Tip # 5
Hi, It's Blake from Building Muscle101.
When I first started training at my first "real" gym, I had the worst time trying to build up my chest muscles.
Sure I did lot's of bench presses and dumbell flyes but for the life of me, I just couldn't build a muscular chest.Little did I know at the time that my form was simply horrible. My bench press was a combination decline/half bench.
My back was so arched that it was almost like doing a decline bench press. The bar didn't go anywhere near my chest but about half way.The weight was simply too heavy to perform the reps in proper form.
The owner's of the gym would almost cringe at the sight of me doing my bench presses. One day, I was complaining to one of the owner's about the lack of growth in my chest area and he said my whole routine was backwards and the only thing I was going to get out of current chest routine is injuries.
So I asked him, how do you build a powerful muscular chest? The first thing he said was to cut my training time in half.
At the time, I would train for 2 hours straight, performing 25 sets for my chest - Two times sometimes three times per week. He suggested I cut the routine down to one hour, once per week.
I almost laughed! I said Arnold doesn't train only once per week! He simply said, your not Arnold.
The second thing he said was to cut out the isolation exercises and concentrate on core exercises designed to build power.
However, he did have a little secret about one isolation exercise that he wanted me to keep in. I'll let you in on it very shortly...
So, This meant cutting out the cable cross overs and lying cable flyes and other useless chest movements.
He instructed me to perform, two sets of light dumbell flyes at the start of the workout. From there he said to cycle my bench press. I had no idea of what he was talking about. You see, every chest workout to me meant a max bench press.
Everytime I went to the bench press, I would attempt a max lift. He suggest that I cut all of that nonsense out and start out slowly and fix my bench press.
By using the correct mechanics of the bench press, I was able to use my most powerful muscles and get the most out of the movement. These mechanics were as follows:
1- Use a slightly wider than shoulder width grip.
2- The most important part of bench pressing is ensuring that you set up you pec girdle correctly.
Lie back on the bench, take a tight grip and press your shoulders down toward your waist and back into the bench. Make sure that you thrust your chest forward when you start.
3- Your feet should be firmly planted on the floor with your butt on the bench at all times.
4- Lightly touch your chest at the bottom of the movement and never bounce the weight.
5- Keep your elbows in a vertical line with the bar. That is, your elbows should be directly under the bar.
6- Use an over hand grip.
7- Always inhale as the weight goes up and exhale as the weight comes down.
8- Always make sure the weight is controlled. Once the weight starts to get away from you, lighten the load. You can get it next workout.
9- Don't lock your elbows out except on the last rep.
It was a tough pill to swallow but I decided to take his advice and change my chest routine around. Here's what it looked like:
Light dumbell flyes - I asked him why I should be doing these first and why only light weights.
He said, trust me, you'll thank me later. He simply know from first hand experience that you should perfom a light "site specific" warm up before getting into the heavy movements. He was right.
Bench press - Cycled bench press using the proper mechanics over a 12 week period.
I was instructed to only attempt a max bench press on the last week of the cycle. Again he was right! 4 sets
Incline Bench press - Cycled incline bench press with no maximum lifts. The only time I was instructed to go to failure was on my 9 to 12 week. 3 sets
Dips - Three sets of 12 with my own bodyweight.
Pec deck flyes - Alright, I asked him why the pec deck if I was to concentrate on the "core" movements. He said, this exercise will pump your chest with so much blood that it will have no choice but to grow. He let me in on the sets of "21" .
Simply put, you perform partial reps of 6 at three different areas of the movement with moderate weight.
This exercise, if done properly will give your chest such a pump that it will expand and extra inch or two. I would perform the first part by bringing my elbows just shy of the half way point. Once the six reps were completed, I would bring the exercise to the top part of the movement.
That is, I would perform 6 half reps at the top part of the movement. After six reps, I would perform the remaining six reps in a full movement. Beleive me, after 3 sets of this movement, my chest would literally burn to the point of extreme pain. After a couple of workouts, my chest started to respond. My strength increased and my chest got bigger. If you are having a tough time to get your chest to grow, try this workout and I'm confident you'll start to grow...Immediately.
Alright, the next tip will show you how to build a large, powerful back. A back that gets noticed!
All the best,
As the owner of Building Muscle 101, I am committed to providing you the best practical weight training advice. I've been training for over 24 years (and still train to this day!) and the advice and guidance I provide comes directly from my experience and knowledge.
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