Phase One: Chest Mastery

Duration: eight weeks

Monday: Upperbody (shoulder focus)  

  • Weighted Pull-ups: 3 sets - 5, 6, 8 reps (reverse pyramid training)
  • Standing Barbell Press: 3 sets - 4-6, 6-8, 8-10 reps (reverse pyramid training)
  • Incline Dumbbell Flyes: 12-15 reps + 4 sets x 4-6 reps (rest pause) 
  • Hammer Curls: 12, 10, 8, 6 (standard pyramid)
  • Lateral Raises: 12-15 reps + 4 sets x 4-6 reps (rest-pause training) 

Wednesday: Lower Body

  • Trap Bar Deadlifts (or Sumo): 5 sets of 6 reps (kino rep training) 
  • Reverse lunges: 4 sets x 6-8 (kino rep training) 
  • Leg Extensions: 12, 10, 8, 6 (standard pyramid)
  • Leg Curls: 12, 10, 8, 6 (standard pyramid) 
  • Leaning One Arm Shrug: 4 sets of 10-12 reps (kino rep training) 

Friday: Upperbody (Chest Focus) 

  • Incline DB Bench Press: 3 sets - 4-6, 6-8, 8-10 reps (reverse pyramid training)
  • Flat Barbell Bench Press: 3 sets - 4-6, 6-8, 8-10 reps (reverse pyramid training)
  • Incline Dumbbell Curls: 3 sets - 4-6, 6-8, 8-10 reps (reverse pyramid training)
  • DB Skull Crushers: 3 sets - 6-8, 8-10, 10-12 reps (reverse pyramid training) 
  • Cable Rows: 12, 10, 8, 6 (pyramid) 
  • Face Pulls: 1 set x 12-15 reps + 4 sets x 4-6 reps (rest pause) 

Notes:

Perform 2-3 warmup sets for the first two exercises of each workout. (With the exception of Friday’s workout; just perform warm up sets for the incline bench, nothing else.)

For reverse pyramid training, rest 2-3 minutes between sets. Drop the weight 10% each set. For pyramid training rest just 40 seconds between sets. Finally, for kino rep training rest 2 minutes between sets and take full rest (3 minutes) before going into your heavy set. For rest pause training rest just 15 seconds between sets. 

For weighted pull-ups aim to add 2.5 lbs to each set, each week. For sumo/trap bar deads, aim to add 5 lbs each week. For other movements, build up to the top end of the rep range on all three sets, before increasing the weight the next week. 

For pyramid training, only increase the weight when you can perform 12, 10, 8, 6 reps with just 30-40 seconds rest between sets. For rest pause training rest 15 seconds between sets. When it becomes easy, increase the weight. 

** If you plateau on an exercise two weeks in a row. I recommend rotating exercises and performing a different variation. Ex: stall on incline db bench press then switch to barbell. Pull-ups switch to biceps curls. Flat barbell bench, switch to dumbbell bench. Overhead press, switch to dumbbell shoulder press seated. 

** If you don’t have a machine row. You can perform chest to bar pull ups (sternum pull ups). Bodyweight rows. Or bent over DB or Barbell rows. If you don’t have a leg extension, you can perform front foot elevated split squats. If you don’t have a leg curl, you can perform single leg Romanian deadlifts or lying leg curls on a stability ball or glute ham raise. If you don't’ have a cable for face pulls, you can perform bent over flyes on a bench. 

The Philosophy Behind the Workouts

When it comes to building a phenomenally developed chest, it’s a matter of getting strong on core chest movements--bench press and incline press.

To accelerate muscle growth on the chest, adding some chest flyes helps to fill in the gap and bring in more size.

On this routine, you’ll be blasting your chest on Friday with three sets of heavy incline bench and three sets of heavy flat bench. The chest responds really well to heavy weight and longer rest periods.

On Monday, you’ll be indirectly working the chest from standing presses; this will provide you with some extra upper chest work.

In addition, you’ll also be destroying the chest with incline dumbbell flyes, rest-pause style. This is very effective at triggering sarcoplasmic muscle gains and adding more size and volume to the chest.

I recommend using a modest angle with the incline bench. Don’t go too steep; 30 degrees is perfect.