A Top Trainer Shared His Most Effective Workout for Chest Day Gains

·3 min read
Photo credit: AleksandarGeorgiev - Getty Images
Photo credit: AleksandarGeorgiev - Getty Images

In a new video on the Athlean-X channel, strength coach Jeff Cavaliere C.S.C.S. demonstrates his "100" chest workout, a session that hits the upper, middle, and lower chest with a focus on achieving high-quality, effective reps for maximum results.

Cavaliere begins the dumbbell bench press with an "ignition" set of 12 reps, where you will struggle to execute the move beyond that number without compromising on form. Then sit up and rest in place for 15 seconds, before laying back for your second set. Because you'll still be working through some of the fatigue from that first set, you probably won't be hitting 12 here, but perform as many effective reps as possible. Then when you reach failure again, sit up for another 15-second pause, before going into your third set where you will likely rep out at an even lower number.

"Your goal for the exercise is to accumulate 20 effective reps," says Cavaliere. "Once you've hit your 20 reps, you're done with that exercise."

He follows this pressing movement with cross-midline induction in the form of cable crossovers. Again, Cavaliere prescribes an ignition set that ends in failure after 12 reps, then an additional 20 effective reps in rest/pause fashion. "Keep in mind you still want to make sure you get those hands all the way across midline, and not just to midline, to fully engage the chest," he says.

The third exercise is the dumbbell thumbs up incline bench press, with the same ignition set of 12 and 20 effective reps on rest/pause. "What we're doing when we drive our thumbs up as we lift is allowing for more adduction, or a closer proximity of the dumbbells to each other as we press," he explains. "You should feel a heightened engagement in the pecs, and also because we're going from that low to high position on the incline of about 30 degrees, we're going to more effectively target the upper chest fibers."

If you don't have access to an incline bench, Cavaliere recommends performing the flat bench version with an underhand grip to still hit that same upper chest area.

Next up are dips: if the bodyweight version is enough to make you reach failure after 12 reps, then do that, otherwise pick a weight that will achieve the same outcome. This time, after the 12 ignition reps, Cavaliere suggests aiming for just 10 reps, but with a 3-second pause at the bottom of each rep. "That stretch tension, which is a great driver of hypertrophy, is going to take this to another level of intensity," he says.

The fifth move is the omni crossover, where one cable is set high and the other is low, meaning you're achieving bottom-up and top-down motions at the same time, hitting both the upper and lower chest fibers. Cavaliere notes that the upper chest is going to be weaker, so adjust the weight on each side accordingly for your ignition set, and then perform 15 reps using the rest/pause method. Then repeat the entire process with the cable positions switched on each side.

Cavaliere closes the workout with an optional rest/pause finisher: 20 static hold pushups, with a 5-second isometric hold at the bottom of each rep.

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