As with any exercise, warming up the chest muscles is a great way to prevent injury. This can be done a number of ways:
- The standard push up (or even the modified version where the knees are on the ground) is great because it uses one’s own body weight so the possibility of straining a muscle is very minimal.
- Utilizing a stationary object, extend one arm straight forward, palm facing the object. Slowly place pressure on the palm and twist into the object, pushing the arm in a rotational manner behind the back. Hold when you can push no further, gently bring the arm to the normal position. Repeat for opposite side.
- Using a far lighter barbell (or dumb bells) than you normally would for an exercise like bench press, slowly go through the motion of the exercise but when you get to your stopping point, hold the bar for a few extra seconds. Feel it stretch the muscles out. Slowly bring the weight up. Do this for 3-5 reps.