Training

Flex Lewis: How to Grow Subborn Pecs

The 212 Olympia champ's advice on building an impressive chest.

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Did you change chest exercises, too?

I’m always changing exercises. Some things, like barbell bench presses, I don’t do anymore. But it’s not so much the exercises. It’s more about finding the right way of doing exercises, going at the right pace, feeling the pecs working, and working the angles. Once you get all those things down, it changes your mindset, too. Chest used to be my least favorite body part to train, but now I can’t wait for the next chest workout, so I can bring my everything to that workout and keep improving. That’s the thing about bodybuilding: You never stop getting better. You’re never finished. Even though I’m the 212 Mr. Olympia, there’s still things I want to improve, and chest is always going to be a stubborn area for me, so it’s always going to be a big focus for me.

You wear wrist wraps when you train chest. How does that help you?

I did rugby and gymnastics before bodybuilding, and that caused a lot of strains to my wrists before I even got serious about lifting weights. So the wraps protect my wrists from strains. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link, and the weakest link in a lot of presses and laterals is your wrist. The wraps give my wrists a cushion of protection, and they help lock my wrists in the correct position. I remember doing 405 on the bench press and then going over to the dumbbells, and I struggled with the 60s because my wrists couldn’t stabilize the weight. With wraps, I never have to worry about that.

Also, my hands and forearms tend to pump up too much if I don’t use wrist wraps for chest and shoulders and wrist straps for back. So when I wear wraps they allow me to focus all my attention on the muscles I want to work—in this case, pecs—and not worry about the ones I don’t want to work— hands and forearms. If everything grew as easily as my forearms, which I’ve never trained, bodybuilding would be a breeze. But that’s not how it is, and I embrace the challenge. Learn how to focus less on your strong points and more on your weak points.

 

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