Over the last couple of months or so a lot has been written regarding the importance of pre-exhaustion, intensity, intensity techniques, prioritising lagging muscle groups and never having the same workout twice.
Today’s tip wishes to include all of the above in a practical format that specifically targets the whole of the chest area, so each and every targeted fibre will be effectively overloaded – the primary purpose of each work-out.
Only look toward completing this workout when thoroughly warmed up. By that I don’t mean spending 20 minutes on the exercise bike putting the blood in the legs for a chest workout?! I mean that through a combination of stretches and light resistance your shoulders and elbows have secreted adequate amounts of synovial fluid to lubricate some intensive lifting. Furthermore make sure you have a slight ‘pump in the chest’ before this routine commences, this will not only strengthen you beforehand but also protect you from needless injury.
Finally as soon as your warmed up, look to approach this chest session with a high degree of intensity. Look at it more as a 100m sprint as opposed to a marathon – remember you can either train hard or long, better to train hard!
Again, you’ll have to compromise slightly on the weights you lift, but humbling ourselves in this manner is more than worth it for the end result. You must keep in mind we go to the gym to breakdown as much targeted muscle as possible as effectively as possible. We aren’t there to impress either ourselves or others with one-off ‘heavy lifts!’
Now this routine literally works the chest from top to bottom focusing on the Pectoralis Minor first (upper pecs) as they often tend to lag behind the bigger Pectoralis Major, which we will address after (this is priority training). The sides and the inner pecs will also be extensively broken down too through a combination of 2 isolation movements. The first focusing on the upper Pectoralis Minor, with the second thrown in right at the end to bring out more detail/definition across the entire chest as we make sure the lower pecs are overloaded with some dips.
You’ll be completing a combination of compound and isolating movements with a varying mix of all 3 rep ranges – all designed to take maximise the stimulus of the muscle!
Please note – I do not advise the below for beginners; even for intermediate/advanced trainers you may wish to build up to this level of volume and intensity.
We will begin by pre-exhausting the chest, while at the same time super-setting for greater intensity.
4 x Incline Dumbbell Flyes Super-Set with Incline Dumbbell Press – Rep range (6-12) to failure.
The key with these exercises is to keep the same dumbbells, as soon as you reach failure with the flyes simply rotate your wrists and begin to incline press the same dumbbells – again to failure. This represents 1 set, ideally you need to complete 4 of these.
4 x Flat Bench-Press – Rep range (4-8) to failure. Now your chest should be ‘red hot’ and there should be plenty of blood in the pecs so don’t waste time pyramiding up with the weights. To begin with pick a weight you’ll struggle to failure with for 12 reps (this will get your muscles accustomed to the new movement). Then look to add more resistance as your reps drop down set by set but try and maintain at least 4 reps for the final set.
4 x Dips Super-Set with Cable Cross-overs – Rep Range Dips (8-12) Cable Cross-overs (15-20).
As soon as you reach failure with the Dips (whether be weighted, your own weight or weight assisted) move straight on to the cable Cross-overs with a relatively light weight and look to squeeze the burn into the pecs for that extra detail and that striated look. Once you have dealt with failure on both movements consider this 1 set complete – again ideally you need 4 of these.
Important tips for technique:
1) As you bring your fists together for both incline flyes and cable cross-overs finish with your little fingers nearly touching. This will help squeeze the blood into your inner pecs and help them develop greatly.
2) Flat bench-press should be done from ‘nipple level’ – see previous tip.
3) When ‘dipping’ always make sure your upper arm is always parallel with the floor on the ‘negative’ as you lower your body. Remember if you don’t use the full range of motion, you will not develop the muscle to its full potential.
4) Begin your next set when your breathing has returned to something like normal – be conscious of wanting to push yourself throughout.
Finally, regardless of the weights you use this is a very tiring workout if your reaching muscle failure within the suggested rep ranges. You owe it to your body and your progress to make sure you have adequate post-workout nutrition to avoid being in a state of over-training.
Please read ‘Perfecting Post-Workout Nutrition For Optimum Recovery’ tip frome earlier posts.
Happy training – if you do undertake this workout tonight, be sure to let myself and others know how you get on – remember you can build up to this.