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Do More Work

Initiate growth by jamming more reps into fewer minutes in the gym.
By Team Iron Man
 
PQ: This program takes advantage of the body’s overriding mandate: Adapt or die. When you put stress on a muscle, millions of years or evolutionary biology will force it to change so it can better handle that stress.
If your growth is stalled out and you’re at that frustrating point where you think something’s wrong with you, it’s time to try escalating density training. EDT is a system that’s specifically designed to put size on stubborn muscle groups by subjecting them to a novel form of stress. This program takes advantage of the body’s overriding mandate: Adapt or die. When you put stress on a muscle, millions of years or evolutionary biology will force it to change so it can better handle that stress. That’s why lifting weights makes your muscles grow.
Your muscles don’t know to get bigger. They only know whether they’re under stress or not—and if they’re repeatedly subjected to mechanical resistance, and being broken down, they’ll adapt in order to not break down so readily. Getting bigger and stronger are simply side effects of this adaptation, and building muscle size is dependent on the volume and intensity of the stress that your muscles are capable of handling.
By subjecting your muscles to as many reps and as intense a pump as they can tolerate, EDT will introduce your muscles to a new kind of stress. With adequate recovery, they’ll adapt and grow at an increased rate.
The main reason for the change will be the fact that you’re performing greater overall reps and volume. EDT subjects your muscle to increased overall stimulus through mechanical tension. The greater the stimulus, the greater the necessary adaptation. You’ll damage fibers during training, then repair them afterward, causing them

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Upper Chest Quest

Many people have said it: You can’t do too much upper-chest work. It’s an area of the body that can almost always be improved. One way to improve it is through push-ups. But not just any push-ups: flexed trunk push-ups. Sports researchers at Inje University in South Korea investigated the difference in muscle activation between standard push-ups and flexed trunk push-ups, when the subject keeps the lower body at a 30-degree angle. Instead of a flat back, the glutes are pushed toward the ceiling in a modest pike position. By measuring the electrical activity in the muscle groups, the scientists found that this variation of push-up elicited far more response in the muscle fibers of the upper chest and serratus anterior than a traditional push-up. Conversely, the traditional push-up created more stimulation in the lower pecs than the flexed-trunk push-up.

http://www.ironmanmagazine.com/upper-chest-quest/
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The Mechanical Advantage

This relatively painful intensity technique can lead to rapid gains in size.
By Vince Del Monte
This month I want to talk about a technique I’m currently employing inside my eight-week training cycle that has me doing—wait for it—just one all-out set per workout, per bodypart.
The technique is called “mechanical advantage drop sets” or MADS (which is a great acronym I thought I invented until I did a quick Google search). Before diving into MADS, let’s define drop sets so we’re on the same page. A drop set is when you perform a given exercise to the point of concentric failure, and then change a variable in a way that allows you to extend the set into what I call “The Hurt Box.”
You are likely familiar with drop sets that include decreasing the weight once you hit fatigue so that you can chase some extra reps with a lighter load. This is a good technique in my opinion, but not a great technique. Drop sets are also known as “strip sets,” and it’s likely one of the first mass-gaining techniques you’ve experimented with during your early days of your muscle-building journey. However, as the years go on, the “gains train” starts to slow down and we start looking for more advanced methods to continue our quest for a bigger and stronger body.
That’s where MADS comes in, and in a moment I’ll give you my own MADS upper-body training program so you can put this bad boy to the test. The “mechanical” in MADS refers to a change in body position, which applies to increasing or decreasing leverage. For instance, you’ve likely noticed it’s easier to do a squat with your feet wider versus narrower. It’s easier to perform a bench press on a decline instead of incline. It’s easier to perform a

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Injury-Free Chest

Build  muscle and strength while staying pain-free and healthy in the process.
By Alexander Juan Antonio Cortes
Training the pectoralis major and minor, also known as the chest, is a common priority for both recreational and competitive lifters. When you’re young, it’s quite common for the bench press to be the predominant lift that is used for chest development. If you have advantageous biomechanics (big chest, short arms), bench pressing can seem incomparable for chest development.
As you age, though, there is an accumulation of wear and tear. Rotator-cuff injuries are the most common complaint among recreational lifters and competitive bodybuilders, and they are almost always incurred during pressing movements, specifically the bench press and incline press. You may feel invincible in your 20s, but once you get into the 30s, 40, 50s, with decades of lifting, you start to feel all those repetitions adding up.
As you age, your training approach to chest must become smarter. Your shoulder joints and pec tendons have only so many repetitions in them where they can be overloaded before something tears, frays, or snaps. And once injured, your ability to build any more muscle is highly compromised.
Rather than back off chest training completely, or be forced into stasis and believe that you’ve no future of muscles gains, your chest training can evolve. What follows is the Mountain Dog approach to chest training. This protocol is not only designed to prevent injury and have you train safely, but also sequenced in such a way to spur muscle growth, while not aggravating any preexisting or past injuries.
 
Rotator Stuff
Almost every man who has lifted has strained one or both of his shoulders from pressing. Why does this happen?
Go into the gym to train chest, and almost everyone does the same thing: They immediately head over to the bench press or incline

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Foundational Chest Training Part 2

What you absolutely need to know for building huge pecs
By Vince DelMonte
 
When it comes to training pecs, the difference between progress and wasting your time will be in understanding the fundamentals. This second part of this article was written not to be the final word on chest training but to clarify the essentials—and most importantly to separate fact from fiction.
Inner/Outer Pecs
One mistake during exercise selection is the belief that certain movements can emphasize inner or outer pecs. This misguided notion was perpetuated due to the fact that some exercises can give the feeling that certain fibers are under more stress than others. The most rational explanation for this phenomenon is that many exercises, even those that look almost identical on the surface, offer variable resistance profiles. For example, most chest flye machines offer far more resistance near the end of the shortened part of the range of motion (ROM) versus lying dumbbell flyes, which are far heavier during the lengthened (or “bottom”) part of the ROM. This can lead to a much different muscular sensation based on where most of the resistance is located relative to the muscles. In truth, because inner and outer pec fibers run parallel to each other, it is a mechanical impossibility to separate the function of one fiber on the inside to another on the outside.
Incline Versus Decline
Of significant importance to training pecs is ensuring variations of resistance by changing the plane of the load relative to your shoulder joint. This is most commonly accomplished by inclining or declining a bench or changing the line of the resistance usually using cables in standing or seated variations.
The most important consideration when choosing inclines and declines is that while inclines offer slightly more upper-pec involvement, they can sacrifice lower-pec stimulus. Because the majority of pec fibers align horizontally

http://www.ironmanmagazine.com/foundational-chest-training-part-2/

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