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Pecs of Power

 Markus Ruhl's Training Split

Monday: Chest

Tuesday: Back

Wednesday: Triceps

Thursday: Biceps

Friday: Legs

Saturday: Shoulders

Sunday: Rest



Why? For complete mass across the entire upper body, the incline barbell press is indispensable. Pressing through an elevated angle not only raises the fullness of your pecs higher on your chest, but it also works the front delts in direct proportion. In fact, there's no other way to build size and separation all the way across the shoulders and upper chest, and no better way to add width to the shoulder girdle. This has been a specific goal of mine, and in that effort I've relied heavily on this exercise, specifically with a free-weight barbell.

When? The incline barbell press is a compound movement, which means it involves several muscles working together, so it should be first in your chest workout, or second behind the flat barbell press. It should be performed while your strength capacity is high.

How? The front delts are directly employed in the incline barbell press movement, so I make sure I get a thorough warm-up, starting with a set of about 30 reps. If I use this exercise first in my workout, I pyramid through 10 or 12 sets, finishing with three or four reps, plus a couple of forced reps. If I start with the flat bench press and this is my second exercise, then I do six to eight sets for six to eight reps each.

I've found that the tighter I grip the bar and the more I tense my entire body, the lighter the barbell feels. By concentrating especially on my hips, back and shoulders, I have much more stability and control.

As I lower the weight, I think of myself as a spring being compressed, so that, at the bottom, I've built up maximum potential energy, or strength. My press to the top then explodes with everything I have.
Sets: 6-8; Reps: 6-8. 


Why? You can be the biggest bodybuilder on earth, but without definition within muscle groups, you will only appear massive, not muscular. Cable crossovers can help solve this problem. As the ultimate isolation exercise, it allows you to specifically target individual pec areas in more detail than the pec deck. Different angles and varied ranges of motion can be used.

When? Use it as the final exercise in your workout, either following or as an alternate to the pec-deck. Its advantage is that it can be included without danger of overtraining: Regardless of how hard and long your workout was, you can always add cable crossovers for an extra burn at the end.

How? Performance is similar to pec-deck flyes. I bend my elbows slightly, so that I have more power to "hug" the cables. During the extension, I can stretch my arms even farther behind me than with the pec-deck.

The angle of the crossover can be varied, depending upon what area of the chest you want to work. Experiment and you'll be able to feel the differences. The farther you cross the cables, the greater peak contraction you will achieve.

I use this exercise to fill my pecs with as much blood as possible, so I do six to eight sets, the first for 20 reps to get a maximum pump, then pyramiding to failure at six reps on the last set.
Sets: 6-8; Reps: 20-6.



Pec-Deck Flyes
Why?Free-weight dumbbell flyes contribute significantly to chest mass because they place more stress on your pec-delt tie-ins than standard presses. If you hope to increase your poundages, you need as much tendon and ligament strength in that area as possible. Ironically, if you do too many pressing exercises first, those tie-ins will be so fatigued that you won't receive maximum benefit from flyes.

That's when it's time for the pec deck. It relieves you of the necessity to stabilize dumbbells, but still enables you to place effective stress on your pec-delt tie-ins when your arms are fully stretched backward. The pec deck also allows you to maintain consistent power throughout the range of motion and get a superior peak contraction.


When? Because the pec-deck's major benefits are to provide a detail exercise for the pec-delt tie-ins and maximize a pump, it is best used as the final exercise.

How? To build mass, bend your arms slightly so that you are performing more of a hugging movement than a pulling motion. This transfers the stress from the pec-delt tie-ins to your pecs. It's difficult to cheat with this exercise, so I squeeze the handles together with all the force I can muster, then get a peak contraction in my pecs and resist during the extension.

Even though this is a pump exercise, I pyramid the weight through six to eight sets, starting with 20 reps and maxing out at six reps for the last set.
Sets: 6-8; Reps: 6-8.




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