- Grab a dumbbell and put it on either of its ends at the edge of a bench. Then, lie down in a 90-degree position to the bench’s long axis. The shoulder and the upper back muscles should be rested upon the bench and the feet should be placed firmly on the ground. The head and the neck should lie slightly beyond the bench.
- Grab either end of the dumbbell with the palms facing upwards, in a way that you create a diamond-like shape between the fingers and thumbs of both hands (each hand forms one-half of the “diamond”). Place the plates at the end of the dumbbell on your hands, in a way that the dumbbell shaft is positioned inside the “diamond” formed by your hands. Lift it over your pecs, this will be your start and end position.
- First, straighten out your arms, and then start lowering the dumbbell in a slow and controlled manner from the starting position over the chest, into an arching movement stretching back over the head, finishing behind the neck. As the dumbbell goes over your head, drop the hips towards the ground in order to get a better stretch in your rib cage.
- Stop the arching movement when the upper arm and the shoulder form a straight line. Strive to keep the elbows straight and locked as you descend the dumbbell.
- When the dumbbell is at the lowest position, the triceps muscle and your nose should form a straight line. When you get to this position, start raising the dumbbell back to your chest.
- When lowering the weight over and behind the head and getting to the lowest position, you should strive to take a forceful deep breath and exhale forcefully when getting it back to the starting position over your chest.
You should always make sure that you’re moving the dumbbell in a slow, controlled manner to minimize stress and avoid injury to the rotator cuffs of the shoulders. Also, you need to make sure that you end the movement with the dumbbell over the chest and that you never try to lower the dumbbell on the ground behind your head since this poses a significant risk of injury to the rotator cuffs.
As you lower your arms, you activate the serratus anterior, since your scapula will be protracted during this part of the movement. When getting the dumbbell back to your chest, you activate the lower muscle fibers of the pectoralis major and the lats. In this part of the movement, the obliques and the rectus abdominis are activated too.
The costal cartilages which connect the ribs and the sternum get a good stretch as the dumbbell is lowered and this is further increased when you lower the hips. Give this old school exercise a try and you will definitely see its huge effectiveness when it comes to getting a more bulky and muscular torso as well as increased chest and back width.