How pectoral strength benefits women

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How pectoral strength benefits women

Women spend a lot of time toning their butt and thighs but one area of their body not to forget is their pectoral muscle.  Commonly referred to as the chest, this major muscle is formally called the pectoralis major.  This large fan-shaped muscle stretches from the armpit up to the collarbone and down across the lower chest region on both sides of the chest.  The two sides connect at the sternum, or breastbone. 

It is the two pectoralis major muscles, often called the “pecs,” which are the muscles creating the bulk of the chest.  In men, a developed pectoralis major is much more noticeable then in women since the breasts of a woman typically hide the pectoral muscles.  Women’s chests also typically have higher fat deposits than a man’s to protect their breasts containing the milk-producing glands and ducts.

Maybe because the pecs are “hidden” in women more than men, could be why women fail to focus on this area. Walk into any gym and it is common to see men devote much of their strength training focused on lifting rep after rep of chest presses, flyes and whatever else they can do to tone and develop all areas of their chest.   

Another reason why women may shy away from bench presses is because they have breasts and may have the mistaken belief their chest doesn’t need much strength training.  No matter what sex you are, man or woman, your pecs deserve attention and here’s why women should stop neglecting this muscle group:

·      You’ll have great posture

Work your pecs and you’ll stand tall and straight giving you a much better profile and first impression.  Having strong, developed pecs plays a major role in maintaining posture and upright stability, mainly by supporting the scapula – the shoulder blade – and the shoulder itself.

The last thing you want to have happen is to let your upper body area – chest, shoulder, back – become weak.  If one area gets weak, then this creates offset tension across the joints.

One way this happens is slouching in front of a computer all day.  Slouching shortens your chest muscle fibers while lengthening the back muscle fibers.  This is why performing regularly basic chest exercises is necessary to tone and strengthen pec muscles to stay in their optimal lengthened state. This also ensures your shoulders and scapula also stay in their proper position, preventing your shoulders and upper body from rounding or becoming too hunched over.

·      You’ll take deeper breaths

Once you develop better posture opening up your chest, this allows for easier, deep quality breathing.  The pec minor is a muscle in our chest that stretches each and every time you take a breath.  This small, triangular muscle attaches at the middle of your third, fourth, and fifth ribs.  With every breath we take, the pec minor allows your ribcage to expand.  When the pec minor muscles are overly shortened, then breathing can be significantly impaired because you are unable to open up the diaphragm.  By lengthening this particular muscle area along with the rest of the pecs, your breathing and oxygenation to all muscles will be vastly improved.

·      Your breasts will be uplifted

To really age-proof breasts, keeping them uplifted and perky, do chest exercises.  Think of developing your pecs as a much cheaper version of a non-surgical method of breast augmentation.  

No matter what size a woman’s breasts may be – small, large, or in-between – saggy breasts are not exactly what most women want to develop as they age.  Working your pecs can significantly help in preventing droopiness that naturally occurs overtime with most women’s breasts.  Adding muscle to your chest helps elevate your breasts almost acting like a push-up bra.  Plus, adding muscle beneath the actual breast tissue does not take away from the breast tissue itself. 

·      Your daily activities become easier

We may consider our arms and legs doing a major part of keeping us active during the day and they do.  But don’t forget your pecs role in all your daily activities.  Strong pecs are necessary in a wide variety of daily living from loading grocery bags into the house, pushing open a heavy door or hauling heavy luggage around in an airport.  Any upper-body move or workout we do involves the pectoral muscles to a significant degree.

The pecs primary function is to flex (raise), adduct (bring back), and medially rotate (turn inward your upper arm.  Whenever we pick something up, hold an item, squeeze anything or any movement involving pushing, your pecs are a part of allowing this to happen.

When pecs become weak from disuse, then simple acts of carrying a bag of groceries becomes a major challenge.  Regularly strengthening your chest muscles will make your day-to-day living much easier.