Chest presses might not sit at the top of your workout priority list, especially if your gym visits revolve around sculpting shapely buns and chiseled abs. But strengthening your entire body is important to keep your body in balance, and chest presses are an effective and versatile exercise. Strength training isn't the quickest way to burn calories; if you're determined to shed a few pounds, aerobic exercises are your best bet.
It's possible to perform chest presses in a wide variety of ways, including with free weights and weight machines. Although the exact nature of the exercise can change according to the equipment you use, the common factor is the motion. To execute a chest press, you push the weight away from your chest. In cable and level chest presses, you perform the exercises sitting upright. With dumbbells, you can lie on your back on a weight bench. The number of reps and sets you choose depends on your strength and the weight you use, but one set of up to 15 reps is a sufficient starting point, notes MayoClinic.com.
Strength training makes up a key component of any workout regimen, but compared to aerobic exercise, it burns calories at a slow rate. According to Harvard Medical School, 30 minutes of lifting weights will result in only 112 calories burned for someone who weighs 155 pounds. If the same person spends 30 minutes performing such aerobic exercises as swimming the front crawl or jumping rope, she'll burn 409 or 372 calories, respectively.
Chest Press Muscles
As the exercise's name indicates, chest presses are a way to build your chest muscles. Regardless of the exact approach you take with this exercise, it targets your pectoral muscles, which make up your chest. To correctly execute this exercise, you body requires the use of a number of other muscles, including your deltoids, triceps and biceps. By increasing your muscle mass, you not only strengthen your body, but also boost your metabolism to burn more calories at rest.
Benefits of Strength Training
Performing strength-training exercises such as chest presses gives your body a wide range of health benefits. These benefits include strengthening your bones, improving your endurance, lessening the complications from a variety of medical conditions and even heightening your focus, notes MayoClinic.com. To get the most out of strength training, ensure your weekly workout regimen includes at least two days of strength-training exercises.
- MayoClinic.com: Video: Chest Press with Dumbbell
- ExRx.net: Cable Chest Press
- ExRx.net: Lever Chest Press
- Harvard Medical School: Calories Burned in 30 Minutes for People of Three Different Weights
- WeightLossResources.co.uk: How to Make Your Body Burn More Calories
- MayoClinic.com: Strength Training: Get Stronger, Leaner Healthier
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans
Toronto-based journalist William McCoy has been writing since 1997, specializing in topics such as sports, nutrition and health. He serves as the Studio's sports and recreation section expert. McCoy is a journalism graduate of Ryerson University.