Want to change your chest day routine? Try targeting other muscles in your torso as well. “If you’re training your chest, your abs will usually work,” says Julia Buckley, author of CPT Fat Burn Revolution. Because when you’re doing exercises like push-ups, squats, deadlifts, and pull-ups, your abs should be engaged to maintain proper posture.
So why not save time with a chest and abs workout that strengthens both muscle groups at the same time? The easy-to-follow exercises below combine some of the best chest exercises with moves that get your heart pumping And Your main goal. Paul Searles, CSCS, of the New York Sports Science Lab, said such compound exercises “demand a tremendous amount of core strength to maintain proper body position.”
Best of all, you can do these exercises using only your body weight and dumbbells, so they’re the perfect addition to a home workout routine.
1. Wide-arm pushups
- Start in a wide-grip push-up position, keeping your arms straight and your hands more than shoulder-width apart.
- Keeping your core and your body straight from head to heels, bend your elbows and lower your chest to the floor as much as possible.
- Press your body back to the starting position and repeat for the prescribed number of repetitions.
2. Chest fly for leg raise
- Lie on the floor and hold a pair of dumbbells directly above your chest, palms facing forward and arms slightly bent. Extend your legs straight towards the ceiling.
- With your legs straight and your lower back pressed into the floor, lower your arms by your sides and lower your feet toward the floor (but don’t let your heels touch the floor).
- Bring your arms and legs back to return to your starting position, reversing the move.
3. Plank Jack
- Start in high plank position with your wrists under your shoulders and your wrists in a straight line from your head to your heels.
- Jump both feet to the side, and then back together. Keep your hips stable – try not to let them drop or lift.
4. Cable chest fly
- Set pins on a dual-cable machine at chest height and stand between both stacks. Grab the handles.
- Extend your arms by your sides with your palms facing forward and take a step or two forward to create tension on the cable, keeping your chest up and core engaged. Stand with one foot in front of the other.
- Bend your elbows slightly, making sure not to let them travel behind your shoulders. This position begins.
- Bring your hands toward each other, tracing a wide arc in front of you. Pause as they touch before slowly returning to the starting position. Change leg position with each set.
5. Inchworm pushups
- Stand with your feet hip-distance apart and your arms by your sides.
- Tie your core. Keeping your back flat, lean forward at your hips and place both your palms on the floor. (If necessary, bend your knees enough to touch the floor with your palms.)
- Walk your arms forward until you’re in a high plank position, with your wrists directly under your shoulders and your body straight from head to heels.
- Lower your torso until your chest is within a few inches of the floor and then push back. (If necessary, do push-ups from your knees, then return to high plank position.)
- Return your hands to your feet and return to a standing position.
6. Dumbbell reverse chop
- Stand with your feet shoulder-distance apart. Hold a heavy dumbbell in front of you at arm’s length, with one hand on each end of the dumbbell. Keep your back flat and core braced.
- Bend your knees and rotate to your right, lowering the dumbbell to the outside of your right knee.
- In an explosive movement, stand back and rotate to the left, pivoting your right leg while swinging the weight over your left shoulder.
- Reverse the movement to return to the starting position.
- Complete your repetitions on one side, then repeat on the other side.
7. Hollow Hold
- Lie on your back and lift your arms and legs straight up towards the ceiling.
- Engage your core, press your lower back into the floor and slowly begin to lower your legs down and your arms down. Bend the bottom of your feet as far as possible without coming off the floor, aiming for a “hollow” position that resembles a boat.
- Avoid letting your lower back lift off the floor. If this happens, return to your starting position and don’t descend too far.
8. Single-arm dumbbell chest press
- Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Press your head, upper back and butt into the floor.
- Hold a dumbbell in your right hand, directly above your chest, palm facing forward.
- Keeping your elbows close to your body, slowly lower the dumbbell to the side of your chest.
- Pause, and then push the weight back to the starting position.
- After you finish your repetition, repeat to the left.
How often should I workout my chest and abs?
Buckley recommends adding exercises that involve your chest and ab muscles to your workout three times a week. If that’s not possible, find what fits into your workout schedule.
“The most important thing is to be consistent with your training,” says Searles.
Beginners can start with one set, working up to three sets per workout. Buckley recommends about 10 to 15 reps per set — and using moderate to heavy weights to gain strength.