Author Topic: Chest: training the bottom line, by Reg Park (1994)  (Read 2551 times)

Offline Sergio

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Chest: training the bottom line, by Reg Park (1994)
« on: October 08, 2019, 11:17:50 PM »
Musclemag 1994

Believe it or not, when I started training in England in 1945, I did not know what abench press was. My first chest exercises with weights were the straight-arm barbell pullover while lying on the floor and the lying-on-back-on-floor press.

Upon my return in 1948 from serving two years in the British army in Singapore, I was surprised to find american bodybuilding magazines on sale in the UK and even more surprised to learn of the bench press. The appealing features about the bench press were that it certainly afforded the pectoral muscles more response than did the press on back, and also it allowed the bodybuilder to handle
respectably heavy poundages. Like all youngsters of that period (1948), I made the barbell press a major factor in my training. Apart from the pectoral development I experienced from performing the bench press-since I had relatively short arms- I was soon (1949) bench pressing 300 pounds. Unlike most bodybuilders of that period I was in essence more of a strength trainer than a pure bodybuilder, and by March 1953 I bench pressed 500 pounds during an exhibition in Bristol. This was the equivalent to the four-minute mile, the first of which was achieved by Roger Bannister in Cambridge also in 1953. Although many have since surpassed the 500-pound bench press and the four-minute mile, I consider Bannister and myself as being the trail blazers.

In 1950 I visited America and trained with the greats of that period. I was intoduced to the incline dumbell press by Clarence Ross in the gym he then owned in Alameda, California. Incidentally, in those days Clancy was working up to reps with 165-pound dumbells. I returned to England and started training with a vengeance on the incline dumbell press. By 1952 I was doing five sets of five reps on both incline and flat bench with 185-pound dumbells. Looking back, I 'm sorry I did not see how many reps I could have done with 200-pound dumbells, but the truth is the disc-loading barbell rods that I used did not permit me to use more than 185 pounds.

By now (the early 50s) bodybuilders were talking about using the flat bench press with either dumbells or barbells to develop the middle of the pectorals and the incline banch press, again with either dumbelll or barbells, for the upper pectorals. In due course the decline bench for pectoral work was introduced and this supposedly was for the lower pectorals.

Through the years I performed mainly flat and incline presses with dumbells and barbells with occasional dumbell flyes thrown in, believing that these variable Would exercise the total chest area.

Being the late developer that I am, I only began quite recently (the last couple of years) to question the validity of different inclines being for different areas of the pectorals. As in the case of the previously recommended principles of calf development, it was just not so. Over the last couple of years I have experimented with various angles and exercises for chest development and I have come to the conclusion that it is not the angle of the bench that determines what part of the pectorals is developed but more importantly the position of the elbows. Let me now expound on this.

To exercise the upper pectorals it is not necessary to perform incline barbell or dumbell presses or even inclline dumbell flyes. You can work the upper pectoral on any level provided the elbows are in line with the clavicles in the bottom position. On any level decline, flat, or incline, when performing the barbell press, simply lower the bar to the neck, keeping the elbows in line with the shoulders,
and pause in the bottom position before pressing the bar back to arms' length. With dumbell presses perform the exercise in the same manner bearing in mind that by using the dumbells you are able to get a greater down ward range.  Similarly with dumbell flyes - the elbows position determines the area of pectoralsbworked. Performing dumbell flyes with palms facing towards the feet rather than facing upwards makes the exercise even more effective.

How then do you activate the middle or lower part of the pectorals? Simple - Just lower the bar or dumbells lower down the chest. For a variation try using upright cable flyes with the hand touching and corssing over at crotch level. The cable are the most effective equipment for the development on the inner pectorals where the muscles are attached to the sternum, particularly when the crossover with the cables, be sure to apply tension on the inner pectorals in the form of an isometric contraction held for a second or two.

The other inner pectoral movement that is benefical is the close grip (six inches apart) bench press with elbows wide, which takes the stress off the triceps.  Once again the area of the inner pectoral worked is determined by the position of the bar lowered. If the elbows are held high on the neck, the upper inner pectorals are worked. As the bar is lowered down the chest, the lower inner pectorals are activated, but at the same time the triceps take more of the stress.
If you doubt that this principles will work, all you have to do is try them and you will be convinced. 

« Last Edit: March 08, 2021, 09:35:51 AM by Sergio »