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Workout 44: Chest & Shoulders   


Chest Exercises

1. Flat Bench Press

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

  1. Start by lying back on a flat bench. Use an overhand grip that is wider than your shoulder-width to lift the bar from the rack. Hold it directly above you with your arms fully extended.
  2. Inhale and begin lowering the bar toward your chest until your elbow creates a 90° angle. 
  3. After a brief pause, push the bar back to the starting position as you exhale. Focus on  using your chest muscles to push up the bar.
  4. Lock your arms and squeeze your chest in the contracted position at the top of the  motion. Hold for a second and then slowly begin lowering the bar.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. Incline Dumbbell Fly 

  1. Pick up the dumbbells and grip them so that so your palms are facing inward. Lie back on an incline bench angled at about 30 degrees, and rest the dumbbells on your hip crease. 
  2. Press the dumbbells out and over you so that your arms are fully extended. Rotate your wrists so that your palms are facing each other. 
  3. 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.
  4. Once the dumbbells reach your chest level, reverse the movement while trying not to let  the dumbbells touch.

Shoulder Exercises


1. Seated Dumbbell Press

  1. Sit on a military press bench, or any utility bench that has a back support, and hold two dumbbells upright on the top of your thighs.
  2. With your palms facing each other, lift the dumbbells up (one at a time) to shoulder-level.
  3. Then, rotate your wrists so that your palms are facing upward toward the ceiling.
  4. Press your dumbbells up and toward each other, without jerking your back. 
  5. Slowly lower them until they return to the starting position.

2. Reverse Fly

  1. On the reverse fly machine (which sometimes doubles as a chest fly machine), adjust the handles so that they are fully facing the rear (closest together). Adjust the seat height to make the handles at your shoulder-level. Sit on the seat with your chest against the pad and grasp the handles with your palms facing inwards. 
  2. Pull your hands out to your sides and back as far as possible. This should make a semicircular motion where you should feel a stretch in your shoulders. 
  3. Pause at the back of the movement, and slowly return the weight to the starting position.

3. Face Pull

  1. Stand in front of a medium-height rotating pulley and grab each side of the rope attachment. 
  2. Step back away from the machine until your arms are fully extended in front of you. 
  3. Your feet should be slightly wider than shoulder width apart and with a soft bend in your knees.
  4. Brace core and drive elbows past back, while pulling the rope handles slightly outside of your ears. 
  5. Hold and contract shoulder blades together.

4. Lateral Dumbbell Raise

  1. Stand upright with your feet shoulder-width apart and dumbbells aligned with your feet at arm's length. Make sure your palms are facing inward towards your sides.
  2. Keep your torso stationary and raise the dumbbells to your side with a slight bend at your elbow. Lift your arms until they are slightly parallel to the ground, or around shoulder-level, and pause for a second at the top.
  3. Slowly lower the dumbbells back to the starting position.