Hey Brett. The other day I heard someone refer to you as “Midwest Chest”. How did you get that nickname? I would love to develop great pecs and although my upper body training is a priority, I am not seeing the gains I want. What is the secret to your...

I got the nickname “Midwest Chest” a few years ago, when I filmed a video with MostMuscular.com titled “Midwest Chest” that featured my chest training. These are principles I continue to use in my chest training today. When I was new to lifting, like many newcomers I trained my chest 2-3 times a week and I attribute this excess stimulus, along with genetics to the development of my pecs. However, I wouldn’t recommend this knowing what I know now. These days, I only train chest once a week. But if you follow along with my workout, you’ll see that I annihilate my pecs and I need the 6 days in between workouts to recover. You might remember that I suffered a potentially career ending pec tear back in the fall. After rehabilitating my chest, I am currently back to regular chest training. Here are my chest training principles:

  • I do not flat bench. I probably haven’t done flat bench in ten years. The reason for this is the danger and stress that this movement poses to the shoulders and tendons supporting the shoulder joints. Instead, I like to incline bench, which targets the upper region of the pecs.
  • I do ten sets of ten reps of smith machine incline bench with 25 second rest intervals between each set. I use the same weight, anywhere up to 315 pounds for each set, the entire ten sets completed in about 6 minutes. This method has been referred to as “German Volume Training”, a method of muscle specific training many athletes use to increase strength. I like to use this method to ramp up the intensity of my training.
  • I then perform dumbbell flies attaining four sets, of 10-15 reps increasing the weight by ten pounds.
  • At the gym where I train, there is a line-up of iso-lateral hammer strength machines for chest (incline flat bench, decline flat bench, narrow grip chest press, wide-grip chest press) lined up from one end of the weight room to the other. My training partner and I will load the plates onto each machine and perform each exercise in succession for 2-3 giant sets. With each exercise, we don’t always focus on the number of reps but in completing the set to near failure. We like to call this the Gauntlet. We perform this gauntlet at the end of the workout to completely exhaust the chest.
  • I am a firm believer in deep tissue massage for repairing and muscle tissue. It wasn’t until my injury that I actually started incorporating massage therapy into my regime. I really believed that receiving weekly deep tissue massage saved my pec from an early retirement! When I can”t make it to my massage appointment, I will sometimes bribe my wife into stepping onto my chest and working out the kinks with her heels. It sounds crazy, but believe me, it feels really good when my chest is tight. This usually costs me a few loads of laundry, but it’s worth it!
  • Of course, it goes without saying that none of the above will garner any benefit without proper nutrition and solid supplementation. I aim for 2 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight every day. I incorporate 1st Phorm supplements into my training program and I believe the combination of Ignition and Phormula-1 pre and post-workout is a winning recipe after the Midwest Chest workout!

For those of you in the Midwest, make sure you check out the “NPC Midwest Bodybuilding Championships” going down in St Louis at the Roberts Orpheum theatre, this Saturday April 24. This was a great show last year and this year should be no different. After a very brief hiatus, the competition season is in full swing again and I’m anxious to begin plotting my next show prep. Be sure to stay tuned!