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When it comes to lifting weights, many people have the perception that only men need to target their chest. 

However, chest exercises for women have many benefits and should not be neglected! 

Giving every muscle group in the body attention at least once a week is essential for building total-body strength and symmetry.

I’ve been a personal trainer for many years. Part of my expertise is reintroducing certain exercises to women who’ve been told that regularly performing a chest workout for female lifters is unnecessary.

Read on to learn about the ten best chest exercises for women to do, how to maximize the results, and what benefits you could experience!

Anatomy of the Chest

Related: How To Build Inner Chest

chest exercises for women

There are two muscles in the chest, and these are the pectoralis major and pectoralis minor.

The pectoralis major covers the majority of the chest area. It’s responsible for the adduction of the arms as well as the rotation of the arm going forward.

The pectoralis minor is located beneath the pectoralis major. The muscle fibers run from the ribs to the scapula. It aids with the movement and stabilization of the shoulder.

Things to Consider When Deciding on Chest Training

Related: The Best Beginner And Advanced Chest And Shoulder Workout Programs

chest training considerations

Before you begin, there are three key factors to bear in mind.

1. Targeting Both Muscles

Both the muscles of the chest serve their own functions. Therefore, ensure they’re each being activated during every chest workout.

2. Schedule Consistency

As with growing any muscle group, you need to be consistent with your workout routine. If you only target your chest every once in a while with intentional exercises, it will be unlikely to grow at the rate you desire. 

Targeting the chest one to two times a week, every week, will suffice.

3. Balance With Other Muscle Groups

To achieve an overall healthy and attractive physique, it is vital that you target every muscle group equally. Luckily, your shoulders and triceps are activated during many female chest workouts. 

Still, be sure to target your back, biceps, and lower body with other exercises!

What are the benefits of chest exercises for women?

Related: The Best Hourglass Body Workout

benefits of chest exercises for women

There are numerous benefits of chest exercises for females! Whether working out at home or in the gym, many women skip this muscle group. It’s been stigmatized to contribute more to a man’s physique than a woman’s.

On the contrary, chest workouts for women can make your breasts appear larger and more lifted due to the chest muscles located beneath the breasts enlarging. 

You may also find that you experience more ease with breathing, better posture, and greater ability with everyday activities.

10 Best Chest Exercises for Women 

Related: 12 Best HIIT Workouts For Women

1. Bench Press

Bench press is one of the most essential compound exercises, and it should be prioritized with any upper-body workout. 

It is one of the best chest exercises for women at the gym and will be sure to benefit both pectoral muscles!

Equipment Requirements

Bench, barbell, and plates

How-To Perform Bench Press

  1. Lay on a bench with a loaded barbell positioned above you.
  2. Place your hands evenly on the bar and slightly arch your back so a good amount of weight is being felt on your upper back and shoulders.
  3. Dismantle the bar and hold it above your chest with extended arms.
  4. With control, lower the bar to your chest and then slowly push the bar back up to return to the starting position.

Benefits

  • Builds your chest
  • Works the shoulders and triceps

Pro Tips

  • Try using wrist wraps if you find the weight of the barbell hurts your wrists.
  • This is one of the exercises where using a spotter is highly recommended.

2. Dumbbell Presses

If you don’t have access to a barbell, these dumbbell presses are an excellent substitute for the bench press. They also work your chest, shoulders, and triceps and require even more control!

Equipment Requirements

Bench and two dumbbells

How-To Perform Dumbbell Presses

  1. Lay down on a bench and have a dumbbell in each hand with your feet flat on the floor. Have your upper arms in line with your upper back.
  2. Press the dumbbells up and tap them together above your chest.
  3. Slowly bring the dumbbells down by your chest before repeating.

Benefits

  • Helps you develop control during the movement
  • Works your chest

Pro Tips

  • Start with a lighter weight to ensure you will have proper form for the duration of the reps.
  • You can also do this exercise at an incline or decline to switch things up.

3. Machine Chest Flys

Machine chest flys are another great exercise to include in a chest workout for female lifters! They introduce a different movement to work the chest and can be included on an upper-body day.

Equipment Requirements

Chest fly machine

How-To Perform Machine Chest Flys

  1. Set the desired weight and take a seat. 
  2. Grab the handles and bring them toward each other in a hugging motion. 
  3. Slowly release the handles back to the starting position before repeating.

Benefits

  • Works your chest
  • Lessened risk of injury due to machine utilization

Pro Tips

  • Make sure the seat is set at the correct height before performing the exercise.
  • You can adjust how far apart the handles are to start if you feel overstretched at any point.

4. Cable Chest Flys

The chest fly machine is great for this movement, but if you want more flexibility with the exercise, you can do it on a cable machine as well. Include these in your next push-day workout!

Equipment Requirements

Cable machine and handles

How-To Perform Cable Chest Flys

  1. Set the two cables at the desired height and position yourself between them.
  2. Grab the handles and take a few steps forward, so the cables are slightly pulled out.
  3. Keeping a slight bend in the elbows, bring the handles together in front of your chest.
  4. Slowly release them back to the starting position. 

Benefits

  • Works your chest
  • Challenges the core

Pro Tips

  • You can perform this exercise at an incline or decline as well.
  • Hinge at the hips and lean forward a bit to make controlling the cables easier.

5. Weighted Push-Ups

Push-ups are a classic chest exercise, and adding some weight can take them to the next level! Be sure to use these as a finisher for any push-day workout.

Equipment Requirements

Plate 

How-To Perform Weighted Push-Ups

  1. Lay on your stomach on the floor with your legs fully extended, palms flat on the floor by your shoulders, and a plate flat on your back.
  2. Brace your core and push yourself up from the ground.
  3. Bend your elbows and slowly lower your body until your upper arms align with your back.
  4. Push back up and continue until you’ve completed your reps.

Benefits

  • Great functional movement
  • Works the chest

Pro Tips

  • If you are not quite advanced enough to add a plate to this exercise, it is still undoubtedly beneficial to perform push-ups without added weight.
  • Make sure your body stays in a straight line during the exercise.

6. Dumbbell Pullovers

Dumbbell pullovers are among the best dumbbell chest exercises for women to include in an upper-body workout. They work various other muscles and help with lengthening the body.

Equipment Requirements

Bench and one dumbbell

How-To Perform Dumbbell Pullovers

  1. Lay on your back on a bench with your feet flat on the floor and holding one dumbbell in both hands. 
  2. Fully extend your arms above your chest while holding onto the dumbbell.
  3. Keeping your arms straight, slowly bring the dumbbell back behind your head.
  4. When your biceps are next to your ears, bring the dumbbell back to the starting position before repeating. 

Benefits

  • Strengthens and stabilizes the core
  • Works the chest

Pro Tips

  • If you feel any straining in your upper body, try bending your elbows slightly.
  • Prioritize going slowly over lifting heavier with this exercise for maximum results.

7. Around the Worlds

These work as an excellent finisher for any upper body or chest workout. This exercise also helps with shoulder mobility and core stabilization.

Equipment Requirements

Two dumbbells

How-To Perform Around the Worlds

  1. Lay on your back on a bench with your feet planted on the floor.
  2. Start by holding a dumbbell in each hand with your palms facing the ceiling. Have the dumbbells down by your hips.
  3. Keep your arms straight with a slight bend in the elbows as you bring the dumbbells up and around to meet above your head. Your arms should stay parallel to the floor during this entire motion.
  4. Slowly bring the dumbbells back down to your sides before repeating.

Benefits

  • Challenges the chest
  • Improves shoulder mobility

Pro Tips

  • Rely on a lighter weight for this exercise to prevent injuries.
  • If you wanted this exercise to work your shoulders more than your chest, you could do the same exercise while standing up.

8. Seated Chest Presses

The seated chest press is a machine that helps you control the pressing movement while giving you the opportunity to add a significant amount of weight with plates. 

This is a great one to do after benching and is a must for a push-day workout!

Equipment Requirements

Machine and plates

How-To Perform Seated Chest Presses

  1. Load the desired weight and take a seat on the machine. 
  2. Grab the handles on either side of your chest and press your back into the pad. 
  3. Push the handles away from you to press the weight up. 
  4. Slowly release the handles back to the starting position before repeating.

Benefits

  • Builds the chest
  • Works the triceps and shoulders

Pro Tips

  • Make sure the seat is positioned at the correct height before getting started.
  • Try counting to three on the way up and down to maximize difficulty.

9. Incline Bench Press

The incline bench press helps you focus on growth in your upper pecs, which can contribute to the lifting of the chest. You can do this one on its own or in partnership with the standard bench press!

Equipment Requirements

Bench, barbell, and plates

How-To Perform Incline Bench Press

  1. Set the bench at an incline and load your barbell.
  2. Lay down on the bench and position your hands evenly on the bar.
  3. With your arms extended, bring the bar above your upper chest.
  4. Bend your elbows, bring the bar down to your chest, and push it back up before repeating.

Benefits

  • Targets your upper chest
  • Works your shoulders and triceps

Pro Tips

  • Play around with the degree of incline on the bench to see what position feels best for you.
  • You will likely find that you cannot do as much weight with incline bench pressing as standard, so try not to overshoot initially.

10. Decline Bench Press

Opposite to the incline bench press, the decline bench press involves your bench being at a decline and allows you to target the lower pecs. 

This version also is great for minimizing shoulder and back stress and can be included in any upper-body workout.

Equipment Requirements

Bench, barbell, and plates

How-To Perform Decline Bench Press

  1. Lay down on the decline bench and evenly position your hands on the barbell.
  2. Bring the bar to be above your lower chest with your arms fully extended.
  3. Bend your elbows to bring the bar down to touch your lower chest.
  4. Push the bar back up to return to the starting position.

Benefits

  • Targets your lower chest
  • Doesn’t put much stress on your back and shoulders like other pressing exercises might

Pro Tips

  • Try counting to three on your way down and then up to make the exercise more challenging.
  • Focus on keeping your elbows 45 degrees from your body during the movement.

Best Chest Exercises for Women at Home

Related: How To Get A Thicker Neck

Prefer working out solo in the privacy of your home? Try these at-home chest exercises that require no equipment.

1. Kneeling Diamond Push-Ups

Diamond push-ups are considered one of the harder variations of push-ups, but you can still benefit from them by starting on your knees and working your way up! 

Equipment Requirements

None

How-To Perform Kneeling Diamond Push-Ups

  1. Come onto the floor and get on your knees with your body in a straight line from your knees to your head.
  2. Position your hands so that your pointer fingers and thumbs touch and form a triangle.
  3. Bend your elbows and bring your chest down towards the ground.
  4. Push back up into the starting position before repeating.

Benefits

  • Works the chest
  • Challenges the triceps

Pro Tips

  • To make this movement harder, come off your knees and allow your body to form a straight line all the way down to your feet.
  • If you want the exercise to be easier, you can perform routine push-ups that are still very impactful for targeting the chest.

2. Prayer Pulses

This movement is a bit easier, but you will certainly feel the burn if you do enough reps! Utilize this as a finisher of an at-home push-day workout.

Equipment Requirements

None 

How-To Perform Prayer Pulses

  1. Press your elbows and palms against each other and have your upper arms parallel to the floor.
  2. Push your arms against each other as hard as you can as you start to pulse your arms up for the predetermined number of reps.

Benefits

  • Challenges your chest
  • Works your shoulders

Pro Tips

  • You can try finishing off your sets with a static hold to make this exercise more difficult.
  • Be sure to have proper posture with your shoulders down and back during the movement.

3. Wall Push-Ups

If you are not yet confident when it comes to doing routine push-ups, try wall push-ups. This exercise is good for beginners while still providing a challenge. 

Equipment Requirements

None 

How-To Perform Wall Push-Ups

  1. Place your hands on a wall and step your feet out so that your body forms a straight line but is leaning towards the wall.
  2. Bend your elbows and touch your nose to the wall before pushing back to the starting position.

Benefits

  • Works your chest
  • Great introduction to standard push-ups

Pro Tips

  • The further your feet are from the wall when you start, the harder the exercise will be.
  • Try doing your final set of these push-ups to failure to make things more difficult.

The Best Women’s Chest Workout Program 

As we learned, it’s best if you target the chest muscles twice a week, every week. If you’re ready to insert chest training into your routine, here’s a plan for those two days. 

Beginner 

chest workout for female
MONTUESWEDTHURSFRISATSUN
Day 1 WorkoutDay 2 Workout

Day 1 Workout

EXERCISESETSREPSREST TIME
Bench Press310-121 minute 30 seconds
Machine Chest Flys312-1545 seconds
Dumbbell Pullovers212-1545 seconds
Around the Worlds212-1545 seconds

Day 2 Workout

EXERCISESETSREPSREST TIME
Kneeling Diamond Push-Ups48-1045 seconds
Prayer Pulses412-1545 seconds
Wall Push-Ups412-1545 seconds

Advanced 

advanced chest workouts for women
MONTUESWEDTHURSFRISATSUN
Day 1 WorkoutDay 2 Workout

Day 1 Workout

EXERCISESETSREPSREST TIME
Bench Press48-101 minute
Incline Bench Press410-1230 seconds
Machine Chest Flys312-1530 seconds
Dumbbell Pullovers312-1530 seconds
Weighted Push-Ups38-1030 seconds

Day 2 Workout

EXERCISESETSREPSREST TIME
Decline Bench Press410-121 minute
Dumbell Presses410-1230 seconds
Cable Chest Flys312-1530 seconds
Seated Chest Presses310-1230 seconds
Around the Worlds312-1530 seconds

Pro Tips for Training Your Chest Effectively

best chest exercises for women

1. Follow a Consistent Schedule

When it comes to any fitness goal, consistency is key. Whether you are able to work out your chest once or twice per week, commit to that routine! 

It’s also important to walk into the gym with a plan and not just do random exercises every time because that will slow down your progress.

2. Eat Enough Protein

Protein is the fuel your muscle fibers require to repair and grow stronger after any female chest workout you do. 

It is recommended that you consume at least one gram of protein per pound you weigh. Try to have a serving of at least 20 grams of protein alongside a healthy carb source within an hour of your workout.

3. Track Your Progress

Progressive overload is essential for not hitting a plateau. You can make sure this doesn’t happen by keeping a record of how much weight you are lifting during each exercise.

You certainly don’t have to go up in weight with every single exercise every week. Still, it’s important that you gradually try and make progress to ensure you are doing what you can to help the muscles grow. 

Complacency will slow things down.

4. Prioritize Recovery

chest exercises for women at home

Both your diet and workouts are essential parts of reaching your goals, but you can not optimize either unless you prioritize your rest and recovery as well.

This can take many forms, but a few guidelines you can give yourself include warming up before exercise and doing stretches after your workout. 

Plus, make sure you’re getting at least seven hours of sleep every night and not exercising the chest two days in a row.

Conclusion

We hope that you enjoyed our guide to the top ten chest exercises for women! 

Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of why both men and women shouldn’t skip a weekly chest workout and what benefits come with working that muscle group. 

And, if you don’t have a gym membership, you can still grow your chest with bodyweight movements at home! Either way, just be sure to provide your body with enough fuel and rest to maximize the results. 

Comment down below your favorite chest exercise, and don’t forget to share this article with anyone else who may find it helpful!

Frequently Asked Questions

Do chest workouts make breasts bigger or smaller?

Doing at least one chest workout for women per week will contribute to bigger breasts. This is because the muscle located beneath the breasts will grow. 

What are the best chest workouts for women?

While everyone reacts differently, a few highly recommended chest exercises for women include bench press, machine chest fly, and push-ups. 

Do chest exercises lift your breasts?

Chest exercises do have the potential to contribute to the appearance of lifted breasts because of how the chest muscles are situated beneath them.

How can women improve their chests? 

Engaging in a chest workout for female lifters at least once a week, eating one gram of protein per pound you weigh, and prioritizing recovery can allow women to improve the strength and appearance of their chest.

Can chest exercises also work other arm muscles?

Because of the general pressing motion of most chest exercises, the shoulders and triceps typically engage in some degree of activation as well.

How to grow your chest at home for females?

If you are looking for a chest workout for women that can be done at home, try doing a circuit of the following exercises: kneeling diamond push-ups, prayer pulses, and wall push-ups.

Do 45 seconds of each exercise followed by 15 seconds of rest, and repeat for three to four rounds. Do this twice a week.