In my previous article about building upper body muscle, I told you to avoid benching for the one rep max bragging right. This is where people go and focus only on boosting their ability to complete a “respectable” rep on the flat bench. The problem is that is a moving target and one of the number one ways people lose motivation to lift.
I want you to become an uncaged ape with a chest to match. So, I will give you three exercises to do that will build a strong chest and the supporting muscles while avoiding the cliché bench press.
All of these are dumbbell exercises. Aside from body weight workouts, dumbbells are my favorite. This is for one simple reason, I can maintain these types of workouts no matter where I am in the world. It is tough to replicate a two-hour free weight regimen when I am nowhere near a gym I belong to.
Now, with that side note where it belongs…let’s get to business.
The first exercise is the floor press. This is a very awkward exercise at first. Lay on your back on the floor as if you were on a flat bench. I like to bend my knees and place my feet flat on the floor. Then I take two light dumbbells (25-35 lbs) and push them up in the traditional benching motion. Then I lower the weight until my elbows hit the floor. Then add weight until you find the one that will give you a challenge for 10-12 reps and do three to five sets. This exercise throws your brain off its track. The normal motion of dropping the elbows lower when on a bench is taken away and therefore the motion changes and your muscles get a shock.
The second exercise is another weird lil fella. This time you are going to lay with your back on a stability ball (one of those big beach ball looking things) and place your feet firmly on the ground. Again grab a light weight until you get the motion down and complete some reps as if you are on a bench. This exercise forces you to focus on your balance so you do not fall off of the ball and causes your elbows to not complete the cycle you are accustomed to. Find a comfortable weight for 10-12 reps and three sets. This exercise is better to go with a lighter weight until you master it as it is difficult to balance very heavy weights while using the ball.
The last exercise is alternating dumbbell press. This one is fun as you lay on a flat bench with your dumbbells. Then press only your left weight into the air. Then switch with the right. The goal is to keep a fluid motion like your arms are pistons. Do 10 reps on each arm for three sets.