Many of us that are into lifting were inspired to start because of a superhero we admired as a kid. Remember opening up a comic book or watching TV and seeing that character standing tall or in action. Regardless of the one that you admired, they almost all have muscles that showcased their power.
Among those are chests that are large, sculpted, and serve as a symbol of strength. That is what many of us want for ourselves and this program can be the key to help you bring out the superhero in you…or at least look like it.
It isn’t about the visual part of it though, is it? We want to be show and go too. This program isn’t just about physique development. You’ll get stronger as well.
This workout will be similar to the Perfect Workout for Rock Solid Shoulders. It has two sessions included that you will alternate each week and the goals are to increase strength as well as size.
The Goal is to Get Better
Before we get into the training, keep this in mind. The goal is to improve, right? So try to improve each workout.
Once you achieve all the reps with a certain weight, go up. If you fall a rep short, challenge yourself to get one more rep next time. Even if it is just one more rep, it is still improvement which should motivate you to do more next time.
Chest Workout A (Weeks 1, 3, 5, 7)
|Incline Bench Press||6||3-5|
|Low Incline Dumbbell Fly||3||6-8|
|Flat Bench Cable Fly||3||10-12|
*Rest for 60 seconds between sets.
1. Incline Barbell Bench Press
This compound movement will focus on the upper pecs which is what will help you develop that shelf-like look. Yes, the delts and triceps will be recruited but unless you have a very high angle on the bench, the pecs will still take the majority of the load. The advantage to the barbell is since it is one object you’re using with both arms, you can move more weight and that volume can be a benefit to you.
Use the first three sets to warm-up and add weight. Once you reach that heavy weight, have a spotter or partner with you and make each rep count. Feel the pecs working as you press. Don’t simply try to power it up. Once you get five reps, go up. If you can’t get at least three, back off.
2. Low Incline Dumbbell Fly
You should be using a lower angle on this movement than you did on the barbell version. If you only have one bench with one angle, go with it.
You should use a challenging weight here but don’t push yourself to complete failure. The movement should be consistent throughout the set as well. Whatever speed you use to lower the weights, use that same speed as you lift them back up. Make sure you squeeze the pecs at the top before going back down.
To maximize the work on the pecs, make sure your shoulders are back and down. Try to make the lower portion of your shoulder blades touch each other. Once the shoulders feel packed and tight, lie back on the bench and start your set.
3. Weighted Dip
A lot of lifters focus on the pectoralis major a lot but neglect the pec minor which is an important part of that muscle. This is also known as the lower chest. If you want wide and full pecs, you need to do some work on this area.
Weighted dips are great for this. Lean forward slightly when doing these so the pecs take the majority of your weight and don’t lock out at the top. This is where the triceps are most active. Pause at the bottom of each rep so you can feel that stretch. Push yourself up slowly too.
4. Flat Bench Cable Fly
This one is a great finisher. The cables will keep tension on the pecs throughout the entire rep so the muscles have no chance to relax. Cables are also great for isolation which matters a lot at this point.
Make sure you feel the pressure of the handles in the bottom of your palms close to the thumb. If they are wrapped around your fingers then the arms will want to join the party which we don’t want.
Chest Workout B (Weeks 2, 4, 6, 8)
|Incline Dumbbell Press||6||5|
|Flat Dumbbell Fly||3||6-8|
|Decline Dumbbell Bench Press||3||10-12|
*Rest for 60 seconds between sets.
1. Incline Dumbbell Press
Dumbbells are great because they force each side of the body to work on its own. Since we did the barbell version of this exercise in the other workout, opt for dumbbells here. Go as heavy as you can while maintaining form.
Have a spotter help you get the weights up so you can commit the most energy to doing the set itself. If your gym doesn’t have dumbbells heavy enough to challenge you, go for a Smith Machine incline press instead. Don’t use the barbell version in both workouts. The purpose of this program is variety and using different movements to maximize potential.
2. Flat Dumbbell Fly
This classic movement has been key in helping many bodybuilding champions develop the pecs. Aside from the isolation factor, old-school lifters believe it helped them with that wide look that you would see when looking at the chest straight on.
When lowering the weight, don’t go deeper than parallel. Stop at that point for a second before lifting them back up. Squeeze the pecs hard before going down again.
Some lifters don’t like this movement because of the risk that comes with the stretch at the bottom. If that concerns you, do these on the floor so the arms have a place to stop at the bottom of the rep.
3. Decline Dumbbell Press
Much like the weighted dip, this movement is great for the pec minor area. Like the first movement in this workout, the dumbbells force each pec muscle to work without any assistance from the other.
You don’t need a steep angle on this. A decline angle of 15 to 20 degrees are all it takes to make the most of this exercise. If your gym only has one decline bench to work with, go with it. Just make sure you have that spotter ready to help you take the weight as well as to take it away when the set is over.
For many of us, this is the first exercise we learned as kids in elementary school gym class or we were taught by our parents how to do it. As we got older, it falls out of favor because the bench work or dumbbell lifts are more fun to do.
As basic as the pushup is, it’s still very effective in fatiguing the pecs and pumping blood into the area and that is why we’re going to finish the second workout with it. You’re only going to do two sets but both should be to failure. Make sure you count your reps though. Remember the goal is to improve. So you should know what that number is so you can try to beat it.