Here are two moves you can do at home or at the gym. Like push-ups, they will tone perky pecs, but, unlike push-ups, they will give your shoulders stable support.
Perform 2-3 sets of both exercises, two times per week. Complete all sets of Exercise 1 before transitioning to your sets of Exercise 2. That will minimize your laying to standing transitions, which can cause dizziness. Give yourself plenty of time to safely rise up after completing Exercise 1.
Exercise 1: Floor Press
The floor will be a solid base for your elbow and upper arm to land at the start of each press, ensuring your shoulders have the support they need. Plus, since you will be doing this exercise with weight loaded on only one side at a time, you’ll get the bonus of oblique work with every press!
- Place a mat on hard flooring or lay back on carpet. Rest your back into the mat, belly facing up. Hold a medium-weight dumbbell in one hand, and take the other arm straight out to rest on the ground, palm facing down. Bend your elbow on your weighted arm to 90 degrees, resting your upper arm on the floor. Maintain a neutral (straight) wrist.
- Press the weight up, lining the wrist over the elbow over the shoulder. Hold momentarily.
- Carefully lower the arm to starting position. Perform 16 repetitions. Switch arms and repeat.
Make it harder: Select a slightly heavier dumbbell. With the heavier weight, decrease your reps to 10 on each side. This will change the type of training from primarily muscular endurance to muscular strength.
Exercise 2: Pec Fly
Pec flys are excellent moves to work all across your chest. At home, you can grab a resistance band and find a wall to lean against to brace your core. At most gyms, there’s a machine for this exercise, called the Pec Fly-Rear Delt Machine.
- Wrap the ends of a medium resistance band around your hands to take up slack. Wrap the tubing behind your back and hold your arms out wide with slightly bent elbows and palms facing forward. Plant your feet about 2 feet away from a wall. Lean your butt, back, and shoulders against the wall.
- Maintain soft bend in the elbows, and bring your hands in to touch in front of your chest. Hold momentarily.
- Slowly open the arms back out to starting position. Perform 16 repetitions.
At the gym…
- Adjust the pin at the top of the Pec Fly-Rear Delt Machine to a wide position (the narrow placement is for a rear deltoid exercise, where you sit facing in—that’s a different move for a different day!). Adjust the pin on the weight stack to a challenging but doable weight. Have a seat on the chair, resting your back into the backrest. (You can adjust the seat up or down by a lever underneath it). Grab a hold of the handles with your hands slightly below shoulder height. Slightly bend your elbows.
- Bend your elbows a little or a lot, and bring your handles in together. (It’s easier the more you bend your elbows!) Hold momentarily.
- Slowly open the arms back out to starting position. Perform 10 repetitions. At the end of the first set, if you notice that 10 repetitions didn’t feel challenging enough, you’ll know to raise your weight for the second set!