The Little Black Book of Chest Exercises
Everybody loves chest day, especially if it’s Monday. Break out of the bench-press pack with 6 variations of common chest exercises that’ll help add pounds of new muscle on your pecs.
Unilateral Machine Decline Press
POWER POINTER: Just about everyone has tried plate-loaded chest-press machines in which each arm moves independently of the other. But you don’t have to do both arms at once. Turn your body sideways and you get an entirely different angle of stress on the muscle as you push across your body.
TARGET AREA: Lower pecs primarily, triceps secondarily
IN YOUR ROUTINE: Do your free-weight presses first in your routine; a machine press typically comes after that. Do three sets of 8–12 reps.
BEST SUBSTITUTE: Decline one-arm dumbbell press
INTENSITY BOOSTER: Do the two-armed version on the decline first, three sets of 8–10 reps, then strip some weight off each side and alternate the one-arm version to change the angle for three sets of 10–12 reps, each side.
SET-UP: Adjust the seat height so that when you’re pushing across your body, you’re in a strong and comfortable position pushing about mid-chest level.
POSITION: Sit squarely on the side of the bench, using your free hand to grasp the seat or post to brace yourself from sliding off the bench.
FORM: Keep your body tight with your chest out and back flat. From the sideways seated position you don’t get the back support as when you do the bilateral version.
GRIP: Grasp the handle with your inner hand, wrapping your thumb around the handle.
EXECUTION: Smoothly press to full-arm extension without locking out your elbow. Allow the weight to drive your arm back to the start position but don’t let the plates touch down between reps.