Women: Three Great Reasons to Strengthen Your Chest

Medically reviewed in December 2021

It may be impossible for a girl to get through pre-adolescence without a few pimples and slammed doors, and at least a couple of sessions of the “bust” song. Remember that? “We must! We must! We must increase our bust!” But developing your chest muscles isn’t a wild and crazy adolescent idea—in fact, working your "pecs" (aka pectoral muscles) if you’re a woman is smart.

A treasure chest of benefits
"It’s important to strengthen your chest for a number of reasons," says Sharecare fitness expert Joan Roth. For starters, it helps keep your upper-body muscles in balance, which improves your posture. “These two things decrease stress and tension on your muscles and bones,” says Roth. That makes you less injury-prone.

A strong chest also helps you do the things you need to do every day, because those pec muscles add power to your shoulders and arms. It takes more than biceps to push up a heavy garage door, heft a heavy grocery bag or mow your lawn. You need the kind of upper-body oomph that comes from powerful chest muscles.

Finally, the bust song wasn’t entirely off base. If you're looking to add a little bulk to your bosom, it helps to build up those pec muscles, says NASM Elite Trainer Ann Scritsmier.

How to pump it up
Two of Scritsmier’s favorite exercises are traditional ones: the dumbbell bench press (do it on the floor if you don't have a bench) and the good ol' push-up. Brand new to exercise? Start with light weights for the press and do the push-ups against a wall or on your knees until you get stronger.

For a full routine to stretch and strengthen your chest, grab a mat and try this simple (but challenging!) 5-minute workout from Elite Trainer Joel Harper. Sneak it in while your coffee's brewing two or three times a week. Whether you chant a little ditty while you do it is up to you.

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