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Last Updated on January 7, 2021

Here are 5 supercharged chest-blasting techniques to get your pecs out of a rut.

Pecs haven’t really grown any bigger or stronger in months? Time to throw another wrench into your pec training with some new hardcore, extreme techniques, all intended to spark new muscle growth and take your chest to the next level. The following 5 chest-shocking methods have been tried many times over by expert trainers, champion bodybuilders and muscle-hungry gym rats with smashing success.

Bench With Bands

MHP Coaches Corner - Joe Mazza bench press

Why to do it: Including various types of resistances in your pec training is great for shocking the muscles into getting stronger and bigger. You’re accomplishing this by training with free weights, cables and cambered machines, each of which applies a slightly different form of resistance. But yet another way of working the muscles differently entails using rubber bands. Dugdale finds bands especially beneficial on Smith Machine bench press. “Using bands increases the total workload placed on the muscle,” he says, “while unloading some of the weight at the bottom of each rep [where you’re weaker] and increasing it at the top, [where you’re at a mechanical advange].”

What to do: The next time you do Smith Machine bench press, on each side secure a band from the bar (just outside of the weight plates) to the bottom of the rack. (You’ll have to load the machine with less weight than usual to account for the added resistance of the bands.) Your technique won’t change, but you’ll notice the resistance increasing as you press the bar up. Do 2-3 sets in this manner, then either move onto your next exercise or do a set or two more without the bands.


Do Partials On Presses

barbell bench press

Why to do it: Yet another way to train your pecs past failure is via partial reps, in which you perform reps in less than a full range of motion. “If you stop a set due to your inability to complete a full rep, you’re not taking the muscle to its true limit,” says M&F senior science editor Jim Stoppani, PhD. “If instead you continue with partial reps until you can no longer budge the weight, you’ll know that you’ve taxed the muscle to its absolute limits.” For chest, partial reps are great on Smith machine presses, other chest press machines and dumbbell press. Since the triceps play a major role in the top half of the ROM when pressing, you often end up ending the set when the triceps fail, not the chest. By doing reps in the lower half or three-quarters of your bench press ROM (after reaching full ROM failure), the triceps are no longer the limiting factor and the pecs will be taken to full fatigue.


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