Breaking Down the Chest

Back to the Basement Workouts

By: Brian Wiefering
Magazine 10 #4

  We all get the questions, (a) "Is it better to concentrate on one body part each workout", or (b) "should I hit upper on one day and lower the next", or (c-d-e) "should I workout each body part once, twice, or three times each week"?

At this time my nutrition’s pretty good, but my work schedule is crazy, and I’m not getting enough rest to recover from more than each body part once per week. My partner Marty and I are currently hitting chest on Monday, and don’t train chest again until next Monday. (Luckily we workout in Marty’s basement where there is always a bench available on Monday nights.)

Don’t think that we’re taking it easy though. Since we won’t hit chest again for an entire week, we must do everything possible (using common sense) to crush our chest each Monday night. The way we gauge our chest workout is if we’re not still sore on Thursday or Friday, we probably didn’t work hard enough on Monday. Remember, the key is to break down muscle tissue. Then it’s the healing process that builds the muscle. Soreness is just part of that healing process of that muscle tissue. And remember, no matter how hard you trained, and how sore you got, you’re not going to maximize the healing and growth process if you don’t feed your muscles adequate protein (and the right proteins) along with other important supplements. I think Glutamine Select plus Branch Chain Amino Acids is a must for recovery, and Mass Amino acid tablets (a.k.a Mass) supply the actual building blocks of muscle in their most utilizable form for... well... building muscle. Ultra 40 liver tablets are another staple in my growth and recovery supplement plan. It’s unbelievable the host of growth and energy factors in liver that I personally do not want to go with out.

Now, for the workout. This is a method I discovered about 3 years ago. And I think it’s one of the secrets to taking ’training each body part one a week’ to the next level for optimal growth.

Brian flat bench press big bag
  Well, the correct answer is (*"all of the above"). It depends upon your current goal, training experience, work schedule, nutrition, and even the amount of rest you get.

Since I have used Chest as our prior example, let’s continue with Chest..

It’s Chest day for Marty and I. And once again it is off to the basement we go.

Today we start off with Decline Press. Since we switch up sets and reps and exercise every single workout, I look back in my training notebook and realize it’s been months since we have done sets of 10 on Decline Barbell Press. We’ve thrown in some declines in the past few months, but then we did sets of five one workout and a Pyramid routine the other. So, today we’ll switch things up and after a few warm-up sets go for 4 sets of 10 reps.

I often do lower reps on chest (one of my favorite workouts is 5 sets of 5) so going to 10 reps today, along with my usual preworkout dose of Muscle Synergy, has already given me a major pump.

The next exercise will reveal the key to this workout, so listen up! Marty asks, "What’s next, flat presses or inclines?" I answer "Neither. Let’s stay on the decline and do decline dumbbell presses now." Marty asks, "Isn’t that overdoing our lower chest?" I answer, "Yeah, probably". So, here’s what I do with the Dumbbell Declines...

Brian Wiefering flat bench dumbbell press
Dumbbell Declines:
Warm-up: 1x15 with 80 lbs
Set 1: 1 X 10 with 90 lbs
Set 2: 1 X 10 with 100 lbs
Set 3: 1 X 10 with 100 lbs
Set 4: 1 X 10 with 100 lbs

By the end of this, the pump in my lower chest is crazy. But, it’s starting to feel like there’s not much left. I know in my head that even though I got all 10 reps on my last set, that if I did a fifth set, I’d be lucky to get it up for 5 reps. Muscle fatigue is setting in and another set of declines would be counterproductive.

Marty looks at his watch and asks "How are we going to get in upper chest?" I tell him we aren’t. We’ll worry about that next chest workout, but today we still have one more movement where we’ll emphasize the lower pecs.

Getting the picture? What we are doing is not simply working 1 body part a week, but breaking it down ever further. We are actually working one part of that body part this week. Now, I don’t want to confuse you. I don’t do this every workout. In fact, next workout will not be all incline movements. I will probably do some flat and incline, and who knows, I might even work in one decline movement. But maybe a few weeks down the road I will do an all incline chest workout. I save these types of workouts. I keep them in my back pocket and pull them out every so often. You’ve got to keep things unique and always trick your body into growth.

So, now we get on the pec deck, but sit extra high and make sure that we concentrate on squeezing our lower pecs. We simply do 4 sets of 15. Nothing tricky.

Now remember that soreness I spoke about earlier. Trust me; when you do 12-16 sets for just one part of the muscle during a workout you’re going to feel it. If you’re like me, and like to judge your workouts based on how sore (good soreness) you get, then two days after this workout you’ll know you have hit a homerun (just don’t try and swing a bat, you’ll be way to sore)!

Pec deck exercise lower prc emphasis
We follow barbell declines with dumbbell declines, then pec deck with with lower prc emphasis. This is the essence of "Part of a Park" training.
Reps Weight
Warm-ups: 1x15 135 lbs
1X15 225 lbs
1X10 275 lbs
Set 1-4: 1X10 315 lbs
1X10 315 lbs
1X10 315 lbs
1X9 315 (couldn’t get the the 10th)

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