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Lagging Chest Development
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Women Bodybuilding

Lagging Chest Development

By Pete Sisco - Developer of Static Contraction Training

The Best Exercises For Chest Development

We did a study to measure the relative overload intensity of common chest exercises. The results were published in Power Factor Training - Chest and Arms.

The rankings of these exercises was as follows:

- Straight arm Barbell Pullover 12.8%
- Nautilus® Machine Pullover 33.7%
- Flat Bench Cable Crossover 43.9%
- Dumbbell Fly 45.5%
- Incline Barbell Press 53.8%
- Nautilus® 10 Degree Chest 57.5%
- Unilateral Cable Crossover 70.2%
- Bilateral Cable Crossover 91.5%
- Decline Barbell Bench Press 96.9%
- Flat Barbell Bench Press 100%

Just look at all those time wasting exercises! If you are doing those exercises to work your chest you are operating at far less than maximum intensity and shortchanging your progress! Build a specialization routine around the last three high yield exercises and your chest will start growing like a weed!

Let's say you're at the point where you now train once every 5 days. Your new schedule would look like this:

Day 1: A workout (no chest exercise)

Day 6: B workout (no chest exercise)

Day 11: Chest specialization workout

Day 16: A workout

After you cycle through this 3 or 4 times your chest development will be caught up and you'll be able to revert to your normal A/B routine. Just make sure your weights go up on every exercise every workout!

Bodybuilding Myths - Pitfalls to Avoid

I suppose every sport has its own supply of useless lore and half-truths that get passed on to newcomers. But I'd put bodybuilding up against any of them in a contest for what has the most time wasting and even dangerous mythology.

The fact is, there's a ton of free advice dispensed in gyms that, if taken as gospel, can really set back your progress. That can lead to the kind of frustration that makes guys think they are "hard gainers" or need to resort to the needle to get the physique they desire. Not true.

I've already shown you in previous AskMen articles that simple, fundamental principles apply to generating all muscle gain. (High intensity, progressive overload and variable frequency.) Now lets take a look at some of the pitfalls to avoid while you train rationally.

Myth #1 "Big muscles slow you down."

Muscles are responsible for every movement your body can make. From the wink of an eyelid to a thousand pound leg press, it's muscles that create motion. This "muscles slow you down" myth is a carryover from the days when people used the term "muscle-bound" to describe bodybuilders.

But in one sport after another, from baseball to kayaking, athletes are discovering that a stronger athlete is a better athlete. If you want to swing a bat faster you need more horsepower. If you want to paddle faster you need more horsepower. That power comes from your muscles.

We recently conducted a study on middle-aged golfers who had been golfing an average of about 20 years. We made them stronger over a six week period and guess what? They all hit their drives farther. No change in technique. No change in equipment. When they were stronger they played better golf. Big muscles make you fast and powerful.

Myth #2 "Muscle just turns to fat later."

Muscle tissue and fat tissue are two different things. It is impossible for one to "turn into" the other. Here's where this myth comes from. Muscle is called "active tissue" because it requires a lot of energy from the body in order to be maintained. A pound of muscle burns about 60 calories per day. If you train well and add ten pounds of muscle to your frame, your body will require an extra 600 calories per day in order to maintain your new bodyweight. (Incidentally, this is why adding muscle is a great way to lose bodyfat.)

With more muscle on your body you'll tend to have a bigger appetite and consequently you'll eat more. Fine. But if you stop training, that new muscle can begin to atrophy, or shrink, and you'll no longer need those extra calories you've gotten used to eating. And sure enough, if the 10 pounds of muscle disappears and you keep eating as if you're still training hard, you'll soon have extra fat on you.

So this is a pitfall you can easily avoid. Build all the muscle you want. Then go to the gym often enough to make sure you maintain it. That keeps you looking great and the extra "active tissue" wards off the accumulation of fat.

Myth #3 "You need to shock your muscles by doing things they don't expect."

This one really hands me a laugh. The idea behind this myth is that you need to change your training routine and exercises as a way to surprise your muscles and get a fresh reaction out of them. Yeah right.

Think of your biceps muscle; like your other muscles, it attaches between two points and contracts in a straight-line direction. When it contracts, your elbow bends. Your elbow always bends in the same direction. There is no variation whatsoever. So you can lift bricks or you can lift the bar on a $5,000 exercise machine and the action of your biceps is the same. So where is the shock? Why would your biceps say, "Whoa, today we're suddenly lifting a dumbbell instead of a barbell! Better pack on some more size!"

Here's another variation. The gym lore goes like this: "Train, Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Then your body 'expects' a workout on Sunday... but you 'shock' it by waiting until Monday." Apart from the false premise that your body will "expect" a workout when your brain knows it isn't going to happen, is the presupposition that your body never figures out this is a repeating cycle with the Sunday workout always missing. Week after week your body is "shocked" that the Sunday workout is skipped. Please!

Muscles are not shocked by variation in exercise. They are designed to tolerate it. Similarly, your stomach is not shocked you ate spaghetti on Tuesday after not eating it for a month. Rational, productive strength training is easy. What's difficult is seeing past all the bad advice that is freely dispensed in the gym.

Train Smart!

All the best,