When people think of building their pecs the first exercise that comes to mind is the bench press. Now, I love the bench press as much as the next guy, but the bottom-line is that the bench press is not really the best choice for your chest muscle building program. At least not the way most people perform it.If you are serious about building your chest, here are some tips to turn the bench press into a pec-building beast:

1. Use a wide grip

For shorter guys, put your pinkies on the rings, or thereabouts. For taller guys you may go as wide as index fingers on the rings. Widening of the grip increases the stretch on the pecs which increases their involvement in the lift. If you typically use a fairly close grip then you will be probably be weaker with a wide grip. Because of this, make sure to warm-up and work-up in weight slowly. Don’t just jump to your usual weight or you’ll be asking for an injury.

2. Squeeze the bar together

By pushing your hands together throughout the movement you increase the recruitment of the pectoral muscle fibers. Please note that your hands don’t actually move during the movement because you are gripping the bar tightly. But by isometrically pushing your hands toward each other you will get a similar effect to doing flyes.

3. Bring to nipple line or higher

Make sure to touch the bar on your chest at the nipple line or even higher. This increases the activation of the chest muscles and limits triceps involvement to a degree. You can even go as high as the collarbone, but the weight you use will have to be much lighter than usual.

Summary

All of these tips run counter to what most people do with the bench press. This is because people get caught-up in how much weight they can move. These tips will definitely decrease your strength in the bench press, but they will also increase the stress on your pecs so that they can grow. This turns the bench press into a great exercise for your chest muscle building program.

Please note that all of these tips put the shoulder in a slightly more compromised position than a traditional bench press. If you have any shoulder problems at all you should not use these variations. Even if your shoulders are healthy make sure to perform these variations with lighter weight and higher reps than you would for a normal bench press. This will allow you to get the most benefit from the exercise without fear of injury.

Keep in mind that while changing one exercise may moderately improve your progress over the short-term, long-term success and huge increases in muscle and strength require you to follow a synergistic training and nutrition program.

: article by Tony Schwartz

Are you feeling a little confused with all the different training regimes you hear about, if it’s not the latest one doing the rounds in the gym or latest and greatest workout being shown in Muscle and Fitness, no wonder you are confused, so which one is really best?Well if your in a phase were you feel stuck and the gains just aren’t happening like they used to maybe you need to look at these 4 simple steps that will catapult your progress to the next level.

Here’s the first thing you should do, no matter what happens make sure you workout 3, no make that 4 times a week, your main goal is to stimulate the muscle fibres with resistance, when this is done your body adapts by making your muscles grow, so the stress if it happens again will be taken care of, or so your muscles think, that’s when you just use progressively heavier weights to stimulate even more muscle growth, you must leave enough time in between each muscle group worked to allow for growth around 72 hours is usually ideal.

The second step should be is to make sure that you are eating around 5 or 6 well balanced meals a day, which give you an ample supply of the correct carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Carbohydrates should be around 45% of your intake, proteins ideally about 35% and fats only around 20%. Try and make sure that you average your intake around 50- 50, meaning 50% solid foods and the other supplements like protein drinks etc.

Step 3 , should be, to be aware of your supplemental approach, never just jump on to the latest bandwagon of the next best super supplement that costs a fortune, just because Mr Olympia says he uses it, check for super supplements that have been around for a few years at least, this way you will know that they must have some credence or they wouldn’t have stood the test of time. Here’s a few I would never be without. A good high quality timed release multi-vitamin, top grade fish oil capsules, some creatine and a high grade whey protein, this should basically cover all your nutritional needs and some. No need to spend your hard earned money on fancy supplements that might not even work.

Step 4. With weight training, an unfortunate side effect is muscle shortening, to overcome this problem you need to do stretching exercises, this should equate to 2 hours a week at least, you will find this very beneficial to your gains if you add this to your regime, so many body-builders unfortunately do not stretch enough, this can eventually if not careful result in muscle injury, so make sure you add it to your workout …Now

Im sure if you decide to follow the tips outlined in this article, you will help take yourself to the next level in your quest for body-building greatness.

: article by James Davis