T Nation

chest prioritization

t-men & t-vixens, i need your input. i want to do a three week chest prioritization cycle. if you are wondering why its only three weeks, my workout partner and i plan on starting meltdown, and he wont be in town for a while. so i figured id go ahead and work on my chest. so heres the deal. i want to train chest directly twice a week. to prevent overtraining, i plan on severely cutting back the work i do for other body parts (maybe down to five sets or so). anywho, i was wondering if anybody had suggestions as to how to split up my workouts. should i do the same movements on both days and vary the weight (ie, heavy/light)? should i use different movements for each day? what about volume on one day and HIT on another? any input would be much appreciated. thanks.


you sound like every 18 year old I ever come across. Chest, chest, chest, let me guess next your gonna periodize arms! I doubt that your need for chest development has to do with your lack of chest. I bet if you focused on a back program, your chest would then grow. How is your pull up and row strength compared to your pressing?

thanks for the show of respect, scott. im looking to prioritize my chest because it is dwarfed by my back. i seem to be a “shoulder-bencher,” and thus my chest doesnt seem to respond well to anything. ive had decent results with a pre-exhaustion/decline press combo, and am currently using don alessi’s upper chest program and seeing some results. on the other hand, my back is easily my best body part. ive had to scale down my back routine primarily because i dont look like the same person from the front as i do from behind. and i dont think it would be a stretch to say that i have developed a muscle imbalance between my strong back and weak chest. thus the reason i was asking for suggestions on a decent chest prioritization. ill just assume that somebody pissed in scott’s wheaties and pose my original question in hopes that someone would care to help me out. thanks again.

Nate, some people just seem to be shoulder benchers. I think I may be in the same boat as you. You might try relying heavily on adduction type movements such as flyes or the pec deck(I am only suggesting this for chest development, you would want to keep the bench in for horizontal pushing strength or at least something similar).I like dumbells better as well over barbells, but mix them up.Bench presses to the sternum with feet elevated really hit thechest as well. Keep a controlled tempo.Weighted dips are pretty damn good too. as far as your split, maybe hypertrophy one day, neural the next. This may help you recruit more fibers. Or try two days of different exercises with moderate to high volume. Hope this helps a bit…Mike

Nate, first question: Do you actually FEEL your chest working when you are training? Next is IT actually sore the next day after? Then if yes to both questions I would try staggered loading with varying loading/tempos. (Like what Mike said).Try doing heavy 6-8 reps 3/1/2, multiple sets on “Monday” (for example) and (provided it’s recovered) do a “feeder” workout higher reps (10-15) 2/0/2 tempo with less sets. Again this will really only work if you can a)fully recover between workouts and b)you answered yes to each of the above questions. If not, leave a note and I’ll maybe be able to give you a tip on how to actually FEEL your chest work instead of your shoulders (like you eluded to in your message). I used to have the same problem with not feeling my chest work maybe it’ll help.

ted & mike m, thank you for the replies. in regards to ted’s questions, i feel my chest working during most chest exercises. coincidentally, the exercises which i dont quite feel it working are the incline and flat presses. and although i am able to achieve a slight pump, this has lead me to believe that i am a shoulder presser. on the other hand, i feel my chest working more during declines and the ‘feet-up-press-to-the-neck’ variation. and yes, my chest gets EXTREMELY sore a day after my workouts. so after reading your suggestions, ive decided to incorporate a hypertrophy day and a neural day. i think i might use super-slow flies and lengthen the pause i take at the bottom of all pressing movements. i think these two adjustments should help, but since ted mentioned it, any other bits of advice as to how to feel my chest better. thanks again guys. ill keep you posted on the results.

Alright I’m wrong, but its usually the case for 99% of people. Here is one of my best routines I found for bringing out the chest. ( Fly to press combo, On Incline using a fly weight failing at 6- 8 reps Pronated hands with a 2 second pause at the bottom, rest 10 sec and use a heavier weight for DB Press hands facing eachother with a 322 tempo. Start with the incline bench set high lower on the second set and 3 and 4 set use a flat bench. Finish with 1 drop set of 5\5\5 on Incline cable flys. The following week do the first part with incline cable flys, and finish with the drop set on db fly to press