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 maneuver 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. If you don’t have a good set of bands handy, check out this package from WODFitters.
Men’s Health/Eric Rosati
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. For more tips and routines from Samuel, check out our full slate of Eb and Swole workouts. If you want to try an even more dedicated routine, consider Eb’s New Rules of Muscle program.
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