Around The World Exercise For Chest vs Shoulders

Your chest and shoulders are comprised of dozens of muscle fiber bundles. But traditional pressing exercises only hit a fraction of these because you only move your arms in one direction.

With the around the world exercise, you move your arms through multiple angles. And this results in many more muscle fibers being used.

In this article, I explain the benefits of this exercise. And show you how to do around the worlds to strengthen your chest and shoulders.

Around The World Exercise

What Is The Around The World Exercise?

The around the world exercise involves rotating both of your arms up and down along the sides of your body. Similar to the arm movement during a jumping jack or snow angel.

Usually, you perform this exercise while holding relatively light dumbbells. But you can also use small weight plates or kettlebells.

When doing the around the world exercise for chest, you lay down on a bench. But it can also be done standing for the shoulders.

Around The World Exercise Muscles Worked

The laying around the world exercise primarily works the pectorals. This includes the muscles of the upper, middle, and lower chest.

In addition, the rotating movement requires using the stabilizer muscles within the shoulder joint. As well as the larger muscles of the front and side deltoids.

When performed standing, you use less pectoral and more delts.

Around The World Exercise Muscles Worked

3 Around The World Exercise Benefits

Around the worlds are different from most exercises in terms of the movement pattern. For this reason, they have some unique advantages.

1. Great For Stretching

One of the distinct features of the around the world exercise is that your arms extend through multiple angles from top to bottom. This works very well to stretch the muscles of the chest.

You can use this exercise as a warm-up to stretch your chest and shoulders before doing other heavy pressing movements. Or use it as a “burnout” exercise at the end of your workout.

2. Hits More Muscle Fibers

Another benefit of the around the world exercise is that it engages muscle fibers that might not be fatigued during standard pressing or fly movements.

By adding around the worlds to your workout, you hit as many muscle fibers as possible. And this can lead to greater muscle size and strength gains.

3. Strengthens The Shoulder Joint

In addition, the around the world exercise also strengthens the shoulder joint itself. By working the smaller stabilizer muscles of the shoulder, you train the joint to be more resilient to damage or injury.

How To Do Around The Worlds

In this section, I show you how to do the around the world exercise for chest using dumbbells.

If you’re new to weight lifting, you should start with 2.5 or 5 lb dumbbells. Advanced lifters can start with about half of what you would use on a dumbbell fly.

To begin, grab the dumbbells and lay back on the bench. Then press the dumbbells to arm’s length before lowering them out to each side as you would during a fly.

At the bottom of the fly movement, sweep the dumbbells in an arc up towards the top of your head. Then slowly sweep them back through the arc down towards your hips.

Continue this jumping jack movement while keeping your arms slightly bent. And focus on keeping your arms in roughly the same plane as your torso to feel the stretch through your chest.

To recap, here are the step by step directions:

  1. Lay back on a bench with the dumbbells
  2. Press the dumbbells to arm’s length
  3. Lower the dumbbells as if starting a fly
  4. Sweep the dumbbells in an arc from the top of your head to your hips
  5. Repeat this movement for the desired number of reps

Around The World Exercise Video

Around The World Exercise Form

When doing the around the world exercise, it’s vital to use good form to avoid injuring your shoulder joints. Here are some pointers to perform this exercise safely and effectively.

One of the most important things to remember is to use a light weight. This is not a power movement. Instead, focus on the stretch by lowering your elbows slightly in the center of range of motion.

Around The World Exercise For Chest Form

Also, I recommend that you raise the dumbbells slightly above your thighs as you get to the bottom to increase the contraction in your lower chest.

Lastly, do not rush or flap your arms like a jumping jack. Move the weight in a slow and controlled fashion throughout the exercise.

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Around The World Exercise Variations

There are a few different around the world exercise variations. Each targets different parts of the chest or different muscle groups altogether. And some require less equipment than others.

Around The World Chest Exercise Variations

So far, I’ve been talking about the around the world exercise for chest using a flat bench. But you can also do it on an incline or decline bench.

Doing around the worlds on an incline bench puts slightly more load on the upper chest muscles. While a decline bench works more of the lower chest.

Around The World Shoulder Exercise

You can eliminate the bench altogether and do around the worlds while standing. In this position, you primarily use the lateral delt muscle on your outer shoulder.

This variation is essentially a lateral raise with an increased range of motion. However, in my opinion, there is not much benefit to doing around the worlds exclusively as a shoulder exercise.

Around The World Ab Exercise

Another form of the around the world exercise involves rotating your legs in a circular pattern. This movement targets and strengthens the muscles of your abdomen.

This variation can be performed either by laying on a bench or hanging from a pull-up bar.

Hypertrophy Training Program

The around the world exercise has many benefits and variations to fit your training needs. But if you really want to reach your fitness goals, you need a complete resistance training plan designed for muscle gain.

In order to maximize muscle growth (aka hypertrophy), you should adjust 10 specific training variables. Check out my free hypertrophy training program to see how to optimize your workouts.

Hypertrophy Training
Build More Muscle

With this information, you’ll be well on your way to building a better lower body. And if you found this article useful, I hope you’ll check out some of my other informative content below!

How to Build Chest Muscle

A big chest doesn’t have to be the stuff of mythology and fantasy.  Unless you’ve been dealt a very unlucky hand genetically, you can build a big chest too!  Chances are you simply haven’t structured your training for maximum growth.  In this article you will learn how to build chest muscle with a killer chest workout designed for optimal growth.

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