Add slabs of beef to your chest while improving strength and function with this routine.
While I am a firm believer that the basic free weight chest movements are the foundation of a great chest routine, we sometimes need to tweak them to challenge our bodies in order to improve functional strength, hit some deep muscle fibers and add some newfound muscle. It also provides a new challenge mentally and helps keep your chest routines fresh. The workout below is designed to help stimulate new muscle fibers, which will lead to more muscle growth. This will also improve stabilization to keep our shoulders healthy so that we can keep lifting max poundage’s.
Exercise Sets Reps
Incline Barbell Press 3* 8-12
1-Arm DB Bench Press 3** 10
Neutral Grip DB Floor Press 3*** 8
TRX Push-up Plus 2**** Failure
*Use a tempo of three seconds on the negative phase, explosive on the positive, and do NOT pause at the top.
**Hang onto bench with free hand if needed. Each arm should be done for 3 sets of 10 reps.
***A spotter is recommended, as it can be tough to get the dumbbells in position.
****If more than 15 reps can be performed use a weighted vest or weight plate.
It’s all about the execution
Exercises, sets, and reps on a piece of paper can only take you so far for any muscle group. For chest exercises, you really need to make sure you leave your ego at the door and focus on the execution of each exercise, set and rep. Go into any gym and you will see many avid lifters always trying to push as much weight as they can on chest exercises, not focusing on working the muscle. Go into this chest workout with the intentions of making each rep better than the last, and feel the muscle working as hard as possible. Yes, using sufficient weight is very important, but don’t use too much to where you lose form, and cheat to move the weight.
Incline Barbell Bench Press
Nothing builds mounds of muscle from the clavicle to sternum like the Incline Barbell Bench Press. Just make sure to lower the weight with control, and explode on the way up, keeping your chest raised, and elbows tucked to reduce the risk of injury. Do not pause at the top to keep continuous tension on the muscle, thus maximizing time under tension leading to more muscle growth.
1-Arm Dumbbell Bench Press
By only using one dumbbell at a time to bench press you force your deep stabilizers to recruit more motor units, thus tapping into some new muscle fibers that haven’t been able to be worked. Make sure you tighten up your opposite side core to help you stay stable. When the load is very heavy hold onto the weight bench for more control and safety.
Neutral Grip Dumbbell Floor Press
Lying down on the floor with your knees bent, have a spotter hand you the dumbbells. Keeping your elbows tucked, and palms facing each other, guide the dumbbells down until the back of your arms hit the ground softly and explode to the top. When you are done with the set have the spotter take each dumbbell from you. This exercise is sure to shock your upper chest and triceps into new growth, and also help you improve your other pressing movements.
TRX Strap Push-up Plus
Start by sitting down on the floor and putting your feet in the lower part of the straps. Flip over onto your stomach and raise yourself up into a push-up position. Make sure your feet are flexed in order to lock your core and shoulder stabilizers in. Lower your body with control, and when you push back up pause at the top and separate your shoulder blades in order to engage your Serrates to improve shoulder stabilization and overall shoulder health. This exercise will make you have a new appreciation for the push-up and the TRX Strap.
About the author:
Justin Grinnell is a strength coach, personal trainer, nutrition enthusiast and owner of State of Fitness in East Lansing, Michigan. You can follow him on Facebook, on Twitter@JustinGrinnell4 or check out his website grinnelltraining.com.