Results 1 to 19 of 19

Thread: An Intelligent Approach to Building a Big, Strong Chest by Allen Cress - New Article!

Hybrid View

  1. #1
    Soon to be lean... Joe Black's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Location
    Cambridge, England
    Posts
    10,936

    An Intelligent Approach to Building a Big, Strong Chest by Allen Cress - New Article!

    If you’re a lifter, I guarantee you’ve been asked The Question “how much do you bench?” It's almost like a prerequisite to joining a gym nowadays...

    The truth is, unless you’re a powerlifter, how much you bench is irrelevant. Developing a full chest, one that looks like it could bench a ton - lies in proper science and proper application of training.

    Our very own Allen Cress covers the scientific principles and proper methodology for building the strong, muscular chest you want!

    READ HERE
    http://www.wannabebig.com/logo/alnlogo_black.gif

    AtLarge Nutrition Supplements – Get the best supplements and help support Wannabebig!

    Hypertrophy Cluster Training - HCT-12 - If you want big gains in size and strength, huge decreases in body fat, or both - check out HCT-12.

    Can I have some lean muscle & strength please? – My Training Journal

  2. #2
    Soon to be lean... Joe Black's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Location
    Cambridge, England
    Posts
    10,936
    I also want to thank Allen and congraluate him on his first article on Wannabebig - he started off well
    http://www.wannabebig.com/logo/alnlogo_black.gif

    AtLarge Nutrition Supplements – Get the best supplements and help support Wannabebig!

    Hypertrophy Cluster Training - HCT-12 - If you want big gains in size and strength, huge decreases in body fat, or both - check out HCT-12.

    Can I have some lean muscle & strength please? – My Training Journal

  3. #3
    Senior Member brihead301's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Philadelphia, PA
    Posts
    4,564
    Interesting article for sure. I definately learned something from it about the two planes of motion. I never realized that flies were important before for chest development.

    The thing I don't like about it is that in the sample workout, which is a basic bodypart split, has a chest day, back day, shoulders day, arms day, and legs/functional chest day. I was always of the mentality that the lower body should be trained equally as much, if not more then the upper body. But with this split, it's as if legs are just kinda 'squeezed in' there with all the upper body work on the other 4 days....and even on the leg day, it's not even fully devoted to legs because it's a "legs and functional chest" day. This is typical gym rat thinking, and I thought we at WBB knew better then that!
    How to Find Your Dream Job
    My personal blog/website dedicated to giving answers on the age old question - how to escape the "rat race". I now play guitar for a living!

  4. #4
    Wannabebig Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Millville, DE
    Posts
    54
    Quote Originally Posted by brihead301 View Post
    The thing I don't like about it is that in the sample workout, which is a basic bodypart split, has a chest day, back day, shoulders day, arms day, and legs/functional chest day. I was always of the mentality that the lower body should be trained equally as much, if not more then the upper body. But with this split, it's as if legs are just kinda 'squeezed in' there with all the upper body work on the other 4 days....and even on the leg day, it's not even fully devoted to legs because it's a "legs and functional chest" day. This is typical gym rat thinking, and I thought we at WBB knew better then that!
    I agree that it does seem like legs aren't really emphasized in this program. I mean again it is a chest developing article so maybe that's why.

    The things I don't like about it is the "hit a muscle once a week" idea, when research shows far more benefit from hitting a muscle twice a week due to protein synthesis responses. I'm not saying once a week can never work, but for the majority of people, alternating upper and lower or some other way of hitting each muscle twice per week works way better.

    Also I've heard that putting your feet up when you bench makes it harder, but only because of less stabilization, and the consequent reduction in load will take away from the primary stimulus of muscle growth - tension. I think using heavier weights with a normal bench would be more productive.

    Sorry, not trying to attack here at all, there's just a few things I don't agree with and want to get a discussion going.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Allen Cress's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    1,156
    Quote Originally Posted by Berzinator View Post
    I agree that it does seem like legs aren't really emphasized in this program. I mean again it is a chest developing article so maybe that's why.

    The things I don't like about it is the "hit a muscle once a week" idea, when research shows far more benefit from hitting a muscle twice a week due to protein synthesis responses. I'm not saying once a week can never work, but for the majority of people, alternating upper and lower or some other way of hitting each muscle twice per week works way better.

    Also I've heard that putting your feet up when you bench makes it harder, but only because of less stabilization, and the consequent reduction in load will take away from the primary stimulus of muscle growth - tension. I think using heavier weights with a normal bench would be more productive.

    Sorry, not trying to attack here at all, there's just a few things I don't agree with and want to get a discussion going.
    No need to apologize, everyone has a right to their opinion.

    As far as hitting a muscle twice a week for better protein synthesis response, its not that black and white by any means. The degree of muscle activation and breakdown, toatal volume for the week, intensity factors, etc... all play a role in this. If a muscle is hit with enough volume in one day (dpending on the individual) it will elicit an adaptive response and create better protein synthesis.

    Again we are not so much focused on load, although the weight needs to be challenging, we are focused on placing more stress on the targeted muscle. Again placing the targeted muscle under stress, time under tension, TEP(training efficiency percentage) which is the number or percentage of reps in a given set that elicit an adaptive response.

    You do not have to be 1RM “strong” in terms of how much you can lift, to develop a body or develop strength; but you do need to apply max efforts consistently. For development How much you lift is secondary to how hard you lift. So it’s not about “lifting more” it is about “lifting better.” The mind muscle connection is at the heart of the notion that "the muscles work the weights; the weights don’t work the muscles".

  6. #6
    Wannabebig Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Millville, DE
    Posts
    54
    Quote Originally Posted by Allen Cress View Post
    No need to apologize, everyone has a right to their opinion.

    As far as hitting a muscle twice a week for better protein synthesis response, its not that black and white by any means. The degree of muscle activation and breakdown, toatal volume for the week, intensity factors, etc... all play a role in this. If a muscle is hit with enough volume in one day (dpending on the individual) it will elicit an adaptive response and create better protein synthesis.

    Again we are not so much focused on load, although the weight needs to be challenging, we are focused on placing more stress on the targeted muscle. Again placing the targeted muscle under stress, time under tension, TEP(training efficiency percentage) which is the number or percentage of reps in a given set that elicit an adaptive response.

    You do not have to be 1RM “strong” in terms of how much you can lift, to develop a body or develop strength; but you do need to apply max efforts consistently. For development How much you lift is secondary to how hard you lift. So it’s not about “lifting more” it is about “lifting better.” The mind muscle connection is at the heart of the notion that "the muscles work the weights; the weights don’t work the muscles".
    I agree that there is a minimum volume and workload that must be achieved to elicit an adaptive response in terms of protein synthesis, but I also don't agree that blasting a muscle once a week will cause the same increase in protein synthesis as splitting that workload into two sessions. There is a law of diminishing returns in protein synthesis response to a volume of a workout. In other words, (using arbitrary units) 5 units of work might cause 5 units increase in protein synthesis, but 10 units of work in the same session might cause 7 units increase in protein synthesis. Because of the time course of the response (at most 72 hours) it seems more logical to do a "5" workout twice a week resulting in a "10" in protein synthesis for the week, rather than once a week for a "7". Again the units are arbitrary and just to make a point. I will concede on this however since most muscle groups overlap and will get hit a little on other days, but I don't think it's quite ideal.

    As far as the feet up issue, I am of the understanding that it isn't placing more tension on the muscles, but simply making the exercise more difficult through a less balanced environment. My argument was that a normal bench press with a heavier weight hits the chest more because a feet up bench forces you to use less weight due to instability, not because it focuses more on the chest. Anatomically there's no reason that placing your feet on the bench would result in better activation of the pectorals.

    Also, I am by no means saying the things Alan says aren't true or don't work. Obviously he is in fantastic shape and his clients get great results (from what I hear), but that in no way means his way is the optimal way. There are many ways to get results but through pragmatic debate we can possibly determine if one way works better (even if the other way still works).

  7. #7
    Senior Member Allen Cress's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    1,156
    Quote Originally Posted by brihead301 View Post
    .

    The thing I don't like about it is that in the sample workout, which is a basic bodypart split, has a chest day, back day, shoulders day, arms day, and legs/functional chest day. I was always of the mentality that the lower body should be trained equally as much, if not more then the upper body. But with this split, it's as if legs are just kinda 'squeezed in' there with all the upper body work on the other 4 days....and even on the leg day, it's not even fully devoted to legs because it's a "legs and functional chest" day. This is typical gym rat thinking, and I thought we at WBB knew better then that!
    You have to understand the split is emaphsizing target training. The legs are being trained with as much volume as each upper body part. Performing functional chest work on leg day does not take away from legs by any means it just increases workload capacity that day. I have achieved great results with bodypart splits and so have hundreds of my clients so to say its doesn't work is not true by any means. But I also implement push/pull splits, upper lower splits it just depends on what the current needs state is of an individual.

    There is no one best way to split your workouts and any and all can be used if designed properly. I understand there is a bias here about max strength and there is nothing wrong for training for strength, but this is for development purposes. You have to think outside the box sometimes and get away from traditionalism.

  8. #8
    Senior Member ELmx479's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    1,746
    When it comes to training for looks I wouldn't doubt anything Allen says with his experience training himself and others. Good article.

  9. #9
    Senior Member brihead301's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Philadelphia, PA
    Posts
    4,564
    Quote Originally Posted by ELmx479 View Post
    When it comes to training for looks I wouldn't doubt anything Allen says with his experience training himself and others. Good article.
    I agree. I just like to start trouble sometimes .
    How to Find Your Dream Job
    My personal blog/website dedicated to giving answers on the age old question - how to escape the "rat race". I now play guitar for a living!

  10. #10
    Moderator Off Road's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    U.S.A.
    Posts
    13,884
    Well actually, with this split, you are hitting your triceps and possibly your shoulders (depending on exercise selection) FOUR times a week. That's pretty aggressive pressing. I'd certainly want to keep the intensity in check with that frequency.

    <edit> I changed the count after re-reading the split. I forgot the extra chest day. </edit>
    Last edited by Off Road; 07-01-2010 at 11:02 AM.
    _________
    ______
    ___

    Off Road Journal

    http://www.wannabebig.com/logo/alnlogo_white.gif

    AtLarge Nutrition Supplements – Get the best supplements and help support Wannabebig!

  11. #11
    Senior Member brihead301's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Philadelphia, PA
    Posts
    4,564
    Again, in regards to building a massive chest, the article is awesome! Even with regards to bodypart target training, I have no problems there either. It's the 4/5 upper 1/5 lower thing that bothers me....

    The only thing I don't like about that type of split (which only has 'legs' in there one day out of the week) is that there is too much emphasis on the upper body, and not enough on the lower body. On shoulder day, you are still training tris, traps, chest, back, etc... On chest day, you're hitting shoulders, tris, back, etc... Back day, you're hitting biceps, shoulders, etc... So the upper body is getting 4 whole days of work, and the legs aren't even getting touched. The legs are only getting one single day of attention out of 5 total training days. The upper body is getting 4 out of 5 days of attention (that's not to mention if you are doing squats and deads on the leg day, then the upper body is getting a 5th day of attention as well!)

    Considering that the legs contain the largest muscle groups in the entire body, wouldn't it make more sense to have a 5 day split composed of quads, hams, chest, back, and shoulders? Train arms with shoulders, bis with back and tris with chest, etc....or something along those lines. That would even things out a bit more.

    To me, having 4 upper body days, and only 1 lower body day is no better then having 4 lower body days, and 1 upper body day. Something like: 1 hamstring/glutes day, 1 quad day, 1 adductor day/hip flexor day, 1 calf day, and 1 upper body day....that would be crazy!!!!

    Again, my point is simply against the unbalanced upper and lower body training, not against bodypart target training in general.
    How to Find Your Dream Job
    My personal blog/website dedicated to giving answers on the age old question - how to escape the "rat race". I now play guitar for a living!

  12. #12
    Senior Member Allen Cress's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    1,156
    Quote Originally Posted by brihead301 View Post
    A

    The only thing I don't like about that type of split (which only has 'legs' in there one day out of the week) is that there is too much emphasis on the upper body, and not enough on the lower body. On shoulder day, you are still training tris, traps, chest, back, etc... On chest day, you're hitting shoulders, tris, back, etc... Back day, you're hitting biceps, shoulders, etc... So the upper body is getting 4 whole days of work, and the legs aren't even getting touched. The legs are only getting one single day of attention out of 5 total training days. The upper body is getting 4 out of 5 days of attention (that's not to mention if you are doing squats and deads on the leg day, then the upper body is getting a 5th day of attention as well!)

    Considering that the legs contain the largest muscle groups in the entire body, wouldn't it make more sense to have a 5 day split composed of quads, hams, chest, back, and shoulders? Train arms with shoulders, bis with back and tris with chest, etc....or something along those lines. That would even things out a bit more.

    To me, having 4 upper body days, and only 1 lower body day is no better then having 4 lower body days, and 1 upper body day. Something like: 1 hamstring/glutes day, 1 quad day, 1 adductor day/hip flexor day, 1 calf day, and 1 upper body day....that would be crazy!!!!

    Again, my point is simply against the unbalanced upper and lower body training, not against bodypart target training in general.
    There is balance beacuse its geared towards isolating th emuscle as much as possible that you are training, Of course you can not truly take other muscles out of a lift but when using proper techinique you can take most of the workload and place it on say the back and not your biceps. This type of training requires you to put ego to the side and not just focus on how much you lift because that will cause more involvment from secondary muscles because at that point most are more concerned with moving a weight from point A to B.

    There can be a few different splits as well but with any spilt its not used all the time. When a program runs its course you change the emphasis if needed. Again this is geared towards physique development. If this spilt didn't work people liuke myself, Shelby Satrnes, Scott Abel, and hundreds of bodybuilders would have never made any progress. Also realize This isn't the only way to train and I'm not saying it is. It is written in a general format for the masses and indivualism is the most important thing.

  13. #13
    House Lannister
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Posts
    5,282
    Interesting Article, Allen. I've always found that DB presses, especially incline, really hit my chest more than anything.

    I'd be very interested in seeing other articles by you, perhaps another bodybuilding article with a full routine for size? I'd also be happy to see an article talking about the mind/muscle connection and giving pointers to creating that connection in training for better results.

    Thanks for the great article.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Shemz's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    171
    Quote Originally Posted by chevelle2291 View Post
    Interesting Article, Allen. I've always found that DB presses, especially incline, really hit my chest more than anything.

    I'd be very interested in seeing other articles by you, perhaps another bodybuilding article with a full routine for size? I'd also be happy to see an article talking about the mind/muscle connection and giving pointers to creating that connection in training for better results.

    Thanks for the great article.
    I ² that!

    If there is one guy here I always love to read from and learn from it's Allen (no offense to the others). I have read alot of your posts and have been trying to apply the knowledge I've gained to my training and I've only gotten benefits from it.

    A more indepth article about mind/muscle seems very interesting to me, because imo the mind is the key to growth. An article for size seems somewhat "impossible" since we are all different people, but a few tips or tweaks for certain exercises/bodyparts, would also be nice.

    Alot of people, including me, still lack alot of knowledge. Like you said in your own thread a few days ago: why not squat AFTER you have already made your legs somewhat 'tired'. I also read about this in an article yesterday by Jim Stoppani. We learn more every day.

    Thank you.
    "When you promise yourself something, make a commitment, you can't give up. Because, when you're in the gym, you have to fulfill the promise you made to yourself. The people who can self motivate - in any field - are usually the ones who win. Regardless of talent." T. Platz

  15. #15
    Moderator Off Road's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    U.S.A.
    Posts
    13,884
    Quote Originally Posted by Allen Cress View Post
    As far as hitting a muscle twice a week for better protein synthesis response, its not that black and white by any means. The degree of muscle activation and breakdown, toatal volume for the week, intensity factors, etc... all play a role in this. If a muscle is hit with enough volume in one day (dpending on the individual) it will elicit an adaptive response and create better protein synthesis.
    Excellent response Allen. I just felt compelled to pull it out and quote it.
    _________
    ______
    ___

    Off Road Journal

    http://www.wannabebig.com/logo/alnlogo_white.gif

    AtLarge Nutrition Supplements – Get the best supplements and help support Wannabebig!

  16. #16
    Rory Parker Behemoth's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Western PA
    Posts
    5,322
    Excellent article.
    accuflex - LOLZZZZ!!!11one1!! SOEM PPL WORK THRE ARMZ!!!!11!! LETS KILL THEM111

    "You can fake effort with grunts and clanging weights but quiet, consistent hard work coupled with gradual strength increases earns universal respect in gyms" - Steve Colescott



    I'd rather Situation be a member of this board. -Joey54

  17. #17
    Small guy depotman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Salem, Oregon
    Posts
    224
    Excellent article Allen, I enjoyed reading it.

    I think most people need to remember when reading this article that the article is on chest developement, therefore it's based around that. Not really getting into recommending what to do with the other muscle groups.

    Most people if they wanted to follow the info could use the chest workouts on their chest day for the week and do their own thing the rest of the week for their other muscle groups.

    Either way I liked the info given on chest development, well done.

  18. #18
    Wannabebig Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Sacramento, CA
    Posts
    47
    Great article Allen, I really enjoyed it!

    I think people often forget that weight is only ONE measurement of intensity. Looking forward to future articles.

Similar Threads

  1. Building a big chest with dumbells?
    By Shemz in forum Bodybuilding & Weight Training
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 06-09-2010, 02:27 AM
  2. Bodybuilder Allen Cress joins Team AtLarge!
    By Joe Black in forum Bodybuilding & Weight Training
    Replies: 11
    Last Post: 01-25-2010, 03:47 PM
  3. Bodybuilder Allen Cress joins Team AtLarge!
    By Joe Black in forum AtLarge Nutrition Supplements
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 01-22-2010, 09:25 PM
  4. Bodybuilder Allen Cress joins Team AtLarge!
    By Joe Black in forum News and Announcements
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 01-22-2010, 02:11 AM
  5. Good Workout For Building A "Big" Chest.
    By Steven001 in forum Bodybuilding & Weight Training
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 11-02-2008, 05:05 PM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •