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Dumbbells can be used for more than old standby weight training exercises. Introduce some variety into your chest routine. Training outside the box in different angles will lead to strength gains and muscle soreness. (Try another unique approach: Double Tension Training: Taking Your Dumbbell Chest Exercises to the Next Level.)
You shouldn't do the same set workout on every chest day. After some workouts, I can feel the burn in my upper chest the next day. On other days, because of my exercise selection the day before, my lower chest and the pec fibers near my sternum experience serious DOMS [delayed onset muscle soreness]. Keep your body guessing, and you won't stall your progress.
A John Meadows special. If you do them properly, you won't be able to go too heavy. Aim for sets of 12 to 15 reps.
- Begin in normal, pronated dumbbell press position
- As you drive up, turn your pinkie fingers in toward each other and flex, letting the ends of the dumbbells touch in the middle at peak contraction
- Return to a pronated position on the negative and repeat
This is a good warm-up exercise to fill your chest out before tackling heavier pressing movements. Be careful not to go too wide in your range of motion or your shoulders might suffer.
- Lie on bench holding dumbbells with elbows slightly bent and parallel with sides
- Using chest muscles, bring dumbbells together overhead until they're about a foot apart
- Lower back to start position; repeat
- Lie on flat bench
- Take a hammer grip on the dumbbells (like making a fist and punching straight in the air)
- Keep elbows pressed against sides and push dumbbells up (this engages the triceps, but you'll feel it in your chest if you hold at peak contraction for a second or two and bring the dumbbells down slowly on the negative)