Skip to content

Men's Health

Strength Training: Building Chest Muscles

Exercises for the chest and pecs
Font Size
A
A
A
By
WebMD Feature
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Building chest muscles through resistance training may help you get a chiseled chest. But it also will help you perform many everyday activities that become more difficult with age.

“Starting at age 50, and especially by the time you get to be 60 or 70, activities of daily living — carrying groceries or cutting the grass — are much more limited by loss of muscle strength than by cardiopulmonary problems,” says Michael J. Joyner, MD, a physiologist at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. “Many people that age can still walk three or four miles per hour, but 70% of 70-year-olds can’t get up off the floor. They’re not strong enough to do that.”

Building chest muscles protects against diabetes

Building chest muscles — and all other muscles — not only makes you stronger, it also improves your metabolism by helping your body remove sugar from your blood. This protects against diabetes.

“The more muscle mass you have, the easier it is for glucose to go into your skeletal muscle,” Joyner says. “And the more active that skeletal muscle is, the more glucose it’s going to burn. Muscle contraction leads to whole series of events that enable muscles to use glucose efficiently and make the body more sensitive to insulin.”

The importance of lifting weights while losing weight

Lifting weights can be especially important when you’re trying to lose weight, Joyner says. That’s because when you restrict your caloric intake, your body burns muscle as well as fat for fuel, contributing to the muscle loss that comes naturally with age.

“That loss of muscle mass is less of a problem if you strength-train while you lose weight,” Joyner says. “Instead of losing about 60 percent fat and 40 percent muscle mass, it will be more like 80/20.”

And because chest muscles are relatively large, they contain a lot of muscle fibers that can be developed.

Today on WebMD

man coughing
Men shouldn’t ignore.
man swinging in hammock
And how to get out it.
 
shaving tools
On your shaving skills.
muscular man flexing
Four facts that matter.
 
Food Men 10 Foods Boost Male Health
Slideshow
Thoughtful man sitting on bed
Quiz
 
Man taking blood pressure
Slideshow
doctor holding syringe
Slideshow
 

Loaded with tips to help you avoid food allergy triggers.

Loading ...

Sending your email...

This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.

Thanks!

Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

Condom Quiz
Quiz
thumbnail_angry_couple_in_bed
Slideshow
 
man running
Quiz
older couple in bed
Video