You think being able to add pounds to your bench press, dip, or triceps pushdown is a game? Well, it is with this tip from Todd Scott, C.P.T., a trainer in Baton Rouge, La., who says increasing upper-body power can be as easy as dribbling a basketball.
HERE'S WHAT YOU DO
Grab a four- to six-pound medicine ball in one hand and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Bend the elbow of the arm that's holding the ball 90 degrees-your palm should be facing up, as if you were a waiter holding a serving tray . Now quickly flip your palm over, raise your elbow a few degrees (to generate power), and slam the ball into the floor as hard as you can-just like a basketball dribble, only more forceful . That's one rep. Catch the ball on the way up, and repeat immediately. Perform three sets of six reps on each arm, resting 90 seconds between sets. Now you're ready to move on to an upper-body pushing exercise.
"The explosiveness of the throw fires up the fast-twitch muscle fibers in your shoulders, chest, and triceps," says Scott, "preparing them to apply force quickly"-such as during bench presses, dips, pushdowns, or virtually any other pushing movement you can think of. As a result, you'll be stronger on those lifts-and in the gym, strength is the name of the game.