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Great Chest Exercises – Top 6 Tips

Great Chest ExercisesGreat chest exercises aren’t necessarily the ones that everyone automatically thinks of, such as the bench press and other bench press variations.  Sure the bench press and incline bench press build muscle mass in the chest, triceps and shoulder, but you have to look at the bigger picture.  The best exercises are the ones that are effective at muscle building and are safe.  Many times due to bad technique, shoulder restrictions or just using too much weight, the bench press could be causing more harm than good.  Many times push-ups, dips and close grip bench presses are a much safer and more effective alternative.

Thorough Warm-up

§  Warm-up target musculature to increase performance, activation and core temperature

o   Engage in rehabilitative – SITS exercises, reverse movements

o   Engage in light worksets – performing the actual exercise you will be training with low weights, “greasing the groove”

o   Engage in light worksets of surrounding, supportive and secondary movers, quick circuit of military press, seated rows and tricep pressdowns is a great precursor to a bench workout

Technique Technique, Technique

§  Little known or practiced technique tips

o   Breathing – invoke valsalva maneuver, belly full of air, forcing abdominals outward

o   Keep elbows tucked to protect shoulders and distribute and target triceps and lats

o   Squeezing bar as hard as you can will improve contraction of secondary and stabilizing musculature, i.e. co-contraction

o   Pull bar down on lats, the lats act as the stabile platform to press from

o   Pull bar apart while driving to lockout, will improve co-contraction, lat engagement and build a forceful lockout

o   Drive feet downward – the bench is a full body lift and leg drive (while hips / glutes still maintain contact with the bench)is import for moving serious weight

Strength at Lockout

§  Dependent upon the lifter’s levers, they will have a “sticking point” at some point along the bar path while benching, to improve lockout strength the following exercises can be used; floor press, pin presses (pin at various point above 90 degrees elbow bend), board press and accommodating resistance with chains or bands

Strength Off the Chest

§  Dependent upon the lifter’s levers, they will have a “sticking point” at some point along the bar path while benching, to improve strength, stability and deceleration at the chest, the following exercises can be used; Isometrics (static holds), heavy negatives, press against pin (pin at chest), press off of pin (pin at chest)

Build Shoulders, Triceps and Back

§  To get a big bench, you must build up the strength of the shoulders, triceps and back with compound movements

o   Shoulders – military press with barbell / db, posterior flyes, face pulls

o   Back – pull-ups, chin-ups, bent over rows

o   Triceps – Close grip bench, board presses, military press

Dynamic Efforts

§  Increasing bar speed by utilizing weights close to 50 – 60 percent of the lifter’s max should be cycled in.  This can be done with and without elastic bands.  If 50-60 % does not allow for a fast bar speed, decrease the weight.  The goal is speed, move the bar fast!

By on August 26th, 2011

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