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Chest Exercise Explanations

Muscle of the Month - April 1996

Chest Muscles


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Flat Bench Barbell Press.

Areas worked: Upper and lower pectorals (chest)

Gypsy is demonstrating the starting position for flat bench barbell chest press.

Starting Position- A slightly wider than shoulder grip. Back should have an arch, barring disc problems of low back or spondylolythesis. If either of these back problems exist, keep back flat and alway have a spotter. Remove bar from bench and center over pectoral region, lowering to sternal position.

Gypsy is demonstrating the ending position for chest press. Ending Position-Full press extension above sternum.

Notes: Push evenly with both arms.

Repetitions: Warm up set do 15-20 (non-weighted). Optimal repetitions 5-8 and no more than 9 for weighted presses. When working toward a fifth set, 5-6 and no more than 7 will suffice.

Remember: When breathing, inhale at start of exercise and exhale at end of exercise. Always Breathe!!

For best results maintain proper posture throughout your workout. This will be best for muscle isolation.

Flat Bench Dumbbell Chest Press

Areas worked: Upper and lower pectorals (chest)

Keith is demonstrating a dumbbell flat bench press.

Starting Position- Arms shoulder width and extended to full arm length. Slowly move arms outward and down, not allowing elbows to drop below shoulders. You feel a full stretch in the chest area.

Ending Position- Return to starting position, touching weights together in order to squeeze pectoral muscle.

Remember: When breathing, inhale at start of exercise and exhale at end of exercise. Always Breathe!!

For best results maintain proper posture throughout your workout. This will be best for muscle isolation.

Starting Position- Palms are facing inwards at all times. Dumbbells should be at shoulder width. Slowly move arms outward and downward not allowing elbow to move below shoulders (as in the flat bench press).

Ending position- Return to starting position, touching weights together to enhance squeeze of pectoral muscles.

Decline Bench Barbell Chest Press

Areas worked: Lower sternal pectorals

Keith is demonstrating the starting position for a decline bench barbell chest press.

Starting Position- Arms shoulder width and extended to full arm length. Slowly move arms outward and down, not allowing elbows to drop below shoulders. You feel a full stretch in the chest area.

Keith is demonstrating the ending position for a decline bench barbell chest press.

Ending Position- Return to starting position, by pushing straight up from sternum, a little toward abdomen, taking care not to let barbell move back toward shoulders.

/ Remember: When breathing, inhale at start of exercise and exhale at end of exercise. Always Breathe!!

For best results maintain proper posture throughout your workout. This will be best for muscle isolation.

Incline Bench Dumbell Flyes

Keith is demonstrating starting position for incline bench flyes.

Areas worked- Pectoral (breast) area and some front deltoid (shoulder) muscle. The incline will stress the upper chest muscles more than the flat bench.

Remember: When breathing, inhale at start of exercise and exhale at end of exercise. Always Breathe!!

For best results maintain proper posture throughout your workout. This will be best for muscle isolation.

Repetitions: Warm up with lighter weights doing 10-15 reps. As you increase sets decrease reps to 5-11 and no more than 12 repetitions. In last sets 5-7 and no more than eight reps.

A good rule of thumb when considering going up in weights: If you can do 10 reps and the 10th repetition is as easy as the first repetition you may want to go up in your weights. You will still get good muscle definition without going up in weights. However if your goal is strength you will want to lift heavier until you reach your maximum capability.

Note: If elbows drop below shoulders, over-stretching of the skin tissue will occur.

Pec Deck Chest Squeeze

Areas worked: Pectorals (sternal) with some delt (shoulder) work.

Gypsy is demonstrating starting position for doing a pec deck squeeze.

Starting Position- Either seated or standing to allow for adjustment of area worked. Sometimes back can be arched, but more often flat against back of apparatus. Arms should be adjusted to straight out position from shoulders and no further back. Start by squeezing inward toward center of body.

Gypsy is demonstrating ending position of pec deck squeeze.

Ending Position- Squeeze elbows together and hold for 3 seconds then return to starting position.

Remember: When breathing, inhale at start of exercise and exhale at end of exercise. Always Breathe!!

For best results maintain proper posture throughout your workout. This will be best for muscle isolation.

Repetitions: 15-20 reps are optimal,lowering reps as you add weight.

A good rule of thumb when considering going up in weights: If you can do 10 reps and the 10th repetition is as easy as the first repetition you may want to go up in your weights. You will still get good muscle definition without going up in weights. However if your goal is strength you will want to lift heavier until you reach your maximum capability.

One Arm Cable Crossovers

Areas worked: Inner and lower areas of pectorals are developed and some shoulder work gets done at the same time. It is helpful in developing firmer and less drooping bustline.

Gypsy is demonstrating starting position for one arm cable crossovers.

Starting position- Position body in center of workout area. Legs should be shoulder width apart. Stand with slight bend in knees. Grasp the handle of the crossover machine with one hand grip. Keep arms at 45 degree angle, slightly bent, with hands facing downward. Bend forward, keeping back arched to bring chest into better postion for isolated movement.

Gypsy is demonstrating ending position for one arm cable crossovers.

Ending position-Slowly pull handle downward and in an arc, past sternum (solarplex), while flexing pectoral muscle. Contract and hold for 3 seconds then return to starting position. Repeat on opposite side.

Remember: When breathing, inhale at start of exercise and exhale at end of exercise. Always Breathe!!

For best results maintain proper posture throughout your workout. This will be best for muscle isolation.

Repetitions: 10-15 reps will be optimal for warm-up. 7 and no more than 8 repetitions for set that follow warm-up.

A good rule of thumb when considering going up in weights: If you can do 10 reps and the 10th repetition is as easy as the first repetition you may want to go up in your weights. You will still get good muscle definition without going up in weights. However if your goal is strength you will want to lift heavier until you reach your maximum capability.

Cable Crossovers

Areas worked: Inner and lower areas of pectorals are developed and some shoulder work gets done at the same time. It is helpful in developing firmer and less drooping bustline.

Gypsy is demonstrating starting position for doing Cable crossovers.

Starting Position- Grasp one handle of cable machine in each hand and position body in center of work area. Keep arms at 45 degree angle and slightly bent with hands facing downward. Bend at slightly at waistline to bring chest into better position for isolated movement.

Gypsy is demonstrating ending position for doing cable crossovers. Pull both handles downward in an arc, while flexing pectorals until the handles cross each other at center of body. Wrist should cross over wrist. Hold position for 3 seconds, returning to beginning position.

Note: Always maintain full control and fluid movement. Never let the weight pull your arms upward.

Remember: When breathing, inhale at start of exercise and exhale at end of exercise. Always Breathe!!

For best results maintain proper posture throughout your workout. This will be best for muscle isolation.

Repetitions: 10-15 reps will be optimal for warm-up. 7 and no more than 8 repetitions for sets that follow warm-up.

A good rule of thumb when considering going up in weights: If you can do 10 reps and the 10th repetition is as easy as the first repetition you may want to go up in your weights. You will still get good muscle definition without going up in weights. However if your goal is strength you will want to lift heavier until you reach your maximum capability.


You may send your comments and suggestions to Gypsy --- The Gift of Youth via electronic mail by sending email to:

gypsy@dreamagic.com (Gypsy)


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