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If you really want to showcase your physique, it’s hard to beat the most-muscular pose. It is essentially a full-body cramp contraction that makes even an average torso and especially the chest look great. When you flex, most-muscular pose helps to highlight dense pectoralis, shoulders, arms and trapezius muscles. But it’s not the aesthetics of your physique that will make people notice you if you strike this pose. Almost no other pose will show the cross-striations and muscular density of your chest like this one. It is the pose that can capture the essence of the most genetically freaky chests.

The upper chest is pretty hard to hide in a straight-on view, and as good as a most-muscular pose is, a flat upper chest can’t slip under the radar, even with this godfather of all poses. A flat chest will spell disaster if you want to develop a truly outstanding chest, and is something that is avoidable with correct exercise selection. Even though the high-pulley cable crossovers use a lot of the same muscles as that shown in the most-muscular pose, the upper chest is somewhat minimized in this exercise. Unlike high-pulleys, low-pulley cable crossovers will blow up the upper part of your chest and anterior deltoids. If you thought the only way to get a thick upper chest was to do inclines, then this exercise will get you thinking in a whole different direction, because low cable crossovers will drive thickness and density into your upper chest and provide a great pump to enhance your anterior deltoid-pectoralis tie-in like you have not felt in a long time.

The pectoralis major muscle (“pecs” to most people) is shaped like a large fan. The fibers in this muscle pull from different orientations and angles so the upper area of the chest has a different functional activation line than the lower and medial fibers. The important function of the pectoralis is not on the chest, but it acts on the humerus bone of the upper arm, through manipulation of the shoulder (glenohumeral) joint. This large muscle covers the upper (superior) part of the chest and its outside (lateral) border forms the front (anterior) wall of the armpit (axilla).

The pectoralis major muscle has two heads. The sternocostal head takes its origin from the manubrium (the top portion of the sternum), the upper six costal cartilages (cartilages at the ends of the ribs that attach to the sternum) and from the tendinous-like portion of the superior part of the external oblique muscle (a lateral muscle of the abdominal wall). The clavicular head lies along the anterior lower surface of the clavicle (collarbone). A lot of people think this is the pectoralis minor, but it is not! The pectoralis minor muscle is actually a triangular muscle that lies on the anterior wall of the axilla and it is largely covered by the clavicular head of the pectoralis major. In other words, this muscle is deep and you cannot see it or feel it. The pectoralis minor actually stabilizes the scapula by bringing it forward (anteriorly) and downward (inferiorly) against the thoracic wall of the rib cage. Therefore, the pectoralis minor has no important role in building your chest, so if someone starts telling you about doing inclines or something else to build the pectoralis minor, walk away – he knows nothing about chests.

The deltoid muscle begins on the scapula bone (shoulder blade) and attaches (inserts) into the humerus bone of the upper arm. It caps other smaller scapular muscles associated with the shoulder joint and the bony connections that make up the shoulder joint. The deltoid muscle has three generally distinct regions on the bony portions from which it is anchored. This results in three parts to this muscle (anterior, medial, posterior) and each has a different function. The shoulder joint is capable of rotation, flexion and extension and collectively, the three deltoid regions can do all of these movements.

Only the anterior fibers of the deltoid are directly and strongly activated by low-pulley cable crossovers. These fibers take their origin from the lateral part of the clavicle and they attach to the anterior (front) and upper portion of the humerus bone of the upper arm. These fibers produce strong flexion of the humerus at the shoulder (bringing the humerus bone of the upper arm forward), and medial (internal) rotation of the humerus at the shoulder also help to move the arms toward the center of the body (adduction).

Standing Low Cable Crossovers

This exercise is more intense than incline dumbbell flyes or dumbbell presses, because there is constant tension throughout the entire exercise, and no opportunity for the clavicular head of the pectoralis muscles to rest until the set is over. Furthermore, the range of motion can be greater than with dumbbell flyes.

1. Position yourself between two pulley stations. Turn around so the pulleys are behind you and take one low-pulley handle in each hand.

2. Bend your elbows slightly to take any unnecessary stress off this joint and lock them in this position.

3. In the starting point, you should feel a good stretch across the entire pectoral girdle and up to the anterior deltoid.

4. With the palms supinated (turned toward the ceiling), pull the handles from the low-pulley station upward toward the lower part of your anterior deltoid. Completely cross the right hand over the left and both arms. Try to make the movement largely at the shoulder, not just by flexing your elbow (you don’t want to turn it into a version of a curl).

5. If you really want to also turn up the burners on the most medial parts of the pectoralis fibers that attach to the sternum, hold the handles at the top of the movement for a count of two. This type of contraction will increase the fiber recruitment in your entire chest musculature. If your body fat level is low enough, the fibers in your chest will begin jumping like a pit of snakes lying just below your skin as you hold the contraction.

6. Slowly lower the hands toward the floor and return to the starting position. Inhale deeply as you are lowering the handles.

7. On the next rep, cross the left arm over the right arm, then alternate on each repetition.


The angle of pull of the upper fibers of the clavicular head of the pectoralis major has a mechanical advantage by pulling the arms upward in the low-pulley crossovers. Therefore, this region gets preferentially activated as compared to the lower sternocostal head. Nevertheless, the sternocostal head of the pectoralis major and particularly the fibers, which lie beside the sternum, will be fully contracted at or near the end of each repetition when each arm is crossed over the other as far as possible. Therefore, this makes a great all-around exercise for blasting in muscle density, but it does emphasize the upper chest. In addition, the anterior deltoid fibers will contract strongly to assist in moving the arms forward toward your body (flexion of the humerus).

A host of other muscles are also activated during this exercise. For example, the latissimus dorsi and the teres major muscles of the back will assist arm adduction, by pulling the arms toward the body’s midline. The intercostal muscles will be activated during the strong inspiration, during which time the arms are abducted and also during expiration when the arms are adducted.

If you want to apply a blowtorch to your inner and upper chest, you can try some alternating partial repetitions between full repetitions. After holding the top position of the crossover, lower the pulley handles toward the feet and stop about waist level. Move your hands back to the top crossover position (including the squeeze at the top), then finally, bring the handles all the way down to the starting position to get the good stretch across the chest and then repeat this sequence. You should not count the partial repetitions as part of your set – they are extra contractions and not meant to replace your full repetitions. Data have shown that contractions from these shortened positions are most likely to activate the larger fast-twitch fibers, so this may add even more mass that you might otherwise expect if you include a few in the final 2 sets of your workout.

You cannot help getting a great biceps pump with this exercise, but if you find that your biceps are fatiguing before your chest, you are likely flexing your elbows too much as you are raising the hands upward. Try to keep most of the movement at the shoulders.

This exercise may not build overall chest mass as rapidly as exercises like benching. Nevertheless, the low-pulley cable crossover will more completely activate and selectively recruit the clavicular attachments of the pectoralis better than almost any other exercise for a more balanced and tension-filled development than you have ever had before. After a good four to five months of work on this exercise, do not be surprised if your most-muscular pose has risen on the ladder toward that of dense, freaky chests.


Ekholm J, Arborelius UP, Hillered L and Ortqvist A. Shoulder muscle EMG and resisting moment during diagonal exercise movements resisted by weight-and-pulley-circuit. Scand J Rehabil Med, 10: 179-185.

Moore, KL and AF Dalley. Clinically Oriented Anatomy. Fourth edition. Baltimore, Lippincott Williams & Williams, 685-720.

Paulsen G, Myklestad D and Raastad T. The influence of volume of exercise on early adaptations to strength training. J Strength Cond Res, 17: 115-120.

Pochini AC, Ejnisman B, Andreoli CV, Monteiro GC, Silva AC, Faloppa F, Abdala RJ and Cohen M. Exact moment of tendon of pectoralis major muscle rupture captured on video. Br J Sports Med. PMID: 17337486

Rodrigues JA, Bull ML, Dias GA, GonCalves M and Guazzelli JF. Electromyographic analysis of the pectoralis major and deltoideus anterior in the inclined “flying” exercise with loads. Electromyogr Clin Neurophysiol, 46: 441-448.

Wise JB, Posner AE and Walker GL. Verbal messages strengthen bench press efficacy. J Strength Cond Res, 18: 26-29.

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By: Stephen E. Alway, Ph.D., FACSM
Title: Building a Better Upper Chest
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Published Date: Thu, 08 Jul 2021 18:19:39 +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.

Leg Extensions

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.

GettyImages 674163248 600


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.

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By: Stephen E. Alway, Ph.D., FACSM
Title: Ripped Leg Blast for Carved Thighs
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PRIMAL Preworkout



Training hard and intensely is the only way to train – you can’t step into the gym in low gear or
asleep at the switch and expect results. To get the most out of every training session with no
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your limits and that’s what Animal’s PRIMAL Preworkout delivers.

A Better Pump

PRIMAL is Animal’s most comprehensive pre-workout supplement ever, and is scientifically
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• Endurance & Performance Complex so you can train longer and harder. Beta-alanine,
betaine and taurine are combined as a powerful endurance trio†. Beta-alanine is a vital ingredient
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• Focus & Intensity Complex helps you keep your head in the iron game so you train hard and
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producing more ATP†.

How to Use PRIMAL
30 minutes prior to training, consume 2 rounded scoops (20.3g) with 8-12 oz of water or your
favorite beverage. Users that are sensitive to stimulants should start off with 1 rounded scoop
(10.1g) to assess tolerance.

PRIMAL Preworkout

• Enhances energy and endurance†
• Supports muscle hydration†
• Supports intense focus†
• Contains AstraGin ® to support nutrient uptake†
• Contains Senactiv ® which helps the production of citrate synthase, an important enzyme that is
responsible for producing more ATP†
• Absorption and nutrient enhancers
• Great tasting, easy to mix

PRIMAL is a pre-workout that will power your performance and enable you to crush it every time you train.

For additional information, visit
†These statements have not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. This product is not
intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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By: Team FitRx
Title: PRIMAL Preworkout
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