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Targeting Lower Pecs

Dumbbell Decline Bench PressCould you tell me the best way to work out the underside of my pecs?

The commonly recommended exercises are decline bench press and chest dips although some suggest flat bench is just as effective. Conversely, some bodybuilders have reported bench press does little for their chest development, opting instead for dips and decline bench. In any case, it may be advised to stick to the basics until you reach an advanced stage before you begin specializing - changing your basic chest exercises every month or two. This may include decline one month, chest dips the second month, and flat bench the following month. If this area is still underpar after you've laid the foundation to your development, then consider including cable standing flies or decline flies on a more advanced split program.

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Low Back Fatique During Good Mornings

I tried the hamstring exercise titled Smith Good Morning, and I was using my lower back some (it seemed), does this mean my form was off?

The lower back, or erector spinae muscles are isometrically contracted during the good morning. You may begin feeling it a bit more in the hamstring muscles as you continue with it over the weeks. Your lower back should be kept straight through out the Good Morning. You could always have some one look at your form. It is common, though, to feel an exercise in your "weakest link". As the lower back becomes more conditioned, you may later feel it in the target muscle. If you are performing a split program, consider performing a leg curl for your first hamstring movement and the good morning (or any hamstring exercise involving hip extension) as your second movement. This will pre-fatigue the hamstrings so you may feel it a bit more in these muscles.


What are Plyometrics?

Hello, I'm an Italian boy, and I don't know what plyometric means, you have used this term to indicate the utility of an exercise for the obliques, could you explain to me what it means? Thank you.

A plyometric is an explosive movement performed after a quick intense loading. As in the case of plyometric oblique movements, this involves fast repetitive movements performed between rapid stretches to each side. The rapid changes of inertia, or momentum provide the loading for these type oblique exercises. See core under power exercises.


Spider Curl

Are there any differences between conventional Preacher Curls, as demonstrated at ExRx.net and so called Spider Curls, performed on the opposite vertical surface of a preacher bench? I am mainly concerned whether this change makes biceps the target muscle, or brachialis remains target muscle as in the conventional preacher curls. Any further comments on Spider Curls (regarding their injury potential, active insufficiency of the short head, etc.) would be highly appreciated as well.

Spider curls were popularized by old time trainer Vince Gironda. According to Larry Scott (first Mr Olympia), Vince Gironda developed a unique specialized spider bench. It included a narrow chest pad on a 15 degree bench at the top end of the bench in the form of a cross. The exerciser lies prone with arms hanging over the top of the cross and the back of the arms supported by the arm rests. Grip is about 8 inches (20 cm) apart with a false grip (thumbs and fingers on the same side of the bar). The bar is curled all the way up to the chin and down again.

Another old design apparently did not have the longer bench for the body to rest upon.

For those without these specialized benches, the exercise had been traditionally performed off the upper end of an elevated bench as depicted in the Prone Incline Curl, also known as a Spider Curl.

As your description depicts, Spider Curls have also been adapted to be performed off the opposite end of a preacher bench thereby blurring the distinction between this variation and preacher curls.

When the spider curl is performed on a low angled incline bench, the shoulder is flexed even greater than a preacher curl or a spider curl performed off the vertical side of a preacher bench. With greater shoulder flexion, the short (inner) head of the biceps experiences is place in an even higher degree of active insufficiency thereby emphasis on long (outer) head of the biceps and the underlying brachialis to a greater extent as compared to preacher curl or even the spider curl performed down the opposite side of a preacher curl.

The degree of shoulder flexion is the same when comparing a preacher curl to a spider curl on the opposite side of a preacher bench. The largest difference is in the resistance curve, which is only slightly different. The resistance curve of a preacher curl begins at a slighty greater effort at the beginning and ends with a slightly lower effort at the end due to the sublet varying paths the weights travel against gravity when the arm is placed on an angled surface versus a vertical surface.


Bastardized Cable Seated Row Apperatus

Cable Seated Row with legs straightMy new gym does not have a low back machine that allows articulation through the spine. I have tried the seated cable row as described on your site but my spine only bends slightly just before the weight bottoms out.

Some weight training manufactures have lengthened the cable on their cable seated row machine so users can only perform the straight back version presumably over concern of the safety of the spine articulating during the cable row at least for some frail uninformed individals that may find there way onto their machines. Another possibility is you have extremely flexible hamstrings allowing your greater than normal anteriorly rotation of the hips so your spine back does not have the opportunity to flex forward. In any case, you can try one or more of these options as a work around:

  • use a shorter cable attachment if available
  • perform the exercise on a standard low pulley cable
  • keeping your knee straight during the cable row (as pictured)

If you perform the exercise on standard low pulley cable instead of a dedicated seated cable row machine, you will need to find something flat [weight plate(s), aerobics step, etc] to place at the base of the frame to keep your feet from sliding forward. Alternatively you can straddle a bench positioned in front of the low pulley cable. Some benches accommodate your feet to be positioned on the bench's base with your knees slightly bent.


Chest Exercises for Women

Which chest exercise would aid in firming and lifting my breasts along with increase cleavage with low neckline sweaters?

Women's Chest ExercisesGenerally speaking, after the age of 20, we can lose 1/3 lb to 1/2 lb of muscle mass and gain 1 pound of fat each year. The exercises for the chest can restore muscle mass under the breast tissue. If the restoration of muscle mass is accompanied with a decrease of fat there may be no net change of girth, but a toning effect. Both an increase of muscle and decrease of fat will result in this toning effect. Although, this may not really restore the natural sagging of the breasts that occurs with age, particularly if you have ever nursed your children. As you know, the breast is an organ surrounded with fat tissue. Exercises for the upper chest may yield somewhat an illusion of upper breast cleavage. Products like the Wonder Bra or in extreme cases, reconstructive surgery will yield more dramatic effects. Realize plastic surgery does not need to include implants. Certainly, I urge you to at least try an exercise program including chest exercises.

In the beginning, most any basic chest exercise you feel comfortable with can be recommended. Later, the more effective exercises become the ones that are less familiar. Even the best exercise can lose its effects over time. Change your exercises every month or two. Pick one basic exercise for the Chest (General) and one exercise for the upper chest (Pectoralis Clavicular). If you are using a split program and specializing on the chest, add an auxiliary exercise for the chest. Continue to perform an exercise for every major muscle.

Also, your chest may appear fuller with proper shoulder girdle posture. Protracted shoulders can make the chest appear flatter. Including a rowing movement in your weight training program and exercising through a full range of motion (very mild stretch during chest exercise) will help maintain ideal shoulder girdle posture. Also be aware of other postural deficiencies which may influence the overall aesthetics of the body.

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