This month in Group Fitness we are focusing on how to activate our pecs(chest) muscles. The pecs are made up of two muscles; Pectoralis Major & Pectoralis Minor. Many times I hear people saying they only feel their shoulders when they do push ups or chest presses. So, we decided to dedicate a whole month concentrating on how to engage those pecs.
Let’s get started by talking about the movements of the pecs. What are they suppose to do?! The first major movement they do is adduction or bringing the arms closer to the body. For example, when we do a chest press we bring the weight over our chest to the midline of the body, bringing our arms closer together (adduction). Another major movement of the pecs is shoulder flexion or raising the arm straight up in front of you. There are a few other movements the pecs do but, we are going to focus on these couple for our learning purposes.
A couple of major movements we do in-group classes are push-ups, barbell chest press, and dumbbell chest press. Here are a few things to think about while executing these movements.
- Always keep the shoulders away from the ears. You want to think about driving the shoulders toward the hips throughout out the entire movement, keeping the shoulders locked in the girdle.
- Barbell/Dumbbells should lower down over your chest, keeping your elbows inline with your chest.
- As you keep the shoulders locked down also, remember to avoid rolling the shoulders forward or rounding the shoulders at the top of the movement.
Lastly, let’s go over proper push-up form. A widely used movement in-group classes!
How to do a proper push-up:
- Hands just below shoulders, slightly wider than shoulder width apart, arms extended. As you lower, elbows at a 45 angle off shoulder.
- Shoulders should be down and back, away from ears.
- Neck & head should be straight. Gaze about a foot in front of you.
- Hips straight, in neutral spine.
- Feet hip width apart.
- Lower body toward floor. Humerus parallel to floor, then push back up.