Want a Bulkier Chest? 3 Things To Try

Powerlifter Bulking

What's one of the main techniques to bulk up huge and get stronger?

Forcing your body to adapt to new stresses.

This could be anything from adding bands to the bar to just adding more weight to it. The bench press and chest were always my weakest points but here's a few techniques that I've used that worked for me to build a bulkier chest and stronger upper body:

1. Lower Weight, Higher Reps Bench Press

After doing my main heavy barbell bench press work, I'll drop the weight down to about half of what the heavy weight was for the day. I'll then do 10 sets of 10 close-grip bench with very short rest periods (90 seconds). The last 3-5 sets take a lot of will power to finish. (If you're doing my beginner program, you can add this in there too once in awhile to change things up. I would cut the dips out for that day and do this last and aim for 15 reps a set.) The set ends when the form starts to break down.

Here's a video example. Heavier weights first and at 1:30, the lower weights, higher reps starts.

2. Bench Press Pause Reps

Pausing your barbell bench press at the bottom on your chest for a second takes away momentum and any bouncing. This better ensures you're doing more of the work and getting the most out of every rep. It also trains you to be explosive. I mix this in every now and then with either the main heavy work or when doing "Lower Weight, Higher Reps".

Here's a video demo on pause reps.

3. Drop Sets

I use this sparingly if I don't have enough time to do all the sets in #1 or just want to do something different. It's a killer way to end a training session and really get some muscle bulk growing.

A drop set is a technique for continuing an exercise after you've reached failure. An example would be doing your regular bench press set with as many reps as you can with good form. After that you'd immediately take off some bar weight like going from 225lbs to 185lbs and then jumping back under the bar and doing as many reps as you can. And repeat however times you want. I usually keep dropping weight until the bar is empty. This is a good technique for intermediate to advanced lifters.

Tip: To get the most out of these techniques or any chest exercise, contract or squeeze the muscle at the top of the movement on every rep to recruit or train more muscle fibres. It takes some practice and repetition to get the "mind-to-muscle" contraction but it's made a difference in my training.

Try adding one of these techniques into your bench or chest training days once or twice a month. Let me know how it works out!

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