The chest raise is a great exercise that helps to strengthen and tone the muscles of the upper body. Once the basic version of this exercise becomes too easy, try alternating your arms in order to get a more challenging workout.About Chest Raises
As with any new strength training exercise, it is important to understand what muscles are targeted and strengthened by chest raises. As the name suggests, the chest raises helps to strengthen and tone the chest muscles, as well as the muscles of the upper arms and shoulders. Therefore, this exercise not only helps to increase muscle mass, but also provides some stabilization to the collarbone and shoulder joint, making it a great workout for people who have recently experienced an injury to one of these areas.Positioning Your Body for Chest Raises
Before performing the chest raises, position your body properly. Start by placing an exercise or yoga mat down on the ground, making sure there are no dumbbells nearby that could interfere with your workout. Lay down on the mat on your back with your head, shoulders and torso resting comfortably. Make sure that your knees are bent and your feet are flat on the floor. You should be holding a set of dumbbells in your hands. At this point, your hands should be facing toward your feet. Allow your elbows to rest on the floor, with the dumbbells at or near your shoulders.Performing Chest Raises
Now that you are positioned properly, you can begin to perform the chest raises. Start by taking a few deep breaths. As you exhale, use the muscles in your arms and shoulders to extend your arms overhead up toward the ceiling. Bring the dumbbells together slightly over your chest. As you inhale, slowly lower your arms back down to the starting position. Do at least 10 repetitions before taking a short break. Perform another 2 sets of 10 repetitions of chest raises.Increasing the Intensity of Chest Raises
For some people, especially those who are just beginning a strength training program, the basic version of this exercise may be plenty. However, as you become stronger, it is important to make changes to the exercise in order to keep seeing results in your strength. One easy way to increase the intensity of this exercise is by alternating your arms as you perform the raises. Instead of lifting and lowering both arms at the same time, start by holding both arms overhead, and then lowering just your right arm. Raise it back up to the starting position, and then lower just your left arm. Doing this increases the amount of time that your muscles must work, thereby greatly increasing the intensity of the exercise.