Fitness With Simon Dunn: Train Your Chest!

Athlete, activist and personal trainer, Simon Dunn focuses on everyone’s favourite shirt-filler-outer.

Located on the anterior chest wall are four muscles that exert force on the upper limbs: the pectoralis major, pectoralis minor, serratus anterior and subclavius. 

It’s easy to forget that your chest is not just one muscle, therefore, varying exercises in multiple planes of motion are required to adequately target your entire chest. 

1. The Bench Press

I advise beginning any chest session with bench as, being a compound lift, this utilizes all the muscles within the area and makes it the ideal starting point for any chest workout.

  • Lay on your back on a bench with your feet planted on the floor. Pushing through your heels will help engage your core allowing more force to be pushed through the bar. 
  • Grip the bar at a comfortable point, wider than shoulder width, with the arms straight above your chest.
  • Slowly and under control, lower the bar down to the level of your chest.
  • Push the bar back up, until the elbows are almost straight.
  • Keep the lower back in contact with the bench at all times, changing the angle of your spine changes the lift, therefore requiring the recruitment of other muscles. 
  • Set x Reps: 5 x 10-12 / Tempo: 3.1.2 / Rest: 60-90 sec

2. Incline Dumbbell Press 

As we move further into the workout, it’s time to target lifts placing emphasis on different parts of the chest. The Incline Dumbbell Press targets the upper pectoral area, most notably the upper pectoralis major. Using dumbbells in this lift helps strengthen the stabilize muscles within your shoulder girdle.

  • Lay on your back on a bench with your feet on the floor. As with Bench Press, push through your heels, engaging your core. 
  • Angle of the body should be between 0 and 45 degrees, too great of an angle, and this will become a shoulder exercise.
  • Hold a dumbbell in each hand, starting with the elbows bent and just below shoulder level.
  • Hold the dumbbells in a pronated position 
  • Push the hands straight up, towards the ceiling.
  • Slowly return to the starting position.
  • Set x Reps: 3 x 10 / Tempo: 3.1.2 / Rest: 45-60 sec

3. Cable Pec Fly 

You should now be feeling the pump in your upper chest. It’s time to target your lower chest, known as pectoralis minor. For this exercise, we’ll be using cables, which have some advantages over free weights as they provide continuous, uniform tension to the muscle throughout the movement and they have a dynamic line of resistance.

  • Start in a split or staggered stance.
  • Maintain a slight bend in the elbows throughout the exercise.
  • Bring arms in at a controlled tempo, engaged chest in the middle.
  • Maintain control throughout entire movement.
  • Return to the starting position.
  • Set x Reps: 3 x 10 / Tempo: 3.1.2 / Rest: 45-60 sec

4. Push-Ups

Finish off the workout with an exercise everyone knows and has done with a our rep count of  AMRAP, which means As Many Reps As Possible! This will ensure an already exhausted chest is pushed to its limits and your session is maximized. When getting tired, there’s no shame in moving this exercise to a push-up from your knees.

  • Lay face down in a pronated position and place hands flat on the ground slightly wider than shoulder width.
  • Push up from the floor so that your weight is distributed between your hands and toes.
  • Core should be engaged throughout
  • Lower the chest towards the floor, keeping the spine neutral until your just off the floor.
  • Push back up to the starting position, maintain a slow and consistent tempo to maximize time under tension. 
  • Set x Reps: AMRAP (As Many Reps As Possible) / Rest: 60 sec

Want to workout with Simon? He’s currently training clients at ‘A Squad Called Savage’ in Potts Point, Sydney. 

Photography Christian Scott | Instagram | Website
Trainer Simon Dunn | Instagram | Website | Email
Gym A Squad Called Savage | Instagram | Website
Gear Helsinki Athletica | DailyJocks | Website

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