Shocking The Chest For Greater Gains – An Insight From The Experts.

[dropcap]C[/dropcap]hest day, otherwise known as a Monday, is everybody’s secret favorite training day, let’s face it, chest day is feel good day, but you’ve been taking it easy for too long.

It’s time to tune up your pec workout and start getting intense. The following tried and tested techniques are not for the faint hearted.

The Two Day Blast:

That’s right, training your chest two days in a row just might sound completely counter intuitive, but the results speak for themselves. This method involves doing very high reps on the first day, before training heavy on the next. Training in such a way prompts the muscle to absorb more nutrients during the first day in order to make the second day of hypertrophy training far more effective. High rep training beforehand also shocks the endocrine system and is a in itself a big plateau buster.

Ofcourse, it should be obvious to experienced lifters to use this only as a shock tactic, training like this week in week out is a surefire way to put a halt to progression by over training.

You’ll need to find the time to factor in two consecutive days to train your target muscle group, this can cause major set backs to the rest of the weeks routine, especially if your working life takes priority. We suggest that you use this shock tactic on just one muscle group per week, so you’re only adding an extra half day of training so to speak.

On day one, you want to do high rep isolation exercises about the 17-25 range, since these cause the best pump and contractions. These exercises should hit all the major angles, but no big compound movements. You can go to failure, but it’s best to only do so on a few sets. After this workout, fuel well, and make sure there’s a plentiful uptake of amino acids.

On day two, we’re going heavy, compound and staying in the prime hypertrophy (up for discussion) rep ranges, your typical 8-13 rep range.

The Rest-pause Effect:

The goal of this technique is simply to do more reps than you can do in a straight set. It’s a combination of time under tension and heavier weight that makes this technique so effective. It works similar to a drop set in principle, but unlike a drop set, we start with a weight that can be managed for say 5 or 6 reps and then do only 3. Take 5-10 seconds and do 3 more and repeat until failure. The result is a higher time under tension (albeit split up) than simply taking a full rest between sets but with the same heavy weight. Another result is getting an awesome heavy ass pump without having to do hundreds of reps at the end of a long workout. It’s also just as good at the beginning for those looking to increase strength on stubborn lifts.

High Rep Muscle Mania:

DO HIGH REPS! Even the most experienced athletes still find themselves working in the middle ground ‘hypertrophy’ training territory, often having a go to rep routine. This is damaging to any goal milestones.

It’s time to let go of the standard crap we read which goes as follows:

1-5reps strength
8-12reps Hypertrophy
15+   Muscle endurance

Sure, this might represent a very general rule, but it’s basically how to most effectively capitalize on training when you first begin training. This guideline is utterly useless for those who have been training for more than 3 years and is fundamentally flawed since it assumes we all respond the same.

You might be someone who responds extremely well to high rep or low rep training, but have been doing 10 reps for fear of losing what you’ve got.

It is a rookie mistake to assume that you’re only going to achieve growth through the 8-12 rep range. If you’ve been in the gym for years and this is your ‘default’ rep range, then you’re missing out on some serious improvements.

For optimal muscle growth you’ve got to stimulate the muscle as much as possible and sometimes that is better achieved by doing 18 reps rather than 10. Let it be known; you can build considerable muscle on 15-25 rep sets. 

If you want to know more about research into rep ranges for muscle growth read this article.



Utilizing The Mechanical Advantage Using Bands/Chains:

Why it works:

Chains and bands are a great way to really create a perfect growth environment, it’s something the body just can’t get used too, after all, when would the body ever encounter something that gets heavier the higher it’s lifted?

By using bands or chains the weight is lighter at the bottom of the movement where we’re weakest and then gets heavier towards the top of the lift where we’re strongest. This mechanical advantage has the same effect as a drop set, but the effect is replicated during every set.

We find the bands and chains work best on the bench press and smith machine for chest. A good way to use bands on the bench are to loop in over one end of the bar, under the bench and then over the other end of the bar.

Make sure you factor in the standing weight differential, especially if you’re using chains.

Half Motion Carnage:

Why it works:

Performing an exercise without the full range of motion may seem to go against everything the experienced lifter knows and seem typical of 15 year olds and ego lifters, but doing half range lifts at the end of a hard full ROM (range of motion) set is a great way to really push muscles to the max.

When you begin to fatigue on compound lifts, its generally because the smaller muscles have tired before the larger groups. For example, on heavy bench lifts, the stabilizing shoulder joints can start to weaken and the triceps begin to burn, but it’s not the chest that’s reached its full peak to the point where it’s truly exhausted.

This technique doesn’t work so well with isolation movements, but works well on free weights and machines. Next time you finish a full ROM set on a chest press, punch out 3 or 4 more half ROM reps and you’ll give shredded a new meaning.

Gymnast Pecs:

Press-ups. The best way to integrate the king of chest exercises into a heavier workout is to superset press ups directly after a similar compound movement with a heavier weight. It’s like drop setting but more effective. However, most people want to keep the rep ranges lower (since most of us can do a ton of press-ups) and this is when it’s time to get those big plates out. Grab a mate and get them to put 2 or 3 plates on your back and it’ll be much harder than the equivalent on a flat bench. Not only will it be harder but it’ll activate all the smaller stabilization muscles in the chest and shoulders as much as physically possible and build the trademark round, full gymnast chest.

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