start with the arm straight out and the hand holding the dumbbell. Pull your arm back until the elbow is aligned with the shoulder.
Give your lats a workout with the aid of hand weights. Lift the weights from a bended position, pulling your arms in toward your torso. Or you can use a barbell with heavier weights. Be careful to keep your hands at a distance on the barbell that is a little wider than your shoulders. Keep your knees bent to prevent injury. Keep your abdominal muscles contracted as you bend and lift the barbell. Start out using light weights. Increase the weight as your strength and endurance increases. Pull-ups are another excellent way to give your lats a good workout.
- Warm-up before beginning an exercise routine. Use weights you can comfortably manage. Engage the help of a trainer or workout buddy when beginning a new routine. The purpose of the helper is to ensure you are using the right form. The wrong form can negate any benefits and can even cause injury.