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Chest Workout From Hell!

Updated on June 5, 2011


   ANY criticism/discussion is welcome. I don't know everything!

   ALL sets are to failure, so familiarize yourself with your strength/endurance levels, and continue to add weight/reps over time. If you can't do that, knit or do needlepoint- drop the gym!

   Okay, forgive me. I'm NOT a bodybuilder, but a powerlifter. Still, my physique is important to me. While I don't focus too much attention on building muscle, and stay fit-looking through diet (90%, but occasional cardio, only so my former crippled butt can walk better), I want to improve the areas that I'm weak in.

   One of my weak areas (and I have MANY) is upper chest/anterior deltoids. Outside that, I have very little triceps stamina. Please, bear in mind I generally weigh about 178-185#, and compete in powerlifting at 181#, raw. This is a new routine that I'm starting:

   Dumbbell incline flyes- Warm up well! DO NOT EVER come to the very top of the movement! Your chest should never "drop". Also, only work within a comfortable range of motion. Over-stretching, particularly with the incline can be very dangerous for the entire shoulder system- not just the rotator cuff. NO elbow articulation during any flye!

50 lbsx15x1

60 lbs x 15x1

70 lbs x 10-15x2

   Barbell incline press drop sets- You're warm! NO MORE warmups! Use a wider grip on all incline presses! The shoulder rotation is far more acute, as the elbows go far further behind the upper torso than during a supine press.Slow and controlled on the eccentric (negative), then explosive on the concentric. This works well with flyes, too, as you'll activate the myotatic reflex- recruiting more fibers:

    Using ten pound weights on each side, use seven on each (185 with an Olympic bar). Using two people that YOU TRUST, do the first set to positive failure. Upon reaching positive failure, rack the weight and have the spotters remove a single ten from each side. Do this until the bar is empty, then fail with the bar!

   From here, I like to hit the Hammer Strength Incline:

   3 sets of 9-10 with four 45 pound plate on each side 360 lbs- there's actually room for a five on each side- bringing it to 370 lbs).

   When I training someone, I'd have them do three sets of dumbbell supine presses. If you have someone spot you,have them do it at the wrists, not the upper arm. This allows you more control, and them the ability to keep you safe. One idiot commented to me one day, while I was training someone- "If you lose control, you're using too much weight". Really? That's why he's about 145 # and always works out with small women!!!!!!!! The inability to control weight or finish a rep is FAILURE! It's virtually impossible to continuously recruit all fibers if you don't reach failure.

   ANY time you're doing dumbbell presses, be sure your plane is as if you're using a barbell. That means the weights don't come together! This dumps the weight onto the triceps and away from the pectoralis major/minor.

   Fine print note: Positive failure is a result of the exhaustion of glycogen and ATP (adenosine triphosphate). There is NO metabolic activity during an eccentric (negative). It's the "forced lengthening of the muscle", not a contractile force! Shortages of myosin and actin (proteins that cause "muscle activity", contraction) I "think" contribute to negative failure (call me out if I'm mistaken- no formal education).

   Machine supine press, but with the palms squared forward. Don't use the handles, but the levers the handles are on (sorry if that's ambiguous, but you'll KNOW when yo get it!). Drop sets here, too:

   I use 170lbs on the (LAME) Atlantis Seated Press. The gym I train at SUCKS, and they need to invest in A LOT of equipment. Life Fitness is my first choice, along with Hammer Strength for machine work! So:

170x failure, 150x failure, 130xfailure, 110x failure, 90x failure, 70x failure x 2 sets, maybe three. Hold each topmost contraction, descend slowly and explode upward- just as before. If your form is fantastic, that myotatic approach can be used with flyes- but too many people tend to articulate the elbows. There is NO elbow articulation in ANY flye!

   I like to finish with 3 sets of barbell bench press- only 135#, but anywhere from 30-50 reps. My chest is unbalanced, so the intermediate-advanced with balanced pecs will train supine work harder!

   Now that my pecs are shot, contracted moves are last. Bent over cable cross-overs and standing SUPINATING flyes make a great finish. DO NOT count reps! Count the interval that you hold the contraction (at least a slow three count!).


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    • Chris Fry profile image

      Chris Fry 6 years ago from Cardiff, Wales (UK)

      technically there is some metablic demand for eccentric contractions; as you say in your hub cross bridges (myosin head with actin) contribute to concentric contractions and it is believed that the metabolic demand of eccentric contractions is to 'break' these bonds. However you are quite right, it has been shown that eccentric contractions constitute just one thirteenth the metabolic demand of concentric contractions. Regardless, good hub and i'll definitely be using some of these exercises and tips when i work out! Especially the 'do not count reps' bit - i always work out to a planned reps and sets routine so i'll soon be incorporating the timing of contractions into my exercises.