Quick Tip: Reduce shoulder rotation by allowing for a bend in the elbows at the bottom of
the movement. Do not allow your upper arm to break too far below the plane of the
bench; we want to build our pecs, not strain our shoulders!
Quick Tip: Many of the top bodybuilders in the world, including former Mr. Olympia Dorian
Yates, prefer this movement as their primary exercise instead of the flat bench, which can be
rough on the shoulders.
Quick Tip: For the bench press, technique is everything!
Protect your shoulders by retracting your scapula and staying
tight. Check out this link (Mark Bell article) to see how the
best bench presser in the world does it!
Quick Tip: Many lifters, including our own Kris
Gethin, prefer to slightly rotate the dumbbell
as they complete the motion. This allows you
to better squeeze the muscle at the top of the
Quick Tip: Many people rest at the top of the motion, but that's
when you should be trying to maximize the tension on your chest.
Without clanking the dumbbells, push them together at the top
while contracting your pecs as forcefully as possible.
Quick Tip: One of
the advantages of
dumbbells is that
you don't have to
have a perfectly
pronated grip while
you perform your
movement. You can
turn the dumbbells
out a little bit,
making the
movement easier on
the joints while also
increasing tension
on your chest!
Click Image To Enlarge.
Lie on a flat bench with either an EZ bar
placed on the floor behind your head and
your feet on the floor. Grab the bar behind
you, using a medium overhand (pronated)
grip and raise the bar in front of you at arm's
length. The arms should be perpendicular to
the torso and the floor. The elbows should be
tucked in. This is the starting position.
Click Image To
As you breathe in, slowly lower the weight
until the bar lightly touches your forehead
while keeping the upper arms and elbows
stationary. At that point, use the triceps to
bring the weight back up to the starting
position as you breathe out. Repeat for the
recommended amount of repetitions
Standing Overhead Low Pulley
Triceps Extensions
Single Arm Low Pulley Triceps Kickback
Standing Rope
Seated E-Z Bar Cable Preacher Curls or Elbow Flexor Exercise of your choice
Incline Dumbbell Curl or Elbow
Flexor Exercise of your choice
Standing Biceps Cable Curl
Dumbbell Bicep Curl
Fat-Grip E-Z Bar Reverse Curls
Wide-Grip Lat Pulldowns
Seated Rows
T-Bar Row
Overhand barbell row
The overhand version will not involve the biceps as much as the
underhand version. You don't need to be bent at a 90-degree angle
for this movement but don't just slightly lean forward, either.
Position yourself at 45 degrees and your lats will get blitzed. After
your warm-up set, do this movement for 8-12 reps.
Bent-Over Two-Arm Dumbbell Row ///
You can have the dumbbells right there where you are doing the barbell rows, so
transitioning will be quick. The dumbbells will force you to work each side of your back
independently-plus you can pull in more than you can with the bar. You're doing this
immediately after the barbell rows, so you won't be able to use the same total weight with
the dumbbells that you have on the bar. For example, if you have 200 pounds on the bar
then, you likely won't be able to perform the dumbbell rows with the 100s. After your
warm-up set, do this movement for 8-12 reps.
Reverse-Grip Pulldown ///
Your grip will be closer, and your palms will now be facing you.
So while your biceps will help a little, focus on your lats
instead. Just like with the wide-grip pulldowns, you control the
weight, not vice versa. You may be tempted to start swinging a
little at this point to move the weight, but resist. Lower the
weight instead and pull with the lats. After the warm-up set, do
this movement for 12-15 reps.
Hyperextensions ///
Finally, we're at the last exercise. Can't forget about the lower back. You may
want to either speed up to get through this or skip it altogether, but once
again, finish strong and finish right. If your bodyweight isn't enough resistance,
hold a plate across your chest. If you start to use weight and realize you can't
finish the set, simply place the weight down and keep going. After the warmup set, you'll do this movement for 20 reps.
(4 sets of 10-18 reps)
The wide rep range is in place to keep the body guessing. If
you do 10 reps then the weight should be heavier, but if
you do 18 reps then the weight should be lighter.
It's important to go to failure on every set, so adjust the
weight and reps accordingly. If you feel you can do more,
increase the weight!
(4 sets of 15-18 reps)
One lateral raise and one front raise equal one rep for this combo.
Don't be afraid to go light on this lift. It's more important to
maintain constant tension on the muscles. Rather than lifting heavy
and letting your arms rest at the lowered position, make your
transition seamless by not allowing your arms to drop all the way
down to your side.
(4 sets of 10-12 reps)
Using dumbbells for upright rows
activates the stabilizer muscles.
This exercise can also be done using the
barbell or Smith Machine for extra
support if needed.
(4 supersets of 12-15 reps)
The reverse position of this exercise is unconventional, but
effective. By sitting backward on the seat, you'll get an
angle on the pressing movement which will hit your
muscles differently. To keep your body guessing, you
should always think outside of the box!
The reverse portion consists of two single-arm mini-sets
that are considered one working set.
The forward portion consists of alternating single-arm
presses. Pressing both left and right arms is considered
one rep.
(4 supersets of 12-18 reps)
The rear (posterior) deltoids often get overlooked, but are a critical part of a shoulder.
They give that nice round appearance that caps out your delts.
Supersetting two rear-delt exercises helps you to not only reach failure on your first
set, but to push past failure on your second set.
With the Reverse Pec Dec, adjust the seat to where your arms are in a straight plane
from your shoulders to your wrists. Also, keep your shoulders relaxed so you're not
engaging your traps - you want to keep all the tension on shoulders.
Don't let the tension come off your shoulders when you reset to the starting position,
and squeeze your shoulder blades together at the end movement for a full
For a quick transition superset, use the pec dec for your rear lateral raises as well.
Simply turn around to the forward position and sit on the edge of the bench that
you're already seated on. Reach down to grab your free weight and BAM! You're in
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge