If you are a competitor, currently prepping for your first show, planning to compete, or know someone who is- I ask that you read or share this. Not because I want tons of views, but because I wish I would have stumbled across this information before it was too late. After 6 years, 8 shows, 6 preps, and a pro card.. these are some of the most important lessons I have learned.
1. The grass always seems to be greener on the other side.
This is what I call the “competitor paradox”, and you’re lying if you say it isn’t true. You find yourself six weeks out from your first show- hungry, tired, mentally exhausted- but nonetheless, shredded as crap. You’ve worked so hard, grinding to perfection for “X” number of weeks, only to find yourself that close to competition. You would think you
Arm circles- 4 sets of 15 seconds each way, alternating between small and large circles. (yes, just like in gym class).
Internal rotation- using thera-bands or a cable handle attachment, do 3×15 reps of internal rotation (see I-1)
Light warm up sets- Before starting your working sets, make sure to do 2-3 very light sets to familiarize the movement and bring blood to the chest.
Additional warm-up options- Push-ups, Front raises, light triceps extension.
Neutral grip dumbbell press: 4×8;120-180s
Set-up:You will need a flat bench and a pair of dumbbells. You’re naturally weaker with your hands turned in, so make sure you go a tad lighter than a normal dumbbell press.
Execution: Execute the lift much like a DB bench press, except turn the dumbbells so that your palm’s are facing each other. Press the dumbbells upward until they are 1-2inches apart, and your elbows are just short of lockout. Then, descend in a slow and controlled
Tips: It helps some people to imagine this lift as a chest fly with bent elbows. Also, make sure to emphasize the squeeze of your chest at the peak- this is what makes this lift special.
Incline dumbbell fly: 3×12; 120s rest.
Set-up: You will need an incline bench and a pair off dumbbells. If you only have an adjustable bench, set it on the lowest incline setting possible.
Execution:Start with the dumbbells at the tops of motion, not out at your sides (notice direction of arrows in picture). Begin by opening your arms in a controlled fashion until you reach a deep
stretch of your chest. Your arms should be slightly bent as if you were hugging a wide tree. Then, bring your arms back together until you reach a solid contraction- repeat.
Tips:It’s common for people to go too heavy with this exercise. If you notice the muscle action feel primarily coming the shoulders, or your arm’s excessively bending, the weight is probably too heavy.
Smith machine incline press: 3×12; super-set, no rest.
Set-up: You will need an adjustable bench. Set it fairly steep. Now, the hard part, adjust the bench so the bar will evenly lower to the top 3rd of your chest. It may take a couple re-adjustments. Your hand grip should be slightly narrower than a normal bench press, since it has been shown to recruit more muscle fibers for the upper chest.
Execution:Start by unlocking the bar and lowering it to your chest. Make sure you
exaggerate the stretch in your pecs as you lower. Once the bar touches your chest, or gets 1-2 inches away ( for this less flexible), press it back up until just before lockout- repeat.
Tips: I mentioned that the bench should be steep. By this, I mean 1-2 clicks steeper than your average incline angle. I typically use this exercise as a go-to for my upper chest-shoulder tie-in.
Decline cable crossover: 3×12- 120s rest.
Set-up: You will need two cable pulleys. Set them at the highest adjustment. Grab each handle, and step forward with one leg. Your body should be slightly leaned forward.
Execution: Pull your arms inward until your forearms cross, and you feel a strong pectoral contraction. Then, return to the starting position. When you perform the following rep, alternate which arm crosses above/below. Repeat this pattern throughout the entire set.
Tips: This is a pump/squeeze exercise, not the type to load up the weight. Focus on clean, strong, contractions with good form. Try your best to target the squeeze in your lower chest.
Push-up drill: 1×20-100 reps; 10s rests as needed.
Set-up: You will need a stop-watch and perfect push-up handles. You don’t NEED the handles, but I prefer them for wrist health.
Execution:This is a burnout drill. Pick a number between 20 and 100. If you’re good at push-ups, pick a higher number. If you aren’t good at push-ups, pick a lower
number. The goal is to complete the total number of push-ups you have selected with the fewest breaks possible. You will only get 10 seconds with each break, so don’t get comfortable.
Tips: Write down the number of rests it takes to finish, and try to beat it each time. When you finally complete the entire set with no rests- raise the number. Try not to go to failure during your first bout, this will burn you out too soon. Instead, stop 1-2 reps short, and conserve some energy.
This concludes the chest workout. This workout will be great to pair with a push day (chest, triceps, shoulders), or simply paired with any one of the push muscles. I also pair chest with biceps from time-to-time.
Do 2-3 reps of each stretch for 10-20 seconds. Focus on breathing to allow a deeper stretch range of motion.
Click to enlarge.
God gave you another day, and another healthy workout.