IFBB Pro Fouad Abiad takes us through a chest workout, and breaks down techniques and cues to really blast the pecs. This workout has a bit of everything – dead stops, bands, and of course, heavy lifts. Follow him through four exercises, with three to four sets for each.
The focus is stimulating the pectoral muscles and keeping the shoulder joint safe. When training without a partner, be smart about the equipment you select. The exercises in this workout drill the chest and allow you to go heavy without worrying about having a spotter.
To build muscle, the rep ranges generally fall in the 8 to 10 range, sometimes up to 15. Unless you’re training exclusively for strength performance, stay away from doing only two or three reps in a set. If you’re doing endless sets, then are sore for four or five days, your body is too stressed to grow. Pull back on the volume of sets, hit them hard, and then let the body recover so it can grow muscle.
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Sets & Reps
Machine chest press
3 x 8 – 15 warm-up
3 x 8 – 10 working
Double rest pause on the final set
Using a more controlled, safer movement to get the shoulders and chest warmed up.
Movement should be right in the middle of your chest to get the pectoral muscles.
Power through the concentric portion and control the eccentric to maximize both phases
Work your way up in weight as you get warmed up, to be ready for your next heavy exercises.
On the last set, do a double rest pause by going to failure at 8 reps, then taking a 5 – 10 second rest, go again at the same weight for as many reps as possible. Take one more rest, and go again to failure.
Smith machine incline press
4 x 12 – 15
Do a drop set on the final set
The Smith machine allows you to go heavy safely when training without a spotter.
Set the incline to target the upper chest, generally one notch above flat on an incline bench.
Keep a safe range of motion to protect the shoulder joint. Bringing the elbows to a 90 degree bend at the bottom is optimal.
Adding bands from the top of the machine will alleviate some of the tension as the bar moves to the bottom of the movement, where the body is most vulnerable to injury.
On the final set, hit failure at 8 reps, then drop weight and remove the bands, and go to failure.
4 x 8 – 12
Using a dead stop technique on the floor, the focus is building strength by removing momentum at the bottom.
This keeps the work in the chest, as the arms cannot go lower than the floor, taking pressure off the shoulders.
Avoid locking out the elbows at the top of the movement to keep the tension in the chest through the whole range.
Incline cable flye
4 x 8 – 12
Finish off the workout with an isolation exercise with cable flyes.
The cable applies more controlled tension to the negative phase of the rep, and laying on an incline removes momentum.
Maximize the stretch by pausing at the bottom of the movement.
Keep your chest puffed out on all chest exercises to flex the pec muscles and avoid the delts from taking over the movement.