If we think of celebrities with impressive bods, Arnold Schwarzenegger is usually among the first to come up. The Terminator star was a bodybuilder before his acting career, and has since maintained working on his physique, even at the age of 70.
Schwarzenegger has shared that he places particular emphasis on his chest through a few basic exercises. No fuss, no frills, just lifting. He also believes in steadily increasing the weights he would lift with each step in order to improve strength. This is something called a pyramid scheme, where you increase the weights but decrease the number of reps after each set.
Here's Schwarzenegger's chest workout. Now go get those pecs.
FLAT BENCH PRESS (5 SETS: FIRST SET 15 REPS, THEN DECREASE AFTER EACH SET TO 12, 10, 8, 6 REPS)
Heavy bench presses are pretty important for Schwarzenegger's chest-building routine, because these lifts build both size and strength. He starts out with a flat bench press, which is an all-rounder move for chest training. Head to a bench and lie flat on it. Use a medium grip and lift the bar off the rack, holding straight above you. Ensure you arms are locked. Breathe in and lower the bar slowly until it touches the middle of your chest. Pause, then breathe out as you push the bar back to starting position. Squeeze your chest as you do this. When you lower the weight, it should take twice as long as pushing it back up. Perform for the stated number of reps before dropping to 12 reps, and so on.
INCLINE BENCH PRESS (5 SETS X 10-15 REPS)
Incline bench presses increases blood flow to the chest area, which is one component that Schwarzenegger believed was essential to getting solid pecs. After you load the bar, lie on the bench with your feet firmly fat on the ground. You should drive your weight with your hips. Your back should also be arched, and your shoulder blades drawn in. With a medium grip, remove the weight from the rack to over your chest with your arms straight out. Lower the bar to your chest, and have control. Keep your lats tight and elbows close to your ribs. Once the bar touches your chest, extend the bar by pushing back up to start. Repeat for desired number of reps.
DUMBBELL FLYES (5 SETS X 10-15 REPS)
Dumbbell flyes enabled Schwarzenegger to isolate his pecs, stretching and contracting the muscle as he lifted. Dumbbell flyes are also ideal for building the inner chest, and getting definition. Lie on on a bench with two dumbbells in hand, resting atop your thighs. Make sure your palms face each other. Bring the dumbbells up so that they're perpendicular to your body but don't lock your elbows, as this will stress your biceps tendon. Next, lower your arms out to the sides that it forms a massive arc. Keep doing till you feel the stretch in your chest. Return back to start, making sure to squeeze your chest as you do.
DIPS (5 SETS X TO FAILURE)
Dips are an essential move to emphasise your lower pecs. Begin by going to parallel bars, and holding your body upright on the bars with your arms locked. Breathe in and lower yourself slowly, making sure that your upper body leans forward at about 25 to 30 degrees. Keep your elbows flared out slightly. You should feel a stretch in your chest as you go lower. Then, bring your body back up to the starting position, squeezing your chest for one second before repeating as necessary.
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