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Upper Body Exercises to Trim Inches Off Your Chest

by
author image Kay Tang
Kay Tang is a journalist who has been writing since 1990. She previously covered developments in theater for the "Dramatists Guild Quarterly." Tang graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in economics and political science from Yale University and completed a Master of Professional Studies in interactive telecommunications at New York University.
Upper Body Exercises to Trim Inches Off Your Chest
A woman is strength training. Photo Credit tolstnev/iStock/Getty Images

Follow a combined program of exercise and a nutrition plan to shed excess fat from your chest. While strengthening exercises can firm your chest muscles, or pectorals, you’ll need to reduce overall caloric intake. In addition, spot reducing is myth. You can’t target your chest for weight loss. A regular workout regimen that includes both resistance exercises and upper body aerobic workouts can help to condition your upper body, boost your metabolism and burn fat.

Envision a Marine

A pound of fat takes up 20 percent more space than a pound of muscle, according to “The Men's Health Big Book of 15-Minute Workouts” by Selene Yeager. Various resistance exercises for the chest, such as the chest press, flyes and crossovers, can firm your pectorals and help to manage weight loss. To achieve the lean and sleek upper body of a Marine, do the one exercise that the military relies on for training and punishment – pushups. For example, begin by lying face-down on the ground. Position your hands slightly wider than shoulder width apart. Extend your legs with your weight on your toes. Exhale and push your body up until your arms are fully extended, elbows kept soft. Inhale and lower to starting position. Aim to complete 20 reps for five sets. If you grow fatigued during a set, finish the reps with the modified version in which you push up from your knees.

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Tap the Power of Plyo

Plyometrics is a training method that uses the stretch-shortening properties of your muscles to build explosive power. Once you have a base of strength from resistance exercises, you can perform plyometric workouts for your upper body, which typically involve throwing a medicine ball and are more intense. Various upper body plyo exercises with the ball include overhead throws, slams, scoop tosses and backward throws in which you toss the ball over your shoulder and behind you. You can also turn a standard pushup into a plyo pushup by explosively pushing your body up so your hands lift off the ground. Clap your hands before you return to the push-up position.

Do a Circuit for Fat Burn

An upper body circuit in which you perform an exercise for 30 seconds and rest for 15 seconds will tax your cardiovascular system to a greater degree than doing a resistance exercise for 15 seconds with 30-second rest intervals, according to “Strength Band Training” by Phillip Page and Todd Ellenbecker. While varying the exercises can give different muscle groups a rest, changing the order of the exercises can continually challenge your upper body. For example, set up stations for an upper body circuit consisting of a lateral pull-down, biceps curl, seated row, chest press and internal and external shoulder rotations, or different shoulder raises or presses. Perform at least15 reps of each exercise, resting 15 to 20 seconds between each station. Proceed through the entire circuit and repeat. This repetition range is more for endurance than for strength or mass gains.

Trim with Cardio

If your objective is weight loss and trimming chest flab, add at least two aerobic workouts per week to an upper body strengthening regimen. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, adults should do at least two and half hours of moderately intense aerobic exercise per week. In contrast to treadmills or stair steppers, which focus work on the lower body, perform total body activities, such as swimming or rowing. Rowing involves the all of the main muscle groups and will crank up your metabolism within 10 minutes. Another option is to do a workout on elliptical machine in which you concentrate on your arm pump for two minutes and then switch your focus to leg movements for three minutes.

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