Serial Trainer

{August 4, 2008}   Happy National Chest Day!

It’s Monday. And you know what that means! Every red-blooded American (fe)male (I would even say not just Americans) is planning their chest routine. It’s National Chest Day!

Is this really a holiday? No, not really. It’s just been shown that, for some reason, people like to do chest on Monday. It’s really an in-gym joke but oddly enough, it’s got some truth behind it.

So today I decided to go into detail a little about chest muscles and some good workouts for my die-hard Monday Night Chest players.

The Muscles Involved

The Pectoralis Major muscles (also known as the Pecs) are located on the front of the rib cage.

The Pecs attach to the humerus near the shoulder joint and originate on the breastbone in the center of the chest.

The fibers of the Pectoralis muscles run like a fan across the chest. The fan-like structure of the Pecs allows the humerus to move in a variety of planes across the body.

The Pectoralis Minor muscle (not shown in the diagram) is located underneath the pectoralis major muscle, attaching to the coracoid process of the scapula and originating on the middle ribs.The function of the Pectoralis Major is to bring the humerus across the chest. A fly movement is the best example of this action.

The Pectoralis Minor serves to move the shoulder area forward. This can be seen by shrugging your shoulder forward.

Basic Training

Exercises to work the chest are numerous. Everyone knows that bench presses and push-ups are the first thing people think of when they want to work their chest. The problem is, that people don’t realize there are other muscles involved. The way you do your bench presses and push-ups affects what other muscles are involved.

As you know, I’m a huge advocate of changing up your routine. If you have your arms super-wide for a bench press or push-up, try bringing your arms in closer. If your bench is a flat bench, try using the adjustable bench and sit yourself up a little so that you’re at a 45 degree angle. Most importantly, just remember to have a spotter and to not bounce the bar off your chest. A good guide would be to envision a small tennis ball between the bar and your chest. Keep that much distance and you should be good.

Another key tip is to try to keep your back straight while doing the bench press. This can be achieved by bending your knees or incorporating your core and “drawing in” your navel to workout the abs at the same time.

If you’re a die-hard fan of the push up, adding an decline to your body will greatly affect your results as well. In a previous post I mentioned using a small ball or mat to elevate one arm and alternating. Try putting your feet on a higher surface while you do the push ups to give you more of a challenge. If you use a stability ball, you get the added bonus of working your core, burning more calories because you’re on an unstable base, and working your core.

Trainers are great sources in your gym. Most trainers are super-creative and love to show off any new twist on an exercise they can, so don’t be shy in asking them to come show you one or two things. I know for a fact many of them would be all too happy and willing to show you.

For the Ladies

Ladies, don’t venture too far off. Working your chest is a great way to look your best wearing those favorite tank top and short sleeve shirts. Want to fight the Gravity Beast? Today is your day. Irritating “Bra Stuff” got you down? Push those beefy men out of the way and head to your benches, too.

Besides giving you upper body strength, working out your chest will change your upper body’s look. Want a perkier lift without going under the knife? Stay tuned and I’ll be listing some ways you can do it and, hopefully, can achieve the look you want. I can’t make them two sizes bigger but I can definitely give you lift and firmness.

The Routine

Okay, okay, enough blabbing, right? Give us the exercises! You guys know I have to add this obligatory but necessary note in here. Do not attempt any exercise routine without talking to your doctor! As much as you guys are sick of hearing it, I cannot say it enough. Too many injuries and health related problems stem from everyday people attempting things they find on the internet. And while the exercises I give you are sound, doing them wrong can lead to bad things. So, once more. Get your doctor’s OK. Get a spotter (this could be a mirror if you’re solo) and let’s get some work done.

The Familiar Friend Chest Exercise List: these are the exercises you see people do Monday. Most people who are not familiar with the gym or new to exercising, whether you’re re-starting after a long hiatus or never done a push up before in your life. These exercises are usually included in their routine because they never venture outside their comfort zone. For those of you that incorporate these in your routine, no need to change! Here’s some ways to spice up an old love.

Dumbbell Flies
Bench Press
Push Ups
Push Up into Side Plank

The Unfamiliar Guest Appearance Exercises

Cable Cross Overs
Cable Pull Overs
Decline Press
Decline Bench Press
Seated Medicine Ball Throw
Standing Medicine Ball Throw

Got a favorite National Chest Day exercise? Let us know! And have a great workout!


lisa says:


woot, thankyou! I finally came to a site where the webmaster knows what they’re talking about. Do you know how many results are in Google when I search.. too many! It’s so annoying having to go from page after page after page, wasting my day away with thousands of people just copying eachother’s articles… bah. Anyway, thankyou very much for the info anyway, much appreciated.

serialtrainer says:

You’re welcome and I’m glad that you found something of interest here! Stop by often 🙂

I was more than happy to discover this web site.

I wanted to thank you for ones time for this wonderful read!
! I definitely enjoyed every bit of it and I have you saved as a favorite to look at new information in your web site.

Thank you very much! Welcome!

Terrific article! That is the kind of info that
are meant to be shared around the web. Disgrace on Google for not positioning this put up upper!
Come on over and talk over with my web site . Thanks =)

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