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Mountain Dog Chest Obliteration.docx

Mountain Dog Chest Obliteration.docx

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Published by: Âdâm Jônês on Dec 21, 2012
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Chest Obliteration – Mountain Dog Style
by John Meadows CSCS, CISSN
Chest training has always been a challenge for me.It's not because my genetics sucked (as with back), or because of the pain involved (aswith leg training). For me, the hardest thing about chest training was simply stayinghealthy: I've had so many pec strains over the years that were a breath away frombeing tears, and so many beat up rotator cuffs requiring hours of treatment that I wasfinally forced to examine my style and creatively adapt to keep growing
or simplykeep plowing forward like an idiot and suffer a severe injury.Interestingly enough, training a bit "scared" eventually lead me to what works best forme in terms of  muscle growth,with the added bonus of no more strains and irritated rotator cuffs. It's been said before, but it's worth repeating: the pursuit of putting onmuscle is a marathon, not a sprint.So why was I suffering strain after strain? By being a dedicated pupil of thebodybuilding magazines and performing the classic routine of barbell bench press,followed by incline press, and then dumbbell flyes.
 It Starts With How You Start
Whenever I started my workouts with barbell bench pressing, I'd estimate 25% of thetime I'd get at least a minor pec strain if I went up to anything even remotely heavy. Itnever failed; I'd be progressing well, and then after a few weeks of feeling good, bam!I'd pull something.I then switched to doing barbell inclines first, and unfortunately experienced the samedamn thing. This was really frustrating as I wasn't doing extremely heavy sets of doubles or triples; we're talking about sets of 6-8 reps. Yet again, more pulls, moreaggravation, and more sessions of ART and MAT. When my physiotherapist's BMWdealer sent me a Christmas card,I knew something was wrong. People around me were tearing pecs right and left, too. A former Mr. Ohio and a fewworld champion powerlifter friends of mine all had major tears that required surgeryand it made me start to question my methods. Was I headed in the same direction? Iwas stubborn though, and kept thinking how difficult it would be to get a trulymammoth chest if I couldn't barbell bench or incline first. I mean that's how you do it,right?It was hard for me to get out of that paradigm. I'd heard many bodybuilders say thatthe best gains were attained by doing the large, multi-joint barbell movements first. I'dalso read plenty of studies supporting the notion. I never questioned those studies andstill don't to this day, but I also know that there's always more than one way to skin acat, if you're creative enough.So how did my training evolve into something that allowed me to make outstandinggains, injury free?
Exercise Sequence
In my experience, the exercises that resulted in frequent strains were flat and inclinebarbell bench presses. The thing is, I still love doing both, and was determined to keepthem in my routine
I just needed to examine how to safely do them. After muchexperimentation, these are the conclusions that I made.Bench press third, or even fourth in your routine: You won't be able to set any PRs,but try to look at what you're doing at that point as your new reference. For example,let's say you can bench 315 for 6 when you bench first, but can only do 275 for 6
when you bench third or fourth. Make the 275 for 6 your new frame of reference andtry to beat that; except now with the confidence that you're so warmed up you won'tblow a pec in the process.As for you PR junkies, you'll be amazed at how much of your "lost" strength returnsafter getting acclimated to this new order. You probably won't get back to the 315 for6 right away, but 295 or 305 is likely doable within a few weeks of training.Incline second or third: You should be fine with doing these second or third in yourroutine if you use the technique I describe later in this article.
Pressing Angles
Slight angles work better than excessive ones. Dorian Yates believed in very slightincline and decline angles and he was definitely onto something. A very slight inclineseems to hit my entire chest the best, without the intense shoulder burning that Isometimes get with standard barbell incline presses.In fact, standard barbell incline presses are among my favorite exercises for shoulderwidth. I've noticed that when I back off from doing them, my shoulders seem to getnarrower looking, and my upper chest noticeably flatter.It's like my genetic predisposition for "slumped shoulders" comes into play instead of the wide "straight line from shoulder to shoulder" look coveted by every bodybuilder,myself included. So I consider regular incline bench presses a great shoulder builderalong with hitting upper chest. (I train chest with shoulders, so this works well as anexercise that day.)As for declines, traditional declines absolutely destroy my rotator cuff; they're themost uncomfortable exercise I think I've ever done. I believe this was due to thebenches I used; the angles were just too extreme.The solution is to find an incline sit-up bench that you can lie down at its lowest leveland be at just a slight decline. It's the perfect angle for natural contractions; you canalso use this setting for dumbbell work.Try this if you have trouble feeling your pecs: Get on the Smith (yes, the Smithmachine) and use this slight decline angle. Take a wide grip, and begin to do repswhere you lower the bar to your chest and drive up to 75% of lockout before coming

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