A proper diet is crucial to achieving a defined chest and six-pack abs.
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Chest and abs tend to be the focus of most men's exercise routines and for good reason. A strong, well-defined chest and a ripped six-pack are the epitome of fitness for men. There are a myriad of basic exercises for your chest and abs, and many of these basic exercises are tried-and-true favorites that you can return to again and again. Just remember, the techniques you use are just as important to your progress as the exercises you do.
Still the One
Pushups are about as basic as an exercises can get, but they're very effective. They target your chest but also incorporate your shoulders, triceps and abs as synergists. If traditional pushups are too easy for you, there are a myriad of variations you can take advantage of. Try decline, weighted, clap and diamond pushups to add challenge to this favorite exercise. Educate yourself of the proper form of each variation. If you can do more than 12 reps of traditional pushups, then incorporate the more difficult versions, especially if you're trying to increase your strength and build muscle.
Press and Dip Away
Two more basic weight-training exercises for your chest are the barbell press and dips. Both of these exercises target your chest muscles and pull your triceps and shoulders in as synergists. The barbell press is just as effective with a pair of dumbbells, and dips can have weight added to make them more challenging if you're too strong for body-weight dips. Combine three sets of these two exercises with three sets of pushups for a well-rounded, basic chest workout.
When it comes to basic ab exercises, you're probably thinking crunches and sit-ups. However, those are not all that effective. The American Council on Exercise (ACE) says a better way to work your abs are with planks. Front and side plank are basic exercises that target your abs and other core muscles in a way that mimics the way these muscles function in daily life. Your abs are also responsible for rotating your torso, and there's a basic exercise to mimic that as well: seated medicine-ball trunk rotations.
Putting It Together
If you're trying to increase the strength and size of your muscles, there are techniques to help maximize your results, like setting your reps for maximum muscle building. Do sets of six to 12 reps and use weights that are heavy enough to cause failure on the last rep or two of each set. You won't get stronger if you can easily do all your reps with the weight you're using. Your muscles need to be challenged. ACE says that rep speed and rest between sets also has an effect on muscle building. Take two to three seconds to complete the lifting phase of each set and three to four seconds to lower the weights. Your rest between sets should be from 30 to 90 seconds.