The Heavy Bar is Still Relevant to Chest Routines

by Joe Lawrence | September 14th, 2022 | Strength Training, Upper Body

pecs (400x400)In my past few articles I have discussed the benefits of using dumbbells. They help with breaking down mental barriers we place on ourselves and build stability muscles. Although they are my favorite tools for the job, there are also benefits to hitting the heavy bar.

I was taught a very simple workout a long time ago and was reminded of it again recently as I was going through old workout articles. It consists of only four exercises: incline bench, flat bench, dips, and flies. However, it produces a great chest workout and shocks the system a bit after using dumbbells.

Using the heavy bar is great for mass and working the larger muscles of the pecs. I like to do workouts like this once or twice a month.

Start with an incline press. I load the bar to push out eight reps for four sets. The goal is to really push the intensity on this first set while the muscles are fresh. Most people start with the flat bench and work the lower chest muscles that are addressed in most other exercises we do. Benching with an incline of 20-25 degrees works the upper half of the pecs very efficiently.

Next, get over to the flat bench and rock out four sets of eight to ten reps. I know I have been writing about the psychological aspect of the flat bench and the “how much do you bench” mindset…forget about all that. In fact, one tip to help you mentally is to load the bar with smaller weights. Do 25 lb. plates instead of the 45 lb. plates. It makes you feel stronger to see multiple plates.

The next two exercises are in this workout to make the muscles fail and get every last bit out of them.

Find the fly machine and push three sets of 10-12 reps. The goal is to practice form and stretch the pecs. I like to squeeze extra hard at the end of the rep and basically flex my muscles to give a little oomph.

Lastly, dip baby dip. You want to do at least three sets and do each one to failure. I like to get on there and dip until my arms are about to collapse for sets one and two. Then on set three, I do half of the reps I did on set two. Then on the next rep, I lower my body to the down position and hold this as long as I can until my arms give way. If I have the juice to try a fourth set, I do the same thing as in the third set.

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