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The chest is a very noticeable body part; a well-developed chest commands respect, shows strength and screams masculine virility. If your chest isn't getting deeper, wider, and fuller, then it's time to take some advice from a guy not known for his bodybuilding wisdom.
Albert Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Here at ProSource we are after one thing: results. Let's look at some highly effective, under-utilized exercises in building a massive chest.
Bodyweight movements are mentioned with scarcity in bodybuilding publications and literally never outside the context of a high-rep burnout.
Plyometric push-ups will be performed as a warm-up before hitting the heavy pig iron. This serves a couple of purposes: to recruit High Threshold Motor Units and increase neural drive to the muscles. In lay terms, we are going to recruit large muscle fibers and wake up the central nervous system (CNS).
Neuromuscular Facilitation, not fatigue, is our objective; that's why the reps are low. Perform this exercise for 3 sets of 3 to 6 reps with 1 to 2 minute rest interval between sets.
- Get in a push-up position on the ground
- Hands spaced at bench press grip width
- Do a push-up and explode in to the air as high possible, land and repeat in rapid-fire style
- Do not exceed 8 reps
To get big you have to go heavy! Because the range of motion is reduced with board presses, we can handle heavier weights contrasted to a conventional bench press. Full range of motion is generally the rule of thumb, but partials need to play a role for maximal muscular development and strength.
By handling overloads in board presses, it will remove some of the shock from full-range-of-motion movements. We will do 3 sets of 3 reps as heavy as possible and finish with a set of 15 reps. Rest 2-3 minutes between sets.
- Have a competent spotter hold two 2 x 4 boards on chest
- Un-rack the barbell at arms extension over your boards
- Grab the bar with your strongest bench press grip width
- Keep your upper back tight
- Make sure your feet are flat throughout the entire movement
- Lower the barbell under control to boards; pause for 1 second
- Forcefully push the bar back to arms extension
I have some ocean-front property in Arizona if you think you are going to maximally develop a huge chest without any eccentric overload work!
Heavy negatives induce greater muscle damage than any other type of contraction. Up to 60% percent more weight can be handled on an eccentric contraction contrasted to a concentric contraction. Eccentrics allow us to do more work longer and work past failure on the positive portion of a set. Furthermore, intense eccentric movements force muscle fibers and surrounding satellite cells to fuse, resulting in muscle fiber growth.
Assuming you have two competent spotters, it's tough to beat the eccentric overload bench press for a safe, effective eccentric emphasis exercise.
Do 3 sets of 5 reps, rest 2-3 minutes between sets.
- Lie flat on a bench placed under a Smith Machine (the bar should be directly above your chest)
- Load the bar with 10%–25% extra weight on the outside of the bar sleeves
- Lower the weight to your chest
- At chest level, have a partner on each side pull the extra weight off the bar
- Forcefully press the weight back to starting position
- Then have the partners add the weight back to the bar
- Repeat for necessary reps
Here it is in Action
Flyes are a great chest exercise, but they may fall on the risk side of the risk-to-benefit ratio for those with shoulder problems (due to the excessive strain in the stretched position). Thus, many lifters in this situation often opt to only train with cables.
But chain flyes are a game changer!
Chain flyes are performed by attaching the handles you use to perform cable cross overs to chains. You are still able to get some of the stretch (lacking in cables) that you feel with dumbbells. Yet, as your arms abduct to the fully stretched position, the chains unload on the floor. This removes much of the strain from the shoulders. As you adduct, or squeeze your arms back together, the chains start to lift off the floor again, giving you the peak contraction advantage of the cables.
Even with 100% healthy shoulders, chain flyes require you to produce more force where you are strongest -- providing an extreme overload.
Select a weight you are capable of doing 12 reps with. Do 10 reps, rest 40 seconds, then attempt 10 reps again; if you are unable to do 10 reps, do nine, if you can't do 9, do 8, if you can't do 8, do 7, do this all the way down to one. If the set is less than 10 reps go to failure; rest 40 seconds after each set. Perform this for a total of 10 reps; this should be brutal.
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- Attach a single-handle attachment with a carabineer to a chain
- Lie flat on a bench
- Lift the handles with chain above your chest with arms in a slightly bent position (your arms never straighten out throughout the entire movement)
- Lower to the side until your chest muscles are stretched
- Bring the handles together in a giant, bear hugging-like motion
- Hold the handles together at the top for a brief moment
- Return to starting position
More muscle damage means more time to recover. I highly recommend ProSource's Mega BCAA from anecdotal experience and validated in scientific literature. When you're going harder and longer, some ProSource Beta Alanine will help you postpone fatigue as well.
If your chest hasn't grown since the second Bush administration, what do you have to lose? Give these unconventional movements a try and you can expect some unconventionally great gains.