Build a Ku Chest

 Posted by on 10/07/2013
Oct 072013
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arnold chest routine

This post is a special request from some of my initial Body By Aipa Crew.


The bench press is over rated.

Don’t get me wrong, I love to bench press.  But when it comes to building a chest that pops and impresses, the bench press isn’t the almighty.

Of course, everyone is worried what they bench, especially the braddahs, and “How much you bench, bro?” is usually the first question someone will ask you when talking about lifting weights.

Yes, having a high bench number can be impressive but let’s be honest, you’re also looking for a bullet proof looking chest.

My personal chest routines usually consist of either 3-4 exercises depending on how I feel.  It’s nothing special or ground breaking news worthy, but it’s effective.

It’s all about picking the exercises where you get the most bang for your buck but as well as the execution of the lifts.  Doing burn out sets with light weights, isn’t going to build that Ku Chest.  Chasing after that pump and deep burn is easy to do and has it’s place.  If you are looking for just a pump, then just drop to the ground and do push-ups until you start crying.

military pushups

An Officer and a Gentleman…great movie

I dare you.  You’ll guarantee have the biggest pump and definitely feel the deep burn.

Just to let you know – You can skip ahead to the workout routine towards the bottom, but what’s about to follow doesn’t just apply to your chest.  I want to share with you the simple factors behind muscle growth.

So what causes muscle growth?

To make it as simple as I can I did some research and came across three factors; Mechanical Tension, Muscle Damage, and Metabolic Stress.

Mechanical Tension: This is the load you place on the muscles during an exercise.  Mostly known as the intensity of the lift.  Basically, make sure you are moving heavy weights.

Muscle Damage: During workouts you tear muscle fibers down.  This is where the soreness comes in which is an inflammatory response which activates the satellite cells’ growth process.  This is where damage control is essential through correct nutrition and hydration.  You can’t keep tearing yourself down without building yourself back up.

That’s what I tell my athletes:

I tear you down, only to bring you back up!

Good times.

Metabolic Stress: That pump and deep burn feeling many chase after falls under the umbrella of Metabolic Stress, the build up of metabolic byproducts such as lactate and hydrogen ions along with the lack of oxygen supply in the muscles.  


Three main factors.

Got it?


So when you are looking for rapid muscle growth, make sure you have these three factors working in your favor.

Ku Chest Workout. 

Now that I’m bodybuilding for a show, the exercise selection is critical for developing the chest.  For simply physique reasons, the upper chest on many guys are not as well developed.  This is an area where I’m actually working on building up.  It’s for aesthetics, and bodybuilders see their bodies as a piece of art.  Well, some do.

My chest workouts are actually geared around these 3 factors, because 1) I like to move heavy weights and 2) I like the feeling of ‘zee pahmp!’ (enter your best Arnold voice).

Exercise 1: (Choose 1 from the following list) I like starting off with an exercise that targets the upper pecs.

- Incline Barbell Press
-Dumbbell Incline Press
- Hammer Strength Incline Press
- Guillotine Press (use caution when performing this, it may be tough on the shoulders if you don’t have the flexibility.  Start off light to get the form and correct recruitment.)

Sets: 3-5
Reps: 5-7
Rest: 2-3 minutes

It is important to rest between these sets to really focus on the Mechanical Tension factor.  If you keep your rest short between these sets, your body won’t be able to hand the workload to overload the muscle and you will be going performing more into the Metabolic Stress area.  We’ll get there.

Exercise 2:  (Choose 1 from the following list) 

- Bench Press
- DB Bench Press
- Squeeze Press
- Floor Press
- Dips

Sets: 3-4
Reps: 8-10
Rest: 45 sec – 60 sec.
*Last set = Drop Set: After your last set – Subtract 10-25% and go till failure.  Try for 8-10 more reps with a help from a spotter if possible. If you are feeling awesome, subtract another 10-25% and squeeze out a couple more.

Exercise 3: (Choose 1 from the following list) 

- Low Pulley Crossover
- Pec Dec Fly
- Mid Pulley Fly
- Squeeze Press to Eccentric Fly

Sets: 2-3
Reps: 30 sec TUT (Time Under Tension)*
Rest: 30 – 45 secs.
*Prepare for Metabolic Stress – Choose a weight you feel you can do between 10-12 reps.  You can have a partner time you or you can time yourself and you perform the exercise for 30 seconds.  Whatever you do – DO NOT REST.  At all times you want to keep the muscle under tension. Start off with full ROM, when that gets hard do partials, if that gets hard hold the contraction, you get the point.  If you start crying, have someone else wipe your tears.


Just a little more advice.  When I prescribe sets, I’m talking about your working sets.  The sets that actually count.  That is why I give rep ranges as well.  Because let’s say you do a set and hit 10 but know you probably could do a couple more.  That set did not count.  You want your reps to fall right in that sweet spot in order for the set to count.

Try this workout and feel free to share it with others by clicking on the Share Bar on the left side of the screen. Simple.

You can take the same protocol and use it for any other muscle group as well.  Do you see a leg workout coming soon? Yea, buddy.  SWEET SPOT!



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