Try this off-season chest workout to build some serious mass and muscle belly
On-season and off-season training are two completely different animals. If you’re on a contest circuit year round or need to be photo shoot ready year-round, then you may need to modify this workout a little bit. Our off-season chest workout focuses a little more on muscle strength training than our average workouts. We’ll hit some lower reps to recruit the fast twitch muscle fibers and also to build up some strength. We don’t stop there though. Once we’ve burned out our fast twitch fibers and done some strength movements, we’ll be laying waste to our slow twitch fibers with a few drop-sets. No Body Spartan workout is complete unless we’ve fully exhausted every muscle fiber possible.
In this chest workout, even though we’re focusing on strength movements in the beginning, it’s still vital to use proper form and make the mind muscle connection. At no point do we ever just “move weight”. Every exercise and every movement is carefully executed with proper form to keep the targeted muscle group (your chest muscles) under tension the whole time.
Soft lock for bigger chest muscles
One of the exercises we’ll be doing is the decline bench press and we’ll be incorporating a “soft-lock” into this movement. A soft lock is where you do not return the bar to it’s full starting position and lock out the arms. By stopping the movement just before you would usually lock out, you keep constant tension on the chest muscles. Also, be sure not to pause at the top of the movement to recover on every rep. Rather, as soon as you reach your soft lock, instantly begin your negative motion and begin bringing the bar back down to your chest in a controlled movement.
Keeping constant tension on your muscles is one of the secrets of pro-bodybuilders. You will exhaust your muscle fibers more quickly, however – as you incorporate this technique more and more you will gain not only strength but massive amounts of size. Your muscles will be working harder than ever before and in turn, as long as your nutrition is on point, they’ll be growing to match the work you’re putting in.
Body Spartan Off-Season Chest Workout
Stick to the rep scheme and adjust the weight as needed for your level of experience.
Decline Barbell Bench Press
|1||No||20||135 lbs||1 minute|
|2||No||15||225 lbs||2 minutes|
|4||No||8||365 lbs||3 minutes|
Flat bench dumbbell flies
|1||No||12||55 lbs||2 minutes|
|2||No||12||60 lbs||2 minutes|
|3||No||12||65 lbs||2 minutes|
Incline bench Free Motion flies
|1||No||20||30 lbs||2 minutes|
|2||No||18||40 lbs||2 minutes|
|3||No||15||50 lbs||2 minutes|
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Incline bench Smith Machine press super set with standing cable flies
In the super set / drop set column, the first number for the reps and weight will be for the incline Smith Machine press. The second number will apply to the standing cable flies. Remember, there is NO REST in between sets for drop sets and super sets. The rest period listed is for when the ENTIRE super set is completed (both exercises).
|Set||Super Set / Drop set||Reps||Weight||Rest|
|1||Super set||20 / 20||185 lbs / 70lbs||2 minutes|
|2||Super set||15 / 15||205 lbs / 70 lbs||2 minutes|
|3||Super set||15 / 15||225 lbs / 70lbs||2 minutes|
|4||Drop set||12-15||225 lbs||None|
|Drop set||10||185 lbs||None|
|Drop set / Super set||10-20 / 15||135 lbs / 50 lbs||None|
As an alternative to the standing cable flies shown in the photos above, you can swap them out for a standing decline cable fly. These are demonstrated in the video below (you’ll want to stick to the rep scheme in the table above):
Chest workout recap
At this point your chest should be so fried that there’s absolutely no hope you’ll be able to get your arms above your head to wash your hair. That being said, before you leave the gym, and directly after you finish that last set of dips, spend a few minutes in the mirror just flexing your chest muscles. This was one of Arnold’s favorite things to do. Your chest muscles are pumped full of blood and you have a full mind-muscle connection with them at this point. By flexing them for a minute or so at a time you will continue to force blood into the muscle cells and retain your pump.
Now, as soon as you’re done, take advantage of that anabolic window and go slam your protein shake with some simple carbs. Our favorite is about 50-60 grams of high quality protein mixed with about 80 grams of carbs from Maltodextrin carb powder. We usually pre-blend this in our blender at home and shove it in a protein shaker cup in our bags. Just make sure that bad boy is sealed tight. No one likes protein shake splattered all over their bag and gym gear.
Try this workout and let us know what you think!