Train Your Chest & Abs At The Same Time With These 6 Exercises
I’m guessing you’ve probably bench pressed a gazillion times on chest day. You’ve done your incline and decline press and you’ve finished off with some chest flys. Then you finish off with some abs and do crunches and planks. That approach is fine and It can work for tons of people.But you want more. Your body needs it.
The following approach is about integrating your chest workout with your ab training. The exercises in the following section will engage your abs, obliques, lower back, hips and shoulders. Your entire core.
Let’s get started.
1) Push Ups On Kettlebells
Performing push ups on kettlebells allows two things; achieve a greater range of motion and add instability to the movement. This is the perfect combination to challenge strength and core stability at the same time.
How to do it: Get in a push up position on top of heavy kettlebells with your feed wide apart. Make you sure you don’t use light kettlebells. You don’t want a wobbly base. When you are ready, descend towards the ground with control and let your torso go beyond the kettlebell’s handles.Then push yourself back up by pushing the kettlebells into the ground.
2) Single Arm Dumbbell Chest Press
Dumbbell presses are an excellent choice to build upper body strength, but it doesn’t really require a lot of core strength. A simple tweak to make your abs work a lot harder in this movement is to simply perform a dumbbell chest press with one arm. This variation will create more tension throughout the opposite side of your trunk. So if you’re pressing with your right arm, your left obliques will fire in order to prevent you from falling off the bench.
How to do it: Lay on top of a bench carrying one dumbbell with one arm. You can place the free hand on top of your chest. Press the dumbbell on top of you when you are ready.Now this is the difficult part. Bring the dumbbell back down towards your trunk under control. If you selected a heavy enough weight, you should feel as if you’re about to tip over the side of the bench. This is the part where you core is really challenged. Try to keep your butt and upper back on the bench throughout the entire exercise
3) High Bridge Kettlebell Press
This movement might look familiar if you are acquainted with the Turkish Get-Up. We are basically extracting a segment of that movement and using it solely as an upper strength and core exercise. This pose will challenge your chest and obliques but it does so much more. It’s a great way to open up the hips and anyone can benefit from including more hip openers in their training.
How to do it: Lay on the floor with one kettlebell. One leg should be retracted where the foot of that leg is close to your butt, and the other should be extended diagonally. Press the kettlebell with one arm and place the other arm on the ground in a 45 degree angle. If you are carrying the kettlebell with your right arm, push through the right foot and the elbow of the left arm to roll up. Now raise your hips to get to the top of the high bridge position. Once you are there perform the prescribed number of reps.
4) Standing Landmine Single Arm Press
I’m going to assume that you don’t spend a lot of time pressing standing up in your training routines. This type of upper body core strength can really transfer over to real life scenarios. Sure you can lift more weight on a bench press but the tradeoff is that there is little core involvement. Why? Because you are laying down, there’s no gravity to resist (except the bar). In the Standing Landmine Single Arm Press we have to confront the weight that is coming towards us and resist it under control. This is the part where our abs kick in. If not we are simply going to fall back.
How to do it: Stand with your feet a bit wider than shoulder width apart and hold a barbell that is connected to a landmine. Once you are in position move the barbell in a diagonal fashion. You want to take advantage of a full range of motion and let your hand tap your shoulder as you bring the barbell down.
5) Push Ups with Trunk Rotation
You’re already using a bit of obliques in a traditional push up. However they have more of a stabilizing role in that movement. In this push up variation we are going to add some rotation to the exercise and demand more from our obliques.
How to do it: Get in a push up position and when you are ready lower yourself downward until your chest almost touches the floor. As you are pushing yourself back up raise your right hand and left foot at the same time and rotate towards your left side, kicking your leg through. Then return back to the top of the push up position and continue the movement onto the other side.
6) Bottoms-Up Kettlebell Chest Press
This grip will create massive instability that will require focus and recruit the small stabilizing muscles found in the shoulder girdle. I really like that it requires you to keep your elbow close to your body, leaving the possibility of flaring out your arm too much while you press (a lot people mistakenly do this).
How to do it: Lay on the floor or on a bench with a kettlebell. Grab it upside down where the bottom of the kettlebell is facing up. Keep your pressing arm close to your torso. Create tension through your midsection and press the kettlebell up with control. Then lower it for a 2-4 second count.
For more workouts like this one, check Juan Lugo out @jlfitnessmiami on Instagram or Juanlugofitness.com.