For a beginner, it’s helpful to split the various body parts up and look at each one individually. For the purposes of the following articles we will break them down into the areas listed below:
In this article we’ll concentrate on the chest and will introduce a few exercises which will help on the road to toning and muscle building. For a beginner we can split the chest exercises into three basic ones.
- Bench Press
- Incline Bench Press
- Decline Bench Press
We’ll assume all three exercises are being undertaken with a barbell but dumb bells can just as easily be used. Make sure you warm up properly before you start.
- The Horizontal Bench Press – for this exercise you will be using a specific bench press machine
like the one shown in the picture. Choose an appropriate weight to begin with and remember that the bar weighs something – possibly as much as 20 kilos. When attaching the weights, don’t forget to use the collar/shoulder to secure them. Now lie back underneath the bar and place your hands on it using a wide grip (wider than your shoulders – when you lower the bar your bent elbows should be at a 90° angle). When you start the exercise, slowly take the weight of the bar from its placement and lower it towards your chest until it almost touches. Raise it back up again – that’s one rep. Perform three sets completing 8 – 12 repetitions (reps) with each exercise.
- The Incline Bench Press - this is used to target the upper chest area and needs to
be performed on a bench which is already inclined or is adjustable. Only a slight raise is necessary, usually one of the first two notches on the bench. Almost certainly you will need to use a smaller weight than the bench press. As you position yourself, the grip is the same but when you lower the bar towards your clavicle, keep your forearms straight, don’t be tempted to tip forward. Perform three sets completing 8 – 12 repetitions (reps) with each exercise.
- Decline Bench Press – an exercise to work the lower chest and one in which you
can normally set the weight the same as the horizontal bench press. The bench will need to be a specific decline bench or a sit-ups bench – one in which your feet are higher than your head. If you’re are using a sit-ups bench, there will be no rack and this exercise will be performed with dumb bells. As before, slowly lower and raise the bar/dumb bells, keeping full control of the movement of the weight at all times. Perform three sets completing 8 – 12 repetitions (reps) with each exercise.