10 Best Chest Exercises for Strength Training

Quarantine is almost over, and that means you’re running out of excuses for not working out. If you’re like most people during the pandemic craziness, you lost some of that muscle mass that you worked so hard to build up. But your rest days are over: it’s time to start pumping some iron.

The great thing about strength training is that you jump right into it, even if you’ve never lifted a dumbbell in your entire life. And with the flexibility of the Gorilla Bow, you can start off slow, increase your resistance as you improve over time, and still never have to go out and buy a new set of weights. 

An important note for all of these exercises: know the difference between toning your muscles and building strength. If you’re looking to tone your muscles for more pronounced features, use lower weights with more repetition. But, if you’re looking to bulk up, lower the reps and hike up the weight.

Now, let’s get to work. Here are some of the best exercises for getting some muscle gains.

A Little Arms Won’t Do No Harm

Your biceps are the muscles on your arms in between your elbow and shoulder. It’s the mountain you get to marvel at every time you flex in the mirror. This is one of the most satisfying muscles to work out, and here are some exercises to see results in no time at all.

But you can’t forget about your triceps right on the other side. Having thick, toned, buff arms is an essential way to make yourself feel and look in the best shape of your life.

1. Bicep Curl

It’s one of the most basic exercises that you probably learned in gym class, but there’s a good reason why the bicep curl is a staple of any arm day. Here’s how to maximize your curls:

  1. Get yourself into a nice lifting stance with your feet shoulder-width apart. If you’re using the Gorilla Bow, stand on the resistance band and hold the bar in your hands.
  2. Keep your chest straight with your shoulders back, and elbows bent, then curl your arms, bringing the weight or bar to your chest.
  3. Slowly bring the bar back down to your waist. 
  4. Repeat.

Bicep curls are one of the best arm exercises for toning your arms because it not only works the muscles on your upper arm, but it also works the muscles on your lower arm -- the brachioradialis. Your lower arm often gets forgotten, so this can give it some love.

2. Decline Press

Now that your biceps are bulging, it’s time to try the tris. Decline presses are fantastic workouts for your triceps, especially because they can work your back and shoulder muscles as well. You’ll need to use a tricep press machine to complete this workout unless you’ve got your Gorilla Bow handy.

Here’s how it’s done:

  1. Secure the resistance band of your Gorilla Bow on the area on the back of your neck with the included pad.
  2. With hands shoulder-width apart, press down at about a 30 to 45-degree angle, ensuring that you slowly bring your arms back to your chest.
  3. Repeat.

This is a great workout for toning and building your triceps, but it’s a great workout for your back as well. Increase the weight to your liking to really bulk up your arms entirely.

Shoulders the Size of Boulders

No total body workout is complete without some action on the shoulders. Buff and bulky shoulders are one of the first features you notice about someone. Let all of your friends know that this guy lifts.

3. Shoulder Press

Exercises with heavy pushing motions are what you need to bulk and tone your shoulders. And the shoulder press does just that.

To do a shoulder press:

  1. Feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Starting with your elbows bent and the weights above your chest, lift the weights or Gorilla Bow up above your head, straightening until your elbows are only slightly bent. Keep your chest outward and your spine straight.
  3. Slowly bring back down to starting position.
  4. For an added challenge: Drop it down to your knees while using the Gorilla Bow, kneeling on the band. Keep the same upper body movement.

You can also add more weight or resistance to make this move a bit harder, but don’t be fooled. Shoulder presses are much more difficult than they look. Correct form is always more important than more weight, so there’s no shame in dropping it down so you can keep that back in check.

Make Your Chest the Best

Have you ever seen a bodybuilder pop their pecs up and down? There’s really no practical reason to need to do that, but it’s a testament that your strength regimen is working. If you’re ready to check those pecs, here are some exercises.

4. Incline Press

Take a normal chest press to the next level by incorporating your Gorilla Bow into this chest exercise that also works your back and shoulders.

To do an incline press:

  1. Sit on the floor with the Gorilla Bow securely underneath you. Keep your knees slightly bent with your core at a 45-degree angle.
  2. Starting at your chest, push the bow upwards, squeezing your pectoral muscles at the apex. Slowly bring it back down.
  3. Repeat.

Just because you get to sit down doesn’t mean you’ll be resting. This is a challenging exercise that will sculpt your chest and build up a sweat.

5. Chest Flys

This is another workout that you usually need a special machine to complete, but the Gorilla Bow makes it easy.

To do a chest fly:

  1. Hold the bow by the resistance bands, wider than your shoulders.
  2. Bring your hands together until they are shoulder-width apart, focusing on squeezing your chest muscles.
  3. Slowly return to the starting position.
  4. Repeat

This exercise also works out a little bit of your tris. You can make your arms slightly wider for some added resistance and some added tricep action.

Back Attack

The back is a very underrated part of the body, and having some strong, pronounced traps and  delts is an impressive feat. Here are some ways to obtain that bodybuilder look.

6. Lat Pull Down

Lateral pull-downs are easy to perfect but still pretty challenging to accomplish. You’ll feel this workout in your back almost immediately.

To do a lat pull down with the Gorilla Bow:

  1. Find a sturdy place where you can hang your Gorilla Bow, like a tree branch or a pole, about three to four feet from the top of your head.
  2. Kneel down and pull the bow down to your chest, keeping your arms bent at 90-degree angles with your shoulders.
  3. Gently raise back up to starting position.
  4. Repeat

If you don’t have access to a place where you can hang the bow, you can work similar muscle groups with other exercises, such as:

7. Bent Over Row

Bent over rows can be done with dumbbells or your Gorilla Bow, and they don’t require too much space. However, they’ll still get your back and shoulders in good shape.

Bent over rows work like this:

  1. Feet shoulder-width apart. If using a bow, stand on the resistance bands.
  2. Bend your knees slightly and tilt your hips so that your chest and core are at a 45-degree angle with the ground. Keep your spine straight.
  3. Pull the weights or bow as close to your stomach as you can. Slowly bring it back down to starting position.
  4. Repeat.

You can also do this same thing while seated if you put the bands on the bottom of your feet. Just be careful it doesn’t snap back and hit you in the face.

Getting More Out of Your Core

Getting chiseled abs isn’t just about looking good. Core conditioning can improve posture and even boost the effectiveness of other workouts. Here’s one that will really take your resistance training up a notch.

8. Pike Crunch

Crunches and sit-ups by themselves are classics for strengthening your core, but let’s make things even more challenging by incorporating some resistance.

To do a weighted pike crunch:

  1. Lay on the floor with your knees bent, just like you’re doing a crunch. Place the resistance band portion of your bow underneath your waist.
  2. Hold the bar outward right in front of you, pushing it slightly upward as you come into a sit-up position.
  3. Slowly lower yourself back to the floor.
  4. Repeat.

There’s nothing more satisfying than some burning abs, and trust us, these will set them on fire.

Love for the Legs

When we say “don’t skip leg day,” we really mean it. Working your legs is essential to reduce injury and keep you from looking a little top-heavy.

9. Squats

Let’s get those quads pumping with a classic squat. You can do these without weight, but we recommend adding some weight or resistance for full effect.

To do a squat.

  1. Feet shoulder-width apart. You know the drill.
  2. Bring the bow or weights up to your chest, keeping your elbows fully bent.
  3. Come down, bending your knees and squeezing your glutes. Try not to bend your back.
  4. For an added challenge: Incorporate a thrusting motion when you come up from the  squat to incorporate a bit of power. Ditch the bands or weights and throw in a jump for some great cardio.

10. Calf Raises

Rounding out your full body exercise, let’s work on toning the back of your legs and bulking up those calf muscles.

To do a weighted calf raise:

  1. Feet shoulder-width apart. Hold the free weights at your side, or stand on the resistance band and drape the Gorilla Bow’s bar, so it’s situated on the back of your shoulders, behind the neck.
  2. Standing straight, lift your calves and stand on your toes, holding for a second or two before slowly dropping down.
  3. Repeat.

Calf raise too easy? Increase the resistance or add some more weight.

The Cool Down

When it comes to strength training, it’s important to remember that it’s a total body experience. You can’t just work your arms or your chest and expect to see the results you want. All of these exercises can be used to enhance your physique from head to toe.

For even more workouts and guided classes, sign up for a Gorilla Bow All-Access Membership. You’ll get access to our full library or classes, unlimited access to live classes, and more health and wellness tips. It’s like having your own conditioning coach on-call anytime, anywhere.

 

Sources:

Previous post Toning vs. Bulking Up: What's The Difference? | NASM

Anatomy, Shoulder and Upper Limb, Forearm Brachioradialis Muscle | NCBI

Core conditioning — It's not just about abs | Harvard Health

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