Stop! Want a really intense total body training session instead of your standard "chest day" workout? The following sports-functional exercises work not only your chest muscles but also your other upper- and lower-body sports-essential muscle groups to enhance full-body strength, size, endurance and stability—key attributes for athletes.
Worried you'll miss something by not devoting an hour to your standard "chest day" routine? Don't be. Your chest will still be thoroughly pumped without your having to perform 20 or 30 sets of various chest exercises.
- A pair of light, moderate and heavy dumbbells
- A bottle of water to hydrate before, during and after your workout
- Start with a dynamic upper- and lower-body warm-up
- Finish with upper- and lower-body cooldown static stretches to promote flexibility
- Rest 60 to 90 seconds between strength-building combo sets; 30 to 60 seconds between size-boosting combo sets; and 15 to 30 seconds between endurance combo sets
- Hydrate between combo sets
Chest Day Workout
Strength-Building Combo: Dumbbell Deadlifts and Dumbbell Push-Ups
The Deadlift, like the Squat, is a full-body strength and size-building exercise. It releases muscle-building natural testosterone and growth hormone throughout the body by engaging leg, hip, arm, shoulder, back and core muscles and indirectly increasing chest size. Push-Ups, a terrific upper-body strength and size exercise, build the chest, increase arm size and strengthen shoulder, back and core muscles.
- Assume athletic stance, feet shoulder-width apart with dumbbells beside feet
- Keep back straight (not rounded), bend at the hips, keep arms straight with palms facing each other, and use leg and hip muscles to slowly lift heavy dumbbells from floor in three seconds
- Pause one second at top, lower in three seconds and repeat four more times
- Without rest, immediately go to push-up position with hands on dumbbells shoulder-width apart, and do five reps by lowering to floor in three seconds and pressing up quickly in one second
Size-Building Combo: Single-Leg Squats and Dumbbell Press-Outs
Performing a Squat on one-leg not only stimulates leg, hip and upper-body size but also engages core strength and stability by forcing other muscle groups to work harder. Stability training is often overlooked in off-season or in-season conditioning programs, yet it often comes into play in sports. Dumbbell Press-Outs target chest, shoulder and triceps muscles.
- Hold two dumbbells at shoulder level with an underhand grip and do 10 squats per leg (holding dumbbells at shoulder level instead of down at your sides makes the exercise more challenging, because you have to maintain balance while also continuously contracting your biceps)
- Without rest, assume athletic stance holding dumbbells at chest level
- Explosively press dumbbells away from chest and back 10 times
Endurance-Building Combo: DB Standing Flys with Lunges and "Punches"
This combo promotes endurance; it's also an example of the pre-exhaust weight training principle.
- Assume lunge position holding dumbbells at chest level with palms facing each other
- Bend arms slightly and bring dumbbells laterally away from chest in three seconds
- Explosively return to start position, pause and squeeze your inner chest one second
- Do 15 reps
- Without rest, hold dumbbells with an overhand grip at chest level and alternately lunge with the right foot while quickly pressing dumbbell away from chest with left arm
- Switch to a left leg lunge/right arm Press-Out and alternate back and forth 15 times, imitating a boxer
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