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Q: I’m using the Basic X-traordinary X-Rep Workout, but I have a very weak chest. I know you say the decline press is the ultimate chest exercise, but I’m not getting much from doing only that for power and density work. But I am getting great gains everywhere else [with that one-ultimate-exercise approach]. So should I keep the program as is and just add more chest work to build more mass?

A: We hear you—and can identify with your plight, as we both have stubborn pecs. But you may not need more work for more mass—just a different exercise for power and density along with a shift in emphasis at each workout (sample chest routines are coming up)...

Jonathan Lawson decline Smith machine press - Two Ways to More Mass

Notice that the pectoral muscle is fan-shaped. That means that while a chest exercise will innervate fibers from every segment, the angle emphasizes the development in specific areas. For example, while decline presses hit the lower, middle and upper pecs, the lower area gets the brunt of the stress...

That’s especially true in hardgainers who have low neuromuscular efficiency, or nerve-to-muscle connections, and/or fewer fast-twitch fibers. So to get at all areas of the chest requires multi-angle training—but you can get that with the same number of sets (that’s what you should try first to keep your total workout time under an hour)...

We suggest you use two different angles to build more mass in your chest, one for power and one for density—decline presses and incline presses, for example. Then you reverse the order at your next chest workout.

So your new size strategy is to alternate these two chest routines in your Basic XX Workout (page 28 of the X-traordinary X-Rep Workout e-book):

Decline presses (pyramid) 3 x 9, 7, 5
Incline barbell or dumbbell presses (drop set) 1 x 10(6)

At your next chest workout, reverse the order...

Incline barbell or dumbbell presses (pyramid) 3 x 9, 7, 5
Decline presses (drop set) 1 x 10(6)

Steve spotting Jonathan on Smith machine incline presses - Two Ways to More Mass

That will give you lower/middle pec work with power and upper/middle work with density at workout 1. Then four or five days later you blast upper/middle with power and lower/middle with density. (And, yes, for you bench press hounds, you can use flat benches instead of declines.)

Try that simple two-way switch for a few weeks, and you should notice BIG changes in your physique—pecs will be popping with more mass!

[Note: You can further amplify neuromuscular efficiency, pump, and fiber activation by adding a single drop set of an isolation exercise to the above, as outlined on page 46 of The X-traordinary X-Rep Workout e-book, but the above should be your first size-boosting step.]

Till next time, train hard—and smart—for BIG results.

—Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson
www.X-Rep.com


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