It doesn’t matter if your chest is your strongest area or your weakest.
No one wants to do a bad chest workout. If you do your chest workouts on Monday, then this will be a great way to start your week.
If you do your chest training on any other day that ends in “y”, then you should try this one as well.
This is a chest session that is high on volume.
You have five exercises and 17 sets ahead of you.
If you’re relatively new to training, approach this one set at a time. In other words, if you feel like you need to back off, then back off.
For you iron veterans out there, this will be right up your alley. This workout can also be done in most commercial gyms as well as some home gyms.
If for some reason you need to use a different exercise, try to find one that accomplishes a similar purpose.
A Couple of Extra Pointers
First, it’s always easy to fall into the mental trap of focusing on pushing the weight. If you want the biggest bang for your buck, focus on contracting the chest. The weights are objects and nothing more. This subtle cue can take that ok chest workout to a great pec pump!
Second, your rest between sets is one minute. That means that when you finish your set, prepare for your next one, and then take your 60 second break.
If you do this, you can be in and out the door in less than 45 minutes. If you chat between sets or spend too much time on your phone, the clock will tick.
The Pec Pumper Chest Workout
|1. Stretch Push Up on Risers||3||10|
|2. Incline Bench Press||5||12, 10, 8, 6, 4/2|
|3. Dumbbell Bench Press||3||12, 10, 8/8|
|4. Low Incline Fly||3||10, 15, 20|
|5. Hammer Strength Machine Bench Press||3||20, 20, Failure|
Stretch Push Up on Risers
The push up is as basic as it gets but it’s so effective for several reasons. It blasts the pecs, hits the triceps, and even helps your delts. That’s why it’s a great exercise to start with. You can warm up effectively and establish that connection to the pecs that you’ll need to maximize the effectiveness of this workout.
Why risers? It can be push up handles, low boxes or steps, or even dumbbells. The point is you should get a good stretch at the bottom as well as feel a great contraction at the top. Doing pushups will help you accomplish both.
Here’s the twist. For the first set, knock out basic pushups. For the second set, I want a one second pause at the bottom and top. For the third and final set, hold for two seconds at the top and bottom. This extra tension will make the pushup even more effective.
Incline Barbell Press
The advantage of doing barbell work is you can handle more weight pushing one object and we want to work with the heaviest weights early in the session.
Obviously you’re going to add weight with each progressive set as the reps decrease. As to the amount of weight you should use, the first four sets should be done with weight that you can do the required reps with one or two left in the tank.
That fifth set is going to be your money set because it’s a heavy drop set (dropping in rep count instead of weight - move up in weight). When you go for that set of 4, you should be at your limit. Once you finish the 4th rep, rack it and take 5-6 deep breaths as you add another 10lbs to the barbell.
Then unrack the bar and try to get 2 more. Then and only then are you done. Obviously you should have your partner or spotter there in case you reach failure sooner than anticipated.
Flat Dumbbell Press
We’ve done two pressing movements where the pecs were able to work together. Now we need to bust that tag team up. Dumbbells allow you to work each side individually. Here’s what you should keep in mind about this movement.
When lifters go heavy on this exercise, there’s a chance those weights drift up towards the face when you press up. You should feel like you’re almost pressing the weights away from you. That keeps the tension on the pecs. Also, keep those shoulder blades back so the shoulders are tucked in. You’re working the pecs, not the delts.
Don’t lock out the elbows at the top. This is chest day. Locking out maximizes the work of the triceps and takes the emphasis off the chest. Stop just short of lockout to keep tension on your pecs.
That third set is important. You’re going to need two pairs of dumbbells because you’re going to do a drop set. Start with a weight that will max you out at the 8 rep mark. The drop should be around 25% of what you start with. So if you’re using 100’s for your last set, go down to 75’s. Try to get 8 more reps but don’t be upset if you come up short. The goal is to reach failure and you did.
Low Incline Fly
The first three movements have required pressing. This is a good time for a fly to stretch out those pecs. The incline will help you target the upper pecs. The angle of your incline should be different than the angle you used on the incline barbell presses. Go with a lower angle. If your gym doesn’t have an adjustable bench, use a flat bench with one end on a box or plate.
The reps look a little different here. Instead of going from high to low, we’re flipping the script. This will challenge your muscular endurance which is just as important as power. Obviously this means you’re also going to start with the heaviest weight and decrease with each successive set.
Don’t try to set records here. There’s not a “low incline fly” event in powerlifting or strongman. Focus on getting a deep stretch at the bottom without risking injury and a quality squeeze at the top without the weights touching. Stop just short of them touching at the top.
There should be a slight bend in the elbow. Don’t go at this with straight arms because the elbows will feel the stress. Don’t go with a full bend either because this isn’t another press. A 15 degree bend or so will work.
Hammer Strength Bench Press Machine
This is going to be an awesome finisher. Pressing horizontally hits the pecs really well. Using a machine will help you isolate the chest. After doing all of the work you’ve done to this point, it will be beneficial to have a fixed pattern that a machine offers and minimize the risk of injury at this point.
As with most of the other sets, you should be able to do all 20 reps in the first two sets without reaching failure. That last set is a whole different story. This is your home stretch…the last set of the day. This is where you leave everything on the gym floor.
I want complete failure here. No, pay attention.
It will be tempting to get 25 or maybe even 30 and stop there. If you complete a rep, do another one. The last rep of the day should be one you can’t finish.