Whack! Bam! Snap out of it! If only it were that easy to break through the funk of stagnation, to recapture the thrill of pleasure-poking your pain-filled pecs - not to mention the gains in size, strength and aesthetic value that accompany successful chest training. You can do it by swapping out your stale chest routine with one of these workouts provided by four top physique athletes for a change of pace, or mix and match with one of your own. Try it just once or for a couple of weeks, and watch your growth get right back on track.
Shake up your chest training and take one of these workouts for a spin
DON LONG 1995 NPC Nationals Heavyweight Champ
Looking to harden up? Don initiates this workout eight weeks before a competition or whenever he wants to tighten up and magnify the detail in his chest. The workout is dominated by high reps and lots of incline-pressing movements to emphasize the usually undersized upper-pec region. "When you diet, your upper pecs tend to disappear,' says Don.
Don advocates working to achieve a burning sensation in your chest, and along with the high reps, he stretches, flexes and does secondary movements between sets.
- After each set on the incline Smith machine or flat-bench press (I alternate them every other week), I'll take two 10-pound plates, and one at a time, bring them from my thighs up to chin level like a front raise with arms straight--squeezing at the top -for 15 burn-out reps."
- "Between sets of my second exercise (incline press), I'll do standing push-ups against the wall at an angle and with relatively close hand placement. This should fry your pecs."
- "You shouldn't ever rest during this workout. The deeper you squeeze and flex between sets, the more separation and hardness you create. If you do this right and diet correctly, you should see results within about four weeks."
PORTER COTTRELL 1993 Night of Champions Winner
Stacked isn't an adjective reserved just for pancakes and women. A muscular, well-defined chest is universally attractive, and, says Porter, the lack of an upper chest is the most glaring weakness on many physiques.
High reps are key to Porter's workout: "They stimulate the muscle differently. The whole point is to shock the muscle. A lot of people get caught up in heavy poundages, and I think that emphasizes tendon strength and not maximal muscle development."
Also of note is that Porter trains his shoulders for 15 minutes after his chest workout, which is no more than 25 minutes in itself. "It's the best way because you've already pre-exhausted your shoulders during chest training. And you don't have to be in the gym as long."
NASSER EL SONBATY 1999 Arnold Classic Champion
The secret to Nasser's chest workout? Alternating pressing exercises with flye movements, which he says is the best way to stimulate the deep muscle fibers. Still, you probably won't end up with an op-art chest like Nasser's, but you will be implementing yet another technique to pen your own pecs when you head to the gym.
- "Use incline presses rather than flat-bench ones developing the upper-pec region is always harder, and most recreational bodybuilders share that flaw."
- When doing dips - a seldom-used but effective way to develop chest thickness- Nasser suggests leaning forward and keeping your elbows wide, which targets the pecs more and lessens the muscular stress on the shoulders and triceps.
- With a standing cable crossover, Nasser varies his hand position at the bottom of the movement. "Sometimes I do it like I'm hitting a most-muscular pose; on another set I'll do it right fist over left at about shoulder height. The important thing is to bring blood into the muscle and train the entire pectoral."
MICHELLE BELLINI 1996 World Pro Fitness Championships, Runner-Up
If you're looking for some upper-pec lift and a crisp delineation down the center of your chest, consider Michelle's chest workout.
Since Michelle trains her chest for definition and strength and not just size, she likes to keep the reps high and get a good contraction at the top of her pressing movements. "On the flat-bench press, I make sure to stick my chest up a bit and really squeeze the muscle."
Michelle doesn't believe in fancy workouts complete with a half-dozen exercises. "I just do movements that focus the workload on three main areas: my upper, inner and middle chest regions. I like to do multiple sets, though, to really stimulate the muscle." If you want to go heavier with the pec-deck machine, Michelle recommends adding partials to the end of your set.
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