The chest and back are areas of the body sometimes neglected by women. Toning the pectorals, trapezius, rhomboids and other upper body muscles, however, may improve your posture, reduce back pain and naturally enhance the appearance of your breasts. Exercises that work these muscles are usually simple moves. While they can be performed at home without special equipment, these workouts seriously challenge the back and chest. Warm up with light aerobic exercise and a stretch before you begin strength training these areas. Stretch your muscles again once you've finished to prevent muscle injury. If you are beginning strength training, consult your physician for guidance.
Lie on your stomach with your legs extended and your toes facing away from your body. Bring your arms in front of you with the palms facing each other. Align your head, neck and spine and engage your core muscles. Exhale and slowly lift your arms and legs a few inches off the floor. Keep your legs and arms straight, but relaxed. It may help to focus on pushing your fingers and toes away from your body as you lift. Don't lift your head or crane your neck. Inhale and return to the starting position. Perform two to three sets of 12 to 15 repetitions.
The cat-camel begins in a hands-and-knees position with your wrists directly under your shoulders and your knees in line with your hips. Point your fingers forward and flatten your back. Pull your shoulder blades back and engage your core muscles. Exhale and pull your pelvis in as you round your back. Elongate your neck and try to make a curve from your head to your knees. Breathe deeply and hold the stretch for 15 seconds. Inhale and slowly pull your belly button toward the floor. Tilt your sacrum toward the ceiling and retract your shoulder blades. Hold the stretch for 15 seconds while breathing deeply. Return to the start position. Repeat the cat-camel exercise two or three more times.
Stand with your feet together and engage your core muscles. Reach for the floor, palms down, and bend at the hips. Try to keep your legs straight. Continue to hinge at the hips until your hands touch the floor. Your heels will come off the ground. Walk forward with your hands until your back is flat and your arms are straight from shoulder to wrist. Your heels should be pointed at the ceiling and your toes curled under. Do one pushup in this position by bending your elbows to the sides and lowering your body toward the floor. Return to the plank position. Slowly push your buttocks toward your heels until your arms are extended. Walk your feet toward your hands and return to the start position. Travel 10 to 15 yards using the inchworm motion.
Begin in a hands and knees position with your wrists in line with your shoulders and your knees directly under the hips. Point your fingers forward and pull your shoulder blades back and down. Engage your abdominal muscles. Bring your hips forward so that your body makes a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. Lower your body toward the floor by bending your elbows. Maintain a neutral spine and try to keep your elbows close to your sides. Continue to lower your torso until your chin touches the mat. Slowly extend your arms to return to the start position. Perform two to three sets of 12 to 15 repetitions.
Carolyn Robbins began writing in 2006. Her work appears on various websites and covers various topics including neuroscience, physiology, nutrition and fitness. Robbins graduated with a bachelor of science degree in biology and theology from Saint Vincent College.