Thursday, September 10, 2009

Fitness tip

Perk Up Your Pecs

We could all use a little pick-me-up in the pectoral region, right? As we age, certain areas may begin to droop a little — you know what I'm talking about, ladies. There's no reason to give gravity all the control, though, especially when you can defy gravity with chest-pumping exercises like the classic push-up (modified here for beginners), the dumbbell chest press, and the chest fly.

Modified Push-up

1. Find a stable elevated bench on which to perform this exercise (if you're at home, the back of your couch or your coffee table will suffice; if you're at the gym, use a weight bench). Stand with the bench in front of you and place your palms on it. Your hands should be just wider than shoulder-width apart. Step your feet back behind you so that you're balancing in a prone position over the bench. You should be supporting your weight on the underside of your toes and the palms of your hands.

2. Bend your elbows and lower your entire body into push-up position. Your chest should line up with your hands, and your elbows should be bent in 90-degree angles at the midpoint of this exercise. Your neck should be straight and your eyes should be focused on the floor in front of you. Keep your abs tight. Exhale as you push back up to the starting position; repeat.

Dumbbell Chest Press

1. Lie on your back on a workout bench with your feet up on the bench. (You can also perform this exercise lying on a body ball with your feet firmly on the floor.) Hold the dumbbells over your chest with your arms extended toward the ceiling, palms facing forward. Inhale as you bend your elbows and lower the dumbbells to just above chest level. At the midpoint of this exercise, your upper arms should be parallel to the floor and your forearms perpendicular to the floor.

2. Inhale, opening your chest, and slowly lower the weights out in an arc to the sides of your chest. Exhale and raise the weights, again in an arc, back to the starting position; repeat.