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Chest Exercises For Beginning Bodybuilders
By: Richard Mitchell

The chest area is one of the easist muscle groups for beginning bodybuilders to strengthen and develop. It consists of a large muscle (pectoralis major) to either side of the breastbone and a smaller muscle (pectoralis minor) underneath. The pecs are relatively easy to develop in the early stages simply because they can be trained intensively although care needs to be taken to work them from different angles to ensure full development.

For beginners, three safe but effective exercises are recommended:

1. Incline dumbbell press - 3 sets of 10-15 reps. When you feel comfortable with the mechanics involved in this exercise you can move on to using a barbell instead, remembering to maintain proper form.

2. Incline dumbbell flyes - 3 sets of 10-15 reps. Done properly, this exercise is good for inner and outer pecs.

3. Push-ups - 3 sets of 10-15 reps. Keep your body straight from head to knees and lower your body until your arms form right angles. Done properly, the old fashioned push-up still offers benefits to the chest muscles.

As with all exercises you need to take care in scheduling specific body parts. To begin with you should incorporate your chest exercises into a program similar to the one suggested below:

Day 1: Biceps, Back, Abs

Day 2: Hamstrings, Shoulders, Abs

Day 3: Quads, Forearms, Calves

Day 4: Triceps, Chest, Abs

For the first couple of weeks complete one set but then add one set each week to a maximum of three. At the end of three months you will be ready to move on to more intensive intermediate level exercises.

Richard Mitchell is the creator of the website that provides guidance and information to athletes at all levels of bodybuilding experience. Go to Bodybuilding Advice to learn more about the issues covered in this article.

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The Power of Stretching    - Dave Snape


Your muscles ache from a good stretch. This is quite
normal and is part of the process. Stretching has
seemingly been with us and particularly with athletes
since the beginning of time.

A very key point to good stretching is to hold the
stretch for at least seventeen seconds. This is a
pearl of wisdom gleaned from a ballet teacher a few
years back. She said that any stretch under 17
seconds was just not effective.

The 17 second rule is exceeded in the high intensity
Bikram's yoga where stretches are held for about 30
seconds. Don't forget the high level of heat that is
used in Bikram's to extract that last little bit of
stretch out of your muscles. An interesting twist that
is not necessary to gain benefits from stretching. But,
it can't hurt, right?

So what kind of benefits can you expect from
stretching? That's an easy one. Have you ever seen the
movie, Blood Sport? Did you know that Frank Dux could
truly stretch his body to the extreme. The actor that
played him was quite elastic as well.

Great elasticity is also something you might see in
well trained Spetsnaz (Russian) agents. They often work
out with Russian kettlebells too. They are for superior
strength gains and the ability to withstand ballistic

Why are stretching and flexibility considered important
to these people? Stretching gives one the ability to
have explosive power available at one's fingertips
without the need to warm up. Of course most of us are
not martial artists or agents. But, you'll be happy to
know there are plenty of other benefits.

Let me give you an example. After learning to sit in
the full lotus position for long periods of time, my
ankles became very flexible. One day I was walking
along and my left foot fell into a pothole. This mishap
pushed my ankle sideways to about 90 degrees from it's
normal position.

Amazingly, this didn't even hurt, not one bit. If my
ankle hadn't been so flexible, I may have suffered a
sprained ankle. At the very least, it would have hurt
for days.

Key point: stretching helps you to avoid injuries.
Not only that but if you do have a muscle, tendon or
ligament injury it should heal faster, theoretically

Stretching actually grows the ligaments, tendons and
muscles being stretched. They really grow longer over

Check with your physician before undertaking any type
of exercise, including stretching.

Here is some good instructional material on stretching:

Dave Snape

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