30 Best Chest Exercises for Women: Strength and Muscle Size

Strength training is an excellent way for women to improve their physical health, manage weight, and enhance their mental well-being. The chest is the section of the body muscle located over the sternum. The chest consists of two muscle groups: the pectoralis major and pectoralis minor (also nicknamed “pecs”).

There are numerous pectoral exercises women can use to strengthen their chest, straighten their posture, and improve their appearance. However, this article focuses on the top 30 female exercises for chest muscles. The best chest exercises for women are the movements that produce the most benefit for the least effort. 

You can perform chest exercises at home, in the gym, or in other places like the office or a hotel room. Many movements require only your body weight, while other exercises need some weights or other equipment. Every movement is adjustable, so whether you’re experienced with weight training or undertaking your first chest workout for women, you can make the exercise effective.

After the section on ladies’ chest exercises, there’s also a guide covering topics including the chest workouts women benefit from the most, how age affects the best chest workouts for women, and more.

  1. Push-Up
  2. Knee Push-Up
  3. Dumbbell Bench Press
  4. Dumbbell Chest Fly
  5. Incline Dumbbell Press
  6. Decline Bench Press
  7. Barbell Bench Press
  8. Cable Crossover
  9. Diamond Push Up
  10. Medicine Ball Push Up
  11. Wide Push Up
  12. Plyometric Push-Up
  13. Dumbbell Pullover
  14. One Arm Dumbbell Bench Press
  15. Squeeze Press
  16. Chest Dip
  17. Plank Rows
  18. Machine Fly
  19. Push Up With Feet Elevated
  20. Isometric Chest Squeeze
  21. Glute Bridge Press
  22. Plank Get-Up
  23. Incline Push Up
  24. Dumbbell Floor Press
  25. Close-Grip Chest Press
  26. Incline Chest Fly
  27. Chaturanga Push Up
  28. Inner-Chest Press
  29. Pec Squeeze
  30. Bosu Ball Chest Press

Read through each movement’s description to learn how to perform the exercise, what equipment it requires, if any, and how to incorporate it into a chest workout routine for women.

 1. Push-Up

The traditional push-up is one of the most common chest exercises. To perform the push-up, follow these steps.

  1. Get into a plank position. 
  2. Bend your elbows and lower down until your chest touches the ground. 
  3. Push back up to the start position to complete the rep.

Common push-up mistakes include not going all the way down and bending at the waist. Avoid these mistakes to get the maximum benefit from the push-up movement.

  • Muscles Involved: Pectorals, triceps, shoulders.
  • Equipment: None
  • Difficulty: Easy-Moderate
  • Optimum Reps: 10-15

2. Knee Push-Up

The knee push-up is a variation of the raditional push-up, where your knees maintain contact with the ground. To perform the knee push-up, follow these steps.

  1. Start in a plank position. 
  2. Bend your knees until they are touching the ground. 
  3. Lift your feet into the air. 
  4. Perform a push-up to complete the rep.

Many women lack the chest strength to perform a full push-up, so this variation is a great substitution that helps build muscle. Avoid the common mistake of not going all the way down and only use this movement until you’re strong enough to perform a full push-up.

  • Muscles Involved: Pectorals, triceps, shoulders
  • Equipment: None
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Optimum Reps: 10-15

3. Dumbbell Bench Press

The dumbbell bench press is a compound chest exercise performed as a dumbbell variation of the bench press. To perform the dumbbell bench press, follow these steps.

  1. Lie back on a bench with a dumbbell in each hand.
  2. With your shoulders back and palms facing forward, press the dumbbells up. The dumbbells should touch at the top of the movement.
  3. Lower the dumbbells until they touch your chest to complete the rep.

The dumbbell bench press takes a little to learn, but it’s one of the best women’s chest exercises. Don’t make the mistake of trying to start with too much weight before mastering the technique. Many beginners also make the mistake of not keeping their shoulders back when performing the exercise.

  • Muscles Involved: Pectorals, triceps, shoulders
  • Equipment: Dumbbells, Bench
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Optimum Reps: 5-15

4. Dumbbell Chest Fly

The dumbbell chest fly is a popular chest workout that can be alternated with the machine pec dec. To perform the dumbbell chest fly, follow these steps.

  1. Lie back on a bench with a dumbbell in each hand.
  2. Raise your arms straight above you with your palms facing.
  3. Lower your straight arms out to the sides until the dumbbells are level with your chest.
  4. Bring your arms back up for one rep.

The dumbbell chest fly is an excellent movement for targeting the pectoralis minor muscles. Pay attention to positioning, and try bending your arms slightly if you feel discomfort in your elbows.

  • Muscles Involved: Pectoralis minor
  • Equipment: Dumbbell, Bench
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Optimum Reps: 10-15

5. Incline Dumbbell Press

The incline dumbbell press is a variation of the traditional bench press. To perform the incline dumbbell press, follow these steps.

  1. Lie back on an incline bench.
  2. With a dumbbell in each hand, perform a dumbbell bench press.
  3. Adjust the dumbbells’ position based on personal comfort.

The incline dumbbell press is a fantastic way to target the upper chest and shoulders more than a flat bench press. Many women find that the dumbbell needs to start slightly higher on the chest for this incline movement.

  • Muscles Involved: Upper chest, triceps, shoulders
  • Equipment: Dumbbells, Bench
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Optimum Reps: 8-15

6. Decline Bench Press

The decline bench press is a chest workout variation of the traditional bench press. To perform the decline bench press, follow these steps.

  1. Lie back on a decline bench.
  2. Place your hands on the barbell slightly wider than shoulder width.
  3. Lower the barbell until it touches your chest near the bottom of your sternum.
  4. Press the barbell back up until your arms are straight.

The decline bench press can be uncomfortable for some women due to the unusual inverted position. However, the decline position helps target the lower section of the chest and is easy to learn with time.

  • Muscles Involved: Lower chest, triceps, shoulders
  • Equipment: Barbell, Bench
  • Difficulty: Hard
  • Optimum Reps: 5-10

7. Barbell Bench Press

The barbell bench press is the most common chest exercise performed in the gym. To perform the barbell bench press, follow these steps.

  1. Lie back on a bench and place your feet flat on the floor about shoulder-width apart.
  2. Place your hands on the barbell slightly wider than shoulder width.
  3. Lower the barbell until it touches your chest.
  4. Press the barbell up until your arms are straight.

The barbell bench press is one of the best all-around chest exercises. Some mistakes with the bench press include not keeping the back straight and placing the hands in the wrong position on the barbell.

Women can use the barbell bench press for hypertrophy, strength, or endurance, depending on the weight and reps ranges.

  • Muscles Involved: Pectorals, triceps, shoulders
  • Equipment: Barbell, Bench
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Optimum Reps: 5-15

8. Cable Crossover

The cable crossover is an upper body exercise involving the cable machine. To perform the cable crossover, follow these steps.

  1. Stand in a cable machine between two cable pulleys.
  2. With the handles at shoulder height, grab hold of a handle with each hand.
  3. Place one foot forward into a high lunge and bend your elbows slightly.
  4. While keeping your body straight, bring your hands forward and down until they touch at roughly belly button height.
  5. Return to the start position.

The cable crossover works the pectoralis minor muscles. The benefits of this exercise for women include better flexibility, perkier breasts, and improved posture.

  • Muscles Involved: Pectoralis minor
  • Equipment: Cable machine
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Optimum Reps: 10-15

9. Diamond Push Up

The diamond push up, is a variation of the push up. To perform the diamond push-up, follow these steps.

  1. Get into a high plank position.
  2. Place your hands directly below your chest so the forefingers and thumbs are touching (forming a diamond shape).
  3. Lower your chest to the ground and push up for one rep.

The diamond push-up is a great exercise that works the inner chest for female athletes. This exercise can be challenging for women because it requires a lot of extra strength in the triceps and shoulders.

  • Muscles Involved: Pectoralis minor, triceps, shoulders
  • Equipment: None
  • Difficulty: Hard
  • Optimum Reps: 10-15

10. Medicine Ball Push Up

The medicine ball push up is a cross between the one-arm push up and traditional push up.To perform the medicine ball push-up, follow these steps.

  1. Get into a plank with a medicine ball below the center of your chest.
  2. Place your hands on the medicine ball.
  3. Lower your chest until it touches the medicine ball.
  4. Push up to the start position.

Medicine ball push-ups are a fantastic exercise for women that enhances strength and stability in the chest muscles. Beginners commonly make the mistake of not keeping their weight centered over the ball, which can cause them to slip or lose their balance.

  • Muscles Involved: Pectorals, triceps, shoulders
  • Equipment: Medicine ball
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Optimum Reps: 10-15

11. Wide Push Up

The wide push up is a variation of the traditional push up, with more focus on the shoulder and outer chest muscles. To perform the wide push-up, follow these steps.

  1. Get into a plank position with your hands wider than shoulder-width apart.
  2. Lower down until your upper arm is parallel to the ground.
  3. Push up to the start position.

Women will notice that the wide grip increases the tension on the outer portions of the chest. It’s a mistake to go too wide with the grip, so pay attention to your hand placement.

  • Muscles Involved: Pectorals, triceps, shoulders
  • Equipment: None
  • Difficulty: Hard
  • Optimum Reps: 8-15

12. Plyometric Push-Up

The plyometric push up is a variation of the traditional push up, with more emphasis on power and explosiveness. To perform the plyometric push-up, follow these steps.

  1. Perform the first part of the plyometric push-up as a regular push-up.
  2. When your chest reaches the ground, explode up and take your hands off the ground.

Women can develop tremendous chest power and strength using plyometric push-ups. Many women make the mistake of landing hard on their hands and straining their hands and wrists. Try to land softly, and don’t worry about how high off the ground you get when you push up.

  • Muscles Involved: Pectorals, triceps, shoulders
  • Equipment: None
  • Difficulty: Hard
  • Optimum Reps: 5-10

13. Dumbbell Pullover

The dumbbell pullover is a lat exercise commonly seen performed in the gym on a bench. To perform the dumbbell pullover, follow these steps.

  1. Place your shoulders perpendicularly on a bench and lift your hips off the ground.
  2. Straighten your arms above you with both hands wrapped around a single dumbbell.
  3. Lower the dumbbell behind you until your arms are in line with your body.
  4. Return to the starting position.

The pullover is an excellent way to improve strength and flexibility in the chest, shoulders, and back. Women should avoid starting with too heavy of a weight or excessively bending the arms at the elbow.

  • Muscles Involved: Pectorals, back, shoulders
  • Equipment: Dumbbell, Bench
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Optimum Reps: 8-15

14. One Arm Dumbbell Bench Press

The one arm dumbbell bench press is a bench press alternative that also targets the abs. To perform the one-arm dumbbell bench press, follow these steps.

  1. Lie back on a bench with a dumbbell in one hand.
  2. While bracing your abs, press the dumbbell up.
  3. Lower the dumbbell down until it touches your chest.
  4. Perform all reps on one side before switching arms.

This exercise is a deceptively tricky movement that requires a lot of strength in your midsection and back. To avoid making any mistakes, focus on keeping your body tight and not letting the dumbbell travel too far from the body.

  • Muscles Involved: Pectorals, triceps, shoulders
  • Equipment: Dumbbell, Bench
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Optimum Reps: 10-15

15. Squeeze Press

The squeeze press is a chest exercise performed as an alternative to popular workouts such as the bench press or push up. To perform the squeeze press, follow these steps.

  1. With a dumbbell in each hand, lie back on a bench.
  2. Straighten your arms above your chest with the palms facing each other.
  3. With the dumbbells touching, lower them to your chest before pressing them up again.

The squeeze press works the inner chest and emphasizes the triceps and shoulders more. Women can perform this exercise with higher reps as a powerful finishing movement for their workout.

  • Muscles Involved: Pectoralis minor, triceps, shoulders
  • Equipment: Dumbbells, Bench
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Optimum Reps: 8-15

16. Chest Dip

The chest dip is a simple yet effective chest workout that can be performed with any stationary set of bars capable of holding one’s bodyweight. To perform the chest dip, follow these steps.

  1. Using parallel bars, lift yourself, so your arms are straight and supporting your weight.
  2. Bend your knees and keep your shins parallel to the ground.
  3. Angle your torso slightly, bend your elbows back, and dip down until you feel a stretch.
  4. Lift yourself up to complete the rep.

This movement can be challenging, and some women may want to use an assisted dip machine that helps make the exercise easier. Don’t make the mistake of leaning too far forward, as this can cause unwanted strain on the shoulder joints.

  • Muscles Involved: Pectoralis minor, triceps
  • Equipment: Dip station
  • Difficulty: Hard
  • Optimum Reps: 5-10

17. Plank Rows

A plank row is a variation of the dumbbell row, with more focus on the core.To perform the plank row, follow these steps.

  1. Get into a plank with a dumbbell in each hand.
  2. Pull one dumbbell up and back towards your side.
  3. Lower the dumbbell down and repeat with the other hand to complete one rep.

Some women and beginner exercises may wish to start on their knees if this movement is too difficult at first. Avoid the mistake of starting with too heavy of a weight. It is better to start light and add weight over time.

  • Muscles Involved: Pectorals, back, shoulders, abs
  • Equipment: Dumbbells
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Optimum Reps: 10-15

18. Machine Fly

The machine fly, also known as the pec dec, is a common chest workout performed at gyms without free weights. To perform the machine fly, follow these steps.

  1. Sit down on the fly machine and grasp the machine handles with your palms facing forward.
  2. With a slight bend in your elbows, squeeze your chest and bring your hands together in front of you.
  3. Slowly return your arms to the starting position to finish the movement.

The machine fly is an excellent exercise for women because the machine provides stability and allows the user to focus on the stretch in the chest. Beginners often mistakenly hold their breath during this movement, but you should focus on controlled breathing.

  • Muscles Involved: Pectoralis minor
  • Equipment: Fly machine
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Optimum Reps: 10-15

19. Push Up With Feet Elevated

The push up with feet elevated, also known as the decline push up, is a variation of the traditional push up. To perform the push-up with feet elevated, follow these steps.

  1. Get into a plank position with your feet on an elevated surface, such as a bench or chair.
  2. Lower yourself just like you would with a standard push-up.
  3. Once your head is an inch from the floor, push up into the starting position.

Feet-elevated push-ups, sometimes called decline push-ups, are great for working the upper chest but require more shoulder strength than a standard push-up. Women will want to avoid injuring their shoulders by keeping their elbows close to their sides during the movement.

  • Muscles Involved: Pectorals, triceps, shoulders
  • Equipment: Any raised object to place feet on
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Optimum Reps: 10-15

20. Isometric Chest Squeeze

The isometric chest squeze is a low impact chest exercise, commonly performed to increase chest hypertrophy. To perform the isometric chest squeeze, follow these steps.

  1. While standing, bend your elbows and lock your hands together in front of you.
  2. Push your hands together and feel the squeeze in your chest.
  3. Hold the contraction for up to 30 seconds.

The iso chest squeeze is a great beginner’s movement that is mastered in minutes and requires no equipment. Women can adjust the difficulty by holding the contraction for longer or changing their hand position to emphasize different pectoral sections.

  • Muscles Involved: Pectorals
  • Equipment: None
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Optimum Reps: 8-10 reps of 20-30 seconds

21. Glute Bridge Press

The glute bridge press is a press exercise performed while positioned in a glute bridge hold. To perform the glute bridge press, follow these steps.

  1. While holding a dumbbell in each hand, lie down on your back with your feet flat on the ground.
  2. Lift your body so that only your feet and shoulders touch the ground.
  3. While maintaining this position, press the dumbbells until your arms are straight.
  4. Lower the dumbbells back down to your chest to finish the rep.

A glute bridge press is a whole-body movement that provides a fantastic opportunity to develop strength and muscle size in the chest. Women should focus on keeping their hips up and abs tight while pressing the dumbbells.

  • Muscles Involved: Pectorals, triceps, shoulders, glutes, hamstrings, back
  • Equipment: Dumbbells
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Optimum Reps: 8-10

22. Plank Get-Up

The plank get-up is a variation of the plank. To perform the plank get-up, follow these steps.

  1. Start in a push-up position with your palms flat on the ground.
  2. Lower one arm down until your forearm is flat on the floor. 
  3. Repeat the movement with your other arm.
  4. Reverse the motion until you’re back in the push-up position.

The plank get-up is another incredible movement that works the whole body. The trickiest part of this exercise is keeping your midsection tight and your body balanced. Widening your foot stance can help if you have trouble with balance.

  • Muscles Involved: Pectorals, abs, triceps, shoulders
  • Equipment: None
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Optimum Reps: 10-15

23. Incline Push Up

The incline push up is a variation of the traditional push up with more focus on the triceps. To perform the incline push up, follow these steps.

  1. Face a bench or raised platform.
  2. Get into a push-up position with your hands shoulder-width apart on the bench.
  3. Bend your elbows and lower your chest to the bench slowly.
  4. Push up to complete one rep.

The movement takes a little body weight out of the action and emphasizes the lower chest. Women can adjust their hand placement and the incline height to adjust the difficulty further.

  • Muscles Involved: Pectorals, triceps, shoulder
  • Equipment: None
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Optimum Reps: 10-15

24. Dumbbell Floor Press

The dumbbell floor press is a dumbell bench press variation performed on the floor rather than a bench. To perform the dumbbell floor press, follow these steps.

  1. Lie down with your feet flat on the ground and a dumbbell in each hand.
  2. Place your hands above you so the back of your upper arm touches the floor.
  3. Press the dumbbells up and together.
  4. Lower the dumbbell until your upper arms are on the floor again.

The floor press is a great strengthening exercise for women that only requires dumbbells and no bench. Be careful not to bounce your elbows off the ground.

  • Muscles Involved: Pectorals, triceps, shoulder
  • Equipment: Dumbbells
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Optimum Reps: 8-15

25. Close-Grip Chest Press

The close grip chest press is a variaiton of the traditional bench press, with more focus on the triceps. To perform the close-grip chest press, follow these steps.

  1. Lie back on a bench with a barbell over your chest.
  2. Place your hands on the barbell just inside of the shoulder width.
  3. Perform a bench press as usual by lowering the bar to your chest before pressing it back up.

The close-grip chest press, also called a tricep bench press, targets the inner chest and triceps slightly more than a regular bench press. Women should pay particular attention to hand placement because too narrow of a grip can strain the shoulders and wrists.

  • Muscles Involved: Pectorals, triceps, shoulder
  • Equipment: Barbell, Bench
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Optimum Reps: 8-15

26. Incline Chest Fly

The incline chest fly is a variation of the chest fly, with more emphasis on the lower pectoral muscles. To perform the incline chest fly, follow these steps.

  1. Lie back on an incline bench with a dumbbell in each hand.
  2. With your arms straight overhead, lower your arms sideways until the dumbbells are in line with your chest.
  3. Squeeze your chest and lift your arms back up to the starting position.

Like the dumbbell fly, the incline chest fly works the pectoralis minor muscles but emphasizes the upper chest slightly more. Beginners should avoid using a position that causes shoulder pain and focus on using light weights for higher reps.

  • Muscles Involved: Pectorals, triceps
  • Equipment: Dumbbells, Bench
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Optimum Reps: 10-15

27. Chaturanga Push Up

The chaturanga push up is a cross between a push up and a plank. To perform the Chaturanga push-up, follow these steps.

  1. From a plank position, lower your chest to the floor while keeping the elbows next to your sides.
  2. Roll forward on your toes and lift your chest while allowing your head to fall back.
  3. Reverse the motion, return your chest to the ground, and push back into a plank to complete the movement.

Chaturanga push-ups are typical in yoga and require surprising strength and flexibility. Women may wish to start with knees on the ground if the entire exercise is too strenuous at first.

  • Muscles Involved: Pectorals, triceps, shoulders, abs, back
  • Equipment: None
  • Difficulty: Hard
  • Optimum Reps: 8-15

28. Inner-Chest Press

The inner chest press is a dumbbell bench press variaiotn that is similar to the squeeze press.To perform the inner-chest press, follow these steps.

  1. Lie back on a bench with a dumbbell in each hand.
  2. Position the dumbbells so they touch the center of your chest.
  3. Press the dumbbells up, keeping them together.

An inner-chest press is excellent for growing your inner chest and triceps like a diamond push-up. Women who struggle with upper body strength should start with light dumbbells and focus on using good form until they get stronger.

  • Muscles Involved: Pectorals, triceps, shoulders
  • Equipment: None
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Optimum Reps: 10-15

29. Pec Squeeze

The pec squeeze is a chest press alternative that is similar to the squeeze press. To perform the pec squeeze, follow these steps.

  1. Grab a weight plate with each hand and hold them vertically between your palms in front of your chest.
  2. While keeping your shoulders back, extend your arms forward and slightly up to around eye level.
  3. Squeeze the plates together continuously for 20-30 seconds.

The pec squeeze, or plate pinch press, is an easy exercise to learn but extraordinarily effective. Start with very light, thin plates at first. Be careful where you hold your hands as well since it changes what portion of the chest you emphasize.

  • Muscles Involved: Pectorals
  • Equipment: Weight Plate
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Optimum Reps: 8-10 reps of 20-30 seconds

30. Bosu Ball Chest Press

The bosu ball chest press is a chest exercise that also focuses on the core. To perform the bosa ball chest press, follow these steps.

  1. Lie on the ground with your back on a Bosu ball and a dumbbell in each hand.
  2. Press the dumbbells up and together while focusing on maintaining a tight midsection.
  3. Lower the dumbbells to the sides of your chest to complete the rep.

The Bosu ball chest press requires good coordination and balance while developing your chest, triceps, and shoulders. Be careful when performing this movement that you don’t slip off the Bosu ball, as this may cause an injury. Women should position themselves on the Bosu ball where they feel most stable.

  • Muscles Involved: Pectorals, triceps, shoulders
  • Equipment: Bosu ball
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Optimum Reps: 10-15

What Are the Best Chest Exercises Females Can Do at Home?

Here are the best chest exercises for women at home. These chest exercises are easier to perform at home because they don’t require extra equipment or a lot of space to do the movement. 

  1. Push-Ups for Women: Women chest muscle building with push-ups is the perfect exercise for strength, muscle growth, and endurance training. The movement requires zero equipment and is effortless to modify with different variations.
  2. Plank Rows for Women: Women chest muscle building with plank rows is a fantastic choice for working the chest, shoulders, arms, and back. You can do plank rows with only your body weight or use household objects such as dumbbells to increase the resistance.
  3. Pec Squeezes for Women: Women chest muscle building with the pec squeeze exercise couldn’t be any simpler. You can even perform pec squeezes while watching tv or relaxing outside.

What Is the Best Chest Exercise Equipment for Women?

Some pec workouts for women require extra equipment. Here are the best pieces of equipment for women’s chest exercises.

Many of these implements can be found at the gym, making chest workouts for women at the gym much more effective. However, if you want to exercise at home, there are many places to buy equipment for a great at-home workout.

  1. Dumbbells: Dumbbells are versatile. You can use them to perform dozens of different women’s chest exercises. Dumbbells also come in various weights, so women just starting can strengthen their chests and slowly build their strength over time.
  2. Bench: A bench is necessary for movements like the bench press, but you can also use it for practical chest exercises for women, such as incline or decline push-ups and dumbbell pullovers.
  3. Barbell: The barbell is an excellent piece of chest-building equipment suitable for women of all abilities and strength levels. For exercises like the bench press, a barbell is the best way to lift a lot of weight for maximal strength.
  4. Cable Machines: Cable machines are not as easy to store at home or as affordable as the other equipment on this list, but they are easy to find at the gym. Cable machines provide phenomenal stimulus to the chest muscles women should be training. Crossovers and a standing cable chest press are good movements to perform with cable machines.

What Are the Best Chest Workout Routines for Women?

The best chest workout routines for women are the ones that integrate a lot of the best chest exercises. A comprehensive program should target the pectoralis major and pectoralis minor muscle groups.

Creating a chest day women’s routine starts by deciding how many days per week you want to train your chest muscles. Shoot for a frequency between two and for days per week, and you can perform these chest exercises with movements for the other muscle groups.

After that, you will need to select several exercises, paying particular attention to what equipment you possess and the different parts of your chest. For instance, a barbell bench press and an incline push-up are a good combination for working your mid and upper chest. Try to pick between two and five chest exercises per workout.

Now you need to decide what kind of sets and reps scheme you want to use. For a quick chest workout reference, follow these bullets below.

  • Try using heavier weights for 2-5 sets of 5-10 repetitions for strength. 
  • If you want to increase your muscle size, start with three sets of 8-12 reps. 
  • It is common to utilize around three sets of 10-15 reps for muscular endurance.

Designing a program is a learning process that can take some trial and error. Experiment with combinations of exercises, sets, and reps to see what you like the most and what gives your chest the best results.

How To Strengthen Chest Muscles for Females?

When wondering how to strengthen chest muscles, female athletes should start by deciding what exercises they want to utilize.

Combining bodyweight, dumbbell, and barbell exercises that work the upper, mid, and low chest provides the best overall increase of strength in the pectoral muscles. A typical strength training chest routine might include a barbell bench press, an incline dumbbell bench press, and a cable crossover.

You will want to utilize heavy weights (relative to your current strength) and low reps. Starting with three sets of 5 reps is a popular style of a strength workout. 

As your strength increases, you can add more reps and sets. If you feel like you’re getting bored or want to make a change, try varying your exercise selection to keep things fresh.

What Is the Chest Muscle Anatomy of Women?

The chest muscle anatomy of a woman consists of two muscles: the pectoralis major and the pectoralis minor.

The pectoralis major is a large fan-shaped muscle attached at the collarbone, armpits, and across the chest. It connects over the sternum or breastbone. 

In addition to the movement of the chest, the pectoralis major helps move the shoulder joint and provides supportive attachment of arms to the body.

As the larger and stronger chest muscle, the pectoralis major is the primary focus of chest strength training. Good movements for targeting this muscle group include push-ups and bench press.

The pectoralis minor is a much smaller muscle that sits under the pectoralis major. It has a triangular shape and runs across the upper ribs.

Because of the pectoralis minor’s small size and location under the pectoralis major, it’s harder to target with exercises. However, some good exercises for training the muscle group include the dumbbell chest fly and the chest dip.

The movements for these muscle groups are chosen based on how they isolate the muscle group and provide the maximum amount of positive adaptation in the muscle, with the example exercises listed being among the best for each muscle group.

How Long Does It Take To Build Chest Muscle for Women?

Many factors determine how long it takes to see results from training the chest muscles. Some of the factors include the following.

  • Age
  • Daily life routine
  • Workout routine
  • Weight
  • Workout intensity
  • Diet
  • Time
  • Goals

Depending on where you’re starting from and what your end goals are for your chest training, it may take weeks, months, or even years to attain the results you desire. 

For example, compare working out twice a week versus three times per week. At the end of a year, that’s 102 workouts vs. 156 workouts. Those types of small decisions can create significant differences in results over time.

The most important thing to remember is to be consistent. Building chest muscles takes time, especially for women, so be patient and know that if you stay dedicated, you will see the results.

How Does a Chest Workout for Women Change According to Age?

As women age, the amount of lean tissue (i.e., muscle) naturally declines in the body. This lean tissue can even be replaced by fatty tissue if a woman doesn’t exercise. 

At the same time, strength can decline as women grow older and lose muscle mass and bone density. It can also be increasingly difficult for women who engage in strength training to maintain the same level of intensity and volume that they could when they were younger.

Women must adjust their workouts to allow time for recovery and injury management. By maintaining a healthy body and continuing to exercise, women can delay the adverse effects of aging, such as decreasing bone density, slowing metabolism, and declining cognitive function.  

What Are the Differences Between Chest Exercise for Female and Male Anatomy?

Men and women have the same muscle anatomy, so both genders can benefit from performing the same exercises and workout routines. However, that isn’t to say that there aren’t differences.

Men tend to be stronger and leaner in the upper body, while women generally tend to have more fatty tissue on their chests than men. Men also generally tend to have a higher degree of lean tissue than women and are often stronger than their female counterparts.

Research has found several interesting facts based on these differences between the genders. Women tend to have more endurance and can recover faster between sets and workouts than men.

Also, the best chest exercises for men tend to focus on single exercises and sets compared to women, who can often perform circuits of three or more exercises more efficiently than men. Because of this, men might see better results from some of these exercises than women.

  1. Bench Press: This movement allows men to take advantage of their more significant amount of lean tissue by adding more weight and producing greater power than women.
  2. Dumbbell Chest Fly: Because men are often taller with longer arms than women, they can take advantage of a broader range of motion to create extra tension during this exercise.
  3. Decline Push Up: Men often have an easier time than women with this movement thanks to their larger chest, shoulder, and tricep muscles.

Of course, all of these findings are generalized, and differences between any two individuals of either gender will vary greatly.

How To Classify the Best Chest Exercises for Women

Classifying chest exercises can be done with three criteria.

  1. The muscles being worked.
  2. The equipment being used.
  3. Where the movement can be performed.

You can categorize all the exercises on the list above with these criteria. 

For instance, a barbell bench press works the pectoralis major muscles, requires a bench with weight plates and a barbell, and is commonly performed in a gym. However, you could do an incline or decline bench press to target different chest areas. Depending on your equipment, you could also use dumbbells or perform a floor press. Finally, you could perform a bench press at home with a bench and weights or with improvised weight training equipment.

There are advantages and disadvantages when considering the different ways of classifying exercises. 

  • Training different chest parts produces a better overall result but also requires more time and exercise.
  • Movements requiring less equipment are easier to implement, but you won’t get as strong as you would with weights.
  • Different environments are more convenient and motivating for different personalities, but not every workout location (e.g., the gym or home) provides the same options.

What Are Some Women’s Chest Muscle Workout Before and After Examples?

The female chest workout before and after comparisons are very impressive. This is because female chest exercises provide a long list of benefits. 

Some of the positive changes women see after using pectoral muscle exercises include the following.

  • Improved posture, flexibility, and stability in the torso.
  • Some women have reported that their breasts before and after pectoral exercises feel firmer and look perkier.
  • Enhanced cardiovascular health with better quality breathing during exercise.
  • Training the chest muscles also develops the shoulder, tricep, and back muscles.
Athletic Insight

Athletic Insight Research

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

The Athletic Insight Research team consists of a dedicated team of researchers, Doctors, Registered Dieticians, nationally certified nutritionists and personal trainers. Our team members hold prestigious accolades within their discipline(s) of expertise, as well as nationally recognized certifications. These include; National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer (NASM-CPT), American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA-CPT), National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Nutrition Coach (NASM-CNC), International Sports Sciences Association Nutritionist Certification.