It's not always easy to target your lower chest — and it's definitely not easy to maintain a contraction that attacks the lower chest. All too often, you integrate shoulders or sometimes even abs into the motion, or the rest of your chest takes over. The result: You don't attack your lower chest the way you want to.
That's where the Stance-Switch Kneeling Fly from Men's Health fitness director Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S. can help. With the help of a resistance band or cable machine you'll attack a focused lower-chest contraction. And not just that, but you'll hold that contraction and maintain while shifting your balance slightly.
"This will force more chest activation," says Samuel, "because your entire chest, and in particular your lower chest, will need to stabilise against changing balance demands."
It's a recipe for stimulating your lower chest, and it can do more than that, too. When you're holding the band contraction and switching legs, you're essentially challenging your abs to stabilise you, doing a single-arm variation of a core move known as a Pallof press.
"You're working some vicious anti-rotation here," says Samuel. "And there are so many benefits to that. Just focus on keeping your hips and shoulders square to the front as you do it, and you'll turn on the oblique farthest from the band."
It'll all push you towards definition and depth around your lower chest, and in your abs too. And that makes for a perfect chest-day finisher.
Set a band at a height slightly above your shoulder when you're in tall kneeling position. Kneel in front of the band, glutes and abs tight, right arm grasping the band, left foot on the ground.
Keeping your hips and shoulders square to the front and a slight bend in your elbow, perform a fly rep, pulling the band in front of you, wrist at about belly-button height. Hold when you get to this position.
Tighten your core and shift your left leg back so you're kneeling on both knees. Shift back to the starting position. Keep your hips and shoulders square to the front as you do this.
Return the band to the start position. That's 1 rep. Do 3 sets of 8 to 10 reps per side.
The Stance-Switch Kneeling Fly can be done with a cable machine or a resistance band and it's a perfect chest-day finisher, says Samuel. "This isn't the kind of exercise you want to use as your first move in a workout, because it's not going to let you load it up," he says. "But as you wind down a chest workout, you should be honing in on more focused, controlled contractions. This is one of them, and it'll build the detail in your lower chest that you want." Add it in to a chest workout, or a back/chest superset day, or a total-body circuit day near the end, and watch the gains pile on.
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