Avoiding the Bench and Building the Chest

Résultat de recherche d'images pour "Building the Chest"This example of mixed method training is based around everyone’s favourite muscle group, the chest, for the strength and hypertrophy portions. It also incorporates running for conditioning. This can even be split up into two separate workouts, with one part in the gym and the second taking place outside later on in the day or even the next day.

Given that this workout focuses on different muscle groups for the strength component, there is no problem doing this the day after workout number two for those who wish to train two days consecutively.

Foam Rolling the Back

As always, a solid warm up is an integral part of the workout. For this particular session, it is possible to divide the warm up into two, doing the upper body rolling and stretches before the strength and hypertrophy and then warming up the lower body before the running.

For the upper body, here are the stretches recommmended:

  • Roll the thoracic spine.
  • Roll the trapezius and latissimus.
  • Roll the teres minor and infraspinatus.
  • chest stretch – the best way to do this is with a stretch band.
  • shoulder mobility and stretch. Take two very light dumbbells (five kilos or less is fine) and work through a shoulder press, and front, rear and lateral raises. This can be done for as many sets as are necessary until the shoulders feel loose and comfortable.

Strength and Hypertrophy

This part of the workout is going to use two movements, the dumbbell bench press and the decline close grip bench press. Many people look no further than the barbell bench press for upper body pushing, but for many people, this exercise aggravates the shoulders and becomes an ego exercise with sloppy form and a high injury potential.

For the first exercise, the aim is to work up to a heavy set of eight repetitions, then to back down to about 75-80 percent of this top set for multiple sets with short rest intervals. In practice, it should look something like this.

  • 8 reps with 15 kilos
  • 8 reps with 20
  • 5 reps with 25
  • 5 reps with 30
  • 3 reps with 35
  • 8 (or more) reps with 40
  • 8 reps with 35
  • As many sets as possible of 8 repetitions at 30 kilos with 60 seconds rest between sets.

For this last set, two things should be noted. First, the rest period is important. It should be a strict 60 seconds maximum. As fatigue sets in, it is tempting to rest more, but this defeats the point of the exercise. Secondly, the number of sets is not important. Stop when form starts to break down or it is impossible to complete eight reps. This might be two sets or as many as 10. When eight reps in good form is impossible, the job is done.

The decline close grip bench press is done in the same format as the dumbbell bench, but it is unnecessary to use as many sets to work up to the top set. Use a grip that is closer than a standard bench press, but doesn’t irritate the wrists.

Something like this should be fine.

  • 8 reps at 50 kilos
  • 5 reps at 70
  • 8 (or more) reps at 80
  • As many sets as possible of 8 reps at 60 kilos, stopping as previously when form fails or 8 reps is impossible.

After this, the chest, triceps and anterior delts should be fried. Take the time to stretch the upper body before moving on to the conditioning part.

Conditioning on the Track

The conditioning element here is sprinting. This session is based on a 400m track, but can be adapted to use anywhere. Around the outside of a park or football pitch will work just fine. For those who don’t sprint regularly, it is important to warm up thoroughly. Dynamic stretching for the hamstrings, quadriceps and calf muscles is a bare minimum. For many people, passive stretching and even rolling of the lower body is also a good idea.

Rather than just starting the first sprint flat out, it is also important to work through a series of accelerations gradually working up to top speed.

Each series of this running session involves one complete circuit of a 400m track. Depending on fitness levels, several series can be undertaken, although three should be enough for anyone if they are done properly.

Starting at the start line of the track, sprint around the bend (a distance of 100 metres) then walk back half the distance sprinted. Sprint once more,going from the 50 m mark to 150 m, before walking back 50 m to the 100 m mark. Going round the whole track like this involves seven sprints of 100 metres with 50 metre walk back recovery. These are sprints and should be flat out efforts.

Finish this session with a full stretch of all the lower body muscles holding each stretch for 15-30 seconds. Sprinting can lead to plenty of muscle soreness over the next couple of days, so this is a necessity.