Upper Body Accessory Exercises

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Chest-

Incline Bench Press          Dumbbell Press          Incline Dumbbell Press         

Shoulders-

Dumbbell Military Press          Face Pulls          Lateral Raises           Reverse Flyes

Triceps-

JM Press          Press Downs          Rolling Dumbbell Skull Crushers         

Rotator Cuff-

Rotator Cuff Work         

Technique

You will learn the purpose for each and its place in the Mathias Method as well as how to perform them both safely and effective.

Format:

Purpose- Benefits of this exercise.

Prime Movers- Which muscles do the most work

Technique- How to set-up the exercise and preform it safe and effectively.

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Accessory Exercises

Accessory work is in place to improve the main lifts performed that day, improve muscle weaknesses and increase the volume of work performed. Accessory work should be performed with low to moderate intensity to allow for optimal muscle growth and proper technique. Failing on accessory work should be rare, and only utilized when the intensity for the main lift was relatively low. The focus of intensity on the accessory lifts during heavy sessions should be to achieve a strong muscle contraction. The intensity of accessory work done on light days should focus on muscle endurance and hypertrophy. Heavy accessory work should utilize some full body movement, known as “body English” or “cheating”, to increase the muscular stimulus needed for a strong muscle contraction, but needs to be limited. The focus should be on stimulating the muscle rather than just throwing around tremendous weight. Light accessory work should be done at a slow to moderate pace with relatively strict form to ensure proper muscle activation throughout the entire lift. It is important to always be in control of the weight during any exercise being performed. For bodyweight exercises on both heavy and light days, perform the exercises as fast as possible while maintaining control of your entire body. For all accessory work, always stop 1-2 repetitions before failure on all sets other than the last, which can be taken to absolute failure if desired. Another option for accessory work is to perform it on the days between your main lift sessions. The same principles of execution apply to heavy assistance exercises versus light assistance exercises, though they can be done in the same training session. Even on accessory only days it is important to mobilize before and after the training session.

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Incline Bench Press:

Purpose- Build Upper Body Strength, Increase Upper Body Hypertrophy

Prime Movers- Triceps, Anterior Deltoids, Pectoralis Major

Technique- Lay flat against an incline press rack with your feet placed in a stable position, out in front of you, and grip the bar firmly with your bench press grip. From this position reset your body on the bench by raising your chest as high as you can while keeping your shoulders tucked down towards your back pockets, and hips in contact with the bench. While maintaining full body tightness and an external rotation torque on the bar, lift the bar only slightly over the hooks and pull it out until it is over your shoulders. (Note: It is best to do this with a partner handing you the bar to maintain a proper shoulder position. Do not round your shoulders forward). Initiate the downward motion by pulling the bar down into your chest, with your elbows tucked in slightly towards your sides, engaging your lats. Touch the bar on your upper chest, where your elbows are directly under the bar and range from a 30-45 degree angle from your sides. Press the bar up and back over your shoulders, where the lift began, as you slightly flare your elbows out.

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Dumbbell Press:

Purpose- Build Pressing Strength, Teach Pressing Mechanics

Prime Movers- Triceps (Arms), Anterior Deltoid (Shoulders), Pectoralis Major (Chest)

Technique- To set-up, grasp two dumbbells and set them over your knees as you sit on a bench. Keeping the dumbbells on your lower thighs, roll back onto the bench setting your torso into a safe pressing position with your chest high and shoulders pulled back and down. Set your feet in a position that puts your knee lower than your hips and maintain the same tightness as a bench press. Keeping the dumbbells directly over your elbows, pull them down towards the outside of your lower chest, before press them up and back over your shoulders while flaring your elbows out. As you lower the dumbbells, externally rotate your hands to a neutral position to protect your shoulder and relax them back into a linear position as you press.

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Incline Dumbbell Press:

Purpose- Build Pressing Strength, Increase Pectoral Hypertrophy

Prime Movers- Triceps (Arms), Anterior Deltoid (Shoulders), Pectoralis Major (Chest)

Technique- To set-up, grasp two dumbbells and set them over your knees as you sit on an inclined bench. Keeping the dumbbells on your lower thighs, roll back onto the bench setting your torso into a safe pressing position with your chest high and shoulders pulled back and down. Set your feet in a position that puts your knee lower than your hips or at least in a stable position. Keeping the dumbbells directly over your elbows, pull them down towards the outside of your upper chest, before press them up and back over your shoulders while flaring your elbows out. As you lower the dumbbells, externally rotate your hands to a neutral position to protect your shoulder and relax them back into a linear position as you press.

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Dumbbell Military Press:

Purpose- Teach Overhead Pressing Mechanics, Build Overhead Pressing Strength and Stability

Prime Movers- Triceps (Arms), Deltoids (Shoulders), Trapezius (Back)

Technique- Stand erect while holding two dumbbells in a neutral position (palms facing towards each other) just above your shoulders. Flex your glutes hard and brace your core throughout the movement to maintain a neutral spine. While braced, press the dumbbells straight up overhead while flaring your elbows so that they point outward and the dumbbells rotate in line with each other. Control the descent as you pull your elbows back in front of your shoulders, rotating the dumbbells back into the starting position. This mimics the barbell Military Press mechanics. Keep your elbows under the dumbbells throughout the lift and maintain a neutral head position.

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Face Pulls:

Purpose- Build Rear Deltoid Strength, Build Rotator Cuff Strength, Improve Shoulder Stabilization, Improve Shoulder Integrity

Prime Movers- Rear Deltoid (Shoulders), Biceps Brachii (Arms), Rotator Cuff (Shoulders)

Technique- Using both hands, grab a cable attachment, band or two straps and place your feet in a stable stance. Initiate the motion by pulling your elbows behind you horizontally while maintaining a tight core. As your elbows reach alignment with your shoulders, externally rotate your arms so that your hands are pulled to or above your face. With control, lower the resistance by reversing the same motion.

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Lateral Raises:

Purpose- Increase Deltoid Hypertrophy

Prime Mover- Deltoid (Shoulders)

Technique- While holding a resistance in each hand, such as a dumbbell, kettle bell or a cable attachment, lean slightly forward with your arms slightly bent so that your hands are just in front of your hips. Maintain this torso and arm position throughout the exercise. While bracing your core and flexing your glutes, raise the weight laterally until your hands are higher than your shoulders before controlling the descent back to the start position. Focus on just utilizing your shoulders to lift the weight and control the entire movement.

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Reverse Flyes:

Purpose- Increase Shoulder Integrity, Increase Shoulder Hypertrophy

Prime Movers- Posterior Deltoids (Shoulders), Rhomboids (Back), Trapezius (Back)

Technique- While holding a resistance in each hand, such as a dumbbell, kettle bell or cable attachment, lean your torso forward so that your hands are under your shoulders and lower than your knees. Brace your core and flex your glutes throughout the lift while maintaining a neutral spine. Start with your hands facing towards each other and arms are slightly bent. While rotating your hands so that your palms face towards your feet, raise the weight until your elbows are higher than your shoulders. Pull your shoulder blades and elbows together behind you before controlling the descent back to the start position. Control the entire movement so that the resistance does not swing.

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JM Press:

Purpose- Build Elbow Extension Strength, Increase Triceps Hypertrophy

Prime Movers- Triceps (Arms), Anterior Deltoid (Shoulders)

Technique- Lie on a bench and set up as if doing a closegrip bench press. Unrack the bar and lower it just above your chest as if doing a closegrip bench press. Then roll the bar and your arms back to where the bar hovers over your face, and you feel tension in your triceps. Finish by quickly reverse the motion, pulling your elbows back in place near your sides and extending your arms until they reach full lockout. This is a combination move where you are combining a closegrip bench press and a triceps extension to build up the triceps using a heavier weight.

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Rolling Dumbbell Skull Crushers:

Purpose- Increase Triceps Hypertrophy, Build Elbow Extension Strength

Prime Movers- Triceps (Arms)

Technique- Lay on a bench while holding two dumbbells with a neutral grip, at arms length, over your shoulders. Begin by bending your elbows until the dumbbells touch your shoulders. Then push your elbows back over your head, rolling the dumbbells back, until you feel a slight stretch in your triceps, before quickly reverse the motion, pulling your elbows back in place over your shoulders and extending your arms until they reach full lockout.

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Press Downs:

Purpose- Increase Triceps Hypertrophy, Build Elbow Extension Strength

Prime Movers- Triceps (Arms)

Technique- Grab a cable attachment, such as a straight bar or rope, and take one step away from the rack so that the cable is pulling up and slightly away. While maintaining a neutral spine and braced core, lean slightly forward and let your elbows come in front of your torso so that they are pointing straight down. Without moving your torso, pull your elbows back in line with your sides while simultaneously extending your elbows to lockout. Allow your elbows to point outward as you press down and keep your wrists straight throughout. Reverse the motion under control by rotating your elbows so that they face behind you and control the weight back to the start position, allowing your elbows to again roll out in front of your torso so that your elbows point downward. The complete movement of your elbows is; pulled back, extended while rotating out, rotated in while flexed, and rolled back out again. This works the largest part of the triceps, the long head, best which is also known as the strong head.

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Rotary Cuff Work:

The shoulder joint is the most movable joint in the body and can obtain an injury relatively easily if not treated properly. Knowing this, Rotator Cuff Work is crucial for complete shoulder health. The rotator cuff musculature is composed of multiple small muscles that hold the shoulder joint into its socket. If these muscles are weak or out of balance then your shoulder health is compromised and you are at high risk for injury. With this in mind, doing some shoulder mobility and rotator cuff work will allow for you to move better and get stronger. Commonly, our shoulders have enough, or even too much, internal rotation strength and we need to increase the external rotation strength to help establish balance.

Purpose- Increase Rotary Cuff Musculature Strength, Improve Shoulder Integrity

Prime Movers- Infraspinatus (Shoulder), Teres Minor (Shoulder)

Technique- To work your external rotators of your shoulder, you must go through external rotation of the humerous, or upper arm bone, with appropriately added resistance. It is best to use a band or cable with light resistance to keep constant tension on the muscle while doing many repetitions. Begin by grasping a band, or single cable attachment, with one hand. Have the band or cable anchored near hip height. Go through multiple movements that include external rotation of the humerous such as with your elbow out horizontally from your shoulder to where you rotate your hand back over your shoulder, or to your side where you rotate your hand out laterally.

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Disclaimer

When participating in any exercise or training program there is a possibility of physical injury. If you engage in any movements, exercises or training programs, you agree to do so at your own risk. By voluntarily participating in these activities, you assume all risk of injury to yourself and agree to release and discharge Mathias Method, Ryan Mathias and all other affiliates of any responsibility if injury occurs. In addition, by following any of the suggested guidelines, protocols, templates, activities or any other information or advice on this website (mathiasmethod.com) you do so at your own risk. Do not begin any nutrition or training program without consulting with a  Board Certified Medical Doctor and/or Registered Dietician first.

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