If you’re looking for simple yet effective exercises to work chest muscles, put the pec press and pec fly on your list.
Both also target the shoulder muscles, and the press works the triceps of the upper arm.
For the pec press, lie on your back on a weight bench with a dumbbell in each hand. Knees are bent with feet flat on the floor. If you don’t have a bench, you can do the press lying directly on the floor, but you won’t get as wide a range of motion. Position the dumbbells at your sides, palms facing in and elbows pointing down. Now use your arms to press the dumbbells straight up to the ceiling. Hold for a moment without locking elbows, then slowly lower to start position. As you work, keep your head, shoulders and butt pressed into the bench, but have a slight arch in your lower back. Work up to two sets of 10 to 15 reps. Rest for 30 seconds between sets.
For the pec fly, start from the same position on the bench, a dumbbell in each hand. Press the dumbbells straight up, palms facing each other. Keeping your arms straight, slowly lower the dumbbells out to the sides in an arc shape. Don’t let shoulders or elbows go below the exercise bench. Keep your wrists straight and your elbows slightly bent as you bring the weights back up to the ceiling, again in an arc. Work up to two sets of 10 to 15 reps. Rest for 30 seconds between sets.
For both exercises, start with light dumbbells and gradually add weight as you get stronger.
For more pec moves, check out the exercise library of the American Council on Exercise.