Adela Garcia's Champion Chest Workout

Use Fitness Olympia champ Adela Garcia’s program to help add shape and strength to your upper body .

Changes. David Bowie sang about them. So did Tupac, Sheryl Crow and Tracy Chapman, to name a few others. And for good reason. Because when it’s all said and done, being able to adapt and change is part of life — it’s what helps us grow as individuals.

The same can be said for working out. We all know that as your body grows accustomed to a particular routine, your progress tends to plateau. You have to switch things up to keep your body guessing and responding.

Eight-time Fitness Olympia champ Adela Garcia knows that from experience. At one time, she was searching for a way to build a more streamlined physique without sacrificing the strength component so integral to her fitness routines. Eventually she decided to overhaul her chest-training routine.

I got to the point where I just felt I was getting too muscular,” says Adela, who competed in her first fitness contest in 1994. “So I decided to change my whole routine. For females, we don’t really need to build a huge chest for fitness competitions. But at the same time, we still need to train because part of the routine is upper-body strength.”

With that in mind, she decided to include more supersets — two or more exercises performed back to back with no rest in between — and more plyometrics (bodyweight-resistance exercises designed to help with explosive, athletic movements) in her workouts. The result was a leaner, more defined physique, which she achieved without forfeiting any of the much-needed strength crucial to performing her fitness routines.

“There was a time when I wouldn’t [lift] a dumbbell overhead, I’d just do a plyometric workout,” Adela admits. “Now, close to the show I incorporate at least 2–3 exercises for my chest and combine them with upper-body plyometrics. This is important because I don’t have any type of gymnastics background, so I have to incorporate more strength moves in my routine rather than flipping around the stage. It’s like basketball players who have to work on their vertical jump.”

Adding supersets to her routine also enabled Adela to cut down on the amount of time she spends in the gym. Now, she’s in and out in about 20 minutes. Typically, she does four exercises during chest workouts, splitting those into two supersets. The plyometric exercises may be difficult (see "Build Your Firepower" on page 3), but by following Adela’s guidelines with time, patience and perseverance, you’ll experience changes in your strength, fitness and physique, too.

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