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One of our personal trainers, trained a Freshman Football Player for Georgetown University using this routine, and our weight gain diet. His Bench Press increased from 260lbs to 325lbs and as a Freshman this Year he got the starting job as Fullback on a National Championship Football Team. His BODY WEIGHT INCREASED from 188lbs to 219lbs.This sound yet simple approach will add serious pounds to your best bench in just 21 days - as much as 40 pounds and in some cases even more. And best of all, you'll put on some serious muscle in the process.
Scrap your current chest routine. This is a must! In order for this plan to work you must follow it exactly as it is presented. So commit your self to approximately 5 chest workouts following this method. You know it's time for a change anyway or else you wouldn't be reading this. After you see the results you'll make it your only chest routine.
Train chest on a day by itself or only with triceps. That's it. Do not train with shoulders or any other body part. This is important!
No forced reps in this routine! You train to positive failure only! Forced reps are detrimental to a good mass and strength building program. I know you've heard different but it's a fact. Forced reps do more harm than good.
Step 4 - The Plan - "5 Sets to More Muscle and More Strength!"
We will be concentrating on straight bar bench presses on a flat bench. After all, we are trying to up our maximum weight on the bench press, right!? Right! Not to mention the fact that straight bar flat bench is the most effective chest exercise there is and the most effective compound movement for building size and strength for the upper body. We will also hit the upper and lower chest, rounding out a complete chest routine that will have the weights soaring and your pecs exploding withgrowth.
The warm up.
This is one area where everybody screws up. Warm up sets are just that - warm ups. Nothing more. Don't make them into anything more than that! Most people do this and don't even realize it. Warm up sets are used only for warming the muscle up to prevent any possible injuries. Some lifters need more warm up sets than others. Most people need very little - less than they realize. I get by just fine with no more than three warm ups- usually only two and sometimes just one. My philosophy is -"If every set - every rep - you do isn't building muscle, then it's a waste of time!" Can anyone argue with that?
I'm going to use a max bench as the maximum weight you can perform 4 or 5 reps with. The goal here is to add 40 pounds to this weight in 3 weeks. I will use 365 as a max weight for reference. That's 365 for 4 or 5 reps. In three weeks that will be 405 for 4 or 5 reps.
The first warm up.
As usual, warm up with 135 pounds. Do about 15 reps. Nice and smooth, warming up the muscle.
The second warm up.
After resting for about 2 minutes, jump to 225. Do 4 good smooth reps. Again, warming up the muscles.
The third warm up.
After resting another 2 minutes or so, jump to 315 and do 1 good smooth rep. Warm up is done. You're now ready to start building muscle and strength.
Warming up this way allows for maximum muscle preparation without fatiguing the muscle group and thus zapping strength - you don't want that to happen.
The first set.
Slap on 365 pounds and do 4 to 6 explosive reps. By explosive I mean after a moderate downward speed to the chest you want a forceful acceleration up and off the chest. Let the weight touch and sink down into your chest right at the base of your sternum. Explode upward with power. As you press the weight upward you should do so at an angle - about 80 degrees. Very much like a powerlifter would bench. Do not bounce the weight. When you find the comfort range on how much or far you let the weightsink into your chest and just how to explode upward and back then you will be able to perform this technique very effectively. Just perfecting this technique alone will allow you to bench more weight. Quite a bit more actually.
When you lock out each rep, pause for only a very short amount of time. Don't attempt to rest at lock out. It won't work. The longer you hold the weight, the quicker you'll become fatigued. Again, fatigue does not build muscle. Fatigue hampers muscle growth. Fatigue fatigues.
You must understand the 4-6 rep philosophy. 4 to 6 reps means that you use a weight that will allow you to get at least 4 reps but no more than 6. If you can't do 4 reps with the weight then you need to lighten up. If you are doing 6 or more, you need to go heavier. This is important to the success of this routine. And as you'll learn, this rep scheme is important for efficient, fast muscle development no matter what body part you are working.
Rest between sets. How much?
This is important. You want to rest enough to recover as much as possible before doing your next set. None of this 1 minute crap. More like 3 to 5 minutes. You're not circuit training. Fatigue is not intensity. Fatigue is fatigue. Short rest periods promote quick fatigue. Fatigue limits overload and fatigue limits growth. You're trying to add muscle and strength - not endurance. You need to recuperate between sets to be able to handle the amount of weight your muscles need to grow. The chestmuscles are large and require more rest than something like biceps or shoulders.
After adequate rest you're ready for your second set.
The second and third set.
Easy, just do exactly like you did the first set. Same weight - same reps - providing of course the amount used in the first set kept you in the 4-6 range. If not, you need to adjust accordingly. After the second set rest the same way as well.
Same as second set. Simple, huh?
Okay, flat bench is done. 3 heavy sets and you're finished with flat bench.
Never, never do this!
Here is one of the biggest mistakes most lifters make - both beginners and experienced alike. For some unexplained (at least not rationally explained) reason lifters have this need to do a "burn-out" set as their last set to an exercise. Why? What is this accomplishing? I'll tell you. Nothing - except impede the muscle growth and certainly the strength gaining process - not to mention it's a total waste of time, energy, and effort. Remember, every set, every rep, every workout shouldbuild muscle. This will not be accomplished with light weight and high reps no matter how intensely you do the set.
Never - never - never - do a final set of an exercise where you drop the weight and try to pump out a bunch of reps to get that pumped or burning feeling. This does "zilch" for building muscle and strength. In fact, I feel it stops growth in its tracks. At the very best it stagnates progress. It's worthless and counter productive. Always end an exercise with a maximum effort set of 4 to 6 reps. This is very important!
You see, I have a theory of "muscle-memory". You've probably heard this term before because it's used for many descriptions - most of them wrong. I believe your muscles remember or respond to on an adaptation basis, the last weight used in an overload attempt (a set) - and compensate for growth and strength on the basis of this last set. If that last attempt was a heavy 4-6 rep weight they will respond to that overload. They will grow! If it is a low weight, high rep"burn-out" set then the muscle being trained will adapt according to that overload. They will not grow. If you want strength and size then you want your muscles to remember the last set performed before recovery starts taking place to be an all out heavy attempt of high intensity overload. This is the last trauma the muscles will be subjected to before recovery (growth - adaptation) starts. This is the overload the muscles will remember when they adjust (grow) to meet that demandduring recuperation.
Just about finished!
After annihilating the flat bench you should rest about 5 more minutes. Head over to the incline bench. You want to set it at about 30 degrees. Remember, you're working chest not shoulders. Most inclines are done way too steep. Don't make this mistake. 30 degrees puts your body at a perfect angle for hitting upper chest.
I never need a warm up at this point. However, if you do or think you do, warm up with a light weight for about 5 or 6 reps. When you are ready, put on some serious weight. Again, heavy enough to where you can only perform 4 to 6 reps. You do this set very similar to the flat bench. Descend with moderate speed (not too fast - not too slow) - touch your chest right below your collar bone and explode upward.
Only one set here. That's all. Just one heavy set of inclines. Remember, explode upward off your chest.
This is the last movement of the routine. Nothing like weighted dips to really make you strong. Jump on the dip bar and do 5 real deep strict reps with no weight. Dip! You're working chest here, not triceps or shoulders. So make sure you dip in a smooth arch - down and back - concentrating the movement on the chest. Rest adequately and then strap on the weight. Again, heavy - heavy - heavy, for 4 to 6 reps. Go deep and explode upward. One solid set here and you're done.
That's it. 5 total heavy sets for your chest and you're finished. If performed correctly with the right intensity you will have done more for muscle growth with these 5 sets than most lifters do in 5 months.
After a workout like this you'll feel different than usual. You'll feel a deep dull ache. This is normal. You won't feel that burn most of you are used to. You know that burn you get from high reps that do nothing but burn - burn up muscle. The soreness sets in about 24 hours afterwards.
You should train chest about every 5 days. So, on this program you'll do about 4 full chest routines. And your max bench will be noticeably higher - about 40 pounds higher.
This is a very intense and heavy way to train chest that's definitely not for meek or mild, but as you'll see in a few short weeks it produces! Watch as your bench goes up each workout. It's a good feeling, a strong feeling.
This training approach is called Maximum Overload Training™ or MAX OT™. Over the past 3 years MAX OT has helped thousands of lifters add many thousands of pounds to all their lifts. You can apply this technique to all body parts. It is equally effective for every muscle group. The entire approach stimulates maximum growth in minimum time. Which, as far as I am concerned, is the only way to train.
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