I believe that there are certain ways of performing exercises that will provide you with better and certainly more lasting progress than you get with steroids’secrets’ that can save you years of wasted effort. Most of them are for hardgainers. If you’re making good progress from conventional exercises, then you don't need these ideas. If you’re a stubborn gainer like me, you’re in for a treat.
Let’s talk about pecs, which have always been very stubborn for me. Most conventional exercises just don’t give me results. I don’t care how many articles the champs have written about the value of heavy bench presses’that exercise leaves my pecs cold.
I’ve found a few exercises, however, that can bring out the most pec development. A couple of the ideas came right from Vince Gironda. You’ll need a Smith machine (bench press with vertical guides) and V-shaped dipping bars.
The key to the process is that your elbows must move through their maximum arc during the exercise. So the more you can employ movement that directly affects the elbows, the more you’re going to activate the pecs.
The first exercise in my stubborn pecs program is Smith-machine bench presses. Set the stops on the machine so the bar rests just on your neck. If the machine has preset stops that leave the bar an inch off your neck, place a board under the bench to achieve the neck touch. (That’s important.)
Once you’re under the bar, raise your feet off the floor and keep them over your midsection. It’s a natural relaxed position that keeps your lower back flat on the bench and requires that all the work comes from your pecs rather than pressing from the floor with your legs. Grip the bar with your hands slightly wider than shoulder width. You’re going to keep your elbows as close to your head as possible during this exercise, so you’ll need to rotate your palms on the bar.
Slowly lower the bar until it touches your neck. Keep your elbows as high as possible. It’s an unnatural position for the arms, but it’s necessary to ignite the clavicular pecs. Do six reps without letting your elbows stray down toward your torso. Force them to stay back.
The bar will start to slow down as you get tired, and the pain will tempt you to let your elbows drift downward. Don’t do it. You want your pecs to do all the work. They’ll come smoking out of their hiding place. After six full reps finish off the set with six burns right down on your neck. Push the bar up about six inches and let it come down on your neck again. Remember, the machine stop will keep the bar from crushing your Adam’s apple.
When you finish your last burn rep, you won’t have enough strength to do anything but crawl out from under the bar. If you don’t select a stop that sets the bar actually touching your neck, you’ll bang against the machine stop during the burns. You don’t want that; you want the stop to be provided by the tension on the clavicular pectoral tie-in. That’s the secret.
Do a set of six reps and six burns with a weight. Now comes the bad news. With little rest, decrease the weight by 10 to 20 percent and do another set exactly like the first. Decrease the weight again by 10 to 20 percent and do a third set. You won’t believe the pump you’ll get in your upper pecs. ALL Now for the lower pecs. Move over to the dipping bars. Unfortunately, this won’t work very well if your dipping bars are parallel. You really need to have V-shaped bars like those Vince had in his club. They start about one foot apart and end up three feet apart. It makes a perfect apparatus for igniting growth in the lower pecs. (If you don’t have access to V-shaped bars, wide-grip dips will have to suffice.)
Like the first exercise, this one has to be done in a specific way in order to get the most from it. You reverse your palms so you get a movement very similar to the one you got on the Smith machine. The key again is to get those elbows moving.
Your palms aren’t completely reversed but sort of diagonal across the bar so your elbows are out and away from your torso. Hold your feet forward under your face. Your back is rounded, not arched. Slowly lower to the very bottom of the range. Don’t cheat by doing half reps. As you lower your body, let your elbows travel forward, not to the rear. Once you hit bottom, slowly push your body back to the top while keeping your elbows in the forward position.
All right, here’s the key to making this exercise really effective: Don’t go to full lockout and try to pull your arms together. You’re trying to use the pecs-biceps connection more than the pec-triceps connection.
Admittedly, this movement is unusual, but that’s what makes it so effective. Try to keep your arms together. Nothing can pull those elbows straight but your pecs. Your triceps will want to press your arms straight, but don’t let them. If you force the pecs to work in this fashion, you won’t believe how effective it is.
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