zig
0

Notifications

  • You're all caught up!

The Advantages of Having Strong Pecs

by
author image Andrea Cespedes
Andrea Cespedes is a professionally trained chef who has focused studies in nutrition. With more than 20 years of experience in the fitness industry, she coaches cycling and running and teaches Pilates and yoga. She is an American Council on Exercise-certified personal trainer, RYT-200 and has degrees from Princeton and Columbia University.
The Advantages of Having Strong Pecs
Strong pecs aren't just for looks. Photo Credit DeanDrobot/iStock/Getty Images

Strong pecs feature prominently in firemen's calendars and on fitness magazine covers, but they're more than just pretty to view. Both men and women benefit functionally from building up the muscles of the chest.

What are the Pecs?

The pecs refer to the primary muscles of the chest, the pectoralis major and pectoralis minor. The pectoralis major is the large, fan-shaped muscle that comprises most of the chest wall. In addition to keeping your arm attached to your body, the muscle is responsible for flapping, pressing and lifting actions. The pectoralis minor is considerably smaller and flatter; it lies underneath the pec major and is intrinsic to functioning of the shoulder.

Improved Posture

Strong pecs encourage you to stand tall to show off sculpted muscles. For women, strong pecs add height to the chest wall, lifting otherwise droopy breasts.

Be careful, however. Strengthening the chest at the expense of other upper body muscles can leave you slouched forward. Tight pec muscles may give you the appearance of a rounded back.

To benefit the most from your strong pecs, ensure you also have a strong back -- particularly the muscles of the posterior deltoids, which is the back of the shoulders -- and upper back, including the trapezius and rhomboids. For every chest-strengthening move you do, plan to include a rowing-type action. Therefore, if you complete three chest exercises on Monday -- such as the bench press, dumbbell flyes and push-ups -- plan to do bent over rows, rear deltoid flyes and pullovers on Tuesday for a back workout. Alternately, do a total upper-body workout that includes an equal number of moves for the chest and back.

A full upper-body workout includes chest and back exercises.
A full upper-body workout includes chest and back exercises. Photo Credit targovcom/iStock/Getty Images

Stretching your chest is also essential in keeping it supple enough to show off. Cobra pose and a doorway stretch are two ways to loosen up your pecs after a workout.

Read More: Stretches for Chest Tightness

Enhances Function

Strong pecs contribute to your overall upper body strength. They improve your ability to push things -- whether that's a heavy barbell, a couch or a stalled car.

Pecs, along with your shoulders, are also intrinsic in throwing and swinging actions. Strong pecs can help you in your weekly softball league, a weekend tennis game or when you hit the golf course with work buddies. Strong pecs help you win a friendly arm-wrestling match or lift a small child into your arms.

Win a match with strong pecs.
Win a match with strong pecs. Photo Credit bombuscreative/iStock/Getty Images

Appearance

Men who are hitting the pool on a hot day know the value of strong pecs. They look strong and confident, and may catch the eye of the opposite sex. A study published in Plos One in 2012 actually found that women's and men's perception of the ideal male body, designed using 3D computer modeling, includes a muscled, wide chest circumference that creates an overall V-shaped torso.

Work on your chest to improve your looks.
Work on your chest to improve your looks. Photo Credit zamuruev/iStock/Getty Images

The attractiveness of strong pecs on a woman shouldn't be ignored either. As mentioned before, upper-body strength can improve posture and lift the breasts. Curves are high on the list of attractive female features, according to the Plos One study.

Read More: 2 Workouts for a More Powerful Chest

LiveStrong Calorie Tracker
THE LIVESTRONG.COM MyPlate Nutrition, Workouts & Tips
GOAL
  • Gain 2 pounds per week
  • Gain 1.5 pounds per week
  • Gain 1 pound per week
  • Gain 0.5 pound per week
  • Maintain my current weight
  • Lose 0.5 pound per week
  • Lose 1 pound per week
  • Lose 1.5 pounds per week
  • Lose 2 pounds per week
GENDER
  • Female
  • Male
lbs.
ft. in.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

CURRENTLY TRENDING

Demand Media

Our Privacy Policy has been updated. Please take a moment and read it here.