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Power Surge: Chest Blast

Bench like a powerlifter—and get the pecs of a bodybuilder—with this power bodybuilding workout.

Mike O'Hearn
Power Surge: Chest Blast

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Get big or get strong. So many guys think training style has to be a black-or-white choice: high volume bodybuilding workouts for muscular shape and size, or heavy, lower-volume workouts for strength. Power bodybuilding eliminates this hard-line choice and allows you to satisfy the requirements for both of these coveted training adaptations.

Since I was young, I trained with really strong dudes, but I never wanted to look like them. The training system I developed fueled my four Mr. Natural Universe wins and enabled me to hit raw PRs in the squat (775), bench (600), and deadlift (785). Raw, in powerlifting parlance, usually means that you don’t wear a squat suit or bench shirt. Raw, to me, means no belt, knee wraps, or elbow sleeves. If I can’t wear it if I were to get into a fight, then I don’t wear it in the gym. And contrary to what many people believe about the price you have to pay for years of heavy lifting, in nearly 30 years of training this way, I’ve never suffered a lifting-related injury, and my joints feel great.

This month I want to show you my chest workout, which serves as a perfect introduction to the concepts of power bodybuilding. Like a powerlifting workout, reps are kept low to allow you to use the heaviest possible weight. You’ll also rest 3–5 minutes between sets, letting you make a full recovery and continue lifting heavy throughout the session. The volume necessary to satisfy the bodybuilding portion of this equation comes from the number of total sets used; though you’ll do only four exercises in total, you’ll do 28 sets, including warmups. These workouts tend to run long (90-plus minutes) but allow you to chase everything you want at the same time. Get after it, Beast.

Power Bodybuilding Chest Workout

Directions: Rest 2–4 minutes between warmup sets and 3–5 minutes between working sets.

Exercise Sets Reps O'Hearn's Weight
Incline Press      
Warmup Sets 4 10, 8, 8, 5 135, 225, 315, 365
Working Sets 7 4 425
DB Flat Bench      
Warmup Sets 3 5 100, 130, 160
Working Sets 4 10 180
Incline DB Flyes      
Warmup Sets 3 5 80, 100, 125
Working Sets 3 10 150
Pullovers 4 15 125

 

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