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The chest region of the body is composed of two muscle groups -- pectoralis major and minor. In women, these muscles are covered by soft, fatty breast tissue and are frequently forgotten when strength training. While you can't tone adipose tissue -- the fat that makes up the breast -- you can develop the pectoralis muscles underneath. In addition to making you stronger, toning your pectoral muscles will give you a natural breast lift without cosmetic augmentation. If you are new to exercise, begin with light dumbbells -- 3 to 5 pounds -- and work your way up to heavier weights. You should be able to do at least six, but no more than 15 repetitions at a time. Consult your physician before beginning a fitness program.
Lie on your back with knees bent to a 90-degree angle and your feet flat on the floor. Hold one dumbbell in each hand.
Raise the dumbbells up in the air above your shoulders until your arms are nearly straight. Slowly lower the weights to the sides, but keep your arms slightly bent at the elbows.
Bring the dumbbells within a few inches of the ground, and then slowly raise them back up above your shoulders. Perform two to three sets of 12 to 15 repetitions.
Lie on the floor with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Hold one dumbbell in each hand with your palms facing the ceiling.
Start with the dumbbells on top of your chest a few inches apart. Press the weights straight up toward the ceiling until your arms are fully extended. Avoid arching your back during this exercise. If you are straining to lift the weights, the dumbbells are too heavy.
Lower the weights back to your chest to return to the start position. Perform two to three sets of 12 to 15 repetitions.
Perform the bench press at an incline or decline to isolate the upper and lower segments of the pectoral muscles.
Lie on an exercise ball while doing dumbbell flyes. You will likely have to use lighter weights due to the instability of the ball. However, keeping your balance will give your core muscles a workout.
Perform dumbbell flyes on an incline bench. The angled seat will keep your back from arching, and you'll challenge the shoulders in addition to the pectoral muscles.
- Spend 10 to 15 minutes doing an aerobic warm up and stretch before you strength train. Cool down and stretch again when you are finished to avoid injury.
- Strength train on non-consecutive days to give your muscles a chance to rest and heal. Alternately, work your chest, arms and core one day and your legs and glutes the next.