If you're new to working out, learning about the many different exercises can be overwhelming. In this blog about at-home fitness, we're going to help you learn about some chest and arm exercises.
What are my Chest & Arm Muscles?
First, it's important to know what muscles you're exercising and where they are. That way, you can work out with more awareness and understanding of the movements you're doing. Your chest muscles are on your chest (surprise). These muscles are known as your pectoral muscles, and they connect your chest to the shoulders and upper arms. The pectorals provide support and stabilize your shoulders, arms, and rib areas.
Your biceps are located on the front part of your upper arm, between the shoulder and elbow. Your biceps are used pretty regularly in daily routine, but in order to build muscle and strengthen them, they require some weight lifting and training.
Your triceps are a muscle group that is also part of your arms. Triceps are located on the back of your upper arms, and responsible for the extension of the arms (like throwing a ball or reaching straight out to grab something).
Why Should I Exercise my Chest & Arms?
There are a number of reasons why targeting your chest and arms in a workout is beneficial to you. In general, exercising strengthens your muscles, which in turn help support your skeleton and body. It can also help prevent injuries, whether or not you are an athlete. Exercise delivers more oxygen to your body and helps your cardiovascular system work efficiently. When it comes to exercising your chest and arms, it can increase your upper body strength and improve mobility.
Five Chest & Arm Exercises
1. Push Ups
Push ups are a great way to work your chest and arms without any weights or equipment. In a push up, you use your body weight instead. In this exercise, your core, pectorals, and triceps are activated.
How to do it:
Start in a plank position (see our core exercises for how) with your hands flat, hands shoulder-width apart, shoulders stacked directly above your wrists, legs extended behind you, and your core engaged. Bend your elbows and lower your chest to the floor. Drop to your knees if you need to do a modified version. Push through your palms and raise yourself back to starting position. You can do 3 to 4 sets of 10 to 15 push ups. You can learn how to do a push up here.
2. Decline Push Ups
Decline push ups are a bit more challenging than a regular push up, but that is what makes it a great exercise! They also target your core, pectorals, and triceps.
How to do it: This will be exactly like a regular push up, except your feet will be on a step, stool, or raised surface. You will be facing slightly downward. You can do 3 to 4 sets of 10 to 15 push ups. You can learn how to do a decline push up here.
3. Bodyweight Tricep Dips
Tricep dips target your triceps (surprise), as well as your pectorals.
How to do it:
Sit on the floor with your knees bent with your feet in front of you and resting on your heels. Place both of your palms on the floor behind you underneath your shoulders. Make sure your fingers are pointing towards your feet. Straighten your arms out to lift yourself, which should only be several inches off the ground. Then bend your elbows to lower yourself without completely resting on the floor again. You can do 3 to 4 sets of 15 to 20 dips.
4. Doorway Curls
How to do it: Stand opposite the door frame with your legs shoulder width apart. Grab the door frame with both hands at chest height. Make sure your thumbs are facing you and your arms are nearly straight. Keep your shoulders down and back. Pull yourself forward until your chest nearly touches the door frame. Lower yourself back to the starting position in a controlled manner. Do 3 to 4 sets fo 20 to 25 curls. You can watch a video on how to do doorway curls here.
5. Burpee with Push Up
This last exercise includes a regular push up, with a burpee. A burpee is an additional movement that engages your arms, core, and legs.
How to do it: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and arms by your sides. Squat and reach forward to place your hands on the floor, shoulder-width apart. Kick your legs straight out behind you, so you are in a plank with your hands stacked underneath your shoulders. Bend your elbows to lower your chest to the floor, then straighten them to do a push-up. Jump your feet toward your hands so your lower body is in a squat. Jump straight up in the air, reaching your arms overhead. You can do 2 to 3 sets of 15 to 20 burpee with push ups. You can watch a video on how to do a burpee here.