Do you want big pecs? Do you want a lot of friends? Do you want to make men envious at the beach and women halfway accepting of your overused flying-catch football pick up technique? Try this workout and feel the burn.
This method is called pre-fatigue, and is a staple in the workouts of older lifters and strong bodybuilders everywhere. The idea is that by working your muscles with a small, or assistance exercise prior to doing a big lift you’ll recruit more muscle fibers for the big lift, thereby targeting that muscle more completely, and hitting both fast twitch and slow twitch muscle fibers. I’ve seen this done a variety of ways, and most people will lie to you about it’s effectiveness. Don’t be fooled. This does work, and it’s great if you have an injury, or want to keep from getting one.
It’s not just a bodybuilding technique for mass monsters with something to prove. This can be utilized by women and children of all ages to change their physique and grow stronger without fear of injury, especially around sensitive areas like the low back, knees, and shoulders.
Another big plus is that it increases the mind muscle connection, so that way when you’re working a muscle, you won’t just be moving weight around for the fun of it, and you wont be lifting the pink dumbbells just for something to do. If you can successfully master this technique, you’ll be more in tune with what your body is comfortable with, and what you need to do to alter your body composition.
“But Nate” you say, “This is all well and good, but I didn’t come to this site for science, I came to launch a holy war on my body during chest day!” Well, here you go.
Start your chest routine with a good warmup to get the blood moving. Always necessary. Then, when your shoulders are properly warmed up, go find that chest fly machine. If you don’t have one, go grab an entire cable crossover and make EVERYONE at the gym wait for you. Take about 5 minutes between sets and insist that no one else can work on your machine while you’re sitting. This is very important.
Kidding. About 90 seconds max rest.
Take the cable, and set it to a weight that you can do quite a few with. Now do 50 reps. At the end, your chest should be burning, BUT YOU SHOULD BE NOWHERE NEAR EXHAUSTION. If you are, you’re doing it wrong, go back to the elliptical.
Rest a minute or two, then do it again. And again. And again. 4 sets of 50 is plenty if you’re a stud. If you’re just getting back into working out, 2-3 sets of 25-40 should be enough. Again, listen to your body. If it’s telling you that it’s revolting against your authority, and if you do another rep, it’s going to stop letting you have access to your arms for a week, it would be wise to take it down a notch. If on the other hand, you aren’t even feeling it after the first set, raise that weight.
Here’s the most important part. That mind muscle connection all your friends are always talking about. When you do a rep, make sure to squeeze that muscle and engage it as best you can. This should make it significantly harder, and you might be humbled if you see this technique through to the end of the workout. You also will be pleased with your results if you continue to use you mind to work out instead of brute force. Yes, I’m talking you ladies.
So, when you finish with your light, but hellish first exercise, your chest should be feeling like it’s been hydraulically pumped full of blood and battery acid. Still, you should not be tired, This is just your warm up. There’s a difference between having a ‘burn’ or a ‘pump’ and having muscular fatigue and breakdown. It might take you a couple tries to get it right, but if you do it wrong, I promise you’ll know.
Now that you’re all set up for success, go grab a bench press, because I know you love benching. If you’re really awesome, go grab some dumbbells and lie down on a bench and use those instead
4 sets of 8-12 should be plenty. Go light, you’re in for a treat with how your chest feels. It might be kind of like this…
So, here it is again.
4 sets of 50 on light chest flies (high, low, cable, machine, etc. Mix it up)
4 sets of 12 on dumbbell Bench press.
That should be enough, but if you’re really feeling masochistic and like you’ve got some more in you, find the closest piece of floor and try to knock out 100 pushups. If it takes you longer than 4 minutes, pick yourself up and either go home, or work your lower body. You’ve had enough.