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
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
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.
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
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