Training

Flex Lewis: How to Grow Subborn Pecs

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

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Do you count reps or are you simply focused on getting as many reps as you can?

I would say both. I remember meeting Tom Platz very early in my career, and I walked away with more enthusiasm for having done so than I could have ever imagined. He told me he’d go into a set with the same approach every time. He never had a number of reps in his head. He was going for “total annihilation.” Total annihilation was when his hands wouldn’t be able to grasp the bar any longer if he was doing arms, or if he was doing legs, his legs would be so fatigued that he’d collapse. Not saying I agree with that crazy mentality, but it shows what’s possible. It shows that the mind is what limits you, not the muscles. I usually do have a number of reps I want to achieve, and I count in my head until I get there. But then if I can do more, I’ll do more. Sometimes I’ll do a rest-pause and go for a couple of more reps, or I’ll get a couple of forced reps if I’m training with a partner.

You sometimes do both incline dumbbell presses and incline flyes. Why do both?

I don’t think you can have too much upper chest. That’s the area that looks most impressive, so I’m always working to thicken it up. If I do two incline exercises, what ’ll do is change the angle. One, like the presses, will be at a higher angle, like 45 degrees, and the other will be at a lower angle, like 20 degrees. The key to either dumbbell presses or flyes is to feel tension in the chest from the stretch through the contraction. If you go too heavy, you probably won’t be able to feel that tension. So use a weight you can control, and keep the upper pecs tensed.

 

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