Build Your Chest Quickly with the Pre-Exhaust Method
by Gino Edwards
Few bodybuilders will disagree that the chest is just about the easiest part of the body to develop. It is!
It is also one of the most impressive areas once you have built your pectorals. “Gee look at the guy’s chest!” is a not uncommon remark when the uninitiated first set eyes on a bodybuilder.
The chest is also the most pleasurable area to exercise, mainly because most chest exercises are done in the supine position. Lying on a bench on your back. Who could ask for anything more comfortable?
Recently the bench press has come in for a lot of criticism. Some say it’s not a very good chest builder, while others say that it is definitely the number-one chest exercise. One thing is for sure; the great Arnold Schwarzenegger practiced the bench press an awful lot, and he believed it contributed to ninety percent of his chest development. Another man, Serge Nubret of Paris, France, a Mr. Universe winner known to have one of the most perfect chest developments of all time, practices the bench press exclusively. He just does not get much from the other chest exercises, and accordingly they are eliminated from his exercise routine.
There is a degree of truth in the statement that the bench press is not suited to the barrel-chested individual, that his rib-box is so big that it prevents the bar lowering far enough to really stretch the pecs Even so, men like Kal Szkalak and Mike Katz, both of whom appear to have very deep rib-boxes, seem to have built huge muscles with the use of the regular bench presses. Szkalak, of course, practices other chest movements, especially incline presses. His chest is considered to be the biggest in the world. That is to say, he has the biggest muscular chest in the world at this time. Katz is a close second.
Vince Gironda, owner of Vince’s Gym (11262 Ventura Blvd., North Hollywood, California), was never famous for having big pecs, but he was noted for the shape of his chest. “I believe, ” says Vince, “that the bench press is inferior to the parallel-bar dip exercise when it comes to building the chest muscles. I know that performance of dips using a 32-inch-wide hand spacing, chin on chest and feet held forward, is the best chest builder of them all! This especially builds the upper and outer part of the pectorals., and gives and appearance of flair and taper. When you are outside in the sun, or even under the stage lights at a contest, you will look wide instead of appearing all bunched up!”
Powerlifters have big chests. They should have! They follow a fundamental principle that is essential for most of us to adhere to if we want to get bigger. Each workout, they use as much weight as they can to better their powerlifting totals. Even so, few powerlifters have chests that compare to a special bodybuilder’s development because the bodybuilder involves himself more with a restricted diet to bring about a greater degree of muscular definition — a quality that few powerlifters even want to consider. In addition, the bodybuilder will pose his chest a lot, all of which brings out qualities of muscle shape and striation. The powerlifter does not have to show his wares. He has to develop skill and strength only. For him posing is out!
Remember to warm up correctly before doing all chest exercises. If you can bench a couple of hundred, then warm up with no more than 120. Warm up for each movement, too. Just because your pecs are tuned in to heavy bench presses doesn’t mean that you can throw yourself immediately into a heavy set of flyes. Warm up carefully for the flyes, too. Chris Dickerson severely injured his right pectoral because he used too much weight without warming up. Although the injury is healed now, he still has the “imperfection” of a torn pectoral, as can be seen from a close study of his photographs. It doesn’t seem to have prevented him being acclaimed one of the world’s top bodybuilders, though. But it did prevent him from training as he may have wanted prior to his circuit comeback.
Your status as a bodybuilder is dependent on the development of all your muscles. Never forget that. You may find that your chest grows excessively fast. Don’t get carried away with it all and perform more and more sets. These is such a thing as over development of the chest, although it is not seen so much today as it used to be. Top stars like Mike Mentzer and Casey Viator have definitely not gone overboard with their pectoral development, as did numerous champions of the preceding era. Reg Park admitted that he, at one time, had over-developed his chest. He simply cut down on his exercises do that his pecs slowly got smaller. A chance remark about him needing a bra by a friend, because his chest was so huge, made him see the light. He reduced his chest from 55″ to 53″. Yes, pectorals can be overdeveloped, so take it easy if you are getting too chesty. There are sure to be other muscles that need more attention.
There are many areas to the chest, and each has specific exercises that work the particular area in question. The upper chest, for example, is worked by any form of incline pressing. The ideal angle is between 29 and 45 degrees. Lower pecs are mobilized by decline work, where the head is considerably lower than the legs. Outer pecs are worked with wide-grip presses of all kinds and, of course, wide parallel-bar dips. For those who need more inner pec, you should perform close-grip bench presses or crossover flyes with cables.
Your New Chest Building Schedule:
The following chest schedule is designed to work the entire chest area. Top — Middle –Bottom. We will incorporate the Pre-Exhaust Principle so that maximum gains will be felt in the shortest possible time. The idea behind Pre-Exhaust is to tire out the smaller muscles in order to create a weak link in the body. Then when a combination movement is performed, the deepest cells of the weak-link muscle are dramatically stimulated, and in a way that no other system could duplicate. In the case of the chest, we are going to pre-fatigue (pre-exhaust) the pectoral area., with both incline and supine flyes. Then –Pow! We will bring fn the barbell for the kill.
Follow the routine exactly. Add no other exercises.
1. Flat Flyes:
Lie on your back while holding a pair of dumbbells, allowing your arms to bend slightly, lower them to the side at right angles to the body. Raise and repeat for one set of twelve hard reps.
2. Incline Flyes:
Immediately follow the previous exercise with a further twelve reps of incline flying. Again, allow the arms to bend slightly while holding a pair of dumbbells. Use as much weight as you can in good form.
3. Decline Bench Press:
Now the heavy artillery. Adopt a declined position, as shown. Since your pectorals have been pre-fatigued by the two lots of flyes, and the triceps are entirely fresh (and strong), this barbell pressing will bring about the most sensation growth prompting pump you’ve ever experienced.
Perform the sequence a total of three times. Do not rest between sets, but allow yourself a one-minute rest after the decline barbell presses. You will see great results. More than you can believe.