We all know that pushups and planks sculpt the chest, shoulders, and core. But if you’re looking for exercises that take the pressure off your wrists, or if you recently had a C-section and your core muscles can’t support pushups or planks at this time, these three exercises make great substitutions. You’ll need dumbbells and a resistance band. Do three sets of 12 repetitions each, three days per week.
Start on your back with knees bent and feet grounded. Hold a heavy dumbbell or kettlebell in one hand. (If using a kettlebell, hold by the handle and keep your wrist straight). Take your free arm out to the side, palm facing down, and bend your weighted arm to 90 degrees. Exhale and lift your weight straight up, finishing with the wrist directly in line with the elbow and shoulder. Inhale and lower to starting position. Perform 12 reps on this arm. To switch sides, drag the weight around your head instead of passing over your face. Perform 12 reps with the other arm.
INCLINE CHEST PRESS
Set a bench to incline position, then sit down and recline your back. Plant your feet on the floor, and hold a medium-weight dumbbell in each hand with elbows bent to 90 degrees. Exhale and press the weights up until they touch over your chest, with elbows almost completely straight. Inhale and bend your elbows, returning to starting position. Perform 12 repetitions.
BAND PEC FLYS
Loop a resistance band or tube through a low anchor point, like the bottom of a rod iron fence. Stagger your feet in split stance with most of your body weight on the front leg, and the back leg acting as a kickstand for balance. Hold an end of the band in each hand at hip height with arms slightly away from the body and elbows slightly bent. Exhale and pull the two hands to meet each other directly in front of your chest with elbows bent, like you’re giving a great big bear hug. Inhale and return your arms to starting position. Perform 12 repetitions.