You are here: Herne Hill \ Health & Fitness \ BACK TO BASICS
8 December 2008
WHEN MEN hire a personal trainer they ask for two things, I am told, big guns and big pecs.
A rippling chest has been the must have for any macho man ever since Arnie tore his way onto the big screen wearing just a loin cloth as Conan, the muscle-bound Barbarian.
But while pumping those pecs may be a popular gym routine, it is important to achieve some balance in your body. If you work only on your chest you could end up with your shoulders pinched forward as the muscle pulls them in. It could even leave you with back and neck problems later in life.
The message is, if you are working on your chest you have to equally work on your back. Doing a few rows and flies for your back will even out that pull on your shoulders and make sure you don't end up with a permanent shrug.
Fitness instructor and personal trainer Afzal Khan, who works at the Peckham Pulse, has these tips to work on both.
Bench press - The classic chest exercise. Lie flat on a bench holding your weight just above your chest, your elbows at right angles and your knuckles pointing towards the ceiling. Push the weight up until your arms are almost straight out in front of you and squeeze your pecs. On different visits, vary between dumbbells and a barbell to get the most effective workout. This also works triceps.
Flies - Lie flat on a bench holding dumbbells straight out in front of you.
Then lower your arms to the side until they are horizontal. The whole movement should see the dumbbell trace a 90 degree angle. Then bring them back up.
Press ups - "You should be able to push up your own body weight," Afzal says, "When you are working on your chest, push ups is my preference whether you use it for strength, endurance or both." The closer in your hands are the more you use your triceps. The further apart, the more you use you chest.
|Using a barbell in a bench press tends to mean you can lift more weight than dumbbells. |
But it also means that your stronger arm sometimes compensates for your weak arm.
Using dumbbells eradicates this and means you can make you weak arm stronger!
Dips - "It's a very good exercise to do for the lower part of your chest." It can be done on the dips bars in the gym or off a bench.
Just sit with your bum on the edge of the bench, grip the bench either side of your body and put your feet together and straight out in front of you.
Then lower yourself down and bring yourself back up again by pushing down on the bench.
Incline bench press - Raise the back of the bench so it in between horizontal and vertical and follow the normal bench press.
Incline press ups - Press ups with your feet gripped on top of a Swiss Ball or on a bench.
Dead lift - Standing up, hold your barbell or dumbbells at arms length, by your waist. With knees slightly bent, bend over to an almost 90 degree angle, pointing your bum out when you are bent over. Then stand up again. This works your lower back and traps.
Seated row - Can be done on a seated row machine at the gym. It will work the middle and lower traps as well as the rhomboids. Depending on what grip you use, it will work the laterals (the muscles around your neck) as well.
"It's a really important workout because it's the opposite of a bench press. It will pull your shoulders back as well, " Afzal says.
Lat pull down - Again can be done on the eponymous machine in the gym. It's a seated exercise, where you pull down a bar to your chest. This mostly works your lats.
Pull ups - Is a great exercise for the back. As Afzal said, it is important to be able to lift your own weight. The closer together your grip, the more you use your bicep. The further apart, the more you use your lats.
Back fly - The reverse of the chest fly. Can be done on a bench, but some gyms have fly machines.
No comments have been posted.
RAILTON ROAD SE24,
Leasehold, For Sale
TEA TRADE WHARF SE1, £1,295,000 , For Sale
TOWER BRIDGE WHARF E1W, £550 , per week, For Sale
PROVIDENCE SQUARE SE1, £1,600,000 , For Sale