Get your Chest into a Plate of Armour as a Vegan Weightlifter

Does this seem familiar to you? 

You walk into the gym, you find some cables you start with 4-5 sets of 12-15 reps on chest flys getting “warmed up” for your bench press. You get to the bench you do 3 standard pyramid sets of bench.

(*Note Standard Pyramid Sets: Structure in resistance training, starting light and increasing the weight with each working set on a given exercise.)

Then move into incline bench do 3 more standard pyramid sets.

Last but not least, you cannot forget about the lower chest right? Hop right on to the decline bench and once again do 3 more sets.

After the benching you move on to the free weights, pick up yourself a light weight and do pec flys. In fact you might even go and do a machine to add on top of these other exercises you did earlier.
You walk out the gym feeling exhausted, drained.. Only to come back and do it all over again…

 rinse & repeat.

 
What if I told you by doing all these various exercises in the same session you’re actually holding yourself back. This is something I see far too common.

“But Andi… The more exercises, sets, super sets, drop sets, giant sets I do during my session the more gainz I get out of it right?”

Nope. In the fact it’s the opposite. Let’s talk first about the the most effective way a natural weightlifter can make the most gainz. You see, for us natural weightlifters the majority of our physique progress will come through strength gains on our key/compound lifts. The stronger you get compared to your body weight (Relative Strength) the sharper your physique will look.

You will build the hard dense muscle and pair that with a low levels of body fat and it’s game over. Your physique will take new heights, and will resemble that of a Greek god statue

Ideally you would have to build your incline bench up to 1-1.5 times your body weight paired with a low body fat to have your chest resemble a plate of Armour.

When you Train for strength and aim to get stronger at key lifts you are  triggering myrofibular hypertrophy. Typically training high in volume with lots of super sets and  drop sets triggers sarcoplasmic hypertrophy or transient hypertrophy also know as a “pump.”

This type hypertrophy is very sensitive to dieting and lower calories, and should be only 25% of your training focus. 

Although drop sets, super sets and other high volume work have there place in your training (Chest Flyes, Incline Chest Flyes, Cable Cross Over etc) they should not  be the primary aspect of your training regimen.

This type of high volume training is only beneficial when you already have a strength training progressing model in place and are placing emphasis on improving on your key lifts.
As a natural weight lifter the Bread & butter of your training regimen should be on getting stronger at heavy compound movements in the 4-8 rep range.

This is where you will get the biggest bang for your buck. You ever see a guy at your gym benching 300+ lbs with a small chest? Ever see someone have half there body weight attached doing chin ups/ pull ups with a small back? Ever see a guy overhead pressing his body weight have small shoulders? Nope. It’s simply not possible.

Here on Veggie Power Gainz, we have a formula we follow.. 

it is :

Improve your relative strength + maintain low levels of body fat = You having the physique you want.
“But the huge guy at my gym begs to difffer.. says I need to make gainz by doing his workout which contains super sets, drop sets, ton of focus on isolation movements and training for a pump.”

Chances are the huge guy from the gym probably on drugs. In my first 2 years of training I followed the typical magazine routine with ton of emphasis on drop sets super sets with tons of chest volume. The “huge guy” in my gym said that’s his split and the motivated and naive Andi said yes and started doing it to. I quickly got the symptoms of over training, my lifts stalled, made no real progress with my lifts which in result, prevented me in seeing any real progress in my physique.

When you’re not a natural weightlifter and are taking performance enhancing drugs, you can handle obscene amounts of volume consisting of drop sets, super sets, giant sets etc..

As a natural weight lifter looking to get into phenomenal shape you must follow the formula I mentioned earlier which is:

Improve your relative strength + maintain low levels of body fat = You having the physique you want.

So far, you know the know the formula for achieving the physique you’re after, and what the primary aspect of your training should be.

So What Chest exercises should you do to get your chest looking like a plate of Armour?

cristian-baron-27345

I recommend three. And no its not the “The big three.” Getting stronger at the exercises I’ve mentioned below has not only helped my chest resemble that of a plate of Armour but also countless number of others I’ve recommended  this protocol to. For the three exercises below I recommend using Reverse pyramid training rather than standard pyramid sets.

Reverse Pyramid Training is a style of training where you perform your heaviest set first, when you’re completely fresh and then pyramid down to lighter weight for higher reps. (Proper warm up should be included to avoid injury)

(spread these exercises throughout the week, to ensure you’re hitting each of these movements when you’re fresh and not when you’re burned out.)

  1. Incline Barbell or Incline Dumbbell Press
  2. Standing Overhead Press
  3. Weighted Dips

Lets go further into these exercises.

 

1)Incline Barbell Or Dumbbell Press

Getting stronger at the exercises above, I guarantee you will give you the chiseled chest you’re after, but Far too often guys in general place more emphasis on flat bench press and typically don’t do enough upper chest work resulting in droopy looking pecs that look quite the opposite of masculine.(boobies) This is why I recommend incline pressing. You may choose to do either incline dumbbell or incline barbell pressing. Both are very effective. You can switch between dumbbell  & barbell when you start to plateau on one of them.

Incline bench press in my opinion is by far the best exercise for overall chest development with an emphasis on the upper chest, which typically is a common weak point for many guys.

Goal: Aim for 1- 1.5 times your body weight for 5 reps on incline.

 

 

2) Standing Overhead Press

 “Isn’t this exercise for shoulder development?”

Yes you’re correct it is. Why I mentioned standing overhead press is because when it is included in your regimen along side with your incline presses you will build beautiful chest and shoulders. The standing overhead press helps fill out the stubborn upper region of the chest. This is common exercise that is missing from most peoples training these days, one that shouldn’t be if you’re looking to have solid shoulder and chest development.

Overhead pressing is typically challenging for most people to progress, as plateaus are inevitable after a while. If you find yourself stalling in this lift, I would recommend micro loading.(Micro-loading- Using small fractional plates typically 1.25 plates to allow for small increases in resistance on a lift)  My mentor & strength coach introduced me to micro loading a couple years ago when I had plateaued on my presses. I will talk more about the topic of micro loading once again in a future article.

Goal: Aim for 0.7 – 1 times your body weight for 5 reps on standing press.

 

 

3) Weighted Dips 

This exercises hits the chest, shoulders, and triceps hard. If you have not done dips with added resistance before, you will see progress on this exercise very quickly. Typically, I recommend a standard dip belt for this, but you can if you want perform this movement with dumbbell between your ankles and heels.

If you’re new to this exercise you will find yourself adding 5 lbs to the belt each workout. I personally have built up to 100 lbs dips for 4 clean reps last December post Christmas. If you can progress to lifting 2-3 plates on this exercise, I assure you, you will see gross improvements in your overall chest, shoulder and tricep size.

Goal: Aim to lift your body weight with 2-3 plates hanging off the dip belt for 5 reps. 

 

 

Above I have laid out for you the three exercises and the strength goals you should aim for within each of the exercises  hat will ensure your chest resembles a plate of Armour.

 

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