5 Unique DB Exercises You Need to Be Doing (Every Tried the Barrel Press?)

Build a bigger chest.

Popular youtuber Ryan Humiston talks us through these 5 unique DB exercises that you need to add into your chest training.

What are the Benefits of a Strong Chest?

Having a strong chest offers various benefits, both in terms of aesthetics and functional fitness. Here are some advantages:

Improved Posture: A strong chest helps support the upper body, promoting good posture. Strengthening the chest muscles can counterbalance the effects of a weak upper back, reducing the likelihood of slouching.

Enhanced Upper Body Strength: The chest muscles, specifically the pectoralis major and minor, play a significant role in upper body strength. A strong chest contributes to overall upper body power, making daily tasks and physical activities easier.

Increased Pushing Power: Many daily activities and sports involve pushing movements, such as pushing a door open, lifting objects, or participating in activities like boxing or wrestling. A strong chest provides the necessary strength for effective pushing.

Aesthetics: For many individuals, a well-developed chest is aesthetically pleasing. Strong and defined chest muscles can contribute to a more balanced and muscular physique.

Functional Fitness: A strong chest is essential for various functional movements, including pushing and pressing exercises. Whether you’re engaging in bodyweight exercises, weightlifting, or functional training, a strong chest is crucial.

Improved Metabolism: Strength training, including chest exercises, can boost metabolism. As muscle tissue requires more energy at rest than fat tissue, having a higher proportion of muscle mass, including a strong chest, can contribute to an increased metabolic rate.

Injury Prevention: A strong chest, along with a balanced training program, can contribute to joint stability and reduce the risk of injuries. This is particularly important for the shoulder joint, as the chest muscles help stabilize the shoulder girdle.

Increased Bone Density: Weight-bearing exercises, including chest exercises, can promote bone health and increase bone density. This is important for overall skeletal strength and can be beneficial in preventing conditions like osteoporosis.

Boosted Confidence: Achieving a strong chest through consistent training can enhance self-esteem and confidence. Seeing physical improvements in your chest muscles can be personally rewarding and contribute to a positive self-image.

It’s important to note that a well-rounded fitness routine should include exercises for all major muscle groups, and not just focus on one area.

Additionally, proper form and technique are crucial to avoid injuries during chest workouts. If you have any health concerns or pre-existing conditions, it’s advisable to consult with a fitness professional or healthcare provider before starting a new exercise program.

Video – 5 Unique DB Exercises You Need to Be Doing

Check out the video for the full explanations:

First Exercise

Ryan starts his chest workouts with this exercise and uses it to pump the chest with blood and accentuate the mind muscle connection.

It is a great way to force you to pay attention to the range of motion, squeeze and not just go through the motions.

Make sure to bring the dumbbells together before the final part of the lift (as shown in the video).

Second Exercise

This is a unilateral hammer press variation and it takes a little time to get set up and feeling the contraction properly. But once you have the technique locked in you will feel your chest working significantly harder and notice the gains.

Third Exercise – Barrel Press

A Barrel Press is a hybrid between a press and a fly. Remember to keep a nice deep stretch around your body as you begin the movement.

Twist the wrist up and you will really feel the lower pecs as you squeeze through the full range of motion.

Fourth Exercise – DB Svend Press

This is an excellent way to work the inner chest and you will feel a powerful mind muscle connection with the this movement.

Fifth Exercise – DB Push Up (Choose your Variation)

Ryan states the incredible versatility that DBs can add to push ups. They can work as dip, single arm and even fly variations to help you hit your chest from many new angles.

What are the Advantages of Training with Dumbbells?

Training with dumbbells offers numerous advantages, making them a versatile and effective tool for strength training and overall fitness. Here are some key benefits of incorporating dumbbell exercises into your workout routine:

Versatility: Dumbbells provide a wide range of exercise options for every major muscle group. From compound movements like squats and lunges to isolation exercises like bicep curls and tricep extensions, dumbbells can be used for various exercises targeting different muscle groups.

Stabilizer Muscle Engagement: Unlike machines that often provide stability, dumbbell exercises require the activation of stabilizer muscles. This helps improve overall muscle coordination, balance, and functional strength.

dumbbell floor pressSource: Photo Courtesy of CrossFit Inc

Balanced Muscle Development: With dumbbells, each side of the body must work independently. This helps prevent muscle imbalances, ensuring that both sides of the body are equally strengthened and reducing the risk of injury.

Range of Motion: Dumbbell exercises allow for a more natural and unrestricted range of motion compared to some resistance machines. This can contribute to better joint health and flexibility.

Convenience and Portability: Dumbbells are relatively compact and easy to store, making them a convenient option for home workouts or when space is limited. They are also portable, allowing for workouts in different locations.

Increased Core Activation: Many dumbbell exercises require core stabilization, leading to improved abdominal and lower back strength. This added benefit can contribute to better posture and a more stable midsection.

Cost-Effective: Dumbbells are generally more affordable than larger gym equipment or machines. Building a home gym with a set of dumbbells can be a cost-effective way to engage in strength training.

Adaptability to Fitness Levels: Dumbbells come in various weights, making them suitable for individuals of all fitness levels. Beginners can start with lighter weights and gradually progress, while more advanced individuals can use heavier weights for greater resistance.

Functional Training: Many activities in daily life require the use of individual limbs rather than a combined movement. Dumbbell exercises mimic these functional movements, promoting strength that is applicable to real-world activities.

Time Efficiency: Dumbbell workouts can be efficient, as they allow for quick transitions between exercises. This can be beneficial for those with busy schedules who need to fit in effective workouts in a limited amount of time.

Enhanced Mind-Muscle Connection: Performing exercises with dumbbells often requires a greater focus on form and control. This can help develop a stronger mind-muscle connection, leading to more effective and targeted muscle engagement.

When incorporating dumbbells into your fitness routine, it’s essential to start with appropriate weights, prioritize proper form, and gradually progress as your strength improves. If you’re new to weight training or have any health concerns, consider consulting with a fitness professional to create a safe and effective workout plan.

What is the Mind Muscle Connection in Weightlifting?

The mind-muscle connection (MMC) is a concept in weightlifting and resistance training that involves focusing your attention on the specific muscle or muscle group you are targeting during an exercise. It’s about consciously engaging and contracting the target muscles with intention and awareness, rather than simply going through the motions of an exercise.

Here are key aspects of the mind-muscle connection in weightlifting:

Conscious Awareness: Instead of mindlessly lifting weights, the mind-muscle connection encourages you to be present and mentally engaged during each repetition. This awareness helps ensure that you’re recruiting the intended muscles to perform the movement.

Isolation of Muscles: The mind-muscle connection is particularly important in isolation exercises, where the goal is to target a specific muscle group. For example, when doing bicep curls, focusing on the contraction of the biceps throughout the movement enhances the effectiveness of the exercise.

Visualization: Visualization is a technique often used to enhance the mind-muscle connection. Before and during an exercise, mentally visualize the target muscle working. This mental imagery can help enhance the neural connection between the brain and the muscles.

Controlled Movements: Mindful and controlled movements are essential for the mind-muscle connection. Avoid using momentum or relying on other muscle groups to complete the movement. Instead, focus on controlled, deliberate contractions and extensions.

Quality over Quantity: Rather than prioritizing the number of repetitions or the amount of weight lifted, the emphasis in the mind-muscle connection is on the quality of each repetition. This may involve using lighter weights to ensure proper form and muscle engagement.

Enhanced Muscle Recruitment: By consciously focusing on the target muscle, you can enhance the recruitment of muscle fibers, leading to better muscle activation and growth over time.

Reduced Injury Risk: Engaging in weightlifting with a strong mind-muscle connection can help prevent the use of improper form, reducing the risk of injuries. When you are more aware of your body’s movements, you are better able to identify and correct any potential issues.

To establish a strong mind-muscle connection:

Start with Warm-Up: Begin your workout with dynamic stretches and light cardio to increase blood flow to the muscles and prepare your body for the upcoming exercises.

Mindful Breathing: Pay attention to your breathing patterns during exercises. Proper breathing can help maintain focus and enhance muscle engagement.

Choose Appropriate Weights: Select weights that allow you to perform exercises with proper form and control. Avoid lifting weights that are too heavy, as this can compromise form and hinder the mind-muscle connection.

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Focus on the Squeeze: For many resistance exercises, focus on the peak contraction of the muscle. For instance, at the top of a bicep curl, emphasize squeezing the biceps to maximize the mind-muscle connection.

By incorporating the mind-muscle connection into your weightlifting routine, you can optimize your workouts, improve muscle engagement, and achieve better results over time.

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