The Top Pectoral & Abdominal Workouts
There seems to be a lot of confusion out there about how exactly to develop a full
, balanced chest. While I generally believe that the upper pecs are the key to bringing out the entire chest, I think it's important for advanced level trainers to employ a wide array of movements that attack the pecs from a variety of angles. In addition to the basics, here's some of the best exercises to round out your pec development with:
High Cable Crossovers: this is an excellent movement to hit the lower pecs as well as the difficult to develop inner pecs. Good development of the inner pecs, of course, gives you that nice separation that is a hallmark of a first-rate physique.
Low Cable Crossovers: these are also great for hitting the inner pecs - continuous tension is the key here.
Bench Press (Wide Grip): extend your grip out on the flat bench press to shift the emphasis to the lower pecs.
Bench Press (Close Grip): the mid-range section of this movement really targets the inner chest pretty intensely. Later in the movement, of course, the triceps and upper chest take over.
Decline Bench Press: these, of course, primarily hit the lower pecs hard. If you move your grip in a bit and really emphasize the top of the movement, you'll get good stress on the inner pecs as well.
Dumbbell Flyes: if performed strictly, Dumbbell Flyes can hit the inner chest, though you really need to squeeze your pecs together hard to get the full effect. I like to alternate doing Dumbbell Flyes on the flat bench, incline bench, and decline bench.
Dips: the elbows-in variation place the bulk of the emphasis on the lower pecs, while the elbows-out style will pull the inner pecs more into the exercise.
When it comes to ab workouts, hanging Leg Raises are becoming one of the most popular abdominal exercises, and with good reason. This intense movement is a great way to target the entire abdominal region including the difficult to hit lower abs. If you're not already incorporating Hanging Leg Raises into your ab routine on a regular basis, you should give them a go. Here's the basic technique.
You begin the movement hanging from a Lat Pull-up bar. Your grip should be about shoulder width apart, and your arms should remain fully extended throughout the movement. You want to bend your knees slightly and keep them bent throughout. Now, using your ab muscles only, raise your legs up to a point where your feet are about level with your belly button (note: you do not want to swing your legs up with your hips (focus on your abs).
As typical with abs, hold the peak contraction for a count of one or two and squeeze hard. Perform the negative portion of the movement slowly by lowering your legs resisting somewhat on the way down. Repeat for a tight set of 12-20 reps.
by: Paul Guenther
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