MuscleTech Athlete Santi Aragon is just four weeks out from his next competition. The Muscle & Strength team had to travel up to the Powerhouse Gym in Columbus, OH to see how he’s training.
Santi is currently using the squeeze method on his workouts. The technique really focuses on the contraction of the lift, allowing you to push more blood into the muscle. The inevitable result is some serious lean muscle mass.
To better implement the squeezing strategy, Santi implements giant sets in his workouts. Each giant set contains three separate lifts. Finally, he concludes his workout with a finisher to really carve out a define chest.
Santi’s focused on a lot of squeezing of the muscle during lifts to bring out more detail, separation, and mass. In addition, he’s added a good amount of volume to his workouts.
There are several different reasons why you may want to give this method a try. Perhaps you’re low on time; this method allows you to get a solid workout in and a serious pump in about 35-45 minutes.
Or, in Santi’s case, maybe you’re training very low carb for contest prep. This method will allow you to get in and out of the weight room with just enough energy to complete you post-workout cardio.
Santi Aragon's 1st Giant Set
For the first giant set of his workout, Santi performs incline dumbbell press, followed by a second set of incline dumbbell press with a much lighter weight, and finishes the set with incline dumbbell chest flyes. The first set of incline dumbbell press, Santi begins with 70lb dumbbells. While executing the lift, he puts more of a focus on the very top of the movement.
As he transitions to his next (drop-set) press, he uses 45lb dumbbells for the full range of motion, until the final 5 repetitions. For the final 5 reps of this lift, he reemphasizes the top part of the motion, really squeezing blood into the pec muscle. On each rep he squeezes the contraction for approximately half a second.
Santi finishes off his first giant set with the incline dumbbell fly. It’s another great movement for honing in on squeezing the contracted muscle.
Santi Aragon's 2nd Giant Set
Moving into his second Giant Set, Santi lowers the bench from the inclined position to the flat bench. He then performs flat dumbbell press, close-grip dumbbell press, and close-grip incline pushups consecutively. Beginning with flat dumbbell presses, he chooses lighter weight and focuses on concentrated, deliberate movements.
After 15 reps, Santi brings the dumbbells together, points his thumbs towards his face, and starts his set of close-grip dumbbell press. Finally, Santi performs a bench pushup at an incline level to really hit the upper chest.
Santi believes it’s all about squeezing. Despite using less weight during his training, he’s still seeing results. He attributes it to the slight pause of his repetitions really breaking the muscle down. Despite knowing a lot of lifters out there may disagree with him, Santi truly believes that the body doesn’t know whether you’re going light or heavy. As long as you’re making the lift hard, it’s going to be hard.
Another training tactic Santi utilizes is posing between sets. Obviously, the poses should be associated with the muscle you’re training that day. For Santi, during this chest workout, poses would include most muscular shots and quarter turns.
Santi Aragon's Finisher
Santi finishes his workout with Pec Deck Flyes. One of the biggest issues that most lifters have is bringing along a lagging upper chest. Santi counteracts this by situating the pec dec to hit his upper chest as opposed to targeting his mid and lower chest.
The way Santi does this is by taking the seat out of the equation. He lines his arms up exactly where they need to be in reference to the bar. Then, he’ll move the seat up to meet that height.