Pectoral muscles can be exercised with push-ups, bench presses, cable crossovers and dips, according to BodyBuilding.com. With push-ups, have the hands closer together instead of shoulder-width apart. Use dumbbells or barbells for bench presses. Cable crossovers utilize pulling cables for resistance, whereas dips are like push-ups only with grips on various workout equipment.
Healthline explains toning chest muscles with weights should be done with versatility and moderation. Beginners should start with lighter weights and lower reps. Lift just enough weight to start fatigue after the first set of repetitions to avoid injury and pain. Make sure to rest in between sets and exercises.
The most effective chest exercise is the barbell bench press, according to a study done by the American Council on Exercise. A pec-deck machine is the second-best, and bent-forward cable crossovers are the third-best chest exercise. The study looked at nine common chest exercises to rate the best ones to tone pectoral muscles based on overall effectiveness. The bottom three are all push-up exercises.
Chest muscles are comprised of two major groups, the pectoralis major and pectoralis minor. The pectoralis major is responsible for rotating the arm from the side and the front. Chest exercises add resistance to these basic movements to give strength to pectoral muscles, according to BodyBuilding.com.