A look at any contact sport—such as rugby, football, boxing or wrestling— makes it immediately apparent that well-developed chest muscles are the secret to a powerful upper body. Push-ups are basic and effective, but to push the muscles to get a chiselled look and a broad, well-defined upper torso, try this elite routine.

SWISS BALL PUSH-UP

Source: Devashish Singh, fitness manager, Fitness First, Connaught Place, New Delhi. Model: Nikhil Grover, Personal Trainer, Fitness First. Photographs by Priyanka Parashar/Mint

Slowly lower your chest down to your palm level, elbows slightly out, but not laterally extended from your body. Breathe in while going down, breathe out while pushing yourself back up. Brace your stomach muscles while pushing back up.

Stay on your toes, and don’t lock your knees.

This exercise activates all kinds of small minor muscles that are otherwise overlooked during workouts, because the body needs to work much harder to maintain balance on the ball. This also slows down the time you take to do a push-up, making each rep more intense.

DUMBBELL FLYS ON THE BENCH

An overlooked but essential part of strength training, this exercise expands the chest muscles, taking them through their full range of motion.

Lie flat on your back on a bench, holding the dumbbells with your palms facing each other and hands joined straight above your chest. Keep your elbows unlocked, but firm. Slowly lower dumbbells to your side, while breathing in, and feel your chest muscles controlling the weights throughout till your arms are at the same level as the rest of the body. Now slowly raise your arms back to the starting position while breathing out. When the dumbbells touch each other, hold for 2 seconds and squeeze your chest muscles as hard as you can.

VARIATION ON SWISS BALL

Lie on the Swiss ball with only your back resting on the ball. Your legs should form a 90-degree angle at the knees, with your feet firmly placed on the ground. Make sure your hip and back are in a straight line—dropping the hip is a very common mistake, and a surefire way to injury. Balance yourself and

perform the exercise as shown here.

Every fortnight, experts will show you the perfect way to execute your favourite exercises to get the maximum benefit.

Coordinated by Rudraneil Sengupta.

rudraneil.s@livemint.com

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