Dumbbell bench press

Why do you workout? Is it because you want to live healthier lives, help release stress after a long day work, or to increase your strength and cardio? For me, I just want to look good naked. Most of you might not admit it, but come on, who doesn’t want to look good naked? Being able to walk around naked comfortably is like taking your first steps as a baby; it is just an exciting moment in your life.

One body part that is a must for a sexy, naked body is the chest. Some common exercises you might see people performing for their chest are the bench press and push-ups, but the exercises I want to focus on today is the Dumbbell Bench Press. There are a couple variations for the DB bench that you will see when watching people perform this movement: palms facing your feet while pressing, palms facing each other while pressing, or palm start facing each and then rotating them as your perform the movement. Today I want to talk about each one of these variations of the DB bench press.

First, let’s talk about the benefits of using dumbbells over a barbell. By using dumbbells, you are giving the bench press a greater range of motion. In other words, you are putting your muscles on a longer period of tension. You have a greater range of motion in a DB bench rather than barbell bench. Your chest stops you during a barbell bench, and dumbbell bench can get your range of motion lower than your chest. The longer the tension; the more your muscles work and the stronger they will get. Another positive about DB bench press is that it recruits other muscles that you wouldn’t use in a standard barbell bench. Dumbbells can move a lot more than a barbell, so your body has to recruit a lot of other muscles to help stabilize the dumbbells over your head. In a barbell bench, you don’t have to worry about trying to stabilize the weight.

Dumbbell bench with palms facing forward towards your feet is very similar to the standard barbell bench. When performing this exercise, you are using more of the anterior portion of your shoulder and your pec muscles, giving you those massive pecs that you have been looking for. One of the reason why it works more of you pecs and anterior shoulders is because your shoulders are internally rotated more than they would be if palms are facing each other.

Dumbbell bench with palms facing each other is more beneficial when it comes to holding weights up over your head. The reason for this is because your shoulders are more externally rotated, so you are working more of the muscles that help stabilize weight up over your head. The palm facing DB bench still works your pec muscles, but not as much as palms facing your feet. This exercise works more of your lats and triceps. I believe while being externally rotated you are also working more of your whole shoulder to help stabilize the dumbbell, rather than just anterior portion of your shoulder like it does in the palms facing feet DB bench.

Sometimes at the gym you will see people start with palms facing each other, but at the top they will end with palms facing their feet. This movement is pretty much a combination of both combined, but you are recruiting and losing different muscles throughout the movement.

In conclusion, there is no wrong way to perform a DB bench press, but which one do you perform is the true question. The best way to decide is to ask yourself what your weaknesses are; if you already have a strong chest, but a weak overhead position, then I would choose palm facing DB bench. (Then vice versa if you have a weak chest.) Just remember, whichever one that will help you look good naked, you should probably perform that type of DB bench.

3 Benefits of CrossFit

  • 3 benefits of CrossFit

Alyssa Biawolas

CrossFit remains to be one of the most popular and most controversial fitness trends. It focuses on varying functional movements in a high-intensity setting (for a full definition see here).

HIIT challenges people to improve their fitness by building their strength and enhancing their conditioning during an hour-long class. Since 2001, men and women around the world, there are about 14,000 CrossFit affiliates worldwide, have been joining CrossFit gyms in an effort to get or stay healthy and fit. 

Since it can be considered an option for high-intensity interval training (HIIT), HIIT has also become one of the top fitness trends in the last 5 years (Amadio et al., 2018). Scientific data surrounding CrossFit is sparse. A research team worked to analyze the findings of scientific literature on CrossFit in a systematic review and meta-analysis.

In addition to fitness, CrossFit is known for its focus on building a community within the gym. These gyms are places where people meet, socialize, build camaraderie, and support one another along the road to fitness. CrossFit claims that its gyms are about the community as well as fitness. And, as a cultural anthropologist studying branded functional fitness, I would say they deliver.

In a master’s thesis, Harvard Divinity School students included CrossFit as one of ten places that “Millennials gather” instead of traditional religious institutions (for a New York Times write-up of the study see here). In other words, CrossFit is a fitness practice that seeks to build a community around strong bodies and fit selves, and for more than just Millennials.

The Study

3 benefits of CrossFitIn the study, effect sizes with 95% confidence interval were calculated and heterogeneity was assessed using a random-effects model. Researchers analyzed studies from PubMed, Web of Science, Scopus, Bireme/MedLine, and SciELO online databases, looking for articles that contain benefits of CrossFit.

This included studies with variables from short-term intervention studies, with participants, split into distinct gender groups to maintain consistency.

Male participants (60%) were utilized more so than females (40%). CrossFit samples were composed of adolescents, adults and the elderly. The sample profile included 6% competitive CrossFit pro athletes, 63% trained individuals who participated in CrossFit for more than 6 months, 22% physically active individuals, and 9% sedentary individuals.

Related Article: Does Weightlifting Make You Smarter as You Age?

The Results

A low level of evidence and a high risk of bias was found in a majority of studies analyzed, indicating a large need for future research that includes robust and quality evidence of CrossFit advantages (Amadio et al., 2018).

In the CrossFit literature review, studies were found to report on body composition, psycho-physiological parameters, musculoskeletal injury risk, life and health aspects, and social behavior. Five CrossFit fitness domains such as cardiovascular/respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, and power were found in short-term intervention studies.

The remaining fitness domains, speed, coordination, agility, balance, and accuracy were lacking in short-term as well as long-term intervention studies.

Because of this, a gap must be filled in the scientific literature on CrossFit training in terms of training load. Managing the training load and reducing injury risk could be more appropriately used to support the practice of CrossFit (Amadio et al., 2018).

Related Article: Predict Overuse Injuries in CrossFit Athletes

The positive outcomes of CrossFit go beyond the sole scientific benefits of exercise, however, the scientific benefits are overwhelmingly positive. CrossFit fitness domains such as cardiovascular/respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, and power are often used as interventions for performance in CrossFit exercise design.

Additional domains such as speed, coordination, agility, balance, and accuracy, can be better incorporated into an average CrossFit exercise program. CrossFit heavily impacts body composition in parameters such as body mass index, relative body fat, fat mass, lean body mass, and waist circumference (Amadio et al., 2018).

Physical health benefits of CrossFit:

Benefits of CrossFit That Go Beyond Exercise

3 benefits of CrossFitIn the scientific literature, Amadio et al. (2018) found:

  • Higher levels of a sense of community between CrossFit friends, peers, and trainers
  • Higher levels of satisfaction surrounding a physical activity
  • High levels of motivation to participate in exercise and physical activity as well as motivation to return to

Amadio et al. (2018) assessed the motivation for physical exercise in their meta-analysis. The groups used for comparison were CrossFit, resistance exercise, alone, and individuals who train with a personal trainer.

In the CrossFit group, enjoyment, challenge, and affiliation were identified as factors for motivation and adherence more than all other training groups.

The sense of enjoyment and challenge are often used as descriptors for sports practice within a team setting In addition to the research provided by Amadio et al. (2018), research shows that the supportive group environment not only contributes to a sense of community but also serves as the greatest tool for exercise adherence. Individuals that find self-motivation to be a struggle can benefit from the characteristics of CrossFit.

People that use CrossFit as their exercise program describe CrossFit as a lifestyle choice. This is due to the fact that CrossFit embeds ideas of holistic nutrition, in which daily diet challenges inspire participants to develop healthy eating habits, as well as personal development.

Since personal development is embedded into the CrossFit training program, coaches and trainers are motivating and inspiring members of the community, offering tips and guidelines for healthy living. 

Related Article: 6 Tips to Fuel Your HIIT Nutrition Plan

Plan your CrossFit Program

Based on best-practice literature incorporating the following –

  • Utilize all ten fitness domains – cardiovascular/respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, coordination, agility, balance, and accuracy
  • Find your favorite CrossFit environment
  • Include some of your own friends for further motivation to adhere to exercise
  • Create a nutrition plan that works for your body
  • Avoid injury – give your body the rest it needs
  • Participate in active recoveries such as restorative yoga, swimming, or cycling




If you look at history, what separates the successful from unsuccessful is clear. Winners rise to the top because they have NO QUIT.

There are examples in every business and every industry.

Stephen King’s “Carrie” was rejected by 30 publishers.

Joe Montana was once Notre Dame’s 7th-string quarterback.

Oprah Winfrey was fired from a co-anchor position on a local evening news station.

If those individuals decided to throw in the towel, their lives would be completely different.

Psychologist Sherrie Campbell says: “Success is all about risk. Each time you put yourself and your idea out into the world you risk rejection and criticism, so do not be shocked or dismayed when it happens. Success is about getting knocked down, learning resilience, getting back up and risking again,”

So, what does it take to push through even as the rejections pile on?


You have to be an energy giver, not an energy taker. People want to be around others who are positive and inspiring.

Enthusiasm and a never-quit attitude almost guarantees success.

It can’t be taught. You either have it or you don’t

6 week challenge

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Depressed? Exercise will help.

Cardio > pills long term ???

We often hear about the physical benefits of exercise (e.g., increasing heart health), less often are the psychological benefits promoted. Yet, engaging in a moderate amount of physical activity will result in improved mood and emotional states. Exercise can promote psychological well-being as well as improve quality of life.
The following are common psychological benefits gained through exercise.

Improved mood

Reduced stress as well as an improved ability to cope with stress

Improved self-esteem

Pride in physical accomplishments

Increased satisfaction with oneself

Improved body image

Increased feelings of energy

Improved in confidence in your physical abilities

Decreased symptoms associated with depression

As people experience these psychological benefits, it is likely that they also will be motivated to continue exercises so that they continue to receive these benefits.   How much exercise is needed to produce those effects?  

Even a brief walk at low intensity can improve mood and increase energy. As little as 10 minutes of aerobic exercise can have a positive effect.

For long-term benefits, you should exercise 3 times a week for 30 minutes per session at a moderate intensity.

Programs longer than 10 weeks work best for reducing symptoms of depression

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Let’s be honest. Rowing is a serious component of CrossFit that should be afforded the respect it deserves through regular practice and study. Of course, this is far easier said than done.

Perhaps you feel as if you’ve wasted gargantuan amounts of energy only to get minimal returns. You’ve sought out the most efficient way to do everything else in CrossFit, now it’s time to look at rowing the same way.

When digging into rowing philosophies you tend to find two distinct schools of thought. One school is the purist rower who wants you to know every nuance, term, and tradition in the sport of rowing. The other school is the CrossFitter who’s created her own style, blending the articles, videos, and coaches she’s seen and heard and doing her best to have an efficient technique.

You probably expect me to pick a side and stake a claim that there’s nothing to be learned from the other. But actually, we can benefit from both. We can use each school to give us the right combination of old school vs. new school that’s ideal for CrossFit.

2 Old School Secrets That Increase Your Efficiency
It’s easy to jump on a Concept2 erg (or rower) and pull until you want to heave. But old school purists have refined rowing to get the most out of each stroke while minimizing effort that doesn’t impact your output. To conserve energy use these tried and true concepts:

1. Learn to relax on the recovery phase of the stroke
The recovery is the transition from the back of the stroke (the finish: where the handle is near your chest) to the front of the rower.

Contrary to some beliefs, this is not a stop and pause point. Instead, as you finish the stroke close to your chest, immediately and quickly push your hands towards your feet. Next close your hips. Finally, and I emphasize finally, let your knees bend.

Here’s where you learn to relax. Avoid pulling yourself forward with your legs, rely instead on the forward momentum you created by pushing your hands away quickly and then let your legs relax as the knees bend.

Try this: Take a 5-second stroke. Push hard and quick through the drive for one second. Then practice the recovery pattern; quick hands, closing the hips, and slow legs for four seconds. Take 15 – 20 strokes and have someone count for you. The end game is to feel what it’s like to turn your legs off and let them relax.

2. Quick, Explosive Catches Will Shave Seconds Off your Split
The catch is the phase of the stroke where you transition from the recovery to the drive.
Any lag time here slows the flywheel while you wait. In turn you spend more energy than necessary getting the flywheel up to speed—and flywheel speed equals power.

On the other hand, if you transition seamlessly from the recovery into the drive by driving your legs down quickly and powerfully, you’ll notice a positive impact on your time.

Try this: Use the same 5-second drill as above. As you reach the catch position put your focus on how quickly you can move from recovery to drive, bracing your core and pushing through your legs.

Note of caution: Many find it easier to transition by pulling with their arms before their legs drive. I use a cue that every athlete knows to explain why we don’t want to do that.
“When the arm bends, the power ends.” -Coach Mike Burgener.

Take 15–20 strokes with this drill at a time to focus on your form. If you can have a coach watch you, even better.

The Secret The New School Had Developed
While the old school has gotten plenty of things right, let’s not discount CrossFitters for their ingenuity either.

Create the most efficient path possible by moving the handle in a straight line. In the rowing world the hands move up and down at parts of the stroke due to the need to control the oar handle. We don’t have an actual oar to worry about in CrossFit.

At the catch, the chain should be in the middle of the rectangular box that guides the chain path, and as you drive it should make a straight line to the base of your sternum.

Keep your arms and hands as relaxed as possible. Between them they make up a very small percentage of your power output, avoid spending unnecessary energy by gripping too hard or pulling too early.

Try this: Use a piece of chalk to make two marks on that rectangular box an inch apart, one half an inch above the middle, and one half an inch below the middle. As you row, keep your chain in-between those two chalk marks. Now you have visual feedback so you can self-correct.

Practice Like You Do Your OLY Lifts
Nothing shows progress more than practice. Expect to see great returns if you invest the time to drill yourself. A little work every day produces gains and you’ll notice your attitude toward this valuable machine changing.

Coach Brian

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