Double Tension Training: Taking Your Dumbbell Chest Exercises to the Next Level

September 28, 2012 | Joe Stolzer

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Workouts should not only supply physical challenges but keep athletes motivated for improvement, mentally knowing they're outworking the competition. If you're looking to take your training to the next level, try double-tension dumbbell chest exercises. In general, dumbbells are great tools for chest training, because you must stabilize each weight independently while staying equally balanced. Due to the versatility of dumbbells, you have more freedom, not only in exercise choices but in manipulating tension. The key to muscle strength and size: when tension is increased, it further stimulates muscle fibers.

The following sample exercises exhibit double-tension movements so you can outpower your opponents.

Cable Dumbbell Press

Although cable exercises always offer a great deal of tension, adding the dumbbell takes it to a whole new level.

  • Adjust the cable handles to the bottom of the stack
  • Lie on your back on an exercise ball
  • Take two light to moderate weight dumbbells in each hand, while also holding onto the cable handles
  • Begin to press up; you will immediately meet tension you have never experienced before
  • Maintain constant resistance going up and down

One Arm Up Press

Keeping the arm up adds another level of tension to the exercise. This can also be done with regard to the incline and decline dumbbell chest workouts.

  • Lie on a flat bench with two light to moderate dumbbells
  • Begin by keeping your left arm up throughout the repetition
  • Before the next rep, change to keep your right arm up throughout

Dumbbells Together Press

This pressing together motion adds more to the exercise. It can also be done on the incline and decline chest exercises.

  • Lie on a flat bench with two light to moderate dumbbells
  • Bring both dumbbells together
  • Keep your place for the entire number of repetitions

Concentric, Eccentric and Isometric Contraction

Isometric and eccentric exercises increase size and strength more than concentric. They can be done on incline and decline chest exercises.

  • Lie on a bench holding two light to moderate dumbbells
  • Perform 10 repetitions
  • Keep your arms in a straight isometric hold for 15 seconds
  • Do nine reps complete with a 15-second hold straight above your body
  • Continue down to one rep

Two Dumbbell Push on Exercise Ball

This exercise provides great cross tension for the chest, and it's also a tremendous core workout.

  • Assume position on exercise ball
  • Take two light to moderate dumbbells
  • Position arms straight above your body while pressing both dumbbells together
  • Continue to keep dumbbells pressed together throughout the repetitions
  • Push both dumbbells to the right and then to the left, all while fighting to stay in the middle of the ball

Push-Pull Dumbbell Exercise on Exercise Ball

This is a great multi-purpose exercise for the chest and upper back. You get more strength if you work chest and back in sequence instead of separating them. The dual movements also provide cross tension for the core.

  • Assume position on exercise ball next to a cable machine
  • Hold a single light to moderate dumbbell in one hand and a cable handle, set with light to moderate weight, in the other
  • Begin to press and pull at the same time
  • After the desired reps, switch hands and continue to press and pull

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