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Health and Fitness Tips

A Chiseled Chest

Working to have a chiseled chest takes determination, form, and a variation of exercises.

The chest is the large, fan-shaped pectoralis muscle group that lies over the upper rib cage. Originating from attachments on the rib cage, it attaches via a large tendon to the humerus, or upper arm bone. The pectoral muscles contract to pull the humerus from a position with the elbow well behind the body to one in which the elbow is forward and well across the midline of the body.

By pulling your arm across the body at various point you can selectively stress different parts of your pec muscles. For example, pulling your arm across your torso below shoulder level stresses the lower portion of the pecs, while pulling it across your torso above the shoulder level places great stress on your upper pecs.

General Chest-Training Tips

Getting dumbbells off the floor and into the correct starting position to perform any type of dumbbell press or flye can be a chore and the ultimate joint wrecker.
For flat benches, assume a position at one end of a heavy-duty bench, dumbbells resting on end against the top of your thighs. Keeping your legs flexed toward your torso, roll backward onto the bench with your arms straight. This will bring the dumbbells to arm's length. To return to the starting point, simply draw or curl up your legs. Placing your lower thighs against the ends of the dumbbells, and roll forward into an upright position.

The techniques for incline dumbbell work is to assume the same position on an incline as in flat flyes or presses. The dumbbells are then lifted one at a time by lifting one knee at a time to a point where the dumbbell is resting at shoulder level. Repeat for the other arm.

In the incline use of dumbbells, you should roll back from the initial starting point as in flat flyes or presses. Here you should have a training partner or spotter stand at either side. When you have completed your rep goal, the spotters can firmly grasp the appropriate weight at wither end.

As with any weight-lifting exercise please take at least ten minutes to warm-up and stretch your muscles.

Barbell Bench Press


Bench presses strongly stress pectorals (particularly the lower and outer portions of the muscle group), anterior deltoids, and triceps. Secondary emphasis is on the medial heads of the deltoids, the latissimus dorso, and the upper back muscles that impart rotational force on the scapulae.

Starting Position

Load the bar on the bench's uprights to a moderately heavy weight. Lie back on the bench with your shoulder joints about three to four inches toward the foot end of the bench. Place your feet on the floor to balance your body on the bench as you do the movement. Take an overgrip on the bar with your hands set about two to four inches beyond shoulder width. Straighten your arms to remove the barbell from the rack and move it to a supported position directly above your shoulder joints.
Movement Performance
Making sure your elbows travel directly out to the sides, bend your arms and slowly lower the barbell from the supported position downward to lightly touch your chest two or three inches above the lower edge of your pectorals. Without bouncing the weight, slowly push it back to straight-arm's length. Repeat the movement for 10 repetitions for a total of three sets.

Barbell Incline Press


Incline presses performed with either a barbell, two dumbbells, or on a machine strongly stress the pectoralis major and minor, anterior deltoids, and triceps. Significant secondary stress is on the medial deltoids and the upper-back muscles that rotate the scapulae.

Starting Position

Place a barbell on the upright support racks at the tall end of the incline bench and adjust the weight on the bar to the appropriate poundage. Sit on the bench's seat and lie back. Maintain a slight arch in your lower back and keep your feet firmly on the floor. Take an overgrip on the bar with your hands set three to five inches wider than shoulder width. Straighten your arms to remove the barbell from the rack and bring it to a supported position directly above your shoulder joints.

Movement Performance

Being sure to keep your elbows back as you do the exercises, slowly bend your arms and lower the barbell down to lightly touch your upper chest at the base of your neck. Without bouncing the bar off your chest, steadily push the barbell back to the starting point. Repeat the movement for 10 repetitions, and complete three sets.

To see the results quickly, I recommend that you train your chest two times a week - once every three days is even better.

Rick Gusler is a certified personal trainer and diet nutritionist who serves his clients through Gusler Body Sculpting Fitness Center in central Denver. To schedule a free consultation, or to learn more about the Gusler method of body sculpting, spin yoga, or Rick's Boot Camp, please contact him at 303.860.7131 or online at

Gusler Body Sculpting Fitness Center, LLC
459 Acoma Street · Denver, Colorado 80204 · 303-860-7131
Hours: Monday-Friday: 6am-8pm · Saturday: Closed · Sunday: Closed