If you want to maximize
chest development, bench pressing is obviously
high on the list. Using the Swiss Ball has a LOT
of advantages over the flat bench...I'll tell
you what they are and the BEST way to get into
position to do the exercise with maximum weight.
There's a reason
Monday is "Chest Day" in most gyms...it's
a HUGE priority for most guys (and many gals!)
and they want to do it when they've got the most
energy fresh off a weekend.
a bit of bad news...that flat barbell bench
press you've been doing is NOT the best
exercise for building a great chest. I reserve
THAT title for the Dumbell Bench Press.
on the shoulders because you have more
freedom of movement
side can take over the movement because
each arm operates independently
mess up your grip spacing (actually a
BIG problem with a lot of people on the
barbell bench press)
There are other
advantages but bottom line, in my opinion, the
Dumbell Bench Press is absolutely superior to
the Barbell Bench Press for chest development.
Now, if you've
read any of my articles where I talk about the
Dumbell Bench Press, you know I'm a BIG fan of
doing the exercise on the Swiss ball rather than
on an actual flat bench.
The reason is NOT
because of the instability of the ball - that's
incidental to me (though it is useful from a core-training
perspective). The reason is because of the SHAPE
of the ball (round, in case you were wondering...
With a round ball,
you can wrap your back around the ball and better
expand your rib cage. This helps keep your shoulders
back, putting your pecs in a much better position
to perform the exercise. If you can't feel much
in your chest on the flat barbell bench, you need
to use the Swiss ball NOW.
This tip is an explanation
of how to best get the dumbells into position
to do the exercise. I've been doing this exercise
for a LOT of years and this is the best way, by
far, I've found for getting the dumbells into
position and performing the exercise.
Another good thing
about the ball...I find it MUCH easier to work
with heavy dumbells when on the ball. One thing
you DEFINITELY want to make sure of before doing
any heavy dumbell work on the ball is that you
have a GOOD ball - no Wal-Mart el-cheapo "toning"
You want something
that is thick rubber and anti-burst (meaning if
it leaks, it's not going to pop - it'll just leak
slowly, giving you time to set your weights down).
Nothing good happens when a Swiss ball pops while
you're under a big load.
So make sure your Swiss ball is good quality.
Get yours from an
actual training equipment like "Resist-A-Ball".
I got my ball from SportSmith
(that link goes to the exact ball I've got - you'll
notice it's anti-burst).
Another good one
is available through Power
Systems, called the Power Versa Ball (rated
to 2000 lbs).
So, once you've
got your ball, grab some dumbells. Start with
lighter dumbells at first - once you get the technique
down, you can really get into some heavy weights.
I'm using 125 lb dumbells in the demo here.
Set them a little
in front of the ball and stand in between them.
Squat down and grab
them like you're about to do a dumbell deadlift
(which you are).
As you stand up,
rest the ENDS of the dumbells on your thighs.
Now sit on the ball
with the dumbell on end on your thighs.
Kick your right
leg out until it's almost straight then kick your
left leg out.
Now comes the
FUN part...you're going to very quickly and
forcefully roll yourself forward on the ball so
that you're laying back. As you're forcefully
laying back, lock your elbows so that you bring
the dumbells with you as you lay back.
Continue their backward
momentum and swing your elbows out to the sides
until you're in the bottom position of the bench
Very quickly press
the dumbells to the top, converting some of that
backwards momentum into upwards force. You don't
want to get stuck at the bottom.
Now you're at the
top and ready to start your set! Do as many reps
as you want to or are able to do.
When you've completed
your set, you're ready to set the dumbells down
again. Bring them in towards your chest (beside
your chest, basically).
Now set them on
the ground like you're doing a negative dumbell
curl. Control the drop but don't try and actually
do a real negative with heavy weights like this!
You're done! Simple
and effective and, in my opinion, a whole lot
better than doing them on a flat bench. Perform
3 sets of 5 to 7 reps with this exercise and don't
be afraid to go heavy. For me, the Dumbell Bench
Press on the Swiss Ball is a MUCH better chest
developer than Flat Barbell Bench Press.
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