Anyone can improve his or her upper chest if they apply concentrated effort and think outside the box of traditional chest training.
It’s one of the great ironies of weight training. The one day no man ever skips, and the favorite training day for many from early teenage years all the way to middle age and beyond, is chest. Yet when you take a good look at the pectoral development of the average serious weight trainer, there aren’t many chests that would be considered even above average. Of those that have managed to build significant thickness to their chests, only a fraction have complete development from top to bottom. The typical mass distribution tends to be greatest at the bottom portion of the pecs above the sternum and ribcage, and rapidly flattens out as you approach the collarbone. It’s just not a good look. When you stop and think about some of the best chests of all time, men like Arnold Schwarzenegger, they all had upper pecs that were thick as bricks, almost scraping their chins in a side chest pose. A bottom-heavy chest can almost give the appearance of breasts, whereas a dense, full upper chest to match is more reminiscent of a Roman Legionary’s armored breastplate. Many lifters I have spoken to have expressed their desire for a better chest, but they have consigned themselves to defeat after failing to develop the area. I’ve heard that upper pecs are “all genetic,” much like calves, forearms and bicep peaks. I don’t buy into that excuse for one minute. Anyone can improve his or her upper chest if they apply concentrated effort and think outside the box of traditional chest training. With that in mind, let me help you beef up your upper chest starting today.
Let me start off with some tough love. The reason most lifters’ upper chests suck is the same reason their hamstrings suck: neglect. Sure, you do some incline work, but when? The pattern I see with so many guys in the gym is to spend the first third of their chest session on a flat barbell bench press, doing something like four warm-up sets and six working sets, often attempting a one-rep max at every workout. This is a habit many have carried on from their adolescence, when the amount of weight you could bench press was a marker of your manhood. I know plenty of men who are 40 and older who are still very much concerned about “how much they bench,” as if anyone cared. So they expend vast amounts of limited time and energy on the flat bench, then maybe move on to some seated Hammer Strength chest piece like the wide or decline bench press, where they can load up four or maybe five plates a side and feel like Superman. Taxed by this point, they finally get to some type of incline press. By then, they’re at least halfway shot, gassed, lacking the energy and motivation to do any real justice to that exercise. Then they complain that their upper chests won’t grow. The only solution to this situation is to prioritize the upper chest by training it first on chest day. Stop worrying about your flat bench press. If you happen to lose a few pounds off your max, so what? If you’re in the gym to improve your physique, that should take precedence. By hitting your upper chest first thing, you will at last give it the energy and focus it’s been needing all along. You will be shocked at how well it responds once you make this one critical change.
Change the Angles Up
For decades, we have been indoctrinated to believe that the only effective angle for incline presses is 30 degrees. Any steeper, and the stress shifts entirely to the anterior delts. It sounds logical, and few of us ever questioned this dogma. The thing is, it’s simply not true. Further, I am now convinced after years of experimentation that if you never press at an angle higher than the sacred 30 degrees, you will miss out on reaching the full potential of your upper chest development. I believe in pressing at 30 degrees, 45 degrees, and everything in between. The first time I set a Smith machine at 45 degrees, I was stunned to feel how much activation there was in my upper chest. Certainly the front delts were working too, but they are involved in any type of pressing movement regardless. The point is, why press from just one angle when you have other options available that can stimulate the target area in a slightly different way?
For years, I had been seeing athletes from sports like football and many “functional” trainers doing standing landmines with a barbell and thought, wow, that looks stupid. I confess, being closed-minded has caused me to miss out on many productive exercises and techniques over the years. I never would have given landmines a chance until my workout partner at the time, a 6-foot-5 tattooed bruiser named The Goon, showed me how he had figured out how to do them kneeling in front of a supported T-bar machine. It only took one set and I was sold. Though there technically is no such thing as an “upper, inner chest,” that’s exactly where I felt these. With both hands on the bar’s sleeve, you have the closest possible close grip, and the angle you press up at is right about 45 degrees. I could almost feel that inside area of my upper chest getting thicker with every rep. I find I get the best contractions with my elbows tucked in. It’s an ego buster, because I doubt even the strongest among you could get good reps with anything more than three 45s stacked on the bar, but good God, do these work well.
The Smith Machine and Hammer Strength
Someone, and it may have been the late Dan Duchaine in the old Muscle Media 2000, once wrote, “The Smith machine will keep you from turning pro.” I would argue that factors like average genetics, a poor work ethic, and the inability to listen to constructive criticism are all more damning against any given person earning pro status, but I understand the point he was trying to make. Free weights are harder to use in general than machines and are generally more effective at building muscle. The main knock against machines is that they don’t recruit the “stabilizer muscles,” since they remove the need to balance a weight as you push or pull it. To that I say, so what? Many of you are strong enough to push very heavy dumbbells or a barbell loaded up to 315 or more, but you simply can’t keep the weight balanced. Why should you miss out on loading your upper chest with as much resistance as it’s truly capable of, just because some hardcore snob looks down his nose as you if you dare touch anything but raw iron? I built most of my upper chest with incline dumbbell presses, but the Smith machine and Hammer Strength incline presses certainly played key supporting roles. And if getting heavy dumbbells up into the start position and struggling to keep them balanced is taking away from the effectiveness of your upper chest work, do not hesitate to use machines. Any type of building or construction is based on using the appropriate tools for the job at hand. You might find you’ve been banging your head against a wall using only free weights when there were more effective options in front of you the whole time. Machines allow you to focus on squeezing the muscle and keeping it under tension, and that could make a massive difference in your results.
Incline Flye Movements
We always think about doing pressing movements on an incline angle to emphasize our upper chests, but why do we seem to forget about that other function of the pecs, horizontal adduction of the arms? In other words, the flye motion, as seen in dumbbell flyes, machine flyes and cable crossovers. I’ve found the best way to target the upper pecs in this motion is to set up an incline bench between two low cable pulleys. Why not just do dumbbell incline flyes? I’m not a fan of dumbbell flyes in general, mainly because the vertical downward pull of gravity means you lose tension about halfway up toward the top of the rep. You want tension on your pecs as you squeeze them together, which would be a horizontal pull into the midline of your body. Dumbbells are always pulling down to the center of the earth. For that reason, only cables or a pec flye machine offer resistance along the full range of motion. I have seen a couple of machines that mimic an incline flye motion. If your gym has one of those, you’re golden. Otherwise, drag that adjustable bench over to the cable crossover station and get to work.
Flexing and Posing
Though you’ve probably heard about the value of flexing and posing toward developing your physique, I bet many of you roll your eyes at the thought. What if I told you it actually works? Even if you’re not interested in the improved muscle separation and detail that intense, regular posing will give to a muscle, there is also the very real and immediate benefit of enhancing your mind-muscle connection. The greater your mastery of that neural conduit, the better you will be at forcefully contracting your muscles and feeling them fully stretch on every rep. It’s that critical distinction that separates bodybuilders, who train a given muscle group as intensely as possible, and the other 95 percent of people in gyms who lift weights, without a lick of thought going into the feeling inside their muscles as they do so. For your upper chest, I have a simple but highly effective flexing exercise you can start doing right now. Stretch both your arms out directly in front of you with hands together. They can be loose or in fists, it doesn’t matter. Next, squeeze your pecs together as hard as you can, trying to especially focus on that top shelf of upper pec below your clavicles. Hold that flex for a count of 10, rest for about 20 seconds, then do it again. Eventually you can work up to three static contracted holds of 30 seconds each. You can do these whenever it’s convenient, or save them for the end of your chest workout.
Upper Chest Focus – Workout A
Incline Dumbbell Press
3 x 20, 15, 12
4 x 12, 10, 10, 8 (increasing weight)
Incline Cable Crossovers (30 degrees)
4 x 12 (increasing weight)
45-Degree Smith Machine Press
4 x 10-12 (increasing weight)
Upper Chest Focus – Workout B
Hammer Strength Incline Press
3 x 20, 15, 12
5 x 10-12 (increasing weight)
20-Degree Smith Machine Press
4 x 10-12 (increasing weight)
Pec Flye Machine (standard execution)
4 x 12
Upper Chest Focus – Workout C
30-Degree Smith Machine Press
3 x 20, 15, 12
5 x 12, 10, 10, 8, 8 (increasing weight)
Incline Cable Crossovers (45 degrees)
4 x 12
Dips, Leaning Forward
Bodyweight, 3 sets to failure
The post Best Exercises for Bigger Upper Chest appeared first on FitnessRX for Men.
By: Ron Harris
Title: Best Exercises for Bigger Upper Chest
Sourced From: www.fitnessrxformen.com/training/best-exercises-for-bigger-upper-chest/
Published Date: Mon, 31 Jan 2022 20:31:58 +0000
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Ripped Leg Blast for Carved Thighs
Powerful and thick thighs require gut-busting exercises like squats and leg presses. However, once you have acquired adequate thigh mass and strength, you should consider adding some balance and sharpness to the muscle bellies in your thighs. Although tough to accomplish, leg extensions provide a great way to carve the separations between the muscle bellies, and to accentuate the “teardrop” shape of the four quadriceps muscles of the anterior thigh.
Active Muscles in Leg Extensions
The three vasti muscles comprise most of the anterior thigh.1 The vastus medialis covers the medial (inner) part of the femur bone (thigh bone). When it is well developed, it forms a teardrop-like shape over the medial side of the knee joint. The vastus lateralis muscle attaches to the lateral (outer) part of the femur bone. The vastus intermedius connects to the femur bone between the vastus lateralis and the vastus medialis muscles. The fibers of all three vasti muscles come together at the quadriceps tendon, which crosses the patella (kneecap) to attach to the tibia bone just below the knee.1
Together, the three vasti muscles extend the leg at the knee joint, although the vastus intermedius may be more fatigue resistant than the vastus lateralis.2 The vastus medialis oblique (VMO), which is a small part of the vastus medialis muscle, attaches to the medial part of the patella. It is thought to help the patella track properly during movement of the knee. Improper tracking can increase the likelihood for knee injury.
The vastus medialis and especially the VMO part of this muscle are primarily responsible for tibial rotation (rotation of the tibia bone of the lower leg on the femur) during knee extension. This rotation or “twist” has been shown to increase the activation of the VMO portion of the vastus lateralis even more than doing knee extensions with the hip adducted (thigh rotated so that the medial portion of the knee is facing mostly upwards).3 Dorsiflexion of the foot (moving the ankles so the toes are pointing towards your head) also increases the activation of the VMO by more than 20 percent.4 Likely this is because the dorsiflexor muscles stabilize the tibia during knee flexion and resist rotation of the tibia on the femur as the knee straightens.
The fourth muscle of the quadriceps group is the rectus femoris muscle. It attaches to the anterior part of the hip bone just above the hip joint.1 The largest bulk of the muscle fibers are located on the upper three-quarters of the thigh, whereas the largest belly of the vastus medialis and vastus lateralis are more inferior (i.e., closer to the knee). The distal end of the rectus femoris muscle becomes tendinous and it creates a deep valley between the lateral and medial vastus muscles as it approaches the knee.1 It assists the other quadriceps muscles by extending the leg at the knee joint, although it is less effective when the hip is flexed than if it is straight.
The three vastus muscles of the anterior thigh are strongly activated by single-leg knee extensions. The rectus femoris is not activated as strongly, but it does undergo some overload when the anterior thigh is under contractile effort, about halfway up to the top of each repetition.
1. You should always warm up your knees with some stationary cycling prior to getting into leg extensions. Furthermore, the resistance on your first set should be fairly light to allow the joint to fully warm up before you get to the heavier stuff.
2. Adjust the knee extension machine so that the pivot point of the lifting arm is directly adjacent to the center of the side of your knee joint.
3. Position the ankle roller/leg pad over the lower part of the leg (above the ankle joint).
4. Take about three seconds to slowly extend (straighten) both leg so that the weight is lifted upward from the stack.
5. Continue upwards until the tibia and the femur bones form a straight line and the knee angle is straight. Hold this for two seconds at the top.
6. Slowly lower the weight (about four seconds down) towards the starting position. Once the knee has reached 90 degrees, start the upwards extension phase again. Continue for 12-15 repetitions for the first set. Lower the number of repetitions but increase the resistance for subsequent sets.
7. On the next sets, lift the weight upwards until the knee joint becomes almost straight, but just slightly short of a total knee lockout. Be careful that you do not “jam” the knee joint into a fully locked out position, because this could cause knee cartilage damage5, especially with heavy weights. Hold the top position for a count of three before lowering the weight.
8. Lower the weight slowly (four to five seconds) towards the starting position where your knee is flexed to 90 degrees. Just before the weight stack contacts the remaining plates at the bottom, start lifting it upward for the next repetition.
The downward movement should be slower than the upward phase because you are resisting the pull of gravity. The slow lowering of the weight stretches the muscle under a resistance and this is a great stimulus to improve muscle shape and size.6
Make sure that you do not hold your breath during the lift upwards.7 Rather take a breath at the bottom (start) of the lift, and exhale as you extend the knees/legs. Take another breath at the top and slowly exhale as the weight is lowered. Take another breath at the bottom and repeat the sequence.
This is a mechanically simply exercise, but it really can be very challenging and blood depriving8,9, especially if you try to control the weight as it is moving up and down. However, if you are willing to work through some discomfort, you will be soon enjoying your new shape and slabs of carved thighs.
1. Moore K.L. Clinically Orientated Anatomy. Third Edition. Williams & Willkins, Baltimore, 1995; pp 373-500.
2. Watanabe K, Akima H. Neuromuscular activation of vastus intermedius muscle during fatiguing exercise. J Electromyogr Kinesiol 2010;20:661-666.
3. Stoutenberg M, Pluchino AP, Ma F et al. The impact of foot position on electromyographical activity of the superficial quadriceps muscles during leg extension. J Strength Cond Res 2005;19:931-938.
4. Coburn JW, Housh TJ, Cramer JT et al. Mechanomyographic and electromyographic responses of the vastus medialis muscle during isometric and concentric muscle actions. J Strength Cond Res 2005; 19:412-420.
5. Senter C, Hame SL. Biomechanical analysis of tibial torque and knee flexion angle: implications for understanding knee injury. Sports Med 2006;36:635-641.
6. Alway SE, Winchester PK, Davis ME et al. Regionalized adaptations and muscle fiber proliferation in stretch- induced enlargement. J Appl Physiol 1989;66:771-781.
7. Garber CE, Blissmer B, Deschenes MR et al. American College of Sports Medicine position stand. Quantity and quality of exercise for developing and maintaining cardiorespiratory, musculoskeletal, and neuromotor fitness in apparently healthy adults: guidance for prescribing exercise. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2011;43:1334-1359.
8. Denis R, Bringard A, Perrey S. Vastus lateralis oxygenation dynamics during maximal fatiguing concentric and eccentric isokinetic muscle actions. J Electromyogr Kinesiol 2011;21:276-282.
9. Ueda C, Kagaya A. Muscle reoxygenation difference between superficial and deep regions of the muscles during static knee extension. Adv Exp Med Biol 2010;662:329-334.
The post Ripped Leg Blast for Carved Thighs appeared first on FitnessRX for Men.
By: Stephen E. Alway, Ph.D., FACSM
Title: Ripped Leg Blast for Carved Thighs
Sourced From: www.fitnessrxformen.com/training/ripped-leg-blast-for-carved-thighs/
Published Date: Mon, 25 Jul 2022 19:11:16 +0000
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COMPARTA SUS SENTIMIENTOS Y EXPERIENCIAS SOBREEL CÁNCER.
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The post PRIMAL Preworkout appeared first on FitnessRX for Men.
By: Team FitRx
Title: PRIMAL Preworkout
Sourced From: www.fitnessrxformen.com/nutrition/supplements/preworkout/primal-preworkout/
Published Date: Thu, 21 Jul 2022 16:51:41 +0000
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