We are searching data for your request:
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.
Pump up your pecs with bench presses.
IT Stock/Polka Dot/Getty Images
Your chest and back muscles make up the majority of your upper body muscle mass. Your pectoralis major muscles, pecs for short, are your chest muscles while your latissimus dorsi, rhomboids, erector spinae and trapezius make up your back muscles. Compound exercises, movements that involve multiple joints and muscles at the same time, are an effective and efficient way to work your muscles and ensure you get plenty of bang-for-your-buck from your workouts.
Spend a few minutes before your workout warming up by performing some light cardio followed by dynamic stretches and joint mobility exercises. Do one or two light sets of each exercise to further prepare your muscles and joints -- and also practice the exercises that follow. Use a weight that makes the last couple of reps of each exercise challenging but can still be completed in good form. Perform two to four sets of six to 12 repetitions of each exercise.
To make the most of your time, this workout uses supersets. Simply perform one set of the chest exercise and then move straight to the back exercise. Rest a moment and then repeat the pairing. Once you have finished all the sets, move on to the next paired exercises.
Bench Press and Barbell Row
Barbell bench presses are a classic weight-room chest exercise. Lie on your back with your arms extended and hold your barbell with a slightly wider-than shoulder-width grip. Bend your arms and lower the bar to lightly touch your chest. Drive the bar back up to full arm extension and repeat. Use a spotter for safety when bench pressing.
Barbell rows target your upper back, lower back and arms -- and while they are distinctly old-school, they are no less effective. Hold a barbell with a shoulder-width overhand grip. Bend your knees slightly and lean forward from your hips. Keep your back slightly arched. Bend your arms and, leading with your elbows, pull the bar up and into your abdomen. Extend your arms and repeat. Do not allow your lower back to round as this can lead to injury.
Incline Dumbbell Bench Press and Single Arm Dumbbell Row
Dumbbell exercises require more balance and coordination than barbell exercises. This means that light weights often feel heavier than normal. The balance and coordination required and developed by dumbbell exercises has a beneficial carryover to sports and other physically demanding everyday activities.
To perform incline dumbbell presses, set your exercise bench to around a 30 degree incline and lie down. With a dumbbell in each hand and your arms extended, lower the weights down to your armpits and then push them back up again.
For one-arm dumbbell rows, stand with your knees slightly bent and hold a dumbbell in one hand. Lean forward and rest your free hand on a knee-high bench for support. Bend your arm and pull the weight up and into your ribs. Extend your arm and repeat. Perform the same number of repetitions on each arm.
Dips and Pull-ups
Dips and pull-ups are effective body weight chest and back exercises respectively. Requiring little in the way of equipment, these no-frills exercises will ensure your chest and back muscles are thoroughly worked and primed for muscle growth and getting stronger.
For dips, rest your hands on the dipping bars so your weight is supported on your hands only. Bend your arms and lower your chest toward your hands. Push back up to full arm extension and repeat.
To perform pull-ups, hang from a sturdy overhead bar with a shoulder-width overhand grip. Bend your arms and pull your chin up and over the bar. Slowly lower yourself back down and repeat.
For a more demanding workout, tie a weight around your waist or wear a weighted vest. If you are unable to do the specified number of repetitions, just do as many as you can and strive to increase your rep count over the coming weeks.