Works the overall pectoral muscles as well as the muscles between the ribs that support the chest. Standing midway between the pulley towers, reach up and grab one pulley handle in each hand. Place your right leg forward, slightly bent. Bend forward at the waist. Now, keeping elbows slightly bent, slowly pull both handles across your body as if giving someone a bear hug. Finish the move with your hands just crossing each other in front of you. Slowly return to the initial position and repeat.
This exercise hits the lower pectoral muscles. Lie on a decline bench with your feet elevated and secured under the pads at the high end of the bench. Have a spotter place a dumbbell in each of your hands. Hold them at chest level, with your palms facing your feet. Now push the weights upward and away from your chest. As you extend your arms, slowly turn your wrists so your palms face each other and press the dumbbells together. Slowly lower to the starting position and repeat.
Builds the upper chest and shoulder region. Holding two dumbbells, lie on your back on a flat exercise bench and extend your arms straight up above your shoulders. (Your palms should be facing each other while holding the weights.) Bend your elbows slightly. Slowly lower the dumbbells out to your sides in a semicircular arc until they’re as low as comfortably possible. Now slowly bring them back together above your chest, retracing the same semicircular arc. Be sure not to lock your elbows during the movement; that will take the tension off the pectorals and deliver it to the joints instead.
This exercise works the area surrounding the sternum, or breastbone, as well as the lower pectorals. Sit in the pec-deck machine, keeping your back straight and pressed against the back rest–no slouching. Grasp the bars located above each arm pad so your upper arms are parallel to your chest and in line with your shoulders. Keeping your forearms firmly against the pads, slowly squeeze them together. Then ease the pads back to your sides as far as is comfortable and repeat.
Works the entire pectoral region as well as the triceps and abdomen. You’ll need a spotter for this exercise. Kneel on the floor and place your hands about 2-1/2 feet apart. Place your legs straight behind you so your weight is resting on your hands and toes, with your head up and back straight, just as you would in an ordinary pushup. Have your spotter place a 10-pound weight plate on your back, between your shoulder blades. (If you’re a beginner, do this exercise without the added weight.) Now, keeping your body straight, lower yourself until your chest touches the floor. Pause at the bottom and return to the starting position. Do as many repetitions of the exercise as you can. Then have your spotter remove the plate and continue the exercise until you’ve completely exhausted your muscles.