How to Do the Svend Press | In-Depth Guide [VISUAL LEARNERS]
Proper Form, Common Mistakes & Variations | Home Resistance Training
VIDEO TUTORIALS HEREWRITTEN TUTORIAL + IMAGES BELOW
MAIN MUSCLES WORKED IN the Svend Press
OTHER MUSCLES WORKED:
- Anterior deltoid
HOW The Svend Press SHAPE OUR BODY
Defined chest muscles.
WHAT WE'RE DOING TODAY
ALL WE'RE DOING:
Holding some books between your hands, press your arms out straight.
This is kind of a bizarre exercise - I mean, you're doing a chest exercise with some books. Weird right?? But it's actually a pretty cool move and is more challenging to our muscles than we might think.
This chest press is done standing and requires no special equipment. It can be done anywhere (hey if they're still putting Bibles in hotels, you can even do it there!) It is a great exercise that can be used as a warm-up or as a stand-alone for strengthening the pectoralis major muscle. It is unique in that the pectoralis major muscle is contracted constantly throughout the exercise. The Svend Press works the pectoralis major muscle hard where it tends to be the strongest, close to the midline.
PROPER FORM: Svend Press
EQUIPMENT, SETS & REPS
Any of the following: 3 books, 2 weight plates, 2 dumbbells (2-4#s), 4-10 inch diameter exercise ball.
SUGGESTED STARTING WEIGHT FOR WOMEN:
Push in with moderately hard effort throughout the exercise.
SETS & REPS:
2 sets of 8-10 reps
Slow and smooth movement -pressing the hands together while pressing out and pulling in.
BODY POSITION FOR THE Svend Press
FEET: Feet shoulder width apart, toes pointed forwards.
BODY STANCE: Neutral spine, sternum lifted. Knees bent slightly. It is important that your shoulder blades stay in and down the back and your chest is wide during the whole exercise.
HAND/GRIP: Stack the 3 books and hold them together between your palms. Your wrists will be bent back. Your hands at mid-chest level, fingers pointed out in front of you.
ARMS: Upper arms lifted about halfway between straight down by your sides and lifted up to shoulder level. Your elbows bent.
HOW TO DO
HOW TO DO the Svend Press
CUE: The focus should be on pressing your hands in together - moderately hard.
While pressing your hands together with the books between them, straighten your elbows, pull your upper arm in towards midline and press your hands straight out in front of you.
Pause at the end of the movement and then bend your elbows and pull your hands back in, your upper arms will move back out to the sides.
Slowly return to the starting position by bending your elbows and moving your arms back out to the side.
Repeat to complete the reps.
HOW TO SAFELY GET OUT OF THE EXERCISE
Relax your arms and set the objects down.
WHAT TO AVOID WITH THE Svend Press
Guess what? Good news! Many avoids are the same for most movements. Once you learn the basics, there's really only a few extra avoids for each individual movement.
1. Avoid Hunching Shoulders
AVOID: Hunching the shoulders up towards the ears.
WHAT TO DO:
- Keep the space between the ear and the shoulder during the entire rep - this opens up the shoulder to avoid tendon irritation and decreases the activity of the upper traps.
2. Avoid Shoulders Moving Forward
AVOID: Shoulder blades coming forward.
WHAT TO DO:
- Keep the shoulder blades down and back.
VARIATIONS OF the Svend Press
Vary Angle of Press
Change Angle of Svend Press
Alternate the angle that the arms are pressed out at - press straight out, press out and down - about waist level, press out and up - shoulder level.
Pressing out and down will activate the lower fibers of the pectoralis major.
Pressing out and up will activate the upper fibers of the pectoralis major.
WHAT & WHY
BENEFITS OF TRAINING THE Pectoralis Major
This is a simple movement and one can often use heavier resistance, as long as the form is correct.
This exercise focuses on strengthening the muscles on the front of the chest. The pectoralis major is the large chest muscle, it covers a large area and is spread out like a fan. The shape of the muscle and where it attaches to, allows it to pull the arms in towards each other, lift them up and pull them down. The Chest Press exercises focus mainly on pulling the arms in towards the midline or breast bone. These exercises are done by pulling your upper arms in against resistance.
In Chest Presses the body is positioned on an elevated surface, like a bench, foam roll, or ball. This allows the elbows to drop down past the torso. When the elbows drop down, the pectoralis major muscle is active through a larger range of motion and is stretched before it is activated. Some believe that stretching the muscle just before activating it leads to greater strength gains.
Although it has benefits, the chest press should be done with caution. When the elbow drops down below the torso under a load (holding a dumbbell), it can put quite a bit of stretch on the connective tissue (anterior capsule) of the shoulder joint. Make sure that you listen to your body during the exercise and after the exercise. If you have discomfort, try lowering the weight you are using, a band instead of the dumbbells, or a floor press - which limits the range of motion.
WHY DO WE EVEN CARE?
CAN HELP GIVE A LIFTED APPEARANCE TO THE BREASTS
I read this in several places. Things really started to go downhill or should I say, HANG, after breastfeeding my son at 29. Things were just never the same after that, sigh. Building muscle beneath the breast tissue can actually give a more lifted appearance to the breasts, who knew?? And all without expensive surgery. I think this is the case for me - I mean I still need the help of a supportive bra people, we're not talking miracles here, but I feel all the pushups I did in the past several years makes my whole upper chest area and into my shoulders, what you see when I wear say a scoop neck top, look firm and taut and healthy, which I think gives a more youthful appearance. So we don't need to shy away from chest exercises anymore!
HELPS WITH MANY ARM MOVEMENTS
The pectoralis major is basically THE chest muscle, it is large and broad, it can move the arm in, up, and pull it down when it is up. The pectoralis major helps to move and position the shoulder blade when the arm moves. This muscle is similar to the latissimus dorsi on the back of the body. It can help with a lot of different arms and shoulder blade movements, and to help stabilize the arm.
Its main function is bringing the arm in towards the middle of the body - towards the midline, for reaching across the body. You may not think that you use this muscle very much but if you start paying attention you will find that even little things like pushing a grocery cart, require you to hold your arm pulled in.
It is true that you rarely use this muscle for any powerful movements on its own, except maybe if you are a tennis player or flyfisher (which of course probably at least 75% of us are flyfishers right?? ;)), this muscle helps out all day long when you use your arms.
WORKING SEVERAL MUSCLES AT ONCE
Many exercises that work the chest work other important muscle groups as well like the triceps, shoulders, and biceps. This is great because you accomplish more in less time as well as......
BURN MORE CALORIES
The chest muscles are one of the larger sets of muscles on the body, and that combined with the fact that other muscles are also working like we just discussed, means training in this way can burn more calories and help build metabolism. So we can eat more. Which I'm sure I've said before is one of my main goals in life.
NOTE: DO CHEST OPENERS WITH THESE TO KEEP IT BALANCED.
The pectoralis major is frequently tight because of poor posture - sitting with a rounded upper back and forward rounded shoulders. Strengthening the chest muscles should be accompanied by some nice chest opening exercises, like rear deltoid exercises, or pec stretches. We don't want to exacerbate our already tight front right?
CHEST OPENER IDEAS:
Reaching behind your back with both arms and joining hands (holding the wrist of one arm, or clasping the hands work well)
Pulling the shoulders back and opening the chest, push the hands down and back - and holding for at least 20 seconds is an easy to do pectoralis major stretch that can be done after chest presses.
EVERYDAY LIFE &
HOW WE USE OUR pectoralis major IN EVERYDAY LIFE
1. BRINGING THE ARM TOWARDS THE MIDLINE OF THE BODY (ADDUCTION)
- Reaching across to fasten a seat belt
- Lifting objects directly in front of the body with both hands
- Carrying heavy objects in front: grocery bag, child
- Picking up your pet chicken (other pets may qualify)
- Tennis forehand stroke
2. UPPER FIBERS BRING THE ARM UP AND ACROSS
- Touching the opposite ear - putting on an earring
- Using a blow dryer on the opposite side of the head as hand
3. LOWER FIBERS BRING THE ARM DOWN AND ACROSS
- Reaching the opposite hip
4. MEDIAL (INTERNAL) ROTATION OF THE ARM (ROTATING THE UPPER ARM INWARDS)
- Rotating arm down to empty a can (like that half can of garbanzo beans I left open in the fridge too long).
5. CAN HELP MOVE THE SHOULDER BLADE DOWN THE SPINE (DEPRESSION), DOWNWARD ROTATION, & MOVING FORWARD AROUND THE RIBCAGE (PROTRACTION), & STABILIZATION OF THE SHOULDER BLADE & SHOULDER JOINT
- Control during all arm and hand activities that require strength and/or precision - writing, knitting, using a screwdriver
How to Feel What Muscle is Working
Place your right hand over your left chest. Straighten your left arm and pull it in across your body. You should feel your pectoralis major muscle under your hand. Try pulling the arm across and up - you should feel the muscle activation close to your collarbone. Pull across and down and you should feel the lower part of the muscle contract.
SPIFFILICIOUS FACTS ABOUT MUSCLES & MOVES
The pectoralis major muscle is a large fan shaped muscle on the chest. It attaches to the collarbone, sternum (breast bone), the cartilage of the first 6 ribs, and the upper arm. The main function of the pectoralis muscle is to move and stabilize the upper arm. The upper fibers attach on the collarbone and the humerus - so when they contract the arms move into adduction and angles up. The middle fibers come from the middle ribs 1-4 ish and the sternum and the arm - so they pull the arm straight across, the lower fibers attach to the lower ribs and sternum and arms so they would pull in and slightly down. The heavier the load the more muscle fibers will be recruited. So if you reach across to your earlobe - mainly upper and mid fibers. But if you lift a heavy object to your ear, probably all portions of the pec major will be active but the upper will be most active.
The pectoralis major muscle is usually removed during a mastectomy or at least partially removed. The muscle is very similar to the lats, involved in a lot of different movements but any of the movements can be done by other muscles. Even if the muscle is removed, with time and exercise the functions of the pec can be done by other muscles.
ALLLL MUSCLES & WHEN
ALL MUSCLES WORKING & WHEN DURING THE Svend Press
The scapular retractors and depressors (mid and lower traps, rhomboids, lats, pecs (minor and major), subclavius, serratus anterior) become active during set up for the exercise. The muscles of arms (upper - biceps, triceps, coracobrachialis, pecs, lats, teres major, rotator cuff, and forearm - [triceps and biceps], anconeus, radiobrachialis, brachialis, extensor, and flexor radial and carpal ulnaris, flexor and extensor digitorum profundus and superficialis, pronator teres, supinator - possibly others, but their contribution is minimal) work to stabilize the wrist, elbow and shoulder joints.
The pectoralis major is the prime mover, acting isometrically throughout the exercise to hold the hands pressed together and concentrically as the hands are pressed forwards. The coracobrachialis will help. The anterior and lateral deltoid and biceps work to hold the arm up. The triceps and anconeus work to straighten the elbow as the hands are pushed forwards. The biceps act concentrically to bend the elbows and pull the hands in.