Wednesday, September 28, 2011

10 ways to boost your bust

If you’re wanting stronger, perkier pecs, PT Katy Ferguson shows you the top 10 workouts for a better bust, no surgery required!

Your breasts are made up of two major muscles – the Pectoralis Major and Pectoralis Minor as well as many smaller muscles. These muscles lie underneath the breast tissue and on the breastbone, and connect to the humerus (the arm bone closest to your shoulder joint).

Your chest plays a major part in helping to bring your arms across your body and your shoulders forward.

These exercises target your upper, middle or lower chest muscles and therefore result in a firmer bust, just in time for summer!

1. Push-up

Lie on your stomach, place hands flat on the ground next to your arm pits and push yourself up so your elbows are slightly bent. Now bend legs at the knees. Bring your feet up and cross at the ankle. Make sure you keep your stomach tensed, slowly lower your chest to the ground in three or four counts, then push yourself back up again. Repeat as many times as you can.

Why it works

A push-up is a great compound exercise that not only works your chest but also your shoulder, back and core muscles. It can be done at home or in the gym and is easy to progress. Just switch your knees to your toes for a harder workout, or take it to the next level by placing your legs on a stability ball.

2. Bench press

Lie with the middle of your  back on top of a stability ball  and make sure your shoulder blades have room to move. Your knees should be bent at a 90-degree angle. Hold dumbbells next to your arm pits with knuckles facing forward. Count to three as you push the weights up away from your chest, until your arms are almost straight above you. Slowly lower back to starting position using the same number of counts.

Why it works

This exercise works not only your chest muscles but your triceps too. The unstable surface of a stability ball also works your core muscles and helps to improve balance and co-ordination.

3. Tricep dips

Sit on a chair or bench and place hands by your sides facing forward and your legs stretched out. Keep hands where they are and lift yourself off the bench. Slowly lower yourself to the floor in three or four counts by bending elbows. Use the same number of counts to return to starting position.

Why it works

While this exercise does focus on your triceps, it is actually a great exercise for your pecs too. This is an excellent way to get your arms and chest toned in time for summer.

4. Medicine ball slams

Hold a medicine ball with both hands. Lift it above your head, keep feet hip-width apart and knees slightly bend. Now try to slam the ball onto the floor as hard as you can. Pick it up and do three sets of 20.

Why it works

You will find this move works your chest during the ‘slamming’ motion. The harder you slam, the harder your muscles will work. This exercise also targets your shoulders, arms and leg muscles as well. It has cardio benefits and will leave you feeling exhausted.

5. Dumbbell flyes

Lie in the same position as you would for a bench press. Instead this time, place both hands above your chest with arms straight, elbows slightly bent and knuckles facing out to the side. Open arms out wide and lower until elbows are in line with your shoulders taking three or four counts. Bring back to starting position using the same amount of counts.

Why it works

Flyes are different to a bench press because it is an isolated movement, which means you are using just one joint to work your muscle.

6. Burpees

Do a push-up. Once completed, keep your hands on the ground and jump your legs forward so you are standing in a bent over position. Lift hands off the ground and jump into the air as high as you can. Now bend over again, place hands flat on the floor and jump feet back into a push- up position. Repeat four sets of 20 with 30 seconds break in between each set.

Why it works

This exercise uses your pecs during the push-up phase and also while helping to stabilise
your body before you jump into the air. It also works your shoulders and arms and is a great cardio exercise.

7. Medicine ball push-ups

Start in a push-up position, instead this time place both hands on top of a medicine ball. Slowly lower into push-up in four counts, keep abs braced, and push back into starting position. Now remove your right hand and place it on the floor in line with the ball so hands are about half a metre apart. Do another push-up. Return your hand to the ball. Do another push up. Move left hand out to the side and do another push up. Continue this 10 to 20 times and do three to four sets.

Why it works

Incorporating an uneven surface like the medicine ball helps increase your balance and core stability.

8. Straight arm pull over

Lie across a stability ball with only your upper back resting on the ball. Place feet flat on the floor with knees in a 90-degree angle. Hold dumbbells together with both hands and hold above your head with straight arms. Keep arms in starting position and lower dumbbells behind, using only your shoulder joint as far as possible. Slowly return to starting position.

Why it works

This isolation exercise focuses on your chest muscles without the help from other major muscle groups. To further challenge your core muscles, put your feet and knees closer together.

9. Isometric chest contractions

Stand straight with your knees slightly bent. Grab each end of a towel and hold it straight out in front of you at shoulder level. Now pull the towel at opposite ends at the same time, using small pulsing motions. Try to keep the towel taut in between pulses. Continue for one minute, repeat three times.

Why it works

This exercise requires your muscles to contract without any change in the length of the muscle; therefore it helps to tone without the muscle growing in size.

10. Straight arm cross overs

Lie on back with knees bent. Hold arms straight up above your chest in line with your shoulders, and point fingers to the sky. Squeeze fingers together and tense your arms and chest. Now slowly move hands and arms towards each other so your hands cross over. Open arms and switch so the opposite hand is in front this time. Continue this motion, and once you get the hang of it, do it as fast as you can for one minute.

Why it works

This exercise is a great way to wrap up a chest workout or to do on its own. The muscles are working hard but without the resistance of a weight.

A few things to remember
  • Don’t forget to stretch after each exercise – hold each stretch for at least 20 to 30 seconds.
  • Stand straight with knees bend. Extend arms behind your back and link fingers. Lift both arms as high above your back as possible.
  • Place one palm on a wall with arm straight. Twist upper body away from arm. You should feel a stretch in one side of your chest. Swap sides.
  • Do incorporate upper-back exercises to prevent a hunched look and to improve posture.

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