Hookups: Chest & Bands?
Why do it:
Including various types of resistances in your pec training is great for shocking the muscles into getting bigger and stronger. You accomplish this by training with free weights, cables and machines, each of which applies a slightly different form of resistance. But another way to work the muscles entails using elastic bands. Mark finds bands especially beneficial on the Smith machine bench press. “Using bands increases the total workload placed on the muscle while unloading some of the weight at the bottom of each rep [where you’re weaker] and increasing it at the top [where you’re at a mechanical advantage],” he says.
What to do:
The next time you do the Smith machine bench press, secure a band from the bar (just outside the weight plates) to the bottom of the rack on each side. You’ll have to load the machine with less weight than usual to account for the added resistance of the bands.
Your technique won’t change, but you’ll notice the resistance increases as you press the bar up. Do 2-3 sets in this manner, then either move on to your next exercise or do a set or two more without the bands.
Running It For Gains Made Easy
Why do it:
With rest-pauses, you extend a set by giving yourself more rest between reps, but sometimes doing some good hardcore drop sets, where you essentially don’t rest at all, is just what your pecs need to start growing. In this case, we’re dealing with dumbbell presses (either flat or incline bench), which means you’ll be running the rack. “This overload of continuous sets will really shock those stubborn pecs,” says Jim Ryno, owner of LIFT, a private personal-training facility in Ramsey, New Jersey (inside lift. com). “This technique works best with virtually no rest between sets, so be sure to move quickly when changing weights.”
What to do:
On flat or incline dumbbell presses, select weights that you would normally lift for a set of eight reps. Complete the set as usual, but instead of stopping, immediately go back to the rack, take a pair of dumbbells that are 20 pounds lighter and rep those out to failure. Proceed down the rack in 20 pound increments, going to failure with each weight until you’re literally using 15-20-pound dumbbells.
Do this 2-3 times total as your last sets for compound exercises that day.