Monday, August 6, 2007

Chest Day

When working out chest, I like to again focus on compound exercises. I'll usually start with some variation of the bench press--be it flat, incline, or decline; barbell or dumbells. Incline is my favorite (because it is the hardest), but I'll mix it up. This time, I will start with flat bench and use a technique similar to what I used for squats on leg day. However, this time I will perform a "hold" with more weight than I can actually lift before performing my true working sets. Simply load the bar with 25% more weight than your 1RM and have a spotter help you unrack the weight. Then, hold the weight with arms extended for ten seconds and rack the bar. This "hold" will get your body used to relatively heavy weight, so when you drop back down, the weight will feel really light in your hands. After flat bench press, I'll do another bench press variation, followed by some type of flies (either with the cables or dumbells), and call it a day. In detail, the workout looks like the below:

Flat Barbell Bench Press:
Set 1: 135lbs * 10 reps (warm-up)
Set 2: 225lbs * 8 reps (warm-up)
Set 3: 275lbs * 3 reps to failure
Set 4: 365lbs * "hold"
Set 5: 225lbs * 10 reps to failure
Set 6: 225lbs * 8 reps to failure
Set 7: 225lbs * 6 reps to failure

Incline Barbell Bench Press:
Set 1: 185lbs * 10 reps to failure
Set 2: 205lbs * 4 reps to failure
Set 3: 225lbs * 2 reps to failure

Cable Flies:
3 Sets to Failure in 8-10 rep range


Sometimes, later in the week, I will add some additional chest work (or leg work) where I focus on dynamic lifts with 50%-60% of my 1RM for speed--this practice gets the body used to moving the bar quickly. It will help develop functional strength for your muscle building hypertrophy workouts.

If you want to try this workout for your chest day, simply adjust the weight to what is relatively heavy for you. Also, don't forget to practice good form--it is good practice to have an arch, but keep your butt on the bench and drive the bar up in as straight a line as possible. Grip tightly and try to "pull the bar apart"--that will get more of your triceps involved.

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