Upright posture does a lot for your mood, your health and the longevity of your body. Think about it, to keep your shoulders back and your chest proud all day, every day, takes a lot of different muscle groups working together.
Chest exercises are great for your posture because they bring a number of different muscle groups into the equation. They challenge your upper body from different angles and bring in the muscles of your chest, upper back, core and some will even recruit your lower body.
We use these exercises in our MoveCamp workouts because they’re dynamic and bring a lot of benefits for the entire body. If you want to see how we build a full-body workout with these exercises in the mix check out our nation-wide fitness series at movecamp.ca.
For now, here’s a sneak peek at a few of our favourite posture-perfecting exercises.
What you’ll need: Dumbbells, resistance band, mat
Instructions: Start with a quick full-body warm up. Then perform these exercises 8 to 12 reps each, with 15 seconds of rest in between before continuing on to the next exercise. Rest for a full minute after completing the circuit and then repeat the whole thing again twice more for a total of three sets.
- Mountain Climber Pushup
Benefits: Incorporates your core and increases your heart rate.
How to: Start in a high plank. Do a pushup, hugging your elbows in toward the body. Then, pull your right knee toward your chest and place your foot back at the start. Quickly do the same with the left. Alternate legs for a count of 4 total. That’s one rep. Perform 8 to 12 reps, rest for 15 seconds, then start your next exercise.
Pro tip: Stack your shoulders over top of your elbows and wrists at all times and keep your core tight throughout the exercise.
- Lying Dumbbell Chest Fly
Benefits: This exercise offers a totally different movement pattern than push ups or presses.
How to: Lie on your back with your knees bent at 90 degrees and feet flat on the mat. Hold a dumbbell in each hand and rest your elbows on the floor at chest height (45 degrees from your shoulder). This is your start position.
To begin, press your back into the floor, engage your core, breathe out, and draw your hands together above your chest. Keep a slight bend in your elbows at the top. With control, reverse the movement returning your elbows to their 45 degree starting position. That’s one rep. Perform 8 to 12 reps, rest for 15 seconds, then start your next exercise.
- Devil’s Press
Benefits: Full body and cardio action.
How to: Start standing with your feet wider than the mat with your arms by your sides holding a pair of dumbbells. Squat down and place dumbbells on the floor in front of your toes. Jump your feet back into a high plank, then hop them forward outside of your hands. In one motion, swing the weights back between your legs. As they come forward, squeeze your glutes and engage your core. Stand up straight and press the dumbbells overhead, fully extending your arms with palms facing each other. Lower the weights to return to start. That’s one rep. Perform 8 to 12 reps, rest for 15 seconds, then start your next exercise.
Pro tip: For a low impact version, step feet back and forward instead of jumping.
- Slow Lowering Chaturanga Pushup
Benefits: Working on your lowering (a.k.a. eccentric) push up will help you build strength to do the full version.
How to: Begin in a high plank position. Engage your core, glutes, and legs (push your heels back). On an exhale count to 5 and slowly lower down to the floor. Keep your elbows hugged into your sides and make sure your body comes down in one straight line from head to toes. Once you reach the floor, press up onto your knees, then back into a high plank position. That’s one rep. Perform 8 to 12 reps, rest for 15 seconds, then start your next exercise.
Pro tip: You can modify this exercise by keeping your knees on the mat throughout movement.
- One-Arm Deadbug Press
Benefits: Great for building balanced strength and a little core.
How to: Lie on your back with your knees bent over your hips at 90 degrees, shins parallel to the floor. Extend your left arm straight up toward the ceiling at shoulder level with your palm facing inward. Hold a dumbbell in your right hand with your elbow resting on the floor at a 45-degree angle from your body. This is your start position.
Engage your core, then extend your right arm to straight over your chest. Slowly reverse the movement to return to start. That’s one rep. Perform 8 to 12 reps, rest for 15 seconds, then start your next exercise.
Pro tip: Keep lower back and both shoulders pressed into the floor throughout the entire exercise.
There you have it! A few key chest exercises that will strengthen your postural muscles and make you sweat in a short amount of time. Incorporate these exercises into your next workout and tag us on Instagram @movecollective.co https://www.instagram.com/movecollective.co/.