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Chest Day Rest Day

“Lie down on this bench and push that bar upwards.” That’s a chest day for y’all, and those are actually great instructions for most chest workouts.  

 (Be a bodybuilder, not a weightlifter video)

While necessary for a strong physique, people often overuse chest days, leading to a disproportionate body. If your chest is stronger than your back, Disney fanatics will worship you as The Hunchback of Notre Dame (too mean?).


Chest workouts are easy with their lack of conditioning prerequisites, since it’s not hard to push something while you’re lying or sitting down. Whether done with free weights or by a machine, flat, incline, and decline bench presses require that resting support. The same goes with pectoral fly exercises. A lot of people perform standing cable fly variations, but that’s shitty if it’s the one I have to refer to as “the standing chest exercise.” 


People seem to measure each other’s strength by how much a person benches. That’s completely false. Even though I’m Jewish, I hope for next Christmas that Santa will shut those people up. Most fat people can bench more than me, because they’re fat and heavy. Simply put, fat people bench a lot, because they’re fat and heavy. Their bodyweight/bench ratio sucks, though.


Bench pressing is a narrow lift, hitting mostly chest, while indirectly working shoulders and triceps. Full body lifts, such as deadlifts, squats, and STANDING rows, demand more physicality by also requiring your back, quadriceps, hamstrings, shoulders, arms, traps, and core.


This is all because Chest Day is a Rest Day. I’m living proof of that. Overloading chest workouts is a fantastic idea for lazy people like BigBerg.  A couch potato can bench press while being a couch potato. Rest on a couch or a bench…it’s still resting!  


GreenbergRippedPicBut when done right, chest days can enhance your physical abilities. So allow me the honor of sharing just a few of my dos and don’ts for chest workouts, followed by two different chest-working routines.


Chest Days Should Not Be Your Focus


There’s a time and place for chest days. Registering for chest workouts should be done for the same reasons why college students register for blow off classes: they’re easy credits to earn and help ease the steam as you exercise your mind in the difficult classes.


Chest day is a blow off day and should be utilized to recover from the more difficult days, while earning some extra, easier workout credits at the same time. My favorite time to work chest is the day before longs runs, such as my 17-miler last Sunday (7:36 minute per mile average, baby). This allowed me to still workout the day before running, while also resting most of my body. You can do the same thing with arm workouts, but you know that already.


To toughen up chest workouts, take advantage of fatiguing that upper body by circuiting the hell out of your chest lifts, coupled with pushup variations. I prefer 8-15 rep-ranges for my chest workouts. If that’s a no-go due to your hard-on for heavy lifting, make rep pyramids, such as 15, 10, 6, 6, 10, 15.  


The 90-Degree Form IS More Bullshit Than Actual Bull Shit


Today, you’re going to end that “bring the bar 90-degres down” crap. Why the hell would you do anything halfway? Half-ass form will lead to half-ass results, and you will not be satisfied. It’s like driving to Potbelly to purchase a chicken sandwich for lunch, stopping midway, saying, “fuck it,” and then driving home without that lunch. 


So take those presses down to your chest every single time, unless there’s some injury or medical reason (that’s my disclaimer). This may require dropping the weight, but do it right and you’ll be seeing those gains in no time. Plus, you’ll look better!


Bouncing The Weight On Your Chest Is Bad News Bears


Bars and dumbbells are not bouncy balls, so a lifter shouldn’t bounce it on his chest to gain momentum per each press. The hardest part of benching is pressing the weight from your chest to halfway up, and that unnecessary momentum disallows maximizing your strength. Rather, you want the kind of momentum that gets your ass in the gym nearly every day, not the cheating kind that bakes shit reps faster than an Easy Bake Oven. BOOM.  


Proper form increases difficulty and forces you to use lighter weight, but the results are better. So instead, touch the bar to your chest and pause for a second. By preventing yourself from bouncing the weight, your chest muscles will finally have the chance to press without assistance. Give your chest the opportunity it deserves, and it won’t let you down.


Pressing Like A Speed Demon Is Pointless


Applicable to any lift for any muscle, slow reps produce more pleasing results. I’m not going to cite stuff or bullshit you, because I don’t have data. But what I do have is knowledge from trial and error. Fast reps go in the error section, while slow reps go in the success section. Slow reps burn more, there’s more contraction, and muscles will build at substantially higher rate.


So when you’re pressing, count no less than 3-seconds down and then 3-seconds up. And for each pectoral fly, when you bring the weights in, hold it there for no less than 3-seconds. Soreness will be a bitch, but after a full recovery you’ll be stronger the next round of chest.  Don’t count this way every time, as you should mix it up every few weeks, but this count serves as a good base.




Moral of the story: Chest Days make for good Rest Days. They’re useful, but not useful enough to become a priority. Don’t let your chest workouts mess you up. Do it right, nail your back, legs, and shoulders, focus on those full body lifts, and you’ll walk strong with a better posture than any chest day junkie.


Below are two sample chest workouts, one a solo chest day and the other paired with back. Expect some sort of leg workout rave next week. Until then, thanks for reading and go hit the gym. And man, I really don’t want to study for these fuckin’ law school finals.


Use your flaws in a positive way to exceed your potential – LeanBerg.



Chest and Back

  • 6 Round Circuit
    • Dumbbell Flat Bench Press while doing a Leg Lift with each Press 20, 15, 12, 10, 8, 6 reps
    • Standing Bar Rows with Overhand Grip 20, 15, 12, 10, 8, 6 reps
    • Lat Pulldown Machine 10-15 reps
  • 4 Round Circuit
    • Bar Incline Bench Press 15, 12, 10, 8 reps
    • Standing Dumbbell Rows with Underhand Grip 10-15 reps
    • Dumbbell Flies on Flat Bench 20, 15, 12, 10 reps
  • 4 Round Superset
    • Reverse Fly Machine 12-15 reps
    • Standing Cable Flies with Underhand Grip 12-20 reps
  • 3 Sets
    • Chinups till Failure (do as many as you can, then rest a minute)
  • Run 3 Miles (LOVE CARDIO BABY)


Chest Day Rest Day

  • 6 Round Superset
    • Dumbbell Incline Bench Press 12-20 reps rounds 1-3, then 6-10 reps rounds 4-6
    • Dumbbell Flies on Decline Bench 15-20 reps rounds 1-3, then 8-12 reps rounds 4-6
  • 4 Round Circuit:
    • Bar Flat Bench Press 10-15 reps
    • Abs – Weighted Lying Down Legs Lifts with HANDS TO SIDES, not under your ass (hold dumbbell between ankles) 20-30 reps
    • Pec Fly Machine 15, 10, 10, 15 reps
    • Abs – Frog Situps 30-50 reps
    • Diamond Pushups till Failure
  • As Fast As You Can (hit total number of reps as fast as possible, only resting when you absolutely must, and make sure to touch your chest to the floor each time)
    • Decline Pushups with Feet on Ball 100 reps





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Stacking for Athletes

Hey y’all:

Before I write a thing, I’d like to thank the guys over at Campus Protein for the opportunity to write this article. I’m humbled they’ve taken enough of an interest in my blog that they wanted me to write a guest post. When you’re done here, make sure to swing over and check out/follow my blog:

So, to give some background/perspective on myself for those of you who don’t know me, I graduated from Boston University this past May after wrestling on BU’s Division-I wrestling team for 4 years. I wrestled in about 5 conference matches and multiple tournaments as a 2nd string wrestler at both the 197 lb. and Heavyweight weight classes. My junior year was my lone year at 197, and, after analyzing the lineup, I figured I’d have the best chance of contributing at Heavyweight the next season. So, accordingly, it was time for me to put on good weight that summer.

One day, I spoke with one of our captains and we completely re-vamped my conditioning, exercise, and nutritional regimens. I weighed about 225 and wanted to be a real solid 240 by the start of the season. What I came to understand was that when it came to putting on muscle and mass, timing was EVERYTHING when it came to lifting and nutrition. Therefore, it’s crucial to map out your days (even weeks) so that your nutrient timing and stacks are on point. So, for this post, I thought I’d share my success with you, and explain my regimen in detail.

Now, I’m not a Health Science/Dietary Health major or anything, and I won’t claim to know the biological processes behind everything I talk about… some things, I won’t know WHY it works, but I’ll know that it worked for me, and might work for you.

The first thing that’s important to know about putting on mass is that your body needs to be assured it will get its vitamins every day. Therefore, it’s a great practice to start everyday with a mutli-vitamin; I used to take the generic Megaman Sport Multi from GNC, however, I know there’s a million varieties out there. Just ask the guy from (boom, like that plug?) the best multivitamin they carry when you call, and they’ll let you know. Additionally, I would take a B-12 pill to boost my metabolism right away in the morning. I wanted to make sure my body was ready to digest everything that I put into it, and that I would burn calories faster, as to not put on fat.

Additionally, throughout the day, I’d carry around a gallon jug of water mixed with 4 scoops of Xtend BCAA powder. Taking a BCAA (branched chain amino acid) throughout the day will help prevent the breakdown of muscle as you train, and they also increase the release of your naturally occurring Human Growth Hormone (like, the chill, natural stuff… not that Barry Bonds shit). Therefore, it’s good to drink throughout the day, especially during and afterworkouts. Also, I had a dank watermelon flavor that made water taste better. Oh yeah, Note: Don’t drink anything with sugar, basically. No soda, sweetened tea, etc. It’s bad for you, and might be a source of unwanted fat. Just overall not conducive to your goals.

I liked to lift in the morning, so I’d wake up at 6 AM and make a mini Protein shake to give my body something to feed off of. Just take a scoop of whey and a cup of milk, mix it up, chug it and go. This is essential to your mass building… it’s almost like trying to run a car with no gas if you don’t have something in your body before a lift.

I’m not going to go on a rant of how you should train, because everyone has their own ways… So, take whatever muscle-building plan you’re on, and do it at the gym. Put it this way, the only thing I’ll say is: If you’re not tired or sore after your lift, you’re either not working hard enough, or you need to lift heavier weights. So, do your own lift regimen, and mix in some cardio. Just make sure you target muscle groups with the goal of increasing the weight you lift over time… More weight you can lift=more muscle. Easy.

As you lift, you should be drinking at least a liter of water mixed with your BCAA powder. This will help your muscles recover over time, release some natural growth hormones, and aid in preventing tissue breakdown.

Your nutrition is most important immediately after a workout. I recommend doing the following. Immediately after each lift, take two Glutamine pills (aids in natural muscle recovery), and a protein shake with 2 scoops of Whey Protein. Chug it down, even if it doesn’t taste awesome. Your body NEEDS protein within 30 minutes of the end of a workout… If your body doesn’t get that protein to refuel, you just wasted your own time, because the protein is essentially what adds on to your muscle. Each time you lift (to put it in complete “For Dummies” terms.) you’re slightly tearing your muscles, and then the protein comes in and mends that tear and adds some more on top… this is how you build muscle.

About a half hour later, I’d have breakfast. Now, as I said, I’m a big dude… so my meals may be bigger than yours would be. Take that into consideration and cut down on intake if you feel you need to. Every morning, I’d have an omelette with 8 egg whites and as many vegetables as I wanted. 8 egg whites was so hard to completely finish, but I will say, it worked, and I put on a lot of good weight by the end of the summer.

Then, I wouldn’t eat again until lunch usually, maybe a small snack like a few slices of turkey or chicken… but I’d keep drinking my water with BCAAs.

Lunch: I’d eat a huge salad… like gigantic, with as many vegetables as I wanted. I ate a lot of broccoli because it was a “meaty” vegetable and had a lot of protein… filled me up good. You can put a light dressing on it, but not too much. Also, stay away from too much starch in your vegetable choices.

Then, around 2-3 hours later, I’d have another snack. Either broccoli with hummus or tabouli, or more turkey if you want that. Greek Yogurt is also pretty good… lots of protein.

Then, dinner. I’d have some kind of a meat or fish… another gigantic salad, and a half cup of either whole wheat pasta or rice as a good carb fuel to get me ready for the next day.

Finally, right before bed, I’d have a shake with one scoop of Casein protein. Basically, my trainer explained casein as a protein that your body feeds off of as it sleeps. So what does that mean? Well, if your body is eating all the Casein, it’s not going to touch the muscle you built in the gym that day… Makes sense right? Casein was, in my opinion, the most critical addition to my summer regimen.

It was also important I got to bed early every night. If you’re going to be up at the crack of dawn to lift, you need your 7 hours of sleep… end of story. Make it happen.

So, at the end of the summer, to quantify the above… I came back to wrestling at 243 lbs. and had put on 18 lbs. What’s even better? My body fat % only increased by 2ish %. What did that mean?

Lots more muscle. Accordingly, I felt stronger than I ever had that season. My bench max increased by 55 lbs over the summer, and my clean max went up by 35 lbs. Stick to a strong nutrient timing regimen and lift hard, and you WILL HAVE SUCCESS. 

Thanks again to the guys at Campus Protein for the opportunity to write this, and make sure you visit/follow my, and follow me on Twitter: @bkc78
All the Best,



Posted by on August 8, 2012 in Guest Blogs


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