Sometimes the only way to make a muscle grow is to beat it into submission. Exhaust it with enough work in a short period and it will be forced to come back bigger and stronger. You can get this efect with rest-pause training followed by a body-weight exercise done to failure. Here’s how it can work for your chest.
Choose a weight you can perform 12 reps with on the dumbbell bench press. Complete 12 reps, then rest 15 seconds. Perform a second set of as many reps as possible, and rest another 15 seconds. Repeat three more times (for five sets total). You should be able to complete close to 25 reps in all. If you get fewer than 25, the weight was too heavy, and if you get many more than 25, it was too light.
Immediately hit the deck and do pushups. Perform 100 total reps in as few sets as possible, resting as needed. Keep your back straight and hips locked as fatigue sets in—perform only quality reps or end the set.
While the brutality of this training alone may be enough to scare your pecs into growing again, the combination of moderate weight, high volume, and short rest periods will also jack up the release of growth hormone and spur gains.
DUMBBELL BENCH PRESS: You can rotate your palms slightly inward to take stress off your shoulders during this exercise.
PUMP UP FAST: Try this method for back: Do rest-pauses on dumbbell rows then hit 100 reps of inverted rows- (hang beneath the bar in a Smith machine and pull your chest to it). Do this in the same session as chest for an upper-body onslaught.
Jim Smith is a highly respected, world-renowned strength and conditioning coach. A member of the LIVESTRONG.com Fitness Advisory Board, Jim has been called one of the most "innovative strength coaches" in the fitness industry. Training athletes, fitness enthusiasts and weekend warriors, Jim has dedicated himself to helping them reach "beyond their potential." He is also the owner of Diesel Strength and Conditioning in Elmira, NY.