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Get a broad chest and slim waist with targeted exercises.
The low waist-to-chest ratio is a commonly sought after look by men and women. If your main concern is achieving a broad chest and slim waist, you need to include targeted strength-training exercises to build muscle in your chest and abs, as well as an adequate amount of cardio activity to help you lose body fat. The proper combination of these two types of exercise will get you the results you're after.
Get Started with Cardio
You need cardio to help blast away calories and burn off layers of fat over the top of your muscle. To gain a broad chest, you want to bulk up with muscle-building exercises - but you still need to get enough cardio to burn off fat and allow that muscle to show through. While spot reduction is a myth, there are certain cardio exercises, such as cycling, rowing, jumping rope, high knees and crossovers, that pump up your heart rate and effectively engage the chest and abs. Aim to include at least three to four 30- to 45-minute sessions of cardio during the week.
Build Your Chest with Pushups
The pushup may seem like a basic exercise, but it's one of the most effective for building the pectoralis muscles in the chest. Lie in a plank position on the floor with your body slightly angled but aligned straight from head to heel - so you're resting on the palms of your hands and the balls of your feet. Ensure your hands are positioned slightly wider than shoulder-width, at chest-level. Slowly bend your arms, lowering yourself down to the floor, keeping your elbows close to your body during the movement. Push yourself back up to your starting position, then repeat.
Bench Press for Big Results
To get big muscle gains in your chest, include the bench press in your workout. Lie flat on your back on a weight bench, your feet slightly off to the sides at the end of the bench to provide your body with more stability. Extend your arms fully above you, holding a barbell in your hands with your hands aligned with your shoulders. Flex your elbows, bringing the weight down to your chest, then push it back up to return to your original position, for one rep.
Do the Wood Chop
The half-kneeling wood chop exercise targets the abdominal muscles, helping to slim and sculpt your waist. Kneel on your right knee, with your other foot flat so both your legs are bent on a right angle. Extend your arms fully off to the left side, angled up, holding onto a medicine ball with both hands. Engage your core and slowly swing your arms down toward your lowered knee, so your arms are fully extended off to the opposite side. Return to your starting position then repeat on the other leg.
Crunch on an Incline
The basic crunch is effective at utilizing the rectus abdominis muscles at the front of your abdomen as well as the obliques at the sides, making it an ideal exercise to include for a slimmer, more defined waist. The incline crunch is more difficult and maximizes your results. Lie fat on your back on an incline bench with your feet secured under the foot pad and your hands behind your head. Engage your core and use your abdominal muscles to pull yourself up, raising your torso off the bench, just a few inches so you're not lifting your lower back. Lower yourself back down to complete one rep.
Always Play it Safe
Start off with a single set of 12 reps of each exercise, gradually working your way up to a full three sets of 12 to 15 reps. When you're working with weights, there is an elevated risk of injury. Always consult with your doctor before getting started with any new exercise routine - and you may want to talk with a trainer to help you create a workout routine, especially if you have existing injuries. When you're increasing the amount of weight you're using with any exercise, only do it by a 5- to 10-percent increment maximum, to avoid taxing your muscles and putting too much stress on your joints.