Jeremy Ethier, kinesiologist, fitness trainer, and founder of Built with Science, understands that the chest can be one of the trickiest body parts to really grow.
“The chest seems to be a muscle group that many people struggle with developing. This then often leads them to throw every single possible chest exercise at it in hopes that it’ll grow,” says Ethier. “But, the truth is, this haphazard selection of exercises for chest often does more harm than good.”
His solution? In his latest YouTube video, he shared the two moves that he goes to for massive chest gains: the low incline dumbbell press and any banded/cable movement.
“By combining these two moves, you will ensure you don’t miss out on any potential chest gains,” says Ethier.
Exercise #1: Low Incline Dumbbell Press
“Pressing movements for the chest are necessary because it enables us to apply a high amount of tension to our chest overtime since can both lift heavier loads with it and easily progress it over time with more weight,” says Ethier.
He prefers to use dumbbells over barbell presses because it allows a greater range of motion on your chest fibers and really hits the upper chest.
To do it correctly, set up your low incline up to just 15 degrees.
“You get a significant boost in upper chest activation but with less of an increase in front delts involvement and with less of a drop in activation from the middle and lower portions of your chest,” says Ethier.
Keep a slight arch in the upper back and tuck in the elbows. This will also protect your shoulders and maximize comfort.
Exercise #2: Any Cable or Banded Movement
For example, a seated cable fly or, if you don’t have access to cables, then banded push-ups or banded flys.
Ethier recommends these because unlike a a dumbbell press, where your chest experiences the greatest amount of resistance at the bottom, with banded and cable moves the chest is being challenged at all times.
“The cable fly accommodates for this by providing adequate tension on the chest throughout the whole range of motion, especially during the fully contracted position,” says Ethier. “Similarly, if you don’t have cables, the banded push-up or banded fly is a suitable alternative since the resistance applied to your chest will be lowest at the bottom position but then progressively increase as you lockout and reach the chest’s fully contracted position.”
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