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Around The Worlds – Learn Proper Form and Common Mistakes to Avoid

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The Benefits of Around the Worlds on Chest Development

Around the worlds are an unorthodox and overlooked exercise for pec growth. You must lie on a flat bench with a weight in each hand and move them from your hips to behind your head in long arcs. 

The exercise is beneficial because it forces your shoulders and pectorals to work extra hard and develops both muscle groups with light weights. Like a chest fly, around the world isolates the pecs and improves your mind-muscle connection. The result is muscle growth, stability, and improved athleticism.

We recommend including the exercise near the middle of your workouts. Pick a pair of light weights and focus on smooth execution and training through a full range of motion.

Level of Exercise: Intermediate/Advanced

How to do Around the Worlds

  1. Lie on a flat bench with a light dumbbell in each hand. 
  2. Have the dumbbells over your torso with your elbows slightly bent and palms facing one another.
  3. Bring your shoulders back, engage your abs, and slowly move the weights to the sides of your hips as you turn your wrists to point at the ceiling.
  4. Take a breath and move the dumbbells to your sides in large arc motions.
  5. Move the weights from your hips to behind your head, where you have to pause for a moment.
  6. Return the dumbbells to the starting position in the same arc motion to hip level, exhaling near the end of the repetition.
  7. Take another breath and move the dumbbells behind your head again.

What muscles do around the worlds activate?

The primary muscle group that works during around the world is the pectoralis major. Our pecs cover the front upper portion of the torso and contribute to many arm motions (1). The muscle group engages as soon as we position the dumbbells to our sides and continue to work as we move the weights up to complete each repetition.

Our deltoids (shoulders) are the second muscle group involved in around the world. Like the pecs, our deltoids play a crucial role in numerous arm motions and assist in moving the dumbbells up and down (2). The muscle group also stabilizes the shoulders.

Apart from the primary muscles, our midsection and upper back engage to provide torso stability. Both areas serve unique roles, allowing us to remain stable and keep our shoulder blades retracted.

Proper Form when Preforming Around the Worlds

The most crucial tip for around the world is picking light dumbbells you can control with ease. You will have to position the dumbbells outside your center of gravity, which can stress your shoulders if the weights get too heavy.

Another tip is to perform the motions smoothly, through a full range of motion, and with reasonable control. Doing the exercise slowly allows you to stay safe and feel the correct muscles working.

Our third tip is to maintain full-body rigidity from start to finish. Pin your shoulder blades into the bench and engage your abs to stay safe and feel strong.

Variations and Modifications of the Around the World

1. Around the World With No Weights

Doing the movement without any weights is beneficial for assessing your shoulder mobility and ensuring that you’re in a good spot to introduce external weights. Perform each repetition slowly and through the full range of motion, taking note of how your shoulders feel.

2. Around the World Half Reps

The second variation is beginner-friendly and suitable for folks with limited mobility. You must move the weights from your hips to the midway point or roughly when the weights align with your shoulders.

Mistakes to Avoid

Using too Much Weight

The most common mistake is using too much weight, which puts you at a higher risk of injury. We recommend starting with 50 to 70 percent of the weight you use for dumbbell flyes.

Bending and Extending Your Elbows

Bending and extending your elbows during different parts of the movement tends to be a common mistake. Avoid the error by maintaining a slight bend in your elbows from start to finish. Doing so will emphasize the correct muscles and prevent you from training the triceps instead.

Similar Exercises to the Around the Worlds

Pullover (Dumbbell)

man pullover dumbbell

Dumbbell pullovers are a fantastic movement that strengthens your shoulders, pecs, triceps, and lats. Similar to around the world, all you need is a dumbbell and flat bench to take full advantage of the movement.

Chest Fly (Dumbbell)

The dumbbell fly is an isolation movement for the chest, similar to around the worlds. But, instead of moving the weights to your sides in arc motions, you bring them to the sides and adduct your arms, bringing the weights over your chest.

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