You don’t necessarily need fancy equipment to work out your chest, but you do need commitment. While working out won’t banish chest fat all by itself, it can definitely tighten the area.
Here are some exercises to consider if you want to target those pesky pectoral muscles:
You’ll need weights and a bench for this exercise. To prevent injury, start low and work your way up in weight — don’t be a hero. We’ll be using a barbell in this description, but you can also do this exercise with dumbbells.
Lie with your back flat on a workout bench with the bar against your chest. Keep your hands shoulder-width apart. Slowly press the bar up until your arms are straight, but don’t lock your elbows.
As you lower the bar back down, try to keep your elbows at a 45-degree angle. Let the bar brush your body before pressing it back up.
The good old-fashioned push-up — no weights required and highly effective.
To do a proper push-up, start in plank position with hands under shoulders and feet shoulder-width apart.
Keep arms tight to your body as you lower slowly to the floor. Raise your body back up by pressing into the floor. Repeat, and try to increase the number of reps each time you work out.
For this exercise, you’ll need a set of dumbbells and a bench.
Start lying flat on the bench. Hold the dumbbells straight up, over your chest — the dumbbells should be parallel to the floor. For safety’s sake, keep your thumb firmly wrapped around the bar. No one likes a dumbbell to the head.
Slowly lower the weights over your head toward the floor, but don’t go past your ears. Then, bring them back up to the starting position. Repeat.
Remember: Start with lighter weights and work your way up. There’s no shame in asking someone to spot you, either.
You can do a cable cross on a machine at the gym or with exercise bands at home. The cable cross pinpoints the area of your chest that’s under your arms (near your armpits).
If you’re using a machine, set the weight to your desired resistance. For tightening and firming purposes, it’s better to do as many reps as you can with a lower weight.
Start with your hips square and back to the machine. Pull the handles towards you until they cross and form an X shape.
It’s probably safe to say no one likes cardio, but it’s in your best interest to kiss and make up if you want to slash calories and burn fat. For optimal results, aim for 20 to 40 minutes four times a week.
On the bright side, the world is basically your oyster when it comes to the kind of cardio you choose. Some ideal options include:
- jumping rope
- running at a medium pace (outside or on a treadmill)
Men may sometimes find themselves with a little more cushion for the pushin’ in their chest area. Yes, we’re talking about “man boobs.”
In some cases, excess chest fat in men can be the result of low testosterone levels, or gynecomastia, which causes swelling of the breast tissue. It doesn’t affect your health and is totally safe.
Gynecomastia typically affects infants, young men in puberty, and those between the ages of 50 and 80. It’s a fairly common condition too — nearly one-third of men experience it at some point.
Gynecomastia may have nothing to do with diet or exercise. It can be a side effect of many medications, including:
- ulcer medications
- cancer treatments
- anti-anxiety medications
Excessive consumption of alcohol or other substances (including marijuana, heroin, amphetamines, and methadone) can also cause gynecomastia. So just say no.
This one’s for the ladies
Losing chest fat is a fairly equal-opportunity affair. The same rules apply to men and women looking to slim down up top.
While there are no quick fixes, burning chest fat is a perfectly feasible goal, as long as you put in the effort and have realistic expectations.