Chest. Pecs. Boobies. Chesticles. Breasticles. Whatever nickname you want to allocate them in the gym, the anatomical name is ‘Pectoralis Major and Pectoralis Minor’ and this remains the same whether you are male, female or gender fluid. That being said, they are a major muscle group in the body and therefore, should definitely be trained in conjunction with the rest of the body regardless.
So, let’s get the big question out of the way first:
Q: Should girls be training their chest?
That being said, lets bust a few myths and highlight some of the very important reasons that women should in fact be incorporating chest exercises into their workouts.
- Training chest is just for boys.
Well, we already blew that one out of the water. But to reiterate, Chest muscles are a major muscle group in the body and therefore, should be a be a prioritised component of your workout regime regardless of your gender.
- My boobs will get smaller and turn square.
If you read my last blog all about ‘Chest Day for Girls’ then you will know that this was my initial attitude towards training chest. I mean, these two little mosquito bites on my chest barely pass as boobs sometimes, I definitely do not want them to get any smaller or square for that matter.
What a silly thought process though hey! Especially given that training chest does exactly the opposite. If you are training a muscle, what usually happens to that muscle? It tends to get bigger.
Lets also not forget that adding muscle does not necessarily mean the reduction of other tissue. In fact, doing so in the chest area will result in lifting the tissue and pushing it forward which will give the illusion of bigger boobs. Think of it as a non-surgical, subtle, breast augmentation.
So, training chest actually results in a bigger chest, perkier chest not a smaller one!
Believe it or not, our chest muscles contribute towards many of our upper body movements i.e. everything that is a ‘push’ action will be triggered with our chest muscles. Increasing our chest strength means that every day activities could become a lot easier i.e. not looking like such a weakling when opening a heavy door is a bonus (Trafford Centre I’m looking at you for this one! Forever making me look so weak!) or carrying shopping bags I know we are all guilty of not wanting to do more than one trip from the car boot to the house!.
Not only that but other elements of our exercise routines will greatly benefit from chest workouts. Shoulders for example are one that will directly benefit, increasing chest strength will assist with lifting heavier weights when it comes to shoulder activity meaning that we are able to increase the results of other workouts too.
This is one that very often gets overlooked/people don’t really pay too much attention to for lack of caring but believe me, when you are beginning to resemble the Hunchback of Notre Dame, you’ll feel very differently. The problem is by this point, much of your training will then consist of correctional exercises. Remember folks, prevention is better than cure.
The postural element of training is of particular importance to those of us that spend all day sat working at a computer or driving a vehicle as this means we spend most of the time slouched over, arms stretched out in front of us thus, increasing the length of the back muscles and shortening of our chest muscles. This in balance will cause immeasurable problems as it significantly effects the ability to function. It wont matter how strong or weak you are, if muscles are too short and tight then cannot perform effectively and as we mentioned above, our chest muscles have more involvement on our general day to day activities that we realise.
I know many of us train so that we can sculpt the body of our dreams but I sincerely doubt that anybody has the goal of creating an image of an inverted chest, scraggly chest with a rounded muscular back.
Again, another overlooked benefit of chest training. It should come as no surprise that, if trained correctly, and as posture improves, it will cause the chest to lift and open up. Which allows for more efficient, easier functioning of our organs particularly our lungs. You may be surprised to hear that the pectoralis minor is active throughout every inhaling motion, stretching to allow full expansion of the ribcage and thus maximum oxygen intake of the lungs. If the muscle becomes shortened or weak for any reason, this has a direct effect on the efficiency of our lungs, breathing will become shallow and thus effecting every other bodily process and function.
Hopefully, you are now converted and agree that ‘chest day’ is not a day reserved only for our gym bro counterparts.
In the next post, I will be giving you some of my favourite chest day exercises (or booby days as I like to call them) so keep your eyes peeled for that. In the meantime, if you just cannot wait to get going, check out my Instagram @contourallure as there are a couple of chest workout videos on there that you are welcome to try.