It’s the next installment in our series on getting a jump on the New Year with resistance training exercises for the chest.  How have things been going with the arm exercises we covered last month?  You should be doing them at least 2 separate times each week and you can now add these chest exercises to the mix!  We’re still using the same basic equipment:  an exercise ball, resistance band and dumbbells.

Remember that in addition to improving muscle tone and strength, exercise improves our resiliency to stress by increasing the threshold for what we perceive to be a stressful event, improves our recover from stress and releases hormones that restore balance.  It also improves sleep and energy levels.  It’s important to acknowledge the many benefits we reap from exercise besides bigger biceps or flatter abs.

Every day is a new opportunity to make a commitment to your self – START NOW.  In the present moment it doesn’t matter what you either did or didn’t do yesterday, only what you are doing right now.  Make a 10-minute investment in yourself.  You’re worth it, your performance is worth it, and your health is definitely worth it.

Be sure to tune in for our next muscle group – Abdominals and Core – to learn some fantastic exercises on Thursday, December 31st.

TIPS FOR A SUCCESSFUL WORKOUT:

  • Always do a warm-up of cardiovascular activity OR a set of 15 repetitions using a very light weight for each muscle group before doing your intense resistance training.
  • Perform 8-12 repetitions of each exercise, doing 1-2 sets with no more than 60 seconds of rest between each set.
  • Make sure you are using a challenging weight or body position.  Your last 2 repetitions should be extremely challenging to complete with good form.
  • Work each muscle group 2 times per week.
  • Do no work the same muscle group two consecutive days in a row.  Allow 1-3 days of recovery.
  • ALWAYS stretch at the end of every workout.
  • To the change the intensity of the band exercises, simply bring your hands closer to the anchor point.

5-4-3-2-1:  Begin by doing 5 push-ups from the toes, then 5 push-ups from the knees, and finally 5 cobra push-ups.  Immediately repeat the series doing 4 of each, 3 of each, 2 of each and 1 of each.  When doing cobra push-ups make your upper body dead weight – try not to use your low back muscles so that all the work is done by the chest and arm muscles.  When doing the push-ups from the toes and the knees, keep the spine in a straight line.

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Ball Push-ups:  Start with your belly on the ball and walk yourself forward on your hands.  Keep the core engaged so the spine stays in a neutral position and perform 8-12 push-ups.  Positioning the ball closer to your hips makes the exercise easier while placing the ball nearer your feet increases the difficulty.  Choose a body position that makes the last few repetitions extremely challenging.

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Chest Flyes:  Begin seated on the ball with dumbbells in both hands.  Carefully walk your feet out until the ball is positioned under your neck and shoulders.  Extend both arms up over the chest, and slowly open your arms out until they are parallel with your shoulders.  Keep the arms as long and extended as possible without locking out the elbow joint.  Squeeze the arms back up over the top of the chest.

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Chest Press with Band:  Start with the middle of the band just under the chest and wrap the ends of the band around the back, bring them around front, and hold the ends in each hand.  Press the arms forward and then slowly resist the band back to the beginning position.  To increase the resistance, move your hands down the band in the direction of your chest.

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