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Building a Big Back and Chest

Q: I’m looking for a good chest and back workout that will give me a great pump. Any suggestions?

A: I have just the thing. It’s a bit unusual in that I’ve included a few “easier” exercises that I usually don’t recommend—pulldowns and cable crossovers—and I used the conventional method of station training rather than supersets.

A) Supinated-grip, lean-away chinup

(3/1/X/1 tempo, rest 120 seconds) 5 x 6-8

B) Neutral, medium-grip seated rows to waist

(3/1/1/0 tempo, rest 90 seconds) 4 x 10-12

C) Neutral, wide-grip lean-away pulldowns

(2/0/1/1 tempo, rest 75 seconds) 3 x 12-20

D) 60-degree-inline, neutral-grip, thick-dumbbell

bench presses (3/1/1/0 tempo, rest 120 seconds) 4 x 6-8

E) Mid-grip supine bench presses (3/0/2/0 tempo,

rest 100 seconds) 3 x 10-12

F) Cable crossovers (3/0/2/0 tempo,

rest 60 seconds) 2 x 15-20


What’s unique about this workout is the variety of methods used to work the muscles. You have wide grips, medium grips, supinated and neutral grips and thick grips; incline, supine and decline angles; barbells, dumbbells, cables—the works.

You’re performing a total of 21 sets, and when you include rest periods, the workout will take you about an hour. Stop there; train other bodyparts on another day, and perform this workout only twice a week to permit complete recovery.

After you’ve completed six workouts, move on to another training system. To keep the time under tension optimal, the tempo prescriptions in the exercises do not emphasize eccentric, or negative, contractions. So for your next training cycle it’s a good idea to use a program that includes a four-to-six-second lowering phase. Such variety is one way to ensure rapid progress and avoid training plateaus.

The higher reps in the workout will bring you a great pump, but you might also consider supplementing with glycine propionyl-L-carnitine hydrochloride. GPLC increases nitric oxide, commonly known by its chemical formula, NO. Nitric oxide causes the smooth muscles around blood vessels to relax, increasing blood flow and giving you a better pump. Just don’t confuse it with the anesthetic nitrous oxide, or N2O

Editor’s note: Charles Poliquin is recognized as one of the world’s most suc-cessful strength coaches, having coached Olympic med-alists in 12 different sports, including the U.S. women’s track-and-field team for the 2000 Olympics. He’s spent years researching European journals (he’s fluent in English, French and German) and speaking with other coaches and scientists in his quest to optimize training methods. For more on his books, seminars and methods, visit   IM




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