Workout 24: Chest & Abs


Chest Exercises

1. Decline Bench Press

Caution: In order to protect yourself, it is best to have a spotter help you.

  1. Start by securing your legs under the brace at the bottom of the decline bench and lie down.
  2. Using an overhand medium-width grip, lift the bar from the rack and hold it straight over your chest with your arms full extended. Your arms should be perpendicular to the ground. 
  3. As you inhale, lower the bar toward your chest until your elbows reach a 90° angle.
  4. Pause for a second, then use your chest muscles to push the bar back up to the starting position as you exhale. Lock your arms and squeeze your chest in at the contracted  position. Hold for a second and then start to lower the bar down slowly.

2. Incline Dumbbell Press

  1. Lie back on an incline bench with a dumbbell in each hand atop your thighs. The palms of your hands will be facing each other.
  2. Then, using your thighs to help push the dumbbells up, lift the dumbbells one at a time so that you can hold them at shoulder-width.
  3. Once you have the dumbbells raised to shoulder-width, rotate your wrists forward so that the palms of your hands are facing away from you. This will be your starting position.
  4. Be sure to keep full control of the dumbbells at all times. Then, breathe out and push the dumbbells up with your chest.
  5. Lock your arms at the top, hold for a second, and then start slowly lowering the weight. Note: Ideally, lowering the weights should take about twice as long as raising them.
  6. Repeat the movement for the prescribed number of repetitions.
  7. When you are done, place the dumbbells back on your thighs and then on the floor. This  is the safest manner to release the dumbbells.

3. Weighted Incline Prayer

Caution: This movement requires a great deal of balance so if you lack balance or are suffering from an injury that affects your balance, use your own bodyweight without while holding onto a fixed object.

  1. Stand with your torso upright and hold one dumbbell in each hand at arm's length.
  2. Step forward with your right foot (about 2 feet or so) as you lower your body down and squat through your hips. Make sure that your left foot remains stationary and that you are maintaining your balance. Do not allow your right knee to move beyond your toes as you come down. Keep your front shin perpendicular to the ground.
  3. Using mainly the heel of your foot, drive yourself back up to the starting position. 
  4. Repeat the movement for your left leg.

4. Flat Bench Dumbbell Fly

  1. Pick up the dumbbells, one in each hand, with your palms facing inward. Sit down on a flat bench and rest the dumbbells on your thighs.
  2. Before lying down, lift the dumbbells in front of you at shoulder-width keeping your palms facing each other. To get into position, lie back and keep the dumbbells close to your chest. 
  3. When you’re ready, press the dumbbells out and above you so that your arms are fully extended.
  4. Slightly retract your shoulder blades, unlock your elbows, and slowly lower the dumbbells laterally to create a wide arc while maintaining the angle at your elbow. You should feel stretch in your chest.
  5. Once the dumbbells reach your chest level, reverse the movement while trying not to let  the dumbbells touch.

5. Cable Fly

  1. Find a cable tower and set both pulleys at shoulder-height.
  2. Grab the handles, and bring the two handles together by contracting the chest, as if you were hugging a tree. Keep your arms very slightly bent, without further bending your elbow as you bring your arms together.  Your arms should not bend as you do the movement, but they should be very slightly bent throughout.  
  3. Slowly reverse the movement back to the starting position.  
  4. Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

Ab Exercises


1. Kneeling Cable Crunch

Caution: Do not choose a weight that is too heavy. This can result in straining your lower back.

  1. Find a cable station and attach a rope handle to the top pulley. Grasp the rope attachment at each end, and kneel down so your knees are bent at a 90° angle.
  2. Your arms should be stretched over your head. Your palms should be facing each other when holding the rope and your hands should be placed next to your face.
  3. Slightly flex your hips forward. There should be tension on the cable, and you should feel a stretch in your abs.
  4. Keep your hips stationary, contract your abs, and crunch your chest towards your hips until your head is between your knees. Your elbows should be approaching the middle of your thighs. After reaching this point, hold the contraction for a second.
  5. Slowly reverse back to the starting position. Keep as much tension in your abs during this whole movement.

2. Russian Twist 

  1. Lie down on the floor placing your feet either under something that will not move or by having a partner hold them. Your legs should be bent at the knees.
  2. Elevate your upper body so that it creates an imaginary V-shape with your thighs. Your arms should be fully extended in front of you, perpendicular to your torso and with the hands clasped. This is the starting position.
  3. Twist your torso to the right side until your arms are parallel with the floor while breathing out.
  4. Hold the contraction for a second and exhale, moving back to the starting position. Now, move to the opposite side, performing the same techniques you applied to the right side.
  5. Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions.

3. Table Top Elbow to Knee Crunch

  1. Get in a tabletop position with your hands directly beneath your shoulders. Hold your body up off the floor in this position. Hold a light dumbbell in your right hand. 
  2. From this position, extend your right arm out in front of you and extend your left leg straight out behind you. 
  3. Next, crunch your abs by bringing your right elbow to meet your left knee in the middle of your body. 
  4. Extend them again and repeat. 
  5. Make sure to finish one side before switching hands and doing the other side.

4. Plank

  1. Position yourself face-down on the ground and place your hands shoulder width apart. Keeping your back as straight as possible, push your body off the ground, through your hands.
  2. Inhale as you lower yourself downward, until your chest nearly touches the ground.
  3. Exhale and press your upper body back up to the starting position while squeezing your chest, arms, and abdominal muscles. 

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