One of my most frequent inquiries in the gym is an exercise for greater development of a particular muscle group. The issue most have isn’t exercise selection but an adjustment to their overall routine. Take for example a common bench press day which will include multiple angle presses for 9+ sets, some sort of fly, and maybe some bodyweight movements to burn out. The problem with these workouts is presumed fatigue based on how pumped you are or how heavy your water bottle feels post workout. This is not the best gauge of a well-developed session. You want to be tired, you want to be sore and you want to be swollen after you leave the gym, but what is the real directive? Isn’t the goal to become stronger and/or improve your physique? Many times these are not related. Being sore isn’t always an indicator that you’re producing hypertrophy and being tired not one for training efficiently. To build mass with your bench, include these 3 exercises in your next routine.
Use a lighter weight here (50% of what you’d typically bench for given reps) and make sure you’ve properly warmed up. See Modern Mobility Chest. With hands slightly wider than shoulders, slowly lower (for 3 seconds) bar to your neck. Use a spotter here. Pause for a second and press back up.
Slight Incline Fly
A slight incline can provide the benefits you want growth-wise while saving your shoulders from possible injury by over stress. There are a few adjustments to make the most out of this movement to potentiate hypertrophy. Stretch for 1-2 seconds at the bottom. Make sure you still have tension on your chest and don’t go so deep that your shoulders ache. Twist at the top of the movement. Your hands will go from neutral to a pronated position. Bump up the Volume. Use medium to high reps and perform 4+ sets.
Bent Over Row
Although this is not a chest exercise, I’ve found adding this to my bench routine has helped develop not only a bigger bench but has improved my physique as well. I will use this as a true superset with flat bench for a chest and back day or sometimes as a singular back movement. Although not many studies regarding agonist/antagonist supersets for hypertrophy have been published, research does indicate that this type of training can produce an increase of work due to muscles possibly working together more efficiently.
A1) Bench Press (1x10, 1x8, 1x6, 1x20)
A2) Bent Over Row (4x10)
Want to bring up a lagging body part? Choose 1 of these 3 finishers.
- Biceps: Alternating Bicep Curls - Run the Rack
This classic bicep behemoth is a favorite of Renegade Founder John Davies. Start with the lightest dumbbell you can find and perform 6 reps per arm. Without resting, progressively work your way up the rack. Once you reach a weight where you can only perform 1 rep, start scaling back down the rack performing as many reps as possible.
- Triceps: Kneeling Cable Extensions 4x12
- Back: Sternum Pull Up 3x6 // Use bands if needed
Although you’re not performing your traditional bench press as your primary movement, you may find this to be a more efficient direction if you’re seeking overall mass. Have fun with this routine, and keep us updated. #BeUltimate
Prepared by Nik Ohanian
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