Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Exercise of the week - Alternating dumbbell incline chest press - PNF

How to: Start by setting adjustable bench to an incline of your choosing. Grab dumbbells with an overhand grip (palms facing outward) and lay back with your back fully on the bench. Keeping your head, back, butt and feet in contact with the floor is very important during this exercise as it keeps the body in proper alignment and gives you an adequate base of support. Once you have laid back onto the bench, start with the dumbbells placed on your shoulders while maintaining that overhand grip. Take a deep breath in and then press both dumbbells up into the starting position (shown in photo #1). From here you will lower one dumbbell at a time down to your shoulder while taking in a deep breath and then press it back up to the starting position while exhaling. Alternate dumbbells each time and make sure to keep the core stabilized (contracted) as this will aid in control and your ability to exert force.

What it strengthens: This exercise is excellent for strengthening the upper body. The prime movers are the pectorals (chest) and triceps, but there is also quite a bit of anterior deltoid (front of shoulder) and core strengthening that takes place.

Equipment needed: Incline bench or adjustable bench and a set of dumbbells.

Modifications: If you find that this exercise is too difficult, a quick way to make it easier would be to press both dumbbells up simultaneously. This allows for more force production because the rotational stress on the core is eliminated. Two quick ways to make this exercise more difficult would be to: 1) grab heavier dumbbells, and 2) try performing this exercise on a stability ball which will require even more core stabilization and balance.

Applications: There are a countless number of applications for strengthening the upper body, particularly in a pressing movement. It can apply to everything from making push ups easier to lifting up household objects. This exercise in particular provides a more functional approach to upper body strengthening because there is emphasis on anti-rotational core stability that is not a factor when pressing two dumbbells simultaneously.

Travis Guerrette B.S. CSCS, CPT

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