A number of recent surveys have found that a big chest trumps abs, arms and shoulders as the biggest turn on for the fairer sex. But don’t get all excited and start pumping out endless sets on the barbell bench press, there are a number of less common chest workout moves you could be doing to really get those pecs popping.
1. Rope climb
This is likely to be the most surprising of the lot for many of you. But rope climbs place quite a serious demand on the chest muscles. Chest presses can often lead to tendinosis, so it’s a good idea to mix it up from doing push-pull movements, by incorporating a move that activates your pecs in a different way, by targeting the lower fibres of your pecs in a whole new way.
2. Work on your co-ordination, balance and flexibility with TRX
Whether you’re doing push-ups or presses, doing them with a TRX will force you to use far more balance and co-ordination to complete the move. TRX push-ups in particular require a unique loading pattern that will work your chest in a way that it isn’t use to, which is exactly what you want if you’re trying to grow your pecs. For more core involvement, try TRX atomic push-ups: slip your feet into the handles, perform a push-up, bring your knees to your chest, and get back into the start position. Repeat.
3. Swap dumbbell press for dumbbell crush press
This is a dumbbell press with a never-ending contraction. It targets your hard-to-hit inner pecs, which means more definition and a deeper cleavage. But it’s not just your physical form that will be more honed, it will also force you to concentrate throughout every rep, so when you do eventually head back to the bar, you’ll power through your old personal best with ease.
4. Switch to a wider grip on your bench press
Change up your barbell grip from the standard shoulder-width grip to a wider hand position, this will help to reduce tricep involvement which will force your pec muscles to produce more force as the triceps will be activated far less in the upward movement.
5. Use a swiss ball
Don’t worry about appearances. The Swiss ball might look slightly awkward and a touch on the funny side, but it’ll be you that has the last laugh when your chest growth accelerates as a result of swapping the bench for the ball. Using a Swiss ball to perform dumbbell press will help you to avoid shoulder injuries and promote a greater range of movement, which will recruit more muscle fibres. Don’t go too heavy with the weights at first though, it requires a strong core to keep good balance on the Swiss ball with such heavy weights about your head, so start light and measure the amount of weight you can handle.
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