Guide To Weightlifting : Chest And Triceps

Use these routines to help work the chest, shoulders, and triceps.

The Pectoral (pecs), Triceps, and Deltoid (delts) are three of the primary muscle groups involved in upper body fitness. All three groups have coinciding ranges of motion, so in your workout routine it's a good idea to set one day to work all three of them together. It's important that you understand about the different muscle groups and what they do. Make sure you set a good routine, and practice safety in the gym.

Warming up

Before you even touch those first weights, you need to do some warm-up and stretching exercises. Much like a car engine your body needs time to warm up, and get the juices flowing. Warming up lowers viscous resistence between muscle fibers, increases blood flow and speeds up your metabolism. Most gyms provide stationary bikes, treadmills, stair masters, and various pieces of equipment that are excellent for getting your motor revving but any aerobic exercise will do. Jogging, aerobics, and swimming are also excellent ways to warm up before your workout. Spend 10-15 minutes on warm-ups and then immediately follow up with some overall stretching exercises.

Stretching

Stretching is just as important to a good workout as the warm-up. The cells in your muscles are about to undergo an intensive amount of stress and trauma. By doing a full warm-up and stretch routine you ensure that they get the maximum benefit of the workout while limiting the potential for injury.

Pecs:

1. This stretch can be done either sitting or standing. Raise your arms until your hands are out to your sides parallel to the ground, palms facing upward. Slowly pull your arms back until you can feel the chest start to stretch. Hold the position for a slow count of ten seconds.

2. From a standing position, place your arms behind your back grasping your hands together. Keeping your chin raised, slowly stretch your arms out to full length while keeping your hands gripped. Once your arms are extended, slowly raise them until they are parallel to the ground, making sure to keep your chin raised. Hold the position for a slow count of ten seconds.

Triceps and Delts:

1. From a standing position, move your left hand up toward the back of your head until your fingers are pointing down along your spine. With your other hand reach back and grasp the top of your elbow and slowly pull it toward your head until you feel the back of your arm stretching. Hold this position for a slow count of ten seconds.

2. From a standing position, place both hands behind your head and slide them down your back until you feel a stretch in your triceps and delts. Hold this position for a slow count of ten seconds

Safety

Safety should always be at the forefront of your mind when working out in a gym. With all of the machinery being used and heavy weights being thrown around, it's very easy for accidents to occur. You should be aware of your surroundings at all times in the gym.

You should never lift moderate to heavy weights in any routine unless you have someone to spot you. A spotter helps to support the portions of your body that you are putting the most strain on. There have been cases of people who have lifted without a spotter and suffered serious injury and in some cases even death.

Make sure that you are using the appropriate amount of weight during a routine. If you use weights that are too light, you won't get the kind of result you are looking for. When lifting, if on the first or second repetition, your arms start to shake, then you are using too much weight.

Triceps Training

The triceps is like the offensive line of a football team; they work hard but receive very little recognition. Many beginners trying to get a toned look, tend to disregard the triceps because they are on the anterior portion of the body and difficult to see. This is unfortunate because the triceps play a huge role, not only in physical appearance, but also in the supplemental development of other major muscle groups. Pull one of your arms back until you are able to grasp the back of your neck with your hand, then raise that hand straight into the air. You have utilized the Triceps Brachii in its primary range of motion. The triceps is responsible for flexing the elbow and extending the forearm. There are two parts of the triceps, the triceps brachii long and lateral heads.

Dips: 2-3 sets of 10 repetitions

Control your breathing by inhaling as you lower your torso and exhale as you raise your torso.

1. Sitting on the edge of a bench, grasp the sides with your hands and slide your hips forward until your body is supported on your arms.

2. Lower your torso until the arms are at a ninety-degree angle and the shoulders are stretched, then raise yourself back to the original position with your arms fully extended. Do not lock your elbows.

If you don't have a bench handy, a chair can be substituted in its place.

Dumbbell extensions: 2-3 sets of 10 repetitions with moderate to heavy dumbbells

Control your breathing by inhaling as you lower the dumbbell and exhale as you raise it.

1. Lying flat on a bench with your back flat against its surface, hold the dumbbells over your chest with arms fully extended.

2. Slowly lower the dumbbells behind your head until your elbows are close to your ears, then raise the weight back up to the original starting position. Keep your muscles tight to support your back.

To alternate working the long (inner) and lateral (outer) portions of the triceps, do the Dumbbell extensions with a close grip, then do a second full routine with a wider grip.

Deltoid Training

The delts are the most complicated of these three muscle groups. They are made of three smaller muscles called the posterior deltoid, the medial deltoid, and the anterior deltoid. Together they form the part of your upper called the shoulders and have a wider range of motion than the triceps and pecs. Stand with your arms resting comfortably at your sides then, keeping them extended, raise them at your sides until they are parallel to the ground. The motion you just performed was just one of many that is primarily controlled by the deltoideus.



Lateral Raise: 2-3 sets of 10 repetitions with moderate to heavy weight.

Control your breathing by inhaling as you lower the weight and exhaling as you raise it.

1. Standing or sitting with fleet flat on the floor, hold the dumbbells in your hands with the arms resting in their nature position against your sides.

2. Keeping your wrists straight and elbows slightly bent, slowly raise the weights until they are at shoulder height. When returning back to the starting position, lower your arms in a slow, controlled manner.

Shoulder Press: 2-3 sets of 10 repetitions with moderate to heavy weight.

Control your breathing by inhaling as you lower the weight and exhaling as you raise it.

1. Sitting or standing, hold dumbbells up to the side of your shoulders with your elbows below your wrists.

2. Force the dumbbells up with a pushing motion until your arms are fully extended. When returning back to the starting position, lower your arms in a slow, controlled manner.

Pectoral Training

The pectoral muscles, or pecs, are the two broad muscle groups that cover your chest. Lift your arms straight out to the sides until they are parallel to the ground, then slowly bring your arms in until both hands are pointing straight out in front of you. The motion you just performed is controlled by the pectoral muscles whose primary range of motion involves the forward extension of your arms. This muscle is actually two muscle groups working in concert: the pectoralis major, and pectoralis minor. This muscle group is one of the most popular when it comes to working out in the gym, and there many different types of benches and apparatus designed to specifically work the pecs.

Dumbbell Flyes: 2-3 Sets of 10 repetitions with moderate to heavy dumbbells.

Control your breathing by inhaling as you lower the weights, and exhaling as you raise them.

1. Lying on a bench with your back flat against its surface, hold two dumbbells above your chest with the arms fixed in a slightly bent position.

2. Lower the weights to your sides until the dumbbells are shoulder level, then bring the dumbbells back up above you in a hugging motion.

Dumbbell Bench Press: 2-3 sets of 10 repetitions with moderate to heavy dumbbells

Control your breathing by inhaling as you lower the weights, and exhaling as you raise them.

1. Lying on a bench with your back flat against its surface, hold two dumbbells against the sides of your chest.

2. Raise the dumbbells upward toward the middle of your chest in a shoving motion, until your arms are fully extended.

Most gyms will also have specialty benches designed to perform the dumbbell bench press from an inclined and declined position.

Barbell Bench press: 3-4 sets of 10 repetitions with moderate to heavy weight.

Control your breathing by inhaling as you lower the weights, and exhaling as you raise them.

1. Lying on a bench with your back flat against its surface, grasp the barbell with a grip that is just slightly wider than shoulder width.

2. Keeping your feet on the floor, lift the bar off of the rack and slowly lower it to your chest then raise the bar in a shoving motion until your arms are fully extended. Do not bounce the bar off of your chest as this could lead to serious injury.

In all of the above routines, except the flyes, you are also working the triceps and delts as secondary muscle groups. To get the most out of your chest routine, try saving it until the end of your workout. By starting with the delts and triceps muscles you will also be passively working the pecs. Once you've exhausted the triceps and delts, they won't be able to provide as much supplemental strength to your chest routine, thereby forcing the pecs to work harder.

Cooling Down

Another aspect of the workout too often neglected by beginners, is the cool down. This is the pretty much the same routine as the warm up, but helps to remove metabolic waste and lower heart-rate. Jogging for 3-4 minutes and then walking for five minutes is an excellent way to achieve this. Following your cool down routine go back and perform the stretches you did before you began your workout.

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