Incline Dumbbell Flye

Target: Upper chest

Start: Adjust a bench so the incline is set to 30-45 degrees. Lie face up on the bench with your feet flat on the floor. Hold a dumbbell in each hand with a neutral grip and extend your arms above your chest. Bend your elbows slightly.

Execution: Slowly lower the weights out to your sides in a wide arc. Keep your elbows locked in the slightly bent position throughout the range of motion. Stop when your elbows reach shoulder level, then reverse.

Tip: Make sure you’re positioned properly on the bench, and start with a light weight to warm up the chest because you can hurt yourself if you try to go too heavy. Only use a weight you can handle comfortably.

Incline Dumbbell Press

Target: Upper chest

Start: Lie face up on an incline bench set at about a 45 degree angle. Your torso should be fully supported from your head to your hips, with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Extend your arms with your palms facing forwards.

Execution: Bend your elbows and slowly lower the weights towards the outsides of your chest. (In the barbell version, the bar should come to your upper chest.) When the dumbbells reach about chest level, forcefully extend your arms, pressing the weights back up to the starting position.

Tip: A lot of people get chest injuries, so you really need to warm up properly before moving into your working sets. Listen to your body and don’t lift too heavy if you don’t feel ready. Your main goal is to build muscle.

Dip

Target: Lower chest

Start: Stand between a set of parallel bars and press yourself into position: arms extended, chest up, head straight and ankles crossed.

Execution: Leaning forwards slightly to take the pressure off your triceps, lower your body by bending your elbows until your upper arms are slightly above parallel to the floor, then press yourself back up to the start position.

Tip: Make sure to lean forwards, really feeling it in the chest. If you stay upright, your triceps absorb the stress.

Wide Grip Bench Press

Target: Outer chest

Start: Lie face up on a flat bench with your feet flat on the floor. Grasp a barbell with a wide grip (outside shoulder-width) overhand grip. Press the bar up slightly to unrack it, then steady it above your chest with your arms extended.

Execution: Lower the bar to your lower chest, but don’t bounce it off. Instead, when the bar approaches an inch or so away from your chest, pause and press it back up to the start position. Squeeze your chest at the top of the movement.

Tip: You must really focus on the chest and do the movement slowly. If you just go through the motions, you won’t squeeze all the benefits you can out of this exercise.

Sandra Prior runs her own bodybuilding website at http://bodybuild.rr.nu

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