A powerful-looking upper body starts with a chiseled chest, and there’s no better way to achieve it (yes, for you too, ladies!) than with these must-do chest exercises. Do not fall pray to the trap of neglecting your chest muscles. The muscles in your chest may be smaller and less popular than some of our other, more-preferred muscle groups to work (ahem, glutes, biceps, abs), but they’re absolutely essential if you want a well-balanced physique.

Try incorporating these chest exercises into your routine to strengthen and shape your pecs.

1. Incline Push-Up
Warm up your chest by starting with an incline push-up to engage the muscles. Grab a chair or place your hands on a bench to begin.

Find a bench and place your hands at the edge in a push-up
Assume the plank position with legs extended and feet to the floor
Focus on lowering your chest (slow and steady) then returning to the top
Finish up by completing three sets of 12 reps
Now that your lower chest is nice and warm, get ready to strengthen with weights.

2. Twisting Dumbbell Bench Press
Grab your dumbbells and head back to the bench for a press — with a twist. That is, twist the weights as you press the dumbbells to the top.

Lie with your back to the bench
Take your dumbbells in either hand at chest level (overhand/shoulder width)
Press the dumbbells away from your chest, and extend your arms
Turn your hands as you reach for the top of the motion (palms facing inward)
Release and repeat for three sets of eight reps
After completing the twisting dumbbell press, set the bench to 45 degrees for a decline press.

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3. Decline Dumbbell Bench Press
Move onto a decline dumbbell bench press to engage your chest muscles through angle and weight resistance.

Start by adjusting the bench to a 45 degree decline in relation to the floor
Take your dumbbells in either hand at chest level (overhand/shoulder width)
Now push the weight away from your chest perpendicular to the floor
Release easy, and repeat for three sets of eight reps
If you have a cable machine or there’s one at the gym, be sure not to skip cable cross-over 21s.

4. Cable Cross-Over 21s
The next exercise of cable cross-overs really helps target the chest by changing up the arm position from low to high with a set for each.

Start by heading to the cable machine
Grab a cable in both hands and adjust the weight
Now stand far enough from the machine to pull at the top
First position: with hands lowered (palms up), pull and cross your hands
Continue this motion for one set of seven reps, then move onto the second position
Second position: with hands in the middle (palms facing), pull and cross your hands
Continue this motion for one set of seven reps, then move onto the third position
Third position: with hands high (palms down/chest level), pull and cross your hands
Finish up with this motion for one set of seven reps
Move onto a set of kettlebell flies from the bench for a tougher grip that works your lower chest.

5. Kettlebell Flys
Since kettlebells are difficult to balance, your chest has to work that much harder to complete this movement properly — and that means more toning.

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Start by lying on your back on a bench
Take the kettlebells in either hand and extend the arms (overhand/thumb wrapping to secure)
With your hands starting at the top (palms facing) lower the kettlebells to either side
Now fly forward by lifting them back up to the top and pulling from the chest
Finish the exercise by completing three sets of eight reps
Finish up the lower chest exercise routine by grabbing a partner for incline dips. Don’t forget to release the tension with a standing wall pec stretch or by pressing your hands out to your sides with your fingers to the sky.

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