No one misses International #ChestDay do they? Yet how often do you see an excellently built and shaped chest? Almost never. They're so many common mistakes modern day lifters fall into when training the most popular muscle group. These 5 Tips will go a long way to help rectify these problems.
1. Select Better Exercises
When it comes to a large muscle group, the more angles you can hit it from the better, stop lingering on the bench press - it might not even be the best exercise for you - and start hitting some incline and decline machines, multiple chest presses and machine flies as well. The bench press is like the Squat for legs - excellent for strength but not always the best for building size and shape.
2. Optimise The Range
If you are struggling to build your chest, chances are that you are using less than perfect range on your exercises too. If you are trying to build a muscle then proper range is vital. Do not rest at the top or bottom of a movement, always stay in the tension zone. Never lock out elbows as this reduces tension on the muscle and never lower the weight so low down that it puts pressure on the joints - it's the fast track to injury and zero muscle gains.
3. Correct Your Form
Good form on an exercise will allow you to work the target muscle, bad form will involve others while failing to provide optimal contraction. Always keep your chest puffed out and head back, this will allow you to generate power through the appropriate muscles. The Chest muscles run directly horizontal across your rib cage, so to contract them optimally our elbows must be as close to 90° to the body as possible. Tell yourself 'high elbows' whenever you start a set, as a common mistake is to drop your elbows closer into your side which heavily involves the Deltoids.
4. Change Your Approach
If you are training for strength, low reps and high weight, then do not expect to build a huge beautifully shaped chest. The truth is that strength gain does not always mean muscle size, and although some muscle growth might occur, the primary adaption is improvement in motor unit recruitment (muscle recruitment). This improves strength but not size and shape. Give your ego a rest and find the burn on some medium weight and high reps; 5 exercises total - 3 presses + 2 flies - 4 sets x 8-12 reps to positive failure, 30-45 secs rest.
5. Get Super Intense
here or more info on set variations and Intensity.Intensity is the key for inducing adaptions in your muscle, for strength, endurance or muscle size. There are many ways to increase intensity; reduce rest periods, reduce rate of the rep (tempo), increase resistance (but remain in target rep range) and improve range. There is also something to be said about aggression - go into the set with a purpose and aim high and get comfortable with uncomfortable! When you do everything right, there is nothing left to do but grow. Click
BONUS: Forced Reps
This is a more advanced method of training and you must be in the presence of an exercise professional if you are to perform forced reps. On all repetitions, the negative (lowering) portion of the rep is vitally important, but with forced reps it is the entire objective. A training partner or trainer will assist in the lifting portion of the Rep and let the trainee lower the weight, continuing the exercise until the weight cannot be lowered in a controlled manner. It is the added 'negative' (lowering) rep portions that benefit you while doing forced reps, so always make the most of it by lowering the weight very slowly to increase Intensity.
COMMENT BELOW your favourite Chest Exercises!!
NOTE: No Training Program is complete without addressing your Diet. Click here to read more info on Nutrition.
Arnold Schwarzenegger's Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding is an unbelievably valuable resource for learning about building muscle. Arnold describes in charismatic detail the techniques and protocols he and his fellow competitors used to achieve the classical physiques we all love!
The book is full of entertaining anecdotes from Arnold's training days, and really explores what is means to be on a fitness journey. Providing everything from detailed training, diet and recovery advice right down to maintaining mental strength through times of hardship that most of us can face when reaching plateaus in training or dieting.
If you ever wanted an extreme indepth description of Classic Bodybuilding then Arnold's book is Numero Uno! It is one of the best Bodybuilding books I have ever read. Click here or on the image for more info.
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