What’s up guys
I’m back from a quick trip out to the “I’m a Celebrity” jungle in Australia. It was nice to catch up with some of the production team and to see a new group of celebrities going through the highs and lows of what was an incredible experience.
This week I’m focusing my advice on my favourite exercises for your chest and shoulders. This is usually one of the most popular muscle groups for guys in particular, but I’ve seen a lot of people rush into these sessions, impatient to bench lift the heaviest weights! If you’re new to the gym or just starting out, it will pay off to start light and build the weights up.
As I mentioned last week it’s also a good idea to focus on separate muscle groups in each session. If you’re training the same muscles everyday then your body won’t have a chance to recover. We’re all guilty of over-working a particular muscle group in the gym and then paying for it the next day. I know I’ve been walking like John Wayne a few times after a particularly savage leg work-out!
I’ve posted another short video to accompany this blog to demonstrate some chest and shoulders exercises in action.
Remember, the number of reps and the size of the weights will vary depending on your starting point and your goals. Always build up gradually. As a rough guide, I try to keep the weights low and do more reps, usually aiming to do three or four sets of 12 reps for each exercise. You’ll be puffing your chest out with pride in no time.
- Incline chest press:This is a great one for building up the muscles around the whole chest area but especially the upper chest as the incline forces you to really work the upper body. Lie back on the incline bench with a dumbbell in each hand and the palms of your hands facing each other. Keep your feet really steady on the floor and clench your thighs to help push the dumbbells up. Lift the dumbbells so that you’re holding them at shoulder width. Now, push the dumbbells up with your chest. Always lock your arms at the top, hold for a second, and then start slowly lowering the weight. Yep, you’ll feel it as you lower the weights but trust me, that’s where all the work is happening!
- Flat bench chest press:Okay, so this time there’s no incline and you lie down flat on your back on the bench. Repeat as above – be prepared to feel the sides of your chest really being worked. This one is a great upper body strengthener. A quick safety tip, when you’ve done all your reps, place the dumbbells on your thighs and then sit up and lower them on to the floor. If you plonk them down while you’re still lay down on the bench, you’re more likely to pull a muscle in your triceps or upper chest.
- Arnie twists:This is great for giving your deltoids – those muscles around the curve of your shoulder – a really challenging work out. Again for stability, sit on your bench press and then lift up and then lower your dumbbells straight ahead of you; don’t go any lower than shoulder height. As you twist, it’s tempting to use your elbows in this one to take the strain from off your shoulders but try not to and just focus on your shoulders taking the bulk of the weight.
- Kettle bell twists:Okay, so grab a kettle bell and hold it in both hands. Stand up tall, with your feet about shoulder distance apart to give you good balance. Now, raise and lower your kettle bell, again focusing on the shoulders taking the strain and not the arms. Once you’ve got the hang of that, start to incorporate twists to each side. Naturally, your lower back and glutes will stabilise you as you do these lifts and twists. This is a great all round strengthener that really does get those shoulder muscles pumping.
I hope you find these chest and shoulder exercise suggestions useful. Next week I’ll be focusing on legs and triceps. Good luck with your training.
Disclaimer: Before undertaking any exercise or fitness programme please see a doctor or medical professional if you have a medical condition or physical restriction that may make some of Jake’s tips and work out suggestions unsuitable. Jake is not a qualified fitness instructor but a dedicated, fitness enthusiast. If you require advice from a professional fitness expert we recommend you contact your local gym or health club.