Bigger Pecs

Bigger Pecs

As a beginner just starting out with weight training, almost anything should work, and your body should respond by growing so long as you are giving it enough calories to recover and grow. I’m going to tell you the real secret to muscle growth, are you ready? EFFORT! Yes, you need to have enough volume to stimulate muscle growth, meaning multiple sets need to be done. But just going through the motions isn’t going to help you further your growth no matter how many sets you do if you are not giving full effort. You are the only one that can truly know if you are giving full effort, so you are only cheating yourself if you are not! Plus remember that building muscle is a slow process and takes many years of consistency, effort, and time. When you see the ‘finished product’ in the physiques of elite bodybuilders, you might not realize it took them years to look that way. Consistent effort + time = growth!

If you are constantly pushing yourself as hard as you can, how would your body not respond and grow?

I’ve always trained in the same manner, usually standard pyramid type training, doing a set of 15 reps as a warmup then increasing weight for 12 reps, then increasing weight again for 10 reps, then increasing weight again and failing around 6-8 reps with partials or forced reps if I have a spotter. I make the 10-12 rep sets hard, taking them to temporary muscle failure without assistance, then taking the last set to failure and usually beyond!

I’m also a big fan of drop sets, which I feel is one of the most effective intensity techniques. A lot of times I will finish my first exercise with drop sets, taking my last set to failure around 8 reps, then reducing the weight by 20-30% and trying for another 8 or however many reps I get to failure, then reducing weight by another 20-30% and going to failure and beyond. If I’m on a machine or using dumbbells I usually tack on a few partial reps until I’m no longer moving the weight no matter how hard I try. That is what I consider EFFORT, and I know my effort is what got me to the size of a professional bodybuilder no matter which supplements you take or genetic makeup you may have! I use the same EFFORT even when super setting, a technique I also love to do because it’s hard. If I’m working hard, I feel I will grow. As you can tell I feel working hard is the most important thing to stimulate muscle and cause growth! Taking it easy in the gym won’t do much of anything.

Now that you understand how important I think EFFORT is as the main driver for growth, let’s talk about a few key tricks I tell all my clients to get them to focus more on pecs while working chest and less on delts.

First and foremost, whether using a barbell, dumbbells, or machines when you get the weight up, arch your back, roll your head back with your eyes up and keep your shoulders pressed under you so they don’t rise by your ears. That’s going to keep you from reaching and recruiting the delts and keeping the focus on the tension through the chest. I say extend but don’t reach to get the maximal contraction at the top through the chest but not reaching to transfer the tension to the delts.

Next and this goes for almost all your exercises, control the negative portion of every rep for about 3 seconds before changing direction against resistance by exploding up and forcing the contraction. If you do every rep that way the tension will constantly stay on the pecs and recruit all the different muscle fibers.

Here’s an example of how I built my pecs and how I incorporate all my training principles into a chest workout:

Seated chest press:
4x15-8, increasing weight every set and taking the last set to failure plus tacking on 2 drop sets.
Incline bench press:
4x12-6 increasing weight every set like a standard pyramid progression.
Machine fly/ Incline dumbbell press superset:
4x12-10 each. I use a slow negative on the machine fly, always squeezing the chest, and then changing direction explosively through a hard squeeze and holding the contraction for split second before slowly controlling the negative again. This burns like crazy and I feel if it’s burning, it’s working. Then I go straight to incline dumbbell press and do the same thing, slowly controlling the negative, then exploding up and squeezing my chest at the top. Again, this burns like fire when done right.

Then I’ll finish with 4 sets of stretch push-ups, where I lay two dumbbells on the ground in line as if it was a bench press, grabbing the handles so I’m elevated a few inches higher than if my hands were on the ground. I stretch my chest all the way to the ground under control before pushing off through the chest and squeezing each rep hard to failure on each set. When I say failure, I mean you aren’t done until you are lying chest down on floor and can’t push yourself up again. The pump is crazy after this!

Another thing that’s very important as a beginner is focusing on recovery. I feel soreness is a sign of a good workout, as I always get sore. It’s not about getting rid of the soreness (which you should embrace), it’s about making sure you are maximizing recovery!  Over the last few years, I’ve seen a big difference in my performance during workouts and in recovery by taking most of my supplements during the workout itself. I’m consistently sipping and ingesting those nutrients after every set, which keeps me fuller with better pumps and hydration as well as maximizing recovery.

This is my intra workout stack which is all Allmax Nutrition Supplements.
  • 40 ounces water
  • 1 scoop Carbion (50g carbs) Pineapple Mango
  • 1 scoop Aminocore Blue Raspberry
  • 5g Creatine
  • 10g Glutamine

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