Bench Press: Flat, Incline and Decline
Bench press is the main movement to work the chest and should be a part of every chest workout.
Lie on your back on a bench, lift the barbell off the supports and hold at arms length using a grip slightly wider than shoulder width. Lower the bar to your chest and press it back to the starting position.
To work more upper chest, use an incline bench, to work more lower chest, use a decline bench. These can all also be done using dumbbells, which may even give you more range of motion. It's a good idea to alternate between dumbbells and barbells each workout.
Rainer doing Incline Bench Press
For a chest routine, choose 3 of the exercises, i.e.: Bench Press, Incline Press, and Dips, and do 3 to 4 sets of each after a few lighter warm-up sets. Start light and work up to the heavier weights. For more on routines, go here.
If possible use a wide grip "V" bar for working chest. If a V bar is not available, parallel bars are fine. Dips are a good alternative to decline press and because of the stretch involved, also works the outer upper area of the pectorals.
Grip both bars so you are holding yourself up at arms length. Lean slightly forward and lower yourself until your arms are bent at a 90o angle or more, then raise yourself back to the starting position.
If you are getting more than 15 or 20 dips with your body weight you should add some weight by either chaining plates around your waist or holding a dumbbell between your feet. This is a great exercise for adding strength to your bench press.
Flyes are excellent for stretching out the pectorals and creating definition because of the wide range of motion attainable. Use a relatively light weight at first and work up to heavier weights.
Lie on a bench and hold two dumbbells up at arms length. Lower your arms in a wide arc with the elbows slightly bent, then bring them back to the starting position keeping the arms slightly bent. Imagine you are hugging a large barrel.
You can also do these on an incline or decline bench for variety.
Cable crossovers have a similar effect as flyes and can be done as an alternative. They may even be better due to the constant tension even in the closed (finish) position.
Grip the two handles from the upper pulleys on a cable crossover machine and bring your arms down and forward until they meet or cross in front of you, keep control as you let the weight pull your arms back to the starting position.
As a variation, try these from the low pulleys, pulling the cables up and together in front of you.
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