Hey, everybody, it is Motivational Monday!
There is a holiday that occurs every Monday amongst the meatheads.
They rejoice in knowing that their favorite day of the training week is upon them.
They are beyond excited for the much celebrated International Chest Day!
Meatheads across the world gather in commercial gyms on a Monday evening to “thrash” their chest into the dustbins of oblivion.
Set after set, bench after bench, and pump after pump. What a great feeling.
After doing this for many Mondays, reality sets in. Many trainees are completely deflated when they look in the mirror and they are no closer to their end goal than they were months ago. Why?
Although “destroying” your chest sounds great on paper, the execution of the average lifter is typically horrendous.
Bad form is always the main culprit. Performing half-reps, training with low intensity, and living in Machineville will not allow you develop a 5-star chest. Your pecs will be rated 1-star like a low-class motel on Yelp.
These lifters have the enthusiasm, but many lack the fundamental skills and knowledge of the movements needed to maximize their workouts.
The basics never went out of style and one of the most effective movements for developing great strength and muscle for the chest is the classic incline dumbbell press.
This has always been a go-to movement for me. When you properly execute the movement, you will see big time changes with your chest musculature. No longer will tank tops swallow you up, gentlemen.
Ladies, upper body training is important for you all well. No one wants to walk around with an upper body reminiscent of Olive Oil. The incline dumbbell press will enable you to add strength to your upper torso.
There are 4 cues that will allow you properly execute the incline dumbbell press:
Cue 1) Set your bench at the correct height
Many trainees set their bench too high.
When your bench is set high, you shift the emphasis of the movement from your chest to your shoulders.
The incline dumbbell press is an elite chest builder. Keep it that way by setting your bench at a low incline.
Cue 2) Use your legs to get the dumbbells into the proper starting position
By using your legs to get the dumbbells up to the proper starting position, you will conserve the energy needed for the actual set.
Wasting energy by trying to muscle the dumbbells into the proper starting position will cost you reps during the set. Utilize your legs to help you get set and then begin to press.
Cue 3) Use a half-tuck elbow position for strong, safe reps
By using a half-tuck you are ensuring that your reps will strong, safe, and still primarily targeting your chest.
The half-tuck gives you a balanced distribution of strength between your chest, shoulders, and triceps. This is needed as the dumbbells will eventually get heavier.
A full elbow tuck is not a bad movement, but the emphasis will now be shifted to the triceps.
A full elbow flare out will get your triceps out of the move, but if you have shoulder issues, they may arise when you are pressing with your elbows flared out.
Both of those variations can work at times, but using a half-tuck will give you the most bang for your buck.
Cue 4) What constitutes proper form?
Proper form in the incline dumbbell press is when you follow all the above steps before your press and then begin the movement.
You will press up while keeping the dumbbells going straight up to keep tension on your chest. There is never a need for the dumbbells to connect at top of the movement.
As you descend into the bottom, you want to make sure you bring the dumbbells deep into the pocket before pressing back up. Full range reps build a full chest.
Half-reps, quarter-reps, pump presses, and using your whole body (butt off the bench) all do not count.
Doing your reps like this will keep your chest looking unspectacular and flat. Fake hustle has never gotten anybody going anywhere worthwhile.
Check out the newest edition of Form Matters at the top of the page to learn about to get the most out of the incline dumbbell press.
I’ll holla at you next time.
The People’s Trainer,