Whether you are looking to tone your chest or aiming to strengthen your pectoral muscles, putting together an efficient chest exercise program is one thing that you should consider to efficiently build pectoral muscles and improve the functions of pectoralis major in no time.

Here are five pectoralis major exercises that will help you achieve these results and is designed to work for both men and women:


1. Push-Ups

How to do it: Begin by having your hands flat on the ground, directly under your shoulders and with your legs straight behind you. Then gradually slide your hands out two to three inches further than your shoulder width.

Lower your body towards the ground while keeping your back straight and your arms at a 90-degree angle. Once your body is slightly hovering above the ground, push your body back up.

Pro tip: To activate your pectoral muscles more, change the positions of your hands by placing them wider apart.


2. Dips

How to do it: Start by placing each of your hands on either a dip station or two straight parallel bars. Begin the movement by bracing your core with your feet dangling below and having your arms fully extended directly under your shoulders.

From this position, start bending your elbow and then lower your body until your chest dips below the level of handles you are holding. Once you feel the stretch, push yourself through your wrist, triceps, and chest until you are back to the fully extended starting position.

Pro tip: Dips should be the first exercise in your training routine, when your muscles are at their freshest, thus preventing you from using too much of your shoulders to get back up.


3. Dumbbell Pull-Over

How to do it: Start by placing a dumbbell on a flat bench, and then place your upper back on the bench, keeping your hips slightly flexed. With the dumbbell beside your head, grab it by placing both of your hands under the plate of the dumbbell. Move the dumbbell above your chest until your upper arms are in parallel with your torso.

Pro Tip: When moving the dumbbell above your head, keep your elbows slightly bent and then gradually lower the dumbbell behind your head.


4. Incline Bench Press

How to do it: Start by lying on an inclined bench set at 30 degrees to 40 degrees. Grab the barbell while maintaining a shoulder width distance. Lower the bar until it starts to touch your chest, inhale as you lower it.

Pause for a few seconds and then start to press the weight off your chest, exhale as you press. Momentarily stop at the top, take a deep breath and then repeat the exercise.

Pro Tip: The higher the incline the more shoulder muscles becomes involved.


5. Incline Bench Cable Fly

How to do it: Start by setting the pulleys at the floor level. Set an incline of about 45 degrees in between the pulleys, select a weight on each one of the pulleys and then grab a pulley on each hand.

With the handle on each of your hands, lie flat on the inclined bench and then gradually bring your hands together. With a little bend on your elbows, lower your arms out at both sides forming a wide arc until you can feel the stretch on your chest. Breathe as you perform this stretch.

Pro tip: You can give variations to the angle of the bench to enable you to target the upper chest at slightly different angles.