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My dad has been having a lot of chest pain lately. He went to the doctor, and got tested for a few things. The tests were all negative (the good kind), and the doctor told him that the pain must be muscular, i.e. from sitting in a chair too long, from inactivity, etc.

I want to buy some weights, like the ones below, that he can use to strengthen his chest muscles. For example, by doing some dumbbell presses, etc.

Dumbbells

Can anyone recommend some workouts that would be good for him to do?

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You really want to speak with a physio about this and determine whats causing the pain rather than trying to work around it. –  Lego Stormtroopr Feb 4 at 5:33
    
I agree with @Lego to get some professional direction. Since your dad sits a lot, you may want to check this posture q/a to see some specific postural exercises. –  BackInShapeBuddy Feb 4 at 22:18
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2 Answers

First things first is to take an assessment of your father. Typical problems of inactive people who spend a long time sitting include:

  • Weak upper back (rear delts, traps, rhomboids)
  • Tight chest muscles
  • Slumped forward shoulders
  • Tight hip flexers
  • Stretched glutes
  • Weak lower back

Mobility focused work such as strengthening weak muscles and stretching the joints that are tight will help correct postural problems. While that won't necessarily remove all pain, it will improve quality of life and make it possible for him to do more. There may be an inflammation component to the pain, which suggests he may need dietary changes as well.

Much of the work to fix postural problems will involve some form of strength training, but you'll need to focus more effort on proper spinal and shoulder alignment at the beginning. Anything to get your dad moving more will be a good thing. The trick is finding something he will enjoy. Just getting outside and walking around can be an improvement. A key to reducing inflammation is to get your blood flowing--and making sure you are not adding to the inflammation.

A good PT will be able to perform the assessment and design a training program around correcting the issues your dad has.

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The first thing you should do to get him started is to get him on a good stretch routine every day to combat the inactivity, and get the muscles being used to being stretched before adding weights. After I would say a week or two of just this stretch routine I would go on and but 10-35 lb weights depending on the physical level of your dad. If the only issue is the chest then a few exercises to do with dumbbells would be.

  • Dumbbell chest press
  • Dumbbell flye
  • Seated shoulder press (not chest but when pressing for chest you use a lot of front delts)
  • Push ups (Now I would use these to strengthen the core muscles as well as the chest)
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