So I'm going to let you in on a little workout I've come up with which has given me astounding results over the past month or so.
It's so effective that I almost don't even want to let this cat out of the bag, it's like my secret little chest workout.
Forget everything you've read or heard about training your chest, it's all the same shit over and over. Forget every bench press program to get you stronger, every calculated pyramid workout that claims to add 50 lbs to your bench press, forget it all.
Just sit back, read this shit, and listen to me on this one.
First off, get heavy barbell presses out of your head for right now. If you haven't made any noticeable gains lately then ditch them.
Week after week there are guys going in the gym and bench pressing the same shit they have been doing for years. They all say the same thing too, “Just add 5 lbs to your bench every week! Baby steps!”
If you could consistently gain strength that way then I would have been bench pressing buildings a long time ago.
Let me give you a new outlook on chest development for a minute. I want you to think of your new chest workout in 3 different ways.
- Maximum Contraction
In this chest workout we will be hitting all 3 of those things. Follow this workout to a T, and I guarantee your chest is going to start poking out more pretty fucking fast!
We will start with an exercise that is geared towards progression in workout #1, then the following week we will begin with a chest exercise geared towards maximum contraction in workout #2.
Each week you will flip flop between these 2 workouts. The first workout we will use a machine. If you have a hammer strength line of equipment that'd be perfect, or a Nautilus machine. Some sort of pin or plate loaded machine. We will step away from the barbell press for a little while.
Chest Workout #1
I myself am using the Hammer Strength incline machine (plate loaded). You will do 3 warm up sets here, a light warm-up, a moderate, and a heavy. For me this would be 1 plate per side, then 2 plates per side, then 3 plates per side. After your 3 warm up sets it's time to lay the smacketh down.
You will load up the machine with your heavy weight that you want to hit for a certain goal. I tend to keep my reps at least 8 reps for this. My new benchmark is 4 plates per side + 10 lbs/side times 8 reps in good form.
Give this set everything you have and use a spotter if you need to, in order to blast through a sticking point on the last rep. After that one ball breaking set, you're done with your progression exercise. Next time you come back around to that you will try to add at least 5-10 lbs to it, and hit the same number of reps.
Next we move onto the stretch part of the workout. The goal here isn't to break any records, it's to stretch the chest out and give ourselves a little break from the pressing motion before getting into the maximum contraction exercise.
Either dumbbell fly's or a pec deck will work fine here. The goal here is to do 3 sets of a good stretch, challenging but not overwhelming. It should be a weight that feels good and you can control.
There comes a point where you just stop going heavier and heavier on fly's all the time, because it starts taxing the biceps more without added chest work. Do good, controlled reps here. Try for a 4 second negative and 2-3 second positive… a true 4 second negative!
After 3 sets here, our chests are stretched out, and we are ready for another pressing motion geared towards maximum squeeze.
Your last exercise will be weighted push-ups on a cable cross machine. You simply lower the attachment on each side to the lowest setting. Set the weight on each stack to where you want it. I'd maybe start with 20 lbs/side.
Now, attach both sides to each other with the cables. The connections to each cable will meet in the middle, and the cable will look like a trip wire. You crawl under this and the cable should be across your upper back. The intention here is to do extremely slow reps and squeeze your damn pecs as hard as possible.
I take about 4-5 seconds down, and maybe 3-4 seconds back up. NOW, HERE IS THE TWIST TO IT… You are to lower your chest and chin so they almost touch the ground at the same time, but your stomach and legs stay up. This sort of simulates an incline press to the neck.
This will help you get that upper development that starts right below your neck that is so difficult for most guys to get.
I also take my hands and try pushing them towards each other on the floor, to stimulate more muscle fibers and contract that inner chest.
You are to run through 3-5 sets of these, with a rep count of 12-15 reps per set. The reason I use the cable cross here instead of plates on my back, is because of the motion of the chin and upper chest touching the floor, it angles your body to where a plate may slide forward and hit your head.
After those 3 exercises you are finished with chest workout #1 for that week.
Chest Workout #2
Onto week #2 now. On chest workout #2 we will simply change up the order and add a different exercise other than a machine.
For this do an incline dumbbell press, but not until last. In this workout you are to start with your maximum contraction sets and execute 3-5 sets of cable cross push-ups first. Only this week we will add more weight, since we are fresh on these now, not after 2 other exercises like last week.
Same deal here as the week before, only heavier weight on the stacks.
Next we go to our stretching sets, again using either a pec deck or dumbbell fly's, for 3 sets of 8-12. And finally, we go to incline dumbbell presses and hit 3-5 sets of 8-12 reps.
Now you will not be as strong on these due to starting with the push-ups, but don't worry as much about the weight. Just focus on good, clean reps.
If I'm normally using 120 lb db's here, you can bet it's only going to be 90's MAX after those push-ups and fly's. This wraps up the chest workout for week #2, and the following week you revert back to chest workout #1.
Why this workout is effective
This routine has been highly effective for me because it emphasizes 3 different key elements of development, rolled into one workout.
There is no better mind/muscle connection than a bodyweight movement, let's face it. A weighted push-up done for maximum squeeze may be just what you needed to start up some new growth!
Now, throwing it in the mix of other things and changing up the order will shake things up even more. The goal here is to get closer to what you started with on the push-ups.
What I mean is this; if during workout #1 you only got to 30 lbs/side on cable cross push-ups, but on workout #2 you used 50 lbs per side, what you want to try doing is eventually getting to 50 lbs per side on workout #1.
Obviously this will be challenging because it's after other exercises where you're not fresh. This is a whole new way to get bigger and stronger than just trying to add plates to a bench press.
I urge anyone stuck in a plateau to try this chest routine. I know what it's done for me lately, and this is after about 18 years of bodybuilding. Not to mention, very minimal gear.
Until next time
– John Doe
PS – Don’t forget to check out Straight From the Underground, the new underground bodybuilding bible!