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Body Part Blitz: Chest


Build a big chest with our body part blitz workout

Today, we’re going to cover everyone’s favourite muscle group - chest.

There are two main factors that stimulate muscle growth – progressive tension overload and metabolic fatigue.

Progressive tension overload involves adding more weight to the bar over a given period of time. Let's say that you start out lifting 100 pounds for 4 sets of 6 repetitions. Every month, you add 5 pounds to the bar. In 12 months time, you'll be lifting 150 pounds. And your muscles will have become bigger and stronger to accommodate the extra weight. If you're not getting stronger, chances are you’re not getting much bigger either.

So your goal with the first exercise – the bench press – is to get stronger in the 4-6 rep range.

Bench Press 4 sets x 4-6 repetitions (2-4 minutes of rest between sets)

Lie back on a flat bench. Lift the bar from the rack and hold it straight over you with your arms locked. This will be your starting position. From the starting position, begin bringing the bar down slowly until the bar touches your middle chest. After a brief pause, push the bar back to the starting position as you breathe out. Focus on pushing the bar using your chest muscles.

You’ll be using a heavy weight that you can lift at least 4 times but no more than 6.

Your goal is to do a total of 20 reps across 4 sets. As soon as you hit that number, increase the weight by 2.5kg in the next workout.

So let’s say you do 2 sets of 6 and 2 sets of 4. That’s a total of 20 reps (6+6+4+4 = 20), which means you can increase the weight in the next workout.

You might do a set of 6,2 sets of 5 and 1 set of 4. That also comes to 20 reps (6+5+5+4 = 20). Again, this means it’s time to increase the weight in the next workout.

But let’s say all you can manage is 2 sets of 5 and 2 sets of 4. That comes to just 18 reps (5+5+4+4). This means that you’ll keep the weight the same in the next workout, and aim to do more reps until you hit 20.

Incline Dumbbell Press 3 sets of 6-8 repetitions (1.5-2 minutes rest between sets)

Lie back on an incline bench with a dumbbell in each hand atop your thighs. Then, using your thighs to help push the dumbbells up, lift the dumbbells one at a time so that you can hold them at shoulder width.

Exercise two is the incline dumbbell press. The change in angle shifts more of the work to the upper part of the chest. You’ll also be taking slightly less rest between sets, which is going to increase the level of fatigue in the chest, shoulders and triceps.

This time, your goal is to do a total of 21 reps across 3 sets. As soon as you hit that number, increase the weight in the next workout.

Dumbbell Flyes OR Cable Crossover 4 sets of 10 repetitions (30-40 seconds rest between sets)

Lower dumbbells to sides until chest muscles are stretched with elbows fixed in slightly bent position. Bring dumbbells together in hugging motion until dumbbells are nearly together. Repeat.

The second stimulus for muscle growth is metabolic fatigue. This is all about "going for the burn" and training in a way that makes your muscles feel like they're on fire. And that’s exactly what the final exercise in the chest workout is going to do.

Pick a weight that you can do for 15 reps, but in the first set just do 10. Now rest for 30 seconds, then do 10 more. Rest for 30 seconds and go for another 10. Rest 30 seconds and do one final all-out set.

Although the first set will seem easy, the fact that you’re only resting for 30-40 seconds will mean that the last set or two will be hard work. In fact, you might not even be able to do 10 reps in the final set.

As soon as you’re able to do 10 reps in all 4 sets, increase the weight for the next workout.