What’s up Musclemaniacs? Your favorite bodybuilder is back on the scene to whip you into shape and keep you looking good. In this segment, we’re gonna target the chest – the center piece to the body where the eyes directly go when you’re on the stage hitting all those front poses. Pretty much everything ties in with the chest so you want to make sure that the chest is on point. I remember back in the days when I used to see those old muscle magazines with Arnold in them hitting a side chest pose with a soda can standing on his chest – blew my mind! Always wanted a massive chest like that; but, as you know, it doesn’t come easy – gotta work for it! To achieve an impressive chest like Arnold’s (or close to it like my chest) you have to have and do one of each the following. First off, you have to have great pectorial development.
I’m talking about inner, outer, lower and upper pectorials. And the one thing that most of us forget is a great rib cage. Next, you have to stick to the most effective and efficient exercises by using free weights with proper form. Third, and finally, those true gains into building a great chest lie in pressing movements, high intensity, and again “form”. You see, I don’t go in the gym trying to lift a house. I’m not a power lifter – I want to sculpt my physique. That means going into the gym to workout rep for rep with the right weight and leaving the ego out of it – know what I’m saying! So if your looking to build a well built and shapely chest, follow this basic workout that I’m gonna set up for you beginner bodybuilders and sooner or later you’ll be able to stand soda cans on your pecs. Like Arnold says in the movies, “trust me!” As usual I’m gonna get old school on yah again and that means bringing back some of the basics. There are a variety of exercises and machinery that are good for building your chest but if you stick with the way (if you are able to without problems) the champs like Arnold, Lee and Dorian trained, you’ll see what I’m talking about baby! SO, lets go on down into the dungeon and forge that shelf top chest.
INCLINE BARBELL PRESS (OPTIONAL, INCLINE DUMBELL PRESSES) – I usually like to start out with this exercise first because for me it’s more effective to build mass on the chest and it’s also a difficult movement. I want to be able to put more emphasis on the exercise while I’m fresh and my strength is at it’s fullest. As you will notice, you’re not probably going to push as much as you do on flat bench but on this exercise, it’s about the form. This means controlling the weight, squeezing, getting the negatives and getting good contractions from the muscle. I lie back on an incline bench (weight set up and spotter ready to go) hands grasping the bar. I un-rack it, raise it up to a full extension, then I lower it down (three count) slowly just below the bottom of my neck. I don’t touch my chest, just to keep the tension on the muscle. Once I feel the stretch, I press the weight up. Three things I’m doing simultaneously while in motion: locking out the arms, contracting the pecs and exhaling air out for a better push. Pretty much all of your pressing exercises for chest should be done in this fashion, so take note. Once I’ve got past mid-point, I keep my elbows soft at the top, pause, then I repeat the movement for reps. After I pump out about 12-15 reps with sufficient weight, my chest is pumped from the warm up. This will make the workout harder for me to push the weight because my pecs are so tight. I complete the exercise by following up with 3 sets of (if I’m able) 6-8 reps – each set adding 20 pounds. I finish off with a drop set (optional) and that really has my pecs screaming!
FLAT BENCH BARBELL PRESS (DUMBELLS OPPTIONAL) – Alright kidz, lets move on to some flat bench for overall chest development. After sets of incline, I know my strength is not going to be 100% so I do what I can – I’m not there to kill myself by trying to bench a house. Lets get down to business. The performance for this exercise is not that much different than the incline press only that you’re at a different angle. With my weight already set up and a spotter available, I lie back on the bench and I grasp the barbell with both hands and my arms are slightly shoulder width apart. Take note – you want to be able to have a good lift so don’t try to get fancy by putting both feet on the bench. I keep my feet planted firmly on the floor for balance. Here we go, 225lbs ready to go. I un-rack the bar and slowly bring it down (three count) to my chest just around the nipple area. I try not to let the bar touch my chest because I always want to keep tension on my pecs. With a slight pause, I forcefully (you can grunt if you want!) press the weight up and squeeze the pec muscles. At this point, I’m exhaling my air out so that I get a better push. At the top, I’m locking my elbows out, just a slight pause, then I bring the weight back down to repeat the movement for reps. After this set I follow it up with three more sets, each time increasing the weight by 10 or 15lbs and bang out 6-8 reps as the weight gets heavier. My last set I drop the weight down to what I started off with and try to rep out until failure. Now that we’ve manufactured the mass it’s time to bring the super charged chest in for some detail work.
WEIGHTED DIPS – Breath easy now. We’re done with the tough part so now we focus on shape. I specifically like this exercise because it gives the outer pecs that nice round look that ties in with a great set of abs. Dips also work secondary muscles like the tris, the delt regions and traps. Remember our main focus is the chest so let’s get the performance right on this one. I hold myself up on the apparatus arms length and lean slightly forward. My elbows are pointing outwards – that way, I’m not getting the triceps involved. You can cross your legs or simply have them straight if you don’t plan to use any weight. I lower myself down slowly (negative) as far as I can, getting the full benefits of stretching the pecs on this exercise. At the bottom, a slight pause, then I press back up to the starting position, tensing the pectorial muscles at the top. Repeat for reps and choose how many sets you want. Begin with your body weight and continue to increase the resistance by hanging weight to a dip belt. I do twelve reps first followed by three sets with weights.
CABLE CROSSOVERS -The purpose of this exercise is for detail on the lower and the inside portion of the pecs. This is a great finisher because it gives you development, definition, separation, and striations. On stage when I hit all the conventional most muscular poses, I want my chest to look like an anatomy chart, so this is a must! It’s a very simple performance: set your weight and then grasp a handle on each end of a cable crossover apparatus. Lean forward with one leg out in front of your body and the cables extending your arms out on either side. With one smooth movement bring both the arms together down until both hands cross each other in the front your body. Squeeze and hold until the pectorials contract. Release, and slowly let the weight pull your arms back to start position – then repeat for reps. Be sure to keep alternating your hands when they cross over. Finish up with three sets. On the last one or all three, if you like, try a drop set.
DUMBELL FLAT BENCH PULLOVERS – Having big pectorial muscles is not enough, especially if it’s on a small flat rib cage. This flaw is especially noticed when executing the side chest, side tricep or even on the front double bicep pose. If you want those poses to look impressive, you’ve got to open up that rib cage baby! Dumbbell pullovers are designed to give your chest that huge barrel like illusion. Nowadays, I need that sort of illusion to be just as competitive as the bigger competitors so I always work at this exercise. To get the benefits of this exercise, I suggest using free weight. With the machines, you’re going to tend to use the lats, which is what we don’t want. Come on, let’s finish this workout off so I can get a shake down! I lie across a flat bench with my shoulders on the bench and my feet on the ground. Grasp the dumbbell with both hands (palms up against the underside of the top plate) and hold it straight up over my chest. I drop my hips towards the floor and inhale pulling in my diaphragm so that the rib cage sticks out. Slowly, I lower the weight in an arch motion past my head (still holding diaphragm) as though I’m touching the floor. I pause for a second, feeling the stretch on my chest and rib cage. Once I’ve lowered the dumbbell as far as possible, I exhale and bring the weight up back to the starting position and repeat for reps. Three sets of 12-15 reps with sufficient weight is a good finisher.
This brings us to the end of our chest workout – time for that protein shake! By the way, I hope that my workout tips can be of some help to you for your future endeavors. Whether it be for competition or in general, you can’t go wrong if you train efficiently and effectively. Limit your training to those exercises and methods that will build, shape and detail your chest in the shortest time. Oh! Make sure……….. SORRY, CAN’T GIVE AWAY ALL MY SECRECTS! Until next time…I’M MORRIS MENDEZ WORLD NATURAL PRO.