Everyone loves to train chest. We love it, you love it, your grandma and her dog loves it. There’s a reason why Monday’s are known as “International Chest Day”. But many of us have struggled to grow our chest and triceps.
Walk into any gym and you’ll see those people who are constantly training chest. I mean constantly – every damn time you see them. Yet what do you notice about most of them? They have the chest development of a pre-pubescent boy. You’ll see them perform ten variations of the same exercise, done nearly every day. It seems like they’ve tried everything to get their chest and triceps to grow, except doing the right thing.
Let’s fix that.
It’s not just about what exercises you do, but how you perform them. If you can improve the quality of each rep performed, you’ll improve the quality of muscle development.
Two fantastic methods that you can use to induce muscle growth to grow your chest and triceps:
- Increasing Time Under Tension (TUT)
- Metabolic stress
In other words, do the exercise/reps for a longer period of time, and make the muscles burn, a lot.
If you’re not used to manipulating your tempo and increasing TUT, then start off by picking a weight roughly 70% of what you would normally use. What you would do is then perform your reps a lot slower than you normally would. Start taking anywhere from 5-7 seconds, and increase it from there if you’re truly insane. Because the reps are much slower, your muscles are going to be working a lot harder – hence the lighter weight. If your goal is to build muscle, then this is a great way to force it grow.
So for a dumbbell bench press for example, you might take 3 seconds to lower the weight, pause at the bottom for 1 second, take 2 seconds to push the weight up, and hold it at the top for 1 more second. Do a complete set of 8-12 reps at that tempo and tell me that your chest doesn’t feel like it’s on fire. So to write this down on paper you would write the tempo as 3121.
TUT will naturally produce more metabolic stress on the muscle, but you can further increase it by incorporating stretches and pauses during your set. Similar to TUT, it’ll mean that you’re slowing your overall reps down, but you are purposely focusing on the end range of motion of the exercise.
If that doesn’t sound fun to you, then you could go the simple route and just incorporate higher-reps (15-25+).
Using the dumbbell chest fly as an example, you would lower the dumbbells until you get to the very bottom and feel the stretch in your pecs. Instead of coming up straight away, you’ll hold it there for 2-3 seconds, bring it up, and then at the very top squeeze the dumbbells together as hard as you can for another 1-2 seconds to help add to the muscle contraction of your pecs. This will produce an insane pump in your chest and will cause muscle damage and promote muscle growth like no other!
You can apply these two methods to any exercise out there, but since we’re talking about your chest here, let’s put it all together for a solid workout. Throw in a few sets of shoulders and triceps at the end and you’ll have an upper body day that’ll leave you feeling awesome! Remember it’s not always about how many exercises you do, but how you perform them.
|Exercise||Sets||Reps||Tempo||Rest Between Sets (minutes)|
|A1. Bench Press||6||6||2010||3|
|B1. Incline Dumbbell Bench Press||4||8-10||3121||3|
|C1. Dumbbell Bench Press||4||10-12||3121||2|
|D1. Cable Flyes||4||12-15||3221||–|
|E1. Lateral Raises||4||15-20||2121||1|
|F1. Tricep Pushdown||3-4||12-15||2221||–|
|F2. Bench Dips||3-4||25+||1111||1|
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