Machine-Made Pecs

 

Four-week machine-only chest routines to shock your pecs into growth.

 

THINK YOU CAN’T BUILD MAJOR MASS WITH MACHINES? THINK AGAIN. THESE FOUR-WEEK MACHINE-ONLY CHEST ROUTINES COULD BE THE SHOCK TREATMENT YOUR PECS NEED TO GROW.

 

We use machines to build things every day. Machines build cars; they build roads; they build computers; they build robots. So why not build your body with machines?

 

Ask a dozen trend-following New Age trainers this question, and about 10 of them will respond emphatically, “Because machines aren’t functional.”

 

Incorrect. Machines are without a doubt functional—that is, functional at building lean muscle mass in all areas of the body, in this instance the pecs. We’re big fans of dumbbells and barbells on chest day, but we’re also proponents of selectorized chest press machines, Hammer Strength equipment, and cable- crossover stations.

 

Machine presses allow you to overload the pecs without calling on as many smaller assistance muscles to help balance the load and keep it on the right path of motion, as is the case with free weights. More overload equals more growth potential. And cables? Frankly, we generally prefer them to dumbbells on flye movements because of the constant tension they provide through every inch of every rep.

 

Please, don’t ditch the free weights. All we’re asking is that you take a month or so to focus on machine moves for your chest workouts using the following pec-training program. Load up the weights on machine presses, feel the burn on cable crossovers, and enjoy your newfound mass before refocusing on dumbbells and barbell work to build even more size.

 

MACHINE-MADE PECS PROGRAM

Below are four separate machine-only chest workouts to be performed over the course of four weeks—Workout 1 in the first week, Workout 2 in the second week, and so on.

 

Do the workouts on whatever day you would normally train chest. If you typically train another muscle group with the chest (for example, triceps, biceps, or shoulders), feel free to train it as you normally would after the chest workout.

 

These workouts were written to be your only chest training during the four-week period. However, if you’re dead set on training your pecs twice per week and/or refuse to give up free-weight chest exercises for an entire month, you can add one lower-volume free-weight chest workout to each week as you wish; just make sure to space the two chest workouts at least 72 hours apart to ensure recovery.

 

WORKOUT 1: ALL STRAIGHT SETS

Smith Machine Bench Press | SETS: 4 | REPS: 12
Hammer Strength Incline Press | SETS: 4 | REPS: 12
Cable Crossover | SETS: 3 | REPS: 15
Pec Deck | SETS: 3 | REPS: 20

 

WORKOUT 2: DROPSETS

Smith Machine Press | SETS: 4 | REPS: 8
Selectorized Machine Chest Press* | SETS: 4 | REPS: 8
Low-Pulley Cable Crossover | SETS: 3 | REPS: 10**
Pec Deck | SETS: 3 | REPS: 12**
*Or Hammer Strength flat bench press.

**On your last set, do two to three dropsets.

 

WORKOUT 3: PRE-EXHAUST + SUPERSETS

Pec Deck | SETS: 4 | REPS: 12
Smith Machine Bench Press | SETS: 4 | REPS: 8
Hammer Strength Incline Press | SETS: 3 | REPS: 10
superset with Cable Crossover | SETS: 3 | REPS: 15

 

WORKOUT 4: PRE-EXHAUST + SUPERSETS + DROPSETS

Low-Pulley Cable Crossover | SETS: 4 | REPS: 10
superset with Hammer Strength Incline Press | SETS: 4 | REPS: 10
Selectorized Machine Chest Press* | SETS: 3 | REPS: 15
Pec Deck | SETS: 3 | REPS: 12**
*Or Hammer Strength flat bench press.

**On your last set, do two to three dropsets.

 

THE EXERCISES

HAMMER STRENGTH BENCH PRESS

HOW-TO: Adjust the seat of the machine so the handles are in line with your middle chest (not down at your lower chest or up above your shoulders). Sit with your back flat against the pad, feet on the floor and grasping the handles. Contract your pecs to press the handles out and up (the machine’s fixed path of motion). Stop just shy of elbow lockout, then slowly lower back down without letting the weight rest on the machine between sets.

 

HAMMER STRENGTH VARIANTS: Hammer Strength offers chest press machines that mimic incline (as shown below) and decline presses; these are great options, provided the gym you train at has them. Utilize whatever Hammer Strength equipment you can, alternating between different angles on a regular basis.

 

SMITH MACHINE INCLINE PRESS

HOW-TO: Center an incline bench in a Smith machine so that the bar touches your upper chest at the bottom of each rep. Lie back on the bench, grab the bar outside shoulder width, unhook the latches, and begin with your arms extended. Slowly lower the bar to your chest, touch down lightly, then press the bar back up to the arms extended position without locking out your elbows.

 

SMITH MACHINE VARIANTS: Smith machine flat and decline presses can be done by simply adjusting the bench to the appropriate angle and performing the same motion. When doing this, slide the bench forward to make sure the bar touches your middle/lower chest at the bottom of each rep.

 

CABLE CROSSOVER

HOW-TO: Stand in the middle of a cable-crossover station with D-handles attached to both columns at roughly shoulder height. Grab the handles, step forward to lift the weight off the stacks, and start with your arms extended out to your sides. With a slight bend in your elbows and your torso upright throughout, contract your pecs to pull your hands together out in front of you. When your hands meet, squeeze your pecs for a count, then slowly return to the start position.

 

CABLE CROSSOVER VARIANTS: Crossovers can and should be performed from a variety of angles to target all areas of the chest. Focus on the upper pecs by moving the cable pulleys to their lowest settings and pulling the handles upward so your hands meet in front of your upper chest. To target the lower pecs, keep the pulleys up high and bring your hands together at waist height.

 

PEC DECK

HOW-TO: Adjust the seat of a flye machine so that the handles are at chest level. Sit on the seat with your back flat against the pad, grasp the handles, and begin with your arms straight out to the sides and your elbows slightly bent. Contract your pecs to bring your hands together. When your hands touch, squeeze your pecs hard for a count, then slowly return to the start position without letting the weight rest on the stack.

 

PEC DECK VARIANTS: Not all pec deck (also called a machine flye) equipment is identical, but the basic movement is: pulling your arms together toward the midline of your body. Some machines keep the arms extended, while others have them bent with your forearms on a vertical pad. Use whatever pec deck or flye machine is available at your gym.

 

SELECTORIZED MACHINE CHEST PRESS

HOW-TO: Adjust the seat of the machine so that the handles are outside your chest in the down position. Keeping your feet flat on the floor and your back and head against the seat back, press the weight up until your elbows are extended but not locked out. Slowly lower your hands to the down position without letting the weight rest on the stack between reps.

 

MACHINE PRESS VARIANTS: Most selectorized chest press machines involve a standard horizontal press that mimics a flat-bench movement, as opposed to pressing at an upward angle to target the upper pecs. What can be varied is hand position. Experiment with placing your hands as wide as possible on the bars and also in close to hit the chest from different angles.

 

CABLE FLYE

HOW-TO: Place a bench in the middle of a cable- crossover station with D-handles attached to both columns on the lowest level. Grab the handles, sit back on the bench, and start with your arms extended out to your sides. With a slight bend in your elbows, contract your pecs to pull your hands together in a hugging motion. When your hands meet, squeeze your pecs for a count, then slowly return to the start position.

 

CABLE FLYE VARIANTS: Flyes can and should be performed from a variety of angles to target all areas of the chest. Focus on the upper pecs by using an incline bench, the middle pecs with a flat bench, and the lower chest with a decline bench.

 

Source: http://www.flexonline.com/training/chest/machine-made-pecs



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