EBENEZER SAMUEL/MEN’S HEALTH
Your chest day might always start with a trip to the bench, but if you’re smart, you’ll finish it off with a stop at the bands to really pound your upper body. You’ll build more strength in your pecs and get a great squeeze—and you’ll be able to emulate the brutal MMA manoeuvre for which the exercise is named.
Men’s Health fitness director Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S. uses the ground pound alternating press to add an extra dimension to his chest training, since the exercise engages multiple muscle groups
“The challenge of this move (and the abdominal benefit if you do it right) comes from owning your entire torso position,” he says. “That requires glute, ab, and core stabilization, and that continues once you begin each press rep. You’ll be tempted to rotate down to your pressing side; your core’s challenge is to maintain anti-rotary stability throughout each set.”
You can perform the finisher with resistance bands anchored on a squat rack or in your gym’s cable crossover machine, but Samuel contends that you’ll get more core benefit and challenge from the variable resistance offered by bands.
- Start in a tall kneeling position between the two bands. Grab the ends of the bands with an overhand grip.
- Hinge forward at the hips to lean your torso slightly forward.
- Press one arm down to the ground, then hold it in position without leaning forward or rotating.
- Press the other arm down in the same manner. Squeeze your pecs to hold the position for a beat.
- Control the resistance of the band to retract your arms back to the start.
- Alternate which arm presses first for each rep.
Your core isn’t the only stabilizing factor in this finisher. “You also need to stabilize through your thoracic spine (your upper back) by aggressively keeping your mid-back turned on,” he says. “It’s convenient to round your back forward, especially at the bottom of each rep, when you’re pressing into the ground. Squeeze your shoulder blades to avoid this, though, and work to maintain a neutral spine throughout.”
Cap off your chest day with the ground pound alternating press by working through 3 sets of 8 to 10 reps.
By Brett Williams and Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S.