The chest area is one of the easist muscle groups for beginning bodybuilders to strengthen and develop. It consists of a large muscle (pectoralis major) to either side of the breastbone and a smaller muscle (pectoralis minor) underneath. The pecs are relatively easy to develop in the early stages simply because they can be trained intensively although care needs to be taken to work them from different angles to ensure full development.
For beginners, three safe but effective exercises are recommended:
1. Incline dumbbell press – 3 sets of 10-15 reps. When you feel comfortable with the mechanics involved in this exercise you can move on to using a barbell instead, remembering to maintain proper form.
2. Incline dumbbell flyes – 3 sets of 10-15 reps. Done properly, this exercise is good for inner and outer pecs.
3. Push-ups – 3 sets of 10-15 reps. Keep your body straight from head to knees and lower your body until your arms form right angles. Done properly, the old fashioned push-up still offers benefits to the chest muscles.
As with all exercises you need to take care in scheduling specific body parts. To begin with you should incorporate your chest exercises into a program similar to the one suggested below:
Day 1: Biceps, Back, Abs
Day 2: Hamstrings, Shoulders, Abs
Day 3: Quads, Forearms, Calves
Day 4: Triceps, Chest, Abs
For the first couple of weeks complete one set but then add one set each week to a maximum of three. At the end of three months you will be ready to move on to more intensive intermediate level exercises.