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Chest Shoulders Triceps Workout

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by Chris Stimson

We all know the key to bodybuilding, especially competitive bodybuilding, is to make progress and to continually improve. The emphasis being on the word "building." So, how do we do that? The answer is basic, or compound movements. Movements that work more than one major muscle group at a time plus several assisting muscle groups. The result being a greater overload on more muscles in a shorter workout, thereby creating a greater growth potential.

Basics seem like an old principle, but it keeps coming up because it works. Though it's especially important for taller bodybuilders and super-heavyweights, it's still applicable to everyone. But heavyweights and super-heavyweights tend to have a larger frame to fill in to be able to look thick. Thickness is what separates weightlifters from all other athletes. Besides, the thicker you are, the greater the potential to create deep mature muscle separation with your isolation exercises later.

Generally speaking, the better you hit a muscle during a workout, the more recovery time you need. As we go through these exercises, you'll notice each bodypart is hit about once each week. Not only are the basic exercises more taxing on your recovery system, but they should be done heavily, or at least moderately heavy, to build the most strength in the muscles and the connective tissue. That further increases recovery time, but it also increases exercise effectiveness and muscle size.

Let's structure your sample routine with chest, shoulders, and triceps, since they all work together. Your intensity should be high enough so that you go to muscular failure in the six to eight rep range on all sets. Upper Chest (assisted by front deltoids and triceps)
Incline barbell or dumbbell presses
Execution: Start with a 45 angle or greater on an incline bench for the upper chest/front delt tie-ins. Lower the dumbbells down while maintaining tension in the pecs. Lower the bar over the collar bone until the forearms are perpendicular to the upper arms and the tension is on the outer pecs & front delts. Squeeze the tension from the outer pecs until the squeeze travels all the way from the outside of the pecs to the center of the upper pecs.

Mid-Lower Chest (assisted by front deltoids, triceps, and pec minor)
Flat barbell or dumbbell presses
Execution: Same mechanics as the incline press, except you lower the bar to the middle of the pecs while moving the elbows away from the body on the lowering phase, and inwards on the squeezing phase.

Front & Side Deltoids (assisted by triceps)
Shoulder barbell or dumbbell presses to front
Execution: On the lowering phase your elbows should remain directly under the bar or dumbbell. They should be moving away from your torso (out to the side) while keeping your wrist straight. Lower the weight with your shoulders flexed until your triceps kick in, and squeeze the weight back up moving the elbows inward with the shoulders. The bottom of the motion is about nose level with the bar. Front & Side Deltoids (assisted by front delts)
Upright Rows
Execution: Grab a barbell about shoulder width or slightly wider to eliminate over-using the traps. Standing upright with your rib-cage held high, squeeze the shoulders while lifting the bar up to shoulder height (point of full contraction). Hold the bar about 6" in front of you during the raising and lowering phase. Don't lower the bar to the point where the shoulders relax. That's too far.

Triceps (assisted by shoulders)
Execution: Keep your chest high throughout the movement and your elbows straight back and close to the sides of your body. As you lower yourself, keep the triceps tight, your elbows in, and move the elbows back behind you until the front delt tightens, and the entire triceps is contracted from the top to the bottom. Squeeze your triceps as you push your torso back to the start position where your triceps should be contracted fully.

Triceps (isolated)
Lying Barbell Triceps Extensions
Execution: Grab a barbell lengthwise, lie down on the bench with the elbows extended overhead at a 45 angle, and don't move them during your set. This angle allows a long stretch and a full squeeze if the elbows remain stationery. Pivoting at the elbows, lower the bar to just before the point in the stretch where you lose the feel. Squeeze all the way to full extension.

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