If you ask the average (male) gym-goer what their favorite exercise is, most will answer with the “Bench Press” – the apparent king of all upper body exercises. Unsurprisingly, one of the questions you ask us at Exxentric the most is whether our equipment can be used to effectively train the chest muscles. Today, the answer is a stronger YES than ever before! And here’s how:
- Regular chest training improves performance in contact and power-based sports and can decrease the risk of injury on the field.
- Chest training is important to increase overall upper body strength and posture.
- Flywheel training enables athletes to train chest without sticking points and can improve upper body strength rapidly through eccentric overload.
- The ideal Exxentric equipment for chest training consists of the kPulley paired with the newly released Upper Body Kit.
Why should I train Chest in the first place?
Whether you are a professional athlete or just training for overall strength and fitness, chest exercises should be an integral part of your training routine. Especially athletes engaging in contact sports, such as American Football, Hockey or Rugby, benefit greatly from strong pectorals and overall upper body strength.
Regular chest training will help them increase their power output and explosiveness throughout the entire torso resulting in improved athletic performance while reducing the risk of injury on the field. As a contact sport athlete, improving your upper body strength can improve your throw, stability as well as ability to come up on top during player-to-player contact or tackles.
But contact sport athletes are not the only ones who benefit from greater upper body strength. Other power-based sports, such as sprinting are also greatly dependent on upper body strength. There is a saying among runners and sprinters: “Your legs will follow your arms”. If a sprinter wants to accelerate as fast as possible, he or she will also need to initiate the running motion with the arms and upper body. Therefore, building power and explosiveness in the chest, shoulders and arms can directly impact performance on the track.
But even if your goal is only to maintain or improve overall health, strength, and fitness you should definitely engage in regular chest and upper body training. Your chest muscles are responsible for pushing your arms away from your body. Which means they play a great role in everyday activities such as throwing a ball, playing with your kids or pulling yourself up from the floor.
Additionally, strong chest muscles will help keep you upright and maintain good posture because of their support of shoulder and spine function. We involve the pectoral muscles in moving the rib cage while breathing and to support our lung function. At last, trained pectorals will contribute to your overall upper body strength and generally give you a more athletic and toned appearance.
Benefits of Flywheel Training for Upper Body Strength
Flywheel training is a very effective training method for upper body strength and provides several benefits over traditional weight and resistance training. With our kPulley devices, athletes can engage in a variety of horizontal push and pull movements to effectively target every muscle in their upper body. Since flywheel training provides variable resistance, there are virtually no sticking points throughout the entire range of motion.
During a traditional bench press, you as an athlete might get stuck in the lower part of the motion when running out of steam because there’s an inherent sticking point in the movement’s strength curve. Instead, engaging in a chest press with flywheel training equipment will enable you to keep going, even as you become weaker.
Due to variable resistance, the athlete can just slow down the movement to reduce resistance which ultimately allows reaching a deeper level of fatigue in the target muscles. At the same time, the height of the kPulley as well as the movement’s range of motion is completely adjustable. This enables athletes to train their muscles from different angles to prioritize different muscle fibers (e.g. upper and lower chest).
Limiting the range of motion can further help to effectively train weaker parts or sticking points of a movement and increase force output in specific positions. Professional athletes can benefit from limiting focus on a specific part of the exercise’s motion to maximize skill transfer onto their specific sport.
At last, athletes can use advanced training techniques such as eccentric overload to maximize their strength gains. Imagine your training partner supporting you in the pushing part of a chest press, so you’ll have to absorb more force in the eccentric motion of the exercise.
These kinds of overload techniques have been shown to provide greater strength gains than traditional weight training and are highly beneficial for professional athletes. On top, they will condition the body to be less susceptible to injuries by strengthening its passive structures.
How to train Chest with the kPulley?
You’re interested in using flywheel training to train your chest? Then either the kPulley Go or the kPulley2 should be your weapons of choice. Both devices allow for a variety of horizontal movements and can therefore drive chest activation from different angles.
Previously, the kPulley would only allow for unilateral chest training (only one arm at a time). But just now, we launched our new Upper Body Kit which unlocks a handful of new bilateral exercises on the kPulley devices.
The Upper Body Kit has been developed with a clear focus on the pectoral muscles and allows athletes to engage in different chest exercises such as seated and standing Chest Press, Incline and Decline Presses as well as Flies.
Since the kPulley is completely adjustable in height, athletes can now effectively train their chest from a variety of different angles, determining whether to emphasize the upper or lower chest muscle fibers as well as supporting muscle groups such as triceps and shoulders.
In the following paragraph, I’d like to give you an overview of the different chest movements possible with our kPulley devices:
Which chest exercises can you do with Exxentric equipment?
- Regular Chest Press
The classic compound movement for upper body strength involving the chest, shoulders, and triceps in a straight horizontal press. This is the flywheel equivalent of the standard bench press.
- Incline Chest Press
An ideal alternative to the regular chest press which puts more emphasis on the upper chest and front deltoids by pressing up at a slight to moderate angle. The muscle fibers of the upper chest are often neglected, which makes this a great addition to many athletes’ training programs.
- Decline Chest Press
Compared to the regular and incline chest press, the athlete is pressing down and therefore emphasizing the lower part of the chest. This exercise can be beneficial to bodybuilders or athletes looking to take some stress off their shoulders.
- Single Arm Chest Press
The same as a regular chest press but executed by attaching a kGrip to the kPulley and going through the movement with one arm at a time. Very beneficial for increasing core stability or to offset muscle imbalances. Also a favorite of martial artists.
- Chest Flies
The equivalent of a cable or machine fly. A very effective exercise for maximizing muscle growth due to training the muscle in a lengthened position. Superior to e.g. dumbbells flies since flywheel training provides constant tension.
- Low Chest Flies
Chest Fly variation which is executed by simultaneously moving the arms upwards and together. This variation puts more emphasis on the upper chest near the collarbone and is a great addition to bodybuilding style training.
You can execute most of these exercises either standing or seated on a bench. If done standing, the athlete benefits from greater core activation and simultaneously has to stabilize during the movement which can aid transfer to athletic performance. On the other hand, doing those exercises seated allows for better isolation of the target muscles by negating the need for stabilization. This might be preferable for bodybuilders and athletes striving for muscle hypertrophy.
Which Equipment do I need for optimal Upper Body Training?
To engage in the aforementioned exercises, you, first of all, require one of our kPulley devices. The kPulley2 is recommended if you need a fixed and stable solution for a gym, clinic, or professional training facility. The kPulley Go is the ideal device for athletes and fitness enthusiasts looking for a more affordable option either for training from home or for bringing on the go, due to its portability.
Paired with kGrips, you can already engage in unilateral chest movements like the Single Arm Chest Press. But to unlock the full potential of your kPulley for chest training, I recommend getting our new Upper Body Kit to add all the aforementioned bilateral chest exercises to your repertoire. The Upper Body Kit can either be used with a set of kGrips, Angles 90 or you can get the new Double Grip Bar as an optional add-on to mimic a more traditional bench press experience.
If you already own a kPulley, you can just order the Upper Body Kit as an accessory to make your chest training even more effective. Alternatively, we currently also have a launch offer for existing kBox owners who are looking to add more upper-body movements to their training routine. For kBox owners we specifically created the kPulley Go Upgrade Kit which optimally complements the equipment you already own at an affordable price point.
It includes the kPulley Go device, an optional Beam as well as the Upper Body Kit and is compatible with the accessories and flywheels you already own. If you order your kPulley Go Upgrade Kit now, you will receive the Upper Body Kit for free as part of our time-limited launch offer.
Should you still have questions regarding how to use our equipment for chest training or which equipment you should get, feel free to reach out to our flywheel training experts anytime.
Saijan Iyer, Flywheel Training Expert