Exercises for the Chest and Pecs

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Building chest muscles through resistance training may help you get a chiseled chest. But it also will help you perform many everyday activities that become more difficult with age.

“Starting at age 50, and especially by the time you get to be 60 or 70, activities of daily living — carrying groceries or cutting the grass — are much more limited by loss of muscle strength than by cardiopulmonary problems,” says Michael J. Joyner, MD, a physiologist at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. “Many people that age can still walk three or four miles per hour, but 70% of 70-year-olds can’t get up off the floor. They’re not strong enough to do that.”

Building chest muscles protects against diabetes

Building chest muscles — and all other muscles — not only makes you stronger, it also improves your abdomen, and back — involves lifting a barbell from the floor, positioning it in front of your chest, and then lifting it over your head 8 to 12 times. When lifting the barbell from the floor, keep your back as straight as possible and lift with your legs. You can perform this same movement without the stress of lifting a barbell off the floor on several gym machines that allow you to sit comfortably, grip the handles, and lift.