Chest Training Trio

Get a lagging pair of pecs to start growing again with a tried-and-true template and three can't-miss workouts.


Ian Spanier

When your workouts grow stale and your results stagnate, what’s the first area you look to change? The exercises you’re doing? Your volume? Your intensity? Your rep counts? From our observations, most people look for new exercises, because clearly the old ones aren’t working anymore. Right? Uh, no.

Truth is, the old moves work best—it’s just a matter of doing them differently to spark new muscle gains. Take chest, for example. There’s a very basic, effective workout template we believe in. It looks like this:

  • Do a flat-bench press to build a foundation of size and strength with the heaviest weight possible.
  • Do an incline press for similar foundational gains while emphasizing the upper pecs, a lagging area for most guys.
  • Do one to two flye movements to target the outer pecs and promote a wider chest. Alternate between flat-bench and incline flyes to cover the chest from top to bottom.
  • Done. Follow some closely related version of this template in most chest workouts, and you’re setting the stage for a great pair of pecs.

But the devil’s in the details, and there are too many of those to list here. For a brief sampling, we’re using the basic chest template of two presses and two flyes (one flat and one incline per movement) and offering three different workouts—one with all straight sets and a traditional exercise sequence of presses before flyes; another that sandwiches the presses with flat dumbbell flyes (pre- exhaust to start, post-exhaust to finish); and then a third workout that annihilates the pecs with a barrage of pre-exhaustion (flyes before presses).

Dumbbell versions of the four basic movements are demonstrated by Brandon Hendrickson. Focus on the template presented here, making regular changes in volume, intensity techniques, and rep schemes, and perhaps you’ll have a chest like Brandon’s in due time.


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