In 2015, Gallup polls reported that 55.5 percent of all Americans exercised consistently every week, making for a seven-year high in stats. And while everyone has their own individual goals, it doesn't take an expert to know that body image is a huge driving factor behind keeping fit (but if you want an expert's opinion, take it from the same source that people who exercise most feel best about their looks).
When you've put the work in, the inclination to show off your results is only natural, whether you're competing in your first bodybuilding event or just flexing in the gym mirror when no one's looking. Traditionally, bodybuilders rely on 11 poses to show off their physiques — let's start with the three that put the pecs front and center.
Front Double Biceps
Though the name says "biceps," this bodybuilding classic also puts your best pecs forward. This is the double bicep pose that most people will go to first when they're playing charades and trying to make you guess "bodybuilder."
To do this pose, raise your arms so that your biceps are parallel to your shoulders and bent at your elbows, making fists that point inward toward your head. Give you arms enough height that you're able to flare out your lats (the muscles on the sides of your back), and make sure to allow yourself a bit of bend in the knees.
To draw attention to the chest, avoid shrugging your shoulders — keep them level instead. "Vacuum" your abs by sucking your stomach in to give your body a chest-focused "V" shape. Keep your chest up and engaged, with your elbows pointed just a bit forward to highlight the pecs and lats.
Here's one that's the perfect addition to your Incredible Hulk impression. The most muscular pose makes all the front-facing upper-body muscles pop, particularly your traps, arms and chest.
Start standing with your knees a bit bent and legs staggered; tighten your thighs to show off your leg muscles, too. Lean your torso slightly forward.
Bring your hands together your near your belly button — you might choose to make tight fists, clasp your fingers or grasp one wrist. As you bring your hands together, elbows bent, think of hugging a huge barrel and engage everything. Pop your biceps and forearms, tighten the abs and give your pecs a hearty squeeze.
Finally, it's your chest's big moment. It's all in the name for this one, which displays the side of your biceps and quads, but really draws attention to the pectorals.
Position your body so that your front leg faces your "audience" in a complete side view. Bend that leg at the knee as you flex your hamstrings so that only your toes touch the ground, while the rear leg is straight.
Without moving your legs, turn your head and torso toward that "audience" (imaginary or otherwise). Make your bicep pop by bending your front-facing arm 90 degrees at the elbow, pressing your bicep into your body. Now clasp the wrist of your front arm with your rear arm.
The arm position here encourages you to do exactly what you set out to do: Squeeze those pecs together. As you squeeze, focus on pulling your chest — not your shoulders — upward and your abs inward, arching your back a bit to put your pecs in the spotlight they deserve.