Summer is here and it’s time to start showing off all your hard work at the pool, beach, and anywhere else it is acceptable to go shirtless!
While there are many upper body muscles that are showcased when naked from the waist up, few garner the attention of a thick and chiseled chest. This is why in almost every gym around the globe Monday is "International Chest Day."
However, not everyone is successful at building a chest like Arnold. Even though they spend hours at a time grinding out reps of bench press, flys, dips, and crossovers they’re still stuck asking, “Shouldn’t I see more results by now?” You would think so, yes – but adding new muscle is oftentimes a bit more complex.
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Without going into great detail about the science behind hypertrophy, let's suffice to say that it is not a one-dimensional process. You have to attack muscle growth from every available angle, if you want to see continuous and significant progress.
The human body is immensely resilient and able to rapidly adapt to the stress we place upon it, which means that if you train in the same manner week after week, your muscles will eventually stop responding.
So, what does one do? Keep the body guessing by never letting it get used to just one type of workout! Swap out the chest portion of your routine with one of these workouts each week, and you’ll be on your way to that herculean chest in no time.
The Hybrid PRRS™ Method
This training protocol utilizes various intensity techniques that will shock the muscles and ignite the CNS, both combining to facilitate new muscle growth.
|Flat DB Press||6/1/X||3||4-6|
|A1. Incline DB Fly||2/1/1||3||10-12|
|A2. Weighted Dips||2/1/1||3||7-9|
|Incline Smith Press||2/0/1||3||16-20, 13-15, 10-12|
Rest for one minute between supersets.
The High/Low Rep Method
This training protocol alternates rep ranges between muscle endurance and hypertrophy.
|Leverage Chest Press||2/0/1||3||16-20|
|BB Incline Press||4/1/X||3||6-8|
|Low Cable Crossover||2/1/1||3||16-20|
The SPEC™ (Stretch/Peak Contraction/Eccentric/Concentric Emphasis) Method
This training protocol utilizes four distinct rep tempos (one for each movement), each emphasizing a different section of the range of motion. This forces the muscle to withstand a unique form of tension with each exercise, allowing one to tap into several growth pathways.
|Incline DB Fly||2/4/1||3||7-9|
|Hammer Machine Incline Press||2/4/1||3||7-9|
The SHOCK Method
This training protocol attacks your chest from multiple angles by alternating the mechanics of each exercise.
|A1. Bench Press||3/0/X||2||7-9|
|A2. Flat DB Fly||2/2/1||2||7-9|
|Hammer Machine Incline Press||3/1/1||2||7-9, 4-6*|
|B1. Incline DB Fly||3/1/1||2||7-9|
|B2. Decline DB Press||2/1/X||2||7-9|
|Weighted Dips||3/1/2||2||7-9, 4-6*|
Rest for one minute between supersets.
Note: Tempo refers to the speed at which one completes the various contractions within each repetition. It is expressed in seconds, with X meaning as explosively as possible. The first number is seconds for the eccentric (negative) contraction; the second number is seconds at the midpoint (this refers to seconds holding the peak contraction or “squeeze” the targeted muscle); the third number is seconds for the concentric (positive) contraction.
Related: Rep Tempo for Max Gain
How to Add the Pec-Pounder to Your Routine
Incorporating these workouts into your workout routine would look something like this. Let’s say you’re doing our 8 Week Muscle Mass Inflation workout. For each week on your Chest/Tri day you will instead perform one of the following workouts. The breakdown would look something like this:
Week 1: Hybrid PRRS™ Method
Week 2: High/Low Rep Method
Week 3: SPEC™ Rep Method
Week 4: SHOCK Method
Week 5: Hybrid PRRS™ Method
Week 6: High/Low Rep Method
Week 7: SPEC™ Rep Method
Week 8: SHOCK Method
Tips for Max Chest Stimulation
Proper cues for targeting your chest:
- Lay down on the bench and set your feet firmly on the floor.
- Arch your lower back slightly.
- Raise your rib cage up high.
- Squeeze your scapulae together.
- Pull your shoulders downward and push them into the bench.
These same principles apply to dips, crossovers, and seated press/fly machines as well, with the exception of rule one on a few of the movements (although the feet should always firmly be planted to form a solid base).
Without proper training and dieting practices, you will never build a big, thick chest. However, if you have these things in place, there is no doubt that the addition of a few key supplements will help to expedite your progress. Here are a few suggestions:
- Pre-Workout Pump and Focus enhancing product: By increasing your concentration you will get more powerful muscle contractions, which will better exhaust the fibers. A greater blood flow to the working muscles will give them the nutrients they need for recuperation and repair.
- Creatine: This amazing compound has been proven in hundreds of studies to boost strength, power, cell volume and directly impacts muscle growth by several mechanisms.
- Engineered Carbohydrate Powder: Once your workout is complete it is vital to replenish muscle glycogen stores and to push important nutrients rapidly into muscle cells. A properly formulated carb powder will maximize your ability to ignite the muscle building process and help the body prepare for the next day’s workout.