Showing posts with label chest workout. Show all posts
Showing posts with label chest workout. Show all posts
Thursday, June 9, 2016

Five Parameters Of Chest Training

bodybuilding chest training

While the chest is actually considered to be a single muscle group, it actually contains five separate yet equal areas which need to be developed to their fullest if you wish to display a full and complete chest.

Let’s check out these five areas, along with exercises which hit them most effectively.

The Inner Chest

Close-grip bench press (used for triceps) is a great way to isolate the inner chest. Also useful are incline and flat dumbbell flyes. The contraction and flexion you feel at the peak of every repetition is highly important as well.

The Outer Chest

Cable crossovers, wide incline dumbbell flyers, and parallel bar dips work to help develop that pectoral-shoulder tie-in area. Remember that this part of the upper chest shelf is visible in many poses, and its development is essential if you want to have an impressive upper body. Whenever you see a bodybuilder with poor pectoral/shoulder connections, there’ a good chance he’s not standing in the winner’s circle.

The Upper Chest

Incline “anything” will cause the upper chest to grow. Include a wide variety of incline bench pressing, dumbbell presses and flyes, and machine movements in your weekly training protocol. Always include two free weight exercises for every one machine movement you employ. Otherwise, you may find yourself missing out on some of the added benefits of free weight training, such as stabilizer muscle development.

The Lower Chest

Flat bench presses touch upon the lower chest, but nothing will stimulate this area like decline bench pressing and dumbbell presses. As always, the weight must remain heavy in order to be effective, and the repetitions should be focused and slow. You’ll also stimulate the lower chest (and abdominal tie-in lines) though the use of body weight parallel bar dips.

The Rib Cage

Frequently neglected in talks of overall chest development is the rib cage. In the 1970s, many bodybuilders believed that the use of dumbbell and barbell pullovers would lead to greater rib cage expansion, which would make the chest look bigger in side chest and vacuum poses. It’s hard to argue with the results of training in this manner for such proponents as Arnold Schwarzenegger and Frank Zane, but the jury is still out on whether or not this practice actually expands the bones of the rib cage. At any rate, and for adequate serratus development as well, include pullovers with free weights or the pullover machine in your weekly training regimen.

It is your goal to include movements from each of these main areas in each chest workout. Neglecting one of them from time to time won’t seriously impair your long-term gains, but it won’t help either. At the same time, long-term ignorance of one or more of these areas will lead to compromised overall chest development. It may look worse than it should, and it will certainly perform without complete structure and support required for safe exercising. Include at least one movement from each of these 5 areas in every chest workout, then add additional movements as you see fit, based upon your experience and own strengths and weaknesses in the gym.

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Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Back-to-basics Chest Training

Today’s gyms are equipped with a multitude of machines which allow the trainer to hit the various areas of the pectorals (chest muscles) with relatively no pain or balance. You can hop on any device in the gym and pump, pump, pump to your heart’s content. The problem is that you’re probably not going to build that much muscle as a result. You’re going to fill it with blood, and you’re going to feel like the strongest man in the gym inserting that pin and moving the stack.

But the bodybuilder across the gym repping out with 225 on the bench press is going to be making better gains.

chest training

Chest machines are highlighted as a safe, efficient way to build a chest. There is a problem with that. They are safe, but not nearly as effective, no matter host much better they may feel than free weights. The pain and balance are the two factors in training that lead to the most raw muscle growth. The easier an exercise is, the less you are going to grow. The tougher an exercise – the more pain you experience – the more you are forcing your muscle fibers to grow.

Let’s get started on a standard chest workout. You may be initially drawn to the wide variety of machines your gym offers. Exercises such as wide grip push press and incline 90 degree machine flyes might sound exciting, innovative, and revolutionary. The truth is, they are nothing more than a set resistance along a certain path. Researchers can work to find a better path for the muscles to take to facilitate growth, but the bottom line is that you’re doing less work, by definition.

How is this possible? Well, when you train with standard weights, your body is forced to balance and control the weight for the entire movement.

Failure to do so can result in serious injury. An ability to do so requires you to control the weight, which activates stabilizer muscles not utilized during your machine exercises. This is where the difference lies. Heavy weights require muscle activation not seen with machine movements, which leads to growth you don’t see with these same machine exercises.

A standard chest workout – if you’re looking to get back to basics and train using good old fashioned hard work – is going to be located mainly in the free weight area. You’re going to start with some sort of presses (incline, flat or decline) with some sort of free weight (dumbbells or free weights). After eight sets of full presses using two exercises, you’ll move on to some fly variety. These can be incline, flat or dumbbell as well.

Finally, your fourth exercise will consist of a pullover or other movement which will allow you to utilize higher repetitions.

It’s acceptable to use these exercises – comparatively painless and certainly quite safe – at the conclusion of a training day when you’re just looking to keep blood in the muscle group after completing a grueling workout. However, to spend your early sets of a workout on a machine is foolish, and something you’ll never see a champion bodybuilding doing.

Be smart – train using the basics to build up the most possible chest mass.

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Saturday, March 26, 2016

Chest Workouts And Power Training

Decades ago, bodybuilders didn’t use the bench press as a chest movement. They used it as THE chest movement. Men such as Serge Nubret would complete up to 20 straight sets of bench press in a single workout. Instead of Monday being chest day, it would be considered Bench day.

serge nubret

Obviously, today we know enough about human kinesiology to realize that a wide variety of movements is required to develop a thick and complete chest.

However, when you look back at photos of bodybuilders from the 60s and 70s, you might notice something – their chests were as good as, or better, than the chests we see on many bodybuilders today! They used a limited variety of movements, but they were able to develop thick chests with that incredible upper shelf that rivals those we see in bodybuilders today, despite the generation of sports and chemistry technology advancements.

The reason these men were so successful in their endeavors, despite the use of only a few movements and without all of the drug and nutritional advancements we see today, is that they utilized a technique known as Power Training for the chest. It has fallen by the wayside in the wake of all the modern advances we have, but when you look at pics, these men could still win trophies on today’s stage. Let’s check out an example of power training for chest, and see why bodybuilders were able to use it so successfully years ago.

Bench press (flat barbell)

1 set x 15 reps
1 set x 12 reps
1 set x 10 reps
1 set x 8 reps
1 set x 6 reps
1 set x 6 reps
1 set x 8 reps
1 set x 15 reps

Incline bench press

1 set x 15 reps
1 set x 12 reps
1 set x 10 reps
1 set x 8 reps
1 set x 6 reps
1 set x 6 reps
1 set x 8 reps
1 set x 15 reps

Incline dumbbell flyes

1 set x 12 reps
1 set x 10 reps
1 set x 8 reps
1 set x 15 reps

Decline bench press (or decline flyes if necessary)

1 set x 15 reps
1 set x 12 reps
1 set x 10 reps

Parallel bar dips (chin to chest)

1 set x 15 reps
1 set x 12 reps
1 set x 10 reps

As you can see, this program allows the bodybuilder to stimulate a wide variety of slow- and fast-twitch muscle fibers. It allows him to train very heavy, but also brings a great deal of blood into the muscle group to allow for full saturation. It’s a training solution which delivers results if you put everything you have into it, just as they did decades ago. Tailor this program to your own training preferences, goals, recovery abilities, and liking.

serge nubret bodybuilder

Employ the techniques of lots of set, heavy weight, and lots of reps, and see if you don’t just build a powerful chest in the process!

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Saturday, October 3, 2015

Supersets: The Ultimate In Chest Training

Q: What do you think about combining chest and back in a superset? I hear that it should be a large body part like back and biceps, or within one body part, such as legs. What are the upsides and downsides of doing it either way?

A: There are no upsides and downsides, per se, because training has no right or wrong answers beyond flat out “overtraining” and “training with poor form”. I personally feel that combining large body parts means that something has to give. But it depends on what you want out of it, how often you do it and how carefully you choose exercises and combine them. Single exercises combined into a superset, such as what Arnold used to do: Incline presses combined with pull downs – is a great way to keep the intensity up in both body parts and using the time in alternating body part sets to rest one body part optimally. But then why wouldn’t you just train that body part normally? The idea if you do combine that is to choose just one exercise per body part and stick with it for a series of supersets – somewhat like the GVT question, but a little different. I prefer to do supersets within one body part alternating exercises that recruit slightly different muscle within the group. But as with anything, try it for yourself. Some people really only like to train using supersets, and this is just one way to try it.

Chest Supersets
Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Bodybuilding Tips For Effective Chest Training

We’ve all been asked “how much ya bench?” by a non-trained person about a hundred times in our lives, correct? Perhaps as a result, the chest is the body part that most bodybuilders tackle first when they enter the gym. Many beginner bodybuilders are solely flat bench pressers for the first year or three in the gym, and this is okay for establishing a baseline of muscle for future growth. However, there comes a time for maturing chest training so that a well-balanced chest sits atop your upper body. Here are some tips and tricks to follow for complete chest development.

Get the ratios right
You should be training chest with a 3:1 ratio for the incline:flat pressing movements. In other words, if you complete 9 sets of inline barbell presses and dumbbell flyes, you should be completing 3 sets of flat pressing or flyes. Many bodybuilders – particularly those with the standard Weider flat bench at home – don’t complete any incline bench pressing for their first year or two of training. This creates an aesthetic and strength imbalance which can only be rectified using a 3:1 incline:flat training ratio.

While cable crossovers can provide a great pump and deliver some stimulation to that pectoral-deltoid tie-in, many bodybuilders treat this movement as a mass-gainer. It will deliver a lot of blood to the region and might feel very good, but this movement will not build your pecs in the same manner that flat and incline presses and flyes will. Play with the cables a few times per month, but stick with the heavy compound movements until you have a well-sized chest and are focusing upon shaping it.

Just a little patience
It may seem confusing to train using this wide variety of chest movements when you’re used to just plugging away on the bench press each workout. Deal with it. Your chest is comprised of a vast network of interlocking mesh of muscle sheets. They need to be hit from many different angles in order to stimulate complete growth.

The 20-rep set
At least once per workout, complete a set containing twenty reps. This will stimulate your slow-twitch muscle fibers (those which are only activated by repetition number 12 or 15) and assure you’re stimulating every possible muscle fiber in the chest region. Most of your day should be hard and heavy, but the 20-rep set should always make the trip!

Chest Exercise

You can have a superb chest routine and follow all the rules, but if you’re not training legs or back, you’re going to develop imbalances which can potentially lead to injuries. Utilize a full-body routine, and don’t skip days. If you have weak body parts, it’s usually because you’re not training legs hard enough.

The chest is the centerpiece in most physiques, the place the judges’ eyes first rest when scanning the stage for competitors. Possessing a well-developed chest is imperative for success at even the local bodybuilding level. Follow this tips and tricks, and train hard and intelligently. A powerful chest will follow!