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RULES WITH EXAMPLES (common to all similar exercises types)

PRESSING MOVEMENTS

- when using a bench, find the one with the most narrow pad available to best achieve a contraction at the bottom of the movement
- wide foot stance with feet planted firmly on the ground to maintain stability (use the shoulder-width stance for pushups resting on toes)
- keep hands just outside of shoulder-width and wrists directly above elbows; forearms should remain vertical throughout, perpendicular to the ground where you are strongest in the range (especially at the bottom)
- at the top, pull shoulders back, then let elbows follow (almost two separate movements)
- at the bottom, retract shoulder blades together and contract everything in the back
- contract the pecs hard to come back up and bring the humerus across the body, focus on squeezing the elbows towards each other across the midline
- when sitting/lying against a support (a bench for example), focus on pushing the body/trunk backward into it (as opposed to pushing the weight away from the body); for pushups, try to push the ground away
* when performing incline bench presses, pay extra attention to avoid any back arch, if this is an issue due to shorter legs, a step can be used to raise the feet to the appropriate height

FLAT / INCLINE / DECLINE BARBELL BENCH PRESS:

- shove "inwards" throughout (intention)


FLAT / INCLINE / DECLINE DUMBBELL BENCH PRESS:

- bring hands up only until directly inline with shoulders at the top (don't come inside them)
- max stretch of chest at the bottom (should result in elbows coming well below shoulders)


FLAT DUMBBELL BENCH PRESS WITH INTERNAL ROTATION:

- palms facing shoulders at the bottom, finish at the top with hands neutral


PUSHUPS:

- space hands just outside of shoulders & shift weight forward over the top (maintain this)
- come all the way down until the chest touches the floor
- push the ground away to come back up (don't try to "lift" body up)
- "shove" hands inwards (intention) throughout and keep back flat


PLYOMETRIC PUSHUPS:

(for beginners or intermediates, perform pushing off a flat bench (depicted), for advanced trainees, perform from the floor (no bench))
- place hands, just outside of shoulder-width apart with legs straight out behind so that the body forms a ridged horizontal line from head to toes
- come all the way down until the chest touches the bench/ground
- explode up as high as possible so that hands and torso are no longer in contact with the bench/floor (attempt to maximize the distance achieved at the top each time)
- squeeze chest when extending arms ("shove" inwards while concurrently exploding away)
- consciously remain in control of the negative as hands regain contact with the bench/floor
- optional (advanced): clap hands together quickly on the ascent


FLY MOVEMENTS

- wide foot stance with feet planted firmly on the ground to maintain stability
- at the top, pull shoulders back, then let elbows follow (almost two separate movements) - aim for max stretch of chest at the bottom
- to come back up, retract shoulder blades, contract everything in the back and squeeze the weight up leading with the elbows
- avoid any internal/external rotation throughout; keep midpoint of wrist inline with the midpoint of an elbow in turn inline with a midpoint of shoulder (move weights in a straight line perpendicular to the ground)

FLAT / INCLINE / DECLINE DUMBBELL FLYS:

- bend elbows slightly at 45º on the way down (find point at which there is maximum tension/stretch in the chest at the bottom, not in the biceps; if feeling too much of a stretch in biceps, bend elbows a little more
- at 45º on the ascent, straighten elbows, lock triceps and try to bring the elbows together (not the hands); stop just short of coming inside the shoulders at the top (end directly above them immediately then beginning the descent)


INCLINE DUMBBELL FLYS WITH MAX SCAPULA RETRACTION OVER BENCH:

- slide body up so that the bottom part of the scapula/shoulder blades just protrude/sit over the top of the bench; let head almost just hang a little, don't try to shove it forward.
ENSURE STABILITY CAN BE MAINTAINED.
- make a conscious effort to avoid arching by keeping the abs contracted as well achieving a maximum (almost exaggerated) stretch of the chest at the bottom
- execute then as per DB Flys above


CABLE FLYS / CROSSOVERS:

(unless directed otherwise, position cables to just below nipple height and extend arms out in front, in line with chin at the top)
- with a split foot position, begin with body close to apparatus, though in front just enough so that the weights sit just above the weight stack in the bottom position
- squeeze hands together at the top
- keep elbows ridged, and triceps contracted throughout
- do not touch the pinky fingers together at the front (if anything you could touch the index fingers together (but it is not necessary)
* If performing with cables high (place them very high), begin with arms in a position of external rotation, then internally rotate them aiming the elbows together on the descent


DIPS

BODYWEIGHT PARALLEL BAR CHEST DIPS:

(use bars that allow hands to stay wide and outside of the shoulders if possible)
- lean forward with chest up, abs contracted, knees slightly in front and bent
- keep shoulders, as well as elbows, pulled back / scapula retracted (no internal/external rotation of shoulders throughout)
- squeeze hands inwards / toward each other from start to finish (intention)
- when descending, ensure shoulders are pulled back
- come down getting a good stretch at the bottom; aim to form a 90º angle between triceps moreover, elbows. Pause and contract the pecs before beginning the ascent
- avoid locking shoulders at the top, keep squeezing hands towards each other

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