Blow Up Your Chest and Core With This Brutal Finisher

Your chest days should revolve around more than just a bench and barbells. To really get a good pump, you have to be ready to spread your arms to fly—and to try different implements for resistance, too.

Men’s Health Fitness Director Ebenezer Samuel, C.S.C.S. uses bands and his positioning to vary up his chest day. When he wants to cap off a session, he busts out this fly-heavy finisher, which finds him kneeling in front of a cable tower or a squat rack with cables or bands in his hands.

“This is one of the most challenging cable fly variations out there, and a move that’ll leave your core burning as much as your chest,” Samuel says. “The core challenge is to provide stability against a series of ever-changing demands throughout each set.”

More than anything else, Samuel wants you to squeeze when you’re trying this finisher. “The beauty of the move is that it forces you to own and dominate the squeeze portion of the fly, which will help you carve the center of your chest,” he says. “We’re doing this in a dynamic, explosive way, too; this isn’t meant to be done with slow reps. Be explosive and powerful, and really challenge both your chest and your core here.”

To perform the move, you’ll need a set of resistance bands and a sturdy anchor (like a squat rack) to mount them, or a cable tower with handles that you can adjust to kneel between (Samuel prefers using the bands). If your gym doesn’t have any bands, check out this set from Serious Steel.

Eric Rosati/Men’s Health

  • Kneel in front of the anchor or tower, holding the cable handles or bands in each hand.
  • Squeeze your glutes and core to take and hold a tall kneeling position.
  • Squeeze your chest to bring your hands together in front of you explosively, keeping your elbows slightly bent.
  • Immediately perform a single arm fly rep with your right arm, as you hold your left arm in position in front of your chest. Hold both arms in position for a beat after the rep.
  • Repeat the explosive rep, this time performing a single arm with with your left arm after. Again, hold both arms at the midline after the single rep.
  • That series counts as 1 rep.

    One of the biggest challenges of the finisher comes from the instability caused by those single arm fly reps.

    “The band on the side that’s releasing will essentially try to pull your torso off-center; fire up those abs, obliques, and glute muscles to make sure that doesn’t happen,” Samuel says. “Then, when you begin to contract on that same arm, your instinct may be to let torso rotation help you through it. Battle that instinct and fight to stay perfectly square.”

    To add this fly finisher to your chest days, try 3 sets of 8 to 10 reps. For more tips and routines from Samuel, check out our full set of Eb and Swole workouts.

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    This Cute New Year's Eve Nail Art That Is SO Easy to Re-Create

    This Cute New Year’s Eve Nail Art That Is SO Easy to Re-Create

    This holiday season, we’ve seen some of the most eye-catching, over-the-top nail looks (remember “ugly sweater” nails?), but let’s be real — we want the most festive nail looks that we can create ourselves with as little effort as possible. We’re here to tell you that it’s possible. Sure, you might have to go out and pick up a tool or two (like a dotter, which you use to poke your nail beds with polish and create a polka-dot look in a few seconds flat) and a few additional metallic and glitter polishes, but that’s a small price to pay for the prettiest nails at your next holiday party.

    Ahead are a few of our favorite, supersimple New Year’s Eve nail art looks.







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    Proof That the Jet-Black Hair Trend Is Alive & Well

    To be fair, women of the famous variety tend to have nearly unlimited access to hair pros that are always on the cusp of what’s new or coming down the pipeline. As a result, they become the guinea pigs — very good ones, may we add — for not only testing out trends, but introducing them to the masses and giving them that must-try appeal. And come winter, the color that always seems to gain traction is black.

    No, not brown-black. We’re talking jet black, the kind that looks otherworldly against richer skin tones and fairer complexions alike. We’re talking about the hair shade that contrasts better than most others against bright clothing. Oftentimes, though, there’s a lot of trepidation about turning to the dark side due to worry it’ll make you look as though you’re wearing a Halloween wig.

    Whenever hesitation threatens to keep us from trying something new, we get lost in inspiration IRL and on the interwebs. So here, we’ve gathered a sampling of A-listers of different skin tones and hair textures who have kept the black hair trend alive. From Laura Prepon’s raven bob to Zoë Kravitz’s box braids, we have a feeling these hair chameleons will have you more than ready to dip into the dye.

     

    Originally posted on StyleCaster.

    Becky G

    Though the Latina singer has experimented with lighter shades and highlights, we’re partial to the jet-black wavy bob that frames her face beautifully.

    Ciara

    As of now, the singer is wearing her hair a lighter shade of brown. But back in February 2018, she hit New York Fashion Week in waist-length raven-colored strands.

    Demi Lovato

    It’s been some time since the singer and actor walked a red carpet, but when she stepped out for the 2017 American Music Awards, it became one of her fiercest looks to date.

    Dita Von Teese

    The burlesque icon has never deviated from her signature coif, which just so happens to be the sleekest shade of black.

    Eniko Parrish

    Kevin Hart’s IRL leading lady is also part of the black-hair pack, having rarely experimented with other hues since stepping into the spotlight years ago.

    Katy Perry

    Blink and you’ll miss the singer’s new hair color, but at one point — May 2018 in particular — she sported a jet-black hairstyle reminiscent of the Old Hollywood era.

    Kelly Rowland

    Keeping things simple, yet stunning, the singer recently stuck to her natural black hair color for the 2018 Baby2Baby Gala.

    Kim Kardashian West

    She’s gone blond. She’s gone gray. She’s even gone pink. But if there’s one old-faithful shade in Kardashian West’s repertoire, it’s black.

    Krysten Ritter

    The actor is another celeb who has almost never deviated from black hair, which looks drop-dead gorgeous against her fair complexion.

    Kylie Jenner

    Wigs, weaves and everything in between have been worn by the beauty mogul, but a black bob proved to be one of her shining mane moments in 2015.

    Laura Prepon

    After departing That ’70s Show and beginning her award-winning stint on Orange Is the New Black, Prepon ditched her red hair and opted for jet-black strands instead.

    Lupita Nyong’o

    The Oscar winner’s red-carpet hair journey includes a handful of truly wonderful braided looks, including this all-black updo at the 2018 Governors Awards.

    Naomi Campbell

    Her signature waist-length straight hair is usually brown or black, but we’re unexpectedly enamored with her all-black take on the curly bob and bangs.

    Nicki Minaj

    The rapper delivered inches and plenty of shine when she attended the 2016 Tidal X: 1015 concert wearing a jet-black ‘do.

    Nicole Scherzinger

    Effortless is the best way to describe Scherzinger’s black wavy look, which just so happens to be her natural texture.

    Rihanna

    An underrated hair moment from the multifaceted performer is this beautiful black bob at the 2016 Brit Awards.

    Vanessa Hudgens

    As of late, the actor has been styling her bob into a slew of fun styles, all while keeping the same dark hue in place.

    Zoë Kravitz

    Our favorite part of the actor’s past box-braid phase was when she opted for black ones during the 2015 awards season.

    Tessa Thompson

    In March 2018, cameras spotted the actor in what appears to be a Sade-inspired low-hanging braid.

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    11 Beauty Gifts For the Superhero-Obsessed Friend in Your Life

    11 Beauty Gifts For the Superhero-Obsessed Friend in Your Life

    It seems that every month, another superhero action movie makes its way into theaters, delighting a dedicated fan base of comic-book-lovers. For your friend who has the next three Marvel and DC premieres written down in their calendar and vows to see each one at midnight, we have the beauty gifts that will hold them over until the next film release.

    Whether you want to gift them a set of makeup brushes that will make them feel like Wonder Woman, or Infinity-Stone-inspired lip glosses to help them through the loss of their favorite superheroes, we’re sure there’s something here to put a massive smile on their face (and they don’t have to be bitten by a radioactive spider to use them).

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    3 Holiday Highlighters For Your Skin Type

    The easiest way to boost your radiance and add a dose of shimmer this holiday season is to experiment with highlighters. But choosing the right one for your skin type can be confusing. Does a powder or cream highlighter work better for oily skin? What about for textured or dry skin? And what areas of the face should you avoid highlighting altogether? POPSUGAR host and senior reporter Kirbie Johnson shares how to get a gorgeous holiday glow using a variety of highlighters in the video above. Plus, she shares her advice on which type of highlighter delivers the best glow based on your skin type.

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    Maisie Williams’s Pink Eyeliner Almost Distracted Us From Her Beautiful Freckles — Almost

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    i feel brand new

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    When it comes to beauty, Maisie Williams likes to keep it fresh. Recently, she’s added to her tattoo collection, gotten bangs, and dyed her hair pink, and now she’s embracing what her mama gave her: freckles.

    The Game of Thrones actress posted a superzoomed selfie showing off her freckles, as well as pretty pink hair and makeup, plus an adorable faux (at least we assume it’s not permanent) heart tattoo, all making for a pretty adorable makeup look. Whether the freckles are real or she’s enhanced them with a little eyebrow pencil, they sure do look beautiful.

    Williams isn’t the only celebrity to have embraced their natural beauty and posed for Instagram this year. Meghan Markle famously bared all for her first year as an official royal, Christina Aguilera showed her natural self and freckles in all their glory, and Little Mix’s Perrie Edwards opened up about her struggles with self-confidence in her beautifully freckled selfie. Real or faux, Williams definitely makes us want to put away that full coverage.

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    Shawn Mendes Can Add Braiding to His List of Achievements — His First Client? Camila Cabello

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    ❤️ @shawnmendes

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    We can’t say we’d ever imagined Shawn Mendes as a hairstylist, but come to think of it, we kind of like it. And after a recent Instagram photo, he might be able to add styling to his long list of achievements. The first A-list celebrity on his (pretend) client roster is none other than Camila Cabello, who recently posted an adorable photo on Instagram of Mendes braiding her hair.

    It doesn’t surprise us that Cabello is looking at all avenues for inspiration and professional help — she’s definitely one to experiment when it comes to hair. She’s tried blue braids, orange braids, and even Ariana Grande’s famous ponytail. Here’s hoping she posts a photo of the braiding session’s end result.

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    The Best Plyo Moves for a More Athletic Workout

    If lifting weights is like a powder keg, then plyometrics (plyos) are the match that lights the fuse.

    Explosive exercises that use the muscles’ stretch reflex to build power, plyos are a staple in sports training. “They put athletes’ strength work to use,” says Zach Even-Esh, a strength coach and author. “Otherwise, they become what I call strong and useless—where you can maybe squat 405 pounds, but you can’t react quickly on the field, court, or mat.”

    Plyometric training consists mainly of jumps and throwing motions. These exercises take muscles into their end ranges of motion suddenly, stretching them out. Sensing that they might be on the brink of being stretched too far, and damaged as a result, the muscles’ stretch reflex kicks in, making them contract very powerfully. Absorbing and redirecting force as fast as possible develops durability and explosiveness.

    Adopting plyometric training into your own routine can make you a better athlete and help prevent sports injuries. Even if you’re not competitive with anyone but yourself, it has value. Teaching your body to recruit muscle more quickly will make you stronger on your lifts. Plus, many plyometric exercises are flat out fun to do, breaking up the monotony of conventional strength training. They may also make you better at your job, if it’s physical, and can turn you into somewhat of a superhero.

    “Plyos are good for cops,” says Even-Esh. “If you pull somebody over and he takes off running, you have to be able to sprint after him on a dime. If you don’t train that kind of explosiveness, your body will forget how to utilize it.”

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    For a full compendium of fitness knowledge, check out the Men’s Health Encyclopedia of Muscle. The volume is chock full of workout routines, helpful training tips, and definitions for just about every gym-related term you’ve ever wanted to know.

    How to Use Plyometrics

    The first step is to master the most basic plyos—jumps, explosive pushups, and medicine-ball throws and catches. For the lower body, Even-Esh recommends the squat jump, frog jump, and box jump, to start.

    You may feel like a kid playing again (and that’s a good thing), but these moves work. A study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that squat jumps, among several other plyos, increase vertical jump height. For the upper body, start with pushup variations—and feel free to get creative. The classic plyo pushup has you perform the upward phase so fast that your hands leave the floor, but Even-Esh also recommends pushups and throws.

    The advantage to doing plyometrics over other forms of power training or even Olympic weightlifting movements, is the release that plyos provide—literally. “When I do a throw or pushup,” says Even-Esh, “I’m not holding onto anything, so I don’t have to put the brakes on.”

    You can lift a barbell as fast as you want, but your nervous system still knows it has to slow it down at the end of the range of motion, to prevent the momentum from tearing your shoulders off. In contrast, you can chuck a ball with all your might, training your nervous system to develop maximum speed. “Plyos are also easier to learn. To teach you to do a power clean, I have to teach you to front squat and clean pull first. But, anybody can learn to jump properly in a few minutes,” says Even-Esh

    Check out this list of plyo moves, which you can also find in the Men’s Health Encyclopedia of Muscle book.

    Squat Jump

    Stand with your feet at shoulder width and your toes turned slightly out. Without letting your feet actually move, try to screw both legs into the floor, as if you were standing on grass and wanted to twist it up—you’ll feel your glutes tighten and the arches in your feet rise. Take a deep breath into your belly, and lower your body down quickly. Push your knees out as you descend. Go down until your thighs are parallel to the floor, and then immediately explode upward, jumping as high as you can. Land softly with your spine long, chest facing forward, and knees still pointing out. Reset before you begin the next rep.

    Frog Jump

    Mitch Mandel

    Squat down with your arms extended between your legs until your fingers touch the floor. Explode up and forward, reaching upward with your arms as you rise. Land with control, and use the momentum to begin the next rep.

    Clapping Pushup

    Clap your hands together when you’re in mid-air, or slap your chest.

    Close to Wide Grip Pushup

    Start the movement with your hands close to your sides and, after you press yourself up into the air, land with your hands outside shoulder width.

    Staggered Pushup

    Have one hand a few inches in front of your shoulder and the other hand a few inches behind the opposite shoulder and alternate hand placement every time you land.

    Medicine Ball Crossover Pushup

    Mitch Mandel

    Place one hand on a medicine ball and switch hands in mid air so you land with the opposite one on the ball. Keep your core tight and your pelvis in line with your spine. And, think speed—your hands have to get air, or it’s not a plyo. As soon as you land, allow your body to descend to the bottom of the next rep and push back up again as hard as you can.

    Rotational Throw

    Stand perpendicular to a wall and a few feet back. Hold the ball with both hands. Twist your torso away from the wall, pivoting on your front foot. As you wind up, reach your arms out—you should feel a stretch in your side. Twist back and throw the ball into the wall as hard as you can. Keep your spine long throughout the movement—don’t slouch or bend forward.

    Punch Throw

    Set up as you did for the rotational throw, and squeeze the ball with both hands. Powerfully twist toward the wall. Your shoulders and hips should turn at the same time. Release at the end of the twist, throwing the ball into the wall with your rear hand as if throwing a punch. If you have a partner, you can spread out, and take turns throwing the ball to each other, which is even more challenging—you’ll have to catch and slow down your buddy’s throw before you fire the ball back.

    Box Jump

    Mitch Mandel

    Start with a small box or platform. Swing your arms back to gather momentum and jump onto the box, landing with soft knees. You should land in a quarter-squat position. Have a smaller box set next to the one you’re jumping onto, and step onto that small box first, before you return to the floor. Never jump down.

    Even-Esh can’t emphasize enough the proper way to dismount. “I hear a lot of stories about people rupturing their Achilles tendons in exercise classes,” he says. So, forget what you’ve seen on YouTube of people jumping off boxes back to the floor and jumping up again immediately. Gradually, move to higher boxes as you warm up. When you’re ready, you should use a box that’s somewhat challenging to jump up onto, but not so high that when you land, your knees are at your chest. The point is to develop explosiveness, but with control and safe technique. Don’t try to set a world record.

    Slower Starts

    Getty ImagesInnocenti

    Of course, other classic exercises that have a rebounding component can be considered plyometrics, as well. If jumps and pushups above too advanced for you, Even-Esh says jumping rope can be a great start.

    You can also run sprints, although he recommends that you do them up a hill rather than on flat ground, which will slow you down enough to lessen the risk of a pulled hamstring. “Start your sprints from the top of a pushup position,” says Even-Esh, which encourages you to lean forward as you rise up to run, putting you in the best biomechanical position to go fast.

    You can also begin a sprint lying on your back. Have a partner yell “go” or set a timer to go off , then spin around, get up, and run. Finally, medicine balls make for user-friendly upper-body plyos. Take a 4- to 10-pound ball and throw it against a brick wall, or raise it overhead and slam it into the floor. You can catch it on the rebound if the ball has a hard shell, or pick it up, and repeat.

    Try standing over the ball and squatting down to grab it, then jumping up and throwing it overhead as high as you can, called a scoop throw (you’ll have to do this one in a big, empty area, or outside). (Rotary movements are also popular among baseball players chasing greater bat speed, and fighters who want to deliver knockout punches.)

    The Nitty Gritty Details of Plyometric Training

    Getty ImagesJakob Helbig

    Plyometrics have to be explosive, and the form you use must be sharp. Therefore, the number of reps you do will generally be low—before fatigue sets in, making you slow and sloppy. If you want to develop maximum power in the weight room or for sports like football, basketball, and baseball, Even-Esh suggests keeping your reps for all your plyos in the range of 12 to 24 total.

    “That could break down to 12 sets of 2, 5 sets of 5, or 5 sets of 3,” and many other combinations, he says. If you feel yourself slowing down or breaking form at any point, end the set and rest, as needed. Limit your plyometrics to one to three exercises per workout, and do them first—either at the end of a Dynamic Warmup or before you get into your heavy or more metabolic training. You can also alternate them with sets of heavy lifts.

    Plyos can be a form of cardio, too. Here’s a game you can play: Take a medicine ball outside, and simply throw it as far as you can. Run to it, pick it up, and throw it again. “If somebody is training to run a Spartan race,” says Even-Esh, “I might have them do some moderate-intensity throwing in some higher-rep ranges.” Set up a circuit of 30 to 50 total reps—for example, 10 overhead throws to a wall, 5 reps each side of rotational throws, 5 scoop throws, and 10 slams into the floor, repeated for 3 to 5 rounds. “This gives him power-endurance,” the ability to be explosive repeatedly over a long period of time, he says.

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    Kendall Jenner Just Launched A Line Of Hair Care Tools Starting At $14.99 — All The Details

    The mega model is breaking back into the beauty industry, by launching her OWN hair care line, of hot tools, brushes and more — see the Runway Series styling line below!

    Congrats, Kendall Jenner! She just launched Formawell Beauty: Runway Series, a line of hair tools perfect for a professional but aimed at consumers to get her gorgeous red carpet look at home! The line includes the Formawell Runway Series Pro Hair Dryer, Formawell Runway Series Pro Flat Iron, Formawell Runway Series Pro Curling Iron, and Formawell Runway Series Pro Hair Brushes. It ranges from $14.99 to $119. The tools are white and gold — very chic and sophisticated.

    The tools contain “ionic-gold fusion technology” which makes hair super shiny, and creates long-lasting hairstyles! The technology also helps to minimize frizz and static — a major issue in the cold winter weather! “I work all over the world at fashion shoots and on runway shows, so I need to know that my hair looks its best and stays in great condition,” Kendall told our sister site WWD. “I trust the Runway Series tools because they give me confidence every time I step out on to the runway or when I am having a night out with friends.”

    She added, to Allure, “When I’m on set for a photo shoot, my hair is often exposed to heat which can leave it feeling dry or damaged. I wanted to find a way to achieve healthy and shiny hair without sacrificing styling my hair with a curling iron or hair dryer.”

    It's almost time for our big reveal . . . Stay Tuned! #formawellbeauty

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    Kendall also currently has a successful clothing and eyewear line with her sister Kylie Jenner, and was formerly a face of Estee Lauder. 

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    How to Stop Dark Nail Polish Colors from Staining Your Nails

    Manicure trends change with the season, but certain polish colors — black, dark red, purple, even a rich navy blue — never go out of style. These polishes also stick around because they stain your nails and fingers when you try to remove them. Red is always my choice when I can’t decide what color to paint my nails, but I always regret it when I go to take it off. No matter how careful I am when I rub nail polish remover on my nails, red always ends up staining my actual nail bed, plus the skin around it.  

    RELATED: We’re Calling It: This Nail Polish Color Is Going to Be Huge in 2019 

    If you’ve had the same problem, it might be because you’ve been removing your nail polish all wrong. According to Sally Hansen Global Ambassador and nail pro Madeline Poole, rubbing is the worst thing you can do when you’re taking off dark nail polish colors. 

    Instead, Poole says to take a cotton ball soaked in nail polish remover and let it sit on the nail for around 30 seconds. Then, gently pull the cotton ball down towards the tip of the nail.

    VIDEO: Beauty School: How To Get A Bronzy Glow Like Jennifer Lopez

    Follow up with a cuticle treatment like Sally Hansen’s Instant Cuticle Remover ($5; walmart.com) for any bits of leftover polish. Yes, it dissolves excess cuticles, but it also breaks down the traces of nail polish that have stained your nails and fingers. Poole recommends letting the remover sit for 30 seconds before pulling it off in a downward motion towards the tip of the nail. Since its infused with nourishing chamomile and aloe, this cuticle remover won’t dry out or weaken nails. 

    Still have nail polish stains? Poole says to take a nail buffer and softly buff it out as needed. 

    Finally, a red manicure won’t cost you a bottle of nail polish remover, bag of cotton balls, and an entire afternoon to get it completely off. 

     

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