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Use Dumbbells To Stretch Your Muscles To New Growth

In this high-tech, high-poundage day and age, dumbbells are often the forgotten tools of mass training. I notice more and more individuals at the gym using machines with limited ranges of motion or sticking with the heavy poundage promise of good old barbell training.

For many, if they pick up a dumbbell at all, itís to move it out of the way. Oh, they may throw in a few seated curls or some side laterals every now and then, but these usually come after their "heavy" sets.

If youíre only using dumbbells for biceps and/or shoulder work, youíre missing out on a truly time-tested piece of equipment. In fact, Iíve been making some great gains by taking two or three days a month and using nothing but dumbbell movements. Here are four of my favorites.

FLYE: You can build fairly large pecs with barbell pressing movements, and you can develop some decent shape with cables and machines; but if youíre after full, clearly defined, muscular pecs, youíll want to get your dumbbell sets in.

I love training chest using dumbbells, and thereís nothing better for stretching those pecs to some serious new growth than Dumbbell Flyes. Flat Bench, Incline, Decline ó I use them all (though not during the same session).

The key to doing flyes successfully is control. Lower the weights with only slightly bent elbows. Throw your chest up towards the ceiling to really emphasize a full stretch at the bottom of the rep.

As you bring the weight up, concentrate on pulling your pecs together. Use light weights at first until youíre used to doing the movement with the emphasis entirely on your pecs. And never smash the weights together at the topópull them together and squeeze your pecs tight for a count of two.

Pull-Over: Another great dumbbell movement for the pecs. I do this exercise across a flat bench, and I keep my arms as straight as possible throughout the entire range of motion. Again, getting a full stretch is the key to stimulating muscle fibers for new growth and added definition.

Use Dumbbells To Stretch Your Muscles To New Growth With pull-overs I tend to like the 10-15 rep range. Itís important not to turn this exercise into a lat workout or a lying triceps extension. Keep your arms straight and focus on using the muscles in the chest to pull the weight to the eye-level position.

Lying Triceps Extensions: Yes, with dumbbells! The exercise is done in a similar way to the E-Z Curl or Straightbar French Press version. Lying on a flat bench, you begin with your arms extended above you. Slowly lower both dumbbells simultaneously by bending at the elbows. Be sure to keep your upper arms perfectly straight and still.

Then simply push the dumbbells up and lockout at the top, squeezing your triceps as you do. I find that using dumbbells with this exercise from time to time, forces me to maintain perfect form and really blasts my triceps. And the stretch I get is absolutely intense!

Be sure to give these movements a try and let me know what you think. Above all, donít forget about those dumbbells over on that rack in the corner.

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