Exclusive Chest Shockers: We Expose The Best-Kept Secrets From The Experts

Partial Press

Why do it:

“If you stop a set due to your inability to complete a full rep, you’re not taking the muscle to its true limit,” says Jim Stoppani, PhD. “If instead you continue with partial reps until you can no longer budge the weight, you’ll know you’ve taxed the muscle to its absolute limit.” For chest, partial reps are great on Smith machine presses, other chestpress machines and the dumbbell press. Since the triceps play a major role in the top half of the range of motion (ROM) when pressing, you often have to end the set when the triceps fail, not the chest. By doing reps in the lower half or three-quarters of your bench press ROM (after reaching full-ROM failure), your triceps are no longer the limiting factor and you can take your pecs to full fatigue.

What to do:

On the last set or two of any or all of the aforementioned exercises, go to full-ROM failure, then continue doing reps in the lower half to three-quarters of the ROM (all the way down, but stopping well short of full extension) until you can no longer push the weight to the halfway point.

Rehab! Pecs Admitted For Fatigue

Why do it:

The pre-exhaustion technique, in which you do single-joint exercises before compound movements in a given workout (the opposite of what most people typically do), is especially useful for chest training. Reason being, the triceps often tire before the pecs on pressing exercises. By doing your isolation work first, you all but guarantee that the pecs will fatigue first, which, after all, is the whole point of training chest. Besides, anything different is a good bet for sparking new gains. “With this reverse order of exercises, you’ll hit the pecs in a unique way, giving your chest muscles a stimulus they’re not used to,” Ryno says.

What to do:

The next time you train chest, do all isolation exercises (cable crossovers, flyes, pullovers) first in your workout, making sure to exhaust your pecs by any means necessary training to failure using such techniques as drop sets, rest-pauses, etc. Follow that with your pressing moves (flat, incline or decline dumbbell and/or barbell presses). Exercise selection should go something like this: 2-3 isolation exercises followed by 2-3 compound moves.

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