One of the best ways to lose fat on any part of your body is to gain muscle. The more muscle mass you have, the more calories you burn throughout the day. Even in women, the chest consists of large muscles. Strengthening these muscles will add to your body's fat-burning power, even when you are at rest. Add chest workouts to your regular exercise routine on three nonconsecutive days a week to tighten your muscles and help shed those extra pounds.
The bench press engages every single muscle of the chest as well as the anterior shoulders and the triceps. Lie face up on a barbell bench with a 10 to 12 pound barbell in the rack. Your bottom should be on the bench and your flat feet on the floor. Hold the barbell with your hands shoulder-width apart. Lift the barbell off of the rack and hold it above your chest with your arms extended. Exhale and pull your belly button into your spine. Slowly bend your elbows to lower the bar to your chest as you inhale. Exhale as you press the bar back up until your arms are extended. Do two to three sets of eight to 12 repetitions. You can also do this exercise on an incline bench to work your upper chest more intensely, or on a decline bench to target your lower chest.
The dumbbell fly targets the pectoralis major, which can help lessen the appearance of that little bump of fat women get where their armpits meet their breasts. Lie on a narrow exercise bench. Hold a 2.5 to 5 pound dumbbell in each hand with your arms extended and your palms facing each other. Keep your elbows slightly bent. Tighten your core and inhale as you slowly open your arms until they are horizontal. Make sure you keep your elbows bent a little. Exhale as you return to the starting position. Don't let your back arch. Do two to three sets of eight to 12 repetitions. To prevent tearing your pectoral muscles, never use heavy weights for this exercise.
Lying Dumbbell Pull-Over
The dumbbell pull-over works the bulk of the pectoralis major as well as the triceps and portions of the back. This slims and shapes your upper arms and helps lessen the appearance of back fat. Lie on a bench with your feet flat on the floor and your head at the end of the bench. Hold one 5 to 10 pound dumbbell straight above your chest in both hands.Tighten your belly and inhale as you slowly bend your arms and lower the dumbbell behind your head. Exhale as you focus on using your chest and abdomen to pull the weight back up to the starting position. Do two to three sets of eight to 12 repetitions.
The push-up is a classic exercise used in the military and gym classes to test muscular strength and endurance, but it's also a great way to sculpt your upper arms, shoulders and chest to show them off in a strapless dress. Push-ups also help trim your tummy and waist. Lie face down with your legs straight. Place your palms just under your shoulders. Inhale, tighten your belly and then exhale as you straighten your arms. Lower yourself almost to the floor and repeat. Keep your back straight and your belly tight. If this is too hard, rest your weight on your knees and only push your upper body off of the floor. Do three sets of 15 to 20 repetitions.
- "Strength Training Anatomy, Second Edition"; Frederic Delavier; 2006
- American Council on Exercise: Lying Dumbbell Pullovers
- Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images
This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.