You’re probably excited for your next big chest workout. You’re already envisioning the workouts you’ll conquer like flat bench, incline dumbbell chest press, dips, and crossovers. I know you’ve heard the old saying that basics are best but there’s also something to be said for trying something new. Change is a good thing. Give one or all of these exercises a try and you’ll be adding some new treasures to your chest workout repertoire. Before you hit the gym, make sure you take your Pre-Kaged or you’ll wish you had!
Stand at the end of a battle rope and keep your hands next to the handles. Do a pushup, get to your feet like you would a burpee, and then do a rope slam with the battle rope. Get back to the pushup position and repeat for the desired number of reps. This isn’t just going to blast your pecs but will make for a good endurance challenge.
You’ve probably done dumbbell pullovers lying across a bench. In this exercise, you lie across a bench, but instead of a free weight, you use a cable with a rope attachment. Take the handles of the rope in each hand or have a spotter hand them to you when you get into position across the bench. Start with the handles apart. Bring the rope overhead and as it goes over your chest, bring the handles in together. You should feel a strong contraction at the inner chest. Slowly lower the weight and return the rope to the stretched position behind your head before pulling it over again.
This is slightly more challenging to master due to the additional balance requirements involved. I recommend starting light until you get your feet wet. No doubt you’ve done flyes before so I won’t waste your time explaining it. Get into position on the decline bench and have a spotter or training partner hand you the dumbbell. Keep your non-working arm in close to help keep balance. Lower the weight out slowly until you feel a stretch in the pec and return it to the starting position. Once you achieved the desired reps, switch hands. If you’re uncomfortable doing this on an adjustable bench, do it on a decline barbell bench rack and hold the rack next to your non-working arm for extra support.
This isn’t your daddy’s cable crossover. This is exactly as it sounds. You’re performing crossovers with both arms at the same time but one is going to be using a high pulley and the other will be using a low pulley. Once again your entire core will be challenged because you’re pulling from two different directions. Grab a high cable attachment with one hand and a low attachment with the other. Pull them in and bring them together. Squeeze both pecs so your hands meet in the middle. Slowly lower the weights to the stacks and repeat. Once you finish the desired reps, switch hands so that the opposite hands are on the different attachments and repeat with this hand placement. If you do them both ways then the directions make an imaginary “X”.
Have you ever tried bench pressing with kettlebells? You might be in for a shock.
Of course you know how to do incline bench press with dumbells, but doing them with kettlebells is different because of how the weight is positioned. You will hold the handle of the kettlebell so the weight is behind your hand, positioned on your wrist/forearm. Press them up and contract the chest. Slowly lower them to the starting position and repeat. Don’t try to set a world record with the weight you use. Start with a lighter weight until you feel comfortable with the movement and build from there.
I would recommend you try a different exercise as a finisher every week until you’ve tried them all. If you like any of these, then implement them into your own program and learn to master them. You’ll look like a genius in the gym! Once you feel comfortable with all five movements, try to do a workout like the one below and see if you can handle all five at once.
Incline Kettlebell Press – 2 warm up sets of 20 reps. 3 work sets of 8-10 reps.
Single Decline Dumbbell Flye – 3 work sets of 10 reps.
X Crossover – 3 sets of 10-12 reps.
Cable Rope Pullover – 3 sets of 15 reps.
Pushup with Battle Rope – 3 work sets of 20 reps.