The chest is made up of two sets of muscles. The larger, pork chop-shaped muscles are known as the pectoralis major muscles. The smaller pectoralis minor muscles are located underneath the pectoralis majors. To create a more lean and defined chest, you need targeted exercises for these muscles. Resistance training is best for creating definition, and there are a few strength-training exercises in particular that will help you get the best results.
Do the Dip
The cable chest dip exercise targets the pectoralis major muscles, helping you build muscle in your chest. Standing between wide dip bars with the belt wrapped snugly around your waist, attach the pulley onto a low setting and grasp onto the handles with an overhand grip. With your knees and hips slightly bent, raise yourself up off the ground and cross one foot over the other. Slowly lower yourself down by bending your arms out to the sides, just until you feel a slight stretching in your chest, then push yourself back up for one rep. Do three sets of 12 reps.
Bench Press for Big Results
To get muscle gains in your chest, include the bench press as part of your workout. It works the muscles in your chest and the deltoid muscles in your shoulders. Lie with your back flat on a weight bench, your legs on a right angle with your feet planted firmly on the floor. With the stirrups at each side of you, grasp onto the handles and push up on the stirrups, raising your hands over your shoulders and extending your arms until they're completely straight. Return to your starting position. Do three sets of 12 reps.
Try the Fly for Lean Muscle Mass
The dumbbell decline fly is an isolated exercise that directly targets the pectoralis major muscles. Lie flat on a decline bench, feet flat on the foot pad and your arms slightly bent and positioned over your chest, a dumbbell on each side with your palms facing in. In a slow, controlled motion, simultaneously move your arms out to the sides until you feel stretching in your chest. Return to your starting position and continue for a total of three sets of 12 to 15 reps.
Pushup on a Stability Ball
Pushups are excellent for toning and strengthening the chest and shoulders. Add in a stability ball for greater resistance, and you increase the benefits of this exercise. Balance on all fours, your hands flat on top of a stability ball, your body straight, angled, standing on the balls of your feet. Engage your core and drop your torso down closer to the ball, squeezing the ball with your hands for added stability. Return to your starting position. Complete three sets of 12 reps.
Stretching After Your Workout
Performing stretches after a workout is always important, giving your body time to cool down and preventing muscle soreness and stiffness the next day. Stick to dynamic stretches which are most effective post-workout because they help to improve flexibility and relax the muscles. For the chest, include stretches like the doorway stretch, lying shoulder girdle, and straight arm chest stretch.
Don't Forget to Include the Rest
Even though you're focused on building a lean chest, don't forget to regularly work out the rest of your body too. Focusing on only one area can lead to health issues such as strength imbalances and postural difficulties, warns the American Council on Exercise. To avoid this, include exercises for all of the major muscle groups in your body in your total workout plan.