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Chest, Back and Biceps with EC Athlete Alex

Incline Dumbbell Bench Press

The incline dumbbell bench press is an upper-body strengthening exercise that utilizes your chest, shoulder, and triceps muscles. The inclined position of this exercise places greater emphasis on the upper chest and shoulders.

  1. Set an adjustable bench to an incline of 30-45 degrees.
  2. Lie on your back on the bench and hold a pair of dumbbells directly above your shoulders with your arms fully extended.
  3. Pull your shoulder blades together, and slightly stick out your chest.
  4. Lower both dumbbells to the sides of your chest.
  5. Pause, and then press the dumbbells back to the starting position.
  6. Repeat for 3 sets of 8-10 reps.

Tips:

  1. Keep the elbows close to your sides throughout the exercise.
  2. Do not hyper-extend the neck. Maintain a neutral long spine.
  3. Lower the dumbbells all the way until they are level with your chest.

Cable Hammer Curls

The cable hammer curl is a very popular, arm-focused exercise which targets the forearms and brachialis muscles, in addition to the biceps. The neutral grip may take pressure off the wrists and elbows, while using a cable allows for continuous tension throughout each repetition.

  1. Attach a rope handle to a cable tower.
  2. With your arms straight, your core tight and a neutral spine, bend at the hips and knees to pick the rope up from the tower.
  3. Keeping your elbows at your sides and your eyes forward, curl the rope up to your chest.
  4. Lower under control. Do not let your upper back round over - consciously pull your shoulder blades together to provide a stable base for your arms to pull from.
  5. Repeat for 3 sets of 8-12 reps.

Tips:

  1. Do NOT swing!

Standing EZ Bar Bicep Curl

Standing EZ Bar curls are another popular bicep-targeting exercise. Many gyms have EZ bars at fixed weights, allowing for easy weight changes. Many lifters find EZ bars to be easier and the wrists, elbows, and shoulders than a regular straight bar.

  1. Stand holding an EZ-curl bar using a shoulder-width supinated grip (palms facing upward).
  2. Your elbows should be almost fully extended, and the bar should be resting against your thighs.
  3. Keeping your upper arms fixed by your sides, exhale as you curl the EZ-curl bar up toward your shoulders.
  4. At the top of the movement, hold for a count of two and squeeze your biceps.
  5. Inhale as you lower the EZ-curl bar to the starting position in a controlled manner.
  6. Repeat for 3 sets of 8-12 reps.

Tips:

  1. Keep your elbows by your sides. Only your forearms should move.
  2. Keep your body still. Do not sway your body or swing the EZ-curl bar.
  3. Try making the exercise more difficult by controlling tempo or adding pauses.

One Arm Dumbbell Row

Rows should be one of your go-to exercises when you’re looking to build a stronger back. You’re most likely acquainted with the bent-over barbell row, however, we’ve chosen to include the One-Arm dumbbell row because using one arm at a time allows you to really focus your efforts on the lats, traps, and other back muscles utilized by this exercise. Using dumbbells instead of a barbell also prevents you from using one side of your body more than the other. Thus, if there are any strength imbalances you need to work on, single side isolation exercises such as this one, are going to be your best friend. Dumbbells also provide a greater ROM (range of motion) than using a barbell.

  1. Put your left leg on the bench and grab the far side with your left hand, then bend over so your upper body is parallel with the ground.
  2. Reach down and pick up the dumbbell in your right hand with a neutral grip (palm facing you), then hold it with your arm extended, keeping your back straight.
  3. Bring the dumbbell up to your chest, concentrating on lifting it with your back and shoulder muscles rather than your arms.
  4. Keep your chest still as you lift. At the top of the movement, squeeze your shoulder and back muscles.
  5. Lower the dumbbell slowly until your arm is fully extended again.
  6. Repeat for 3 sets of 8-10 reps each arm.

Chin Up’s

Chin Up’s are body weight exercises that primarily target the upper back and bicep muscles. They are very similar to pull-ups with one exception: chin up’s are performed with your palms facing your body, whereas a pull-up would begin with your hands facing away from your body. The chin up is a notoriously difficult move, but with the proper dedication, training, and effort, you’re sure to master this move in no time.

  1. Begin by placing your hands on the bar with an underhand grip (your palms facing your body).
  2. Raise your body until your chin is above the bar.
  3. Lower yourself back down.
  4. Repeat for 3 sets of 8-10 reps.
Give these exercises a try on your next upper body day and let us know how it goes! Film yourself and tag @ecsportsusa on Instagram for a shot to win some free merch!

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