Form & Func­tion

These two moves cre­ate a de­fined up­per body with real push-up power.

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Use these two chest moves to de­velop ex­plo­sive­ness and cre­ate shape.


No, train­ing your chest won’t cre­ate cleav­age or take you up a cup size as some work­out pro­grams would have you be­lieve. But train­ing your pec­toralis ma­jor to be strong and shapely can de­fine your col­lar­bone area and add di­men­sion to your dŽ­col­letage.

The pec ma­jor is the pri­mary mover for any hor­i­zon­tal ad­duc­tion move­ment, such as when you bring your arms across your body as if giv­ing a hug, and most chest ex­er­cises tar­get this mo­tion — for ex­am­ple, presses, flyes and push-ups. How­ever, the pec ma­jor is also re­spon­si­ble for shoul­der flex­ion — rais­ing your arm up in front of you — in con­junc­tion with the an­te­rior del­toid. This band ex­er­cise com­bines both these ac­tions to em­pha­size the up­per-pec­toral area.

At­tach one end of a re­sis­tance band to a sturdy ob­ject close to the floor. Stand with your feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent, and po­si­tion your­self at an an­gle to the an­chor so that the line of re­sis­tance is both to the side and be­hind you, di­rectly op­po­site the mo­tion you’ll be iso­lat­ing.

Hold the band clos­est to the an­chor with your palm fac­ing for­ward, arm straight and held away from your body at hip level. This lower start­ing po­si­tion means less em­pha­sis on the lat­eral del­toid and traps, and it bet­ter en­gages the up­per-pec area more than the mid­dle-/ lower-pec area.

Keep­ing your arm straight, pull the band up (flex­ion) and across (hor­i­zon­tal ad­duc­tion) your chest from hip to head level. This cre­ates a di­ag­o­nal line of mo­tion op­po­site the band’s line of pull, thereby com­bin­ing the two moves that tar­get the up­per pecs to give it dou­ble the work.

Be­cause of the na­ture of the band, you’ll be work­ing against the most re­sis­tance at the top. Take ad­van­tage of that force, and hold here for two counts be­fore slowly re­turn­ing to the start. This isometric squeeze can help you make that mind-mus­cle con­nec­tion and re­ally feel the ac­ti­va­tion of your up­per pecs.

Keep your lower body as still as pos­si­ble through­out the move; don’t use your legs to pop up and help move the band. If the re­sis­tance is too great, take a step to­ward the an­chor to ease some of the ten­sion or opt for a lighter band.

Some­times that long mus­cle in your neck — the ster­n­oclei­do­mas­toid — likes to join the party with this ex­er­cise, but since a thicker neck is prob­a­bly not your goal, keep your gaze for­ward and avoid tuck­ing your chin to re­duce its en­gage­ment.

This move also can be al­tered to tar­get the mid­dle and lower pecs: At­tach the band to a point above your head, and bring your arm across your body from high to low.

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