Stronger chest muscles may help balance out your figure.
For many gals, balancing out their figure is important and strength training may be an integral part of creating a more balanced figure. Not only does strength training build muscle, but when done often enough (at least 2-3 times a week) and at appropriate weight levels, strength training will help you burn more calories than cardio alone.
When it comes to chest exercises men tend to incorporate bench presses, push ups, and flys into their regular routine, but women tend to shy away from these moves. What you need to remember is that it takes quite a bit of weight, and proper nutrition to “bulk up” and by performing these moves correctly they will not only increase your strength, but help to create a more balanced figure.
One of my favorite moves is the floor chest press. It’s ideal for working your chest – pectorals, back of upper arm – triceps, and deltoids. You will need your Yoga mat, and a set of weights. If you’re newer to fitness perhaps 4-6lbs is right for you. If you train often than 10-20lbs may be more your speed. Just make sure to measure your progress as you go so that you can pat yourself on the back and keep an eye on the prize.
The set up-
Start by laying on your back with your knees bent. Your weights should be close to you, or in your hands. Make sure your feet, knees and hips are all “hip distance apart”. Your feet should remain flat on the floor. Create a tiny pelvic tilt so that your pubic bone tips up and your sacrum presses into the floor. Draw your navel to your spine, and exhale all of the stale air out of your mouth, as if you were fogging up a mirror. Drop your chin slightly, so that you have only enough space between your chin and chest for your fist, and your eyes are towards your thighs. As you exhale extend both arms up, so that your wrist, elbow and shoulder are stacked on top of one another, and your arms are at 12:00. Inhale and lower your elbows down until they tap the floor. Exhale and press them back to your starting position. The floor provides perfect feedback to create a 90 degree angle. By maintaining your pelvic tilt, you’re engaging your core, and protecting your back. Perform 10-15 reps, 2-4 sets, depending on your fitness level. You may increase your challenge by adding more weight to each set, and if need be – drop your reps down to 8 at our heaviest weight.
To increase your challenge and add more core work, use your abdominals and elevate your legs one at a time to a “table top” position. Again, make sure your navel is down towards your spine, and exhale all of the extra air out of your belly and ribs prior to taking your legs off the floor. When your legs are elevated, your knees will be over your hips, and your shin bone should be level with your knees and 2nd toe. This “table top” position is quite common in Pilates, and assists in challenging the core to work even more than when your feet remain on the ground.
Remember – as with any fitness routine, check with your Dr. before starting something new. Listen to your body so that you know when you have reached your limit, or that you are ready for a bit more.
For additional fitness tips visit Amy at www.go2beyondmotion.com or follow the Beyond Motion fitness studio on facebook.