When it comes to training, Fouad Abiad leaves nothing to chance. The 34-year-old IFBB pro likes to hit every muscle from every conceivable angle, and frequently shifts gears with regard to rep ranges and loads. The goal is always to stimulate the maximum number of muscle fibers in the shortest period of time. For chest, Abiad likes to do two weeks of high volume training using relatively light weights followed by a heavy week with much lower volume.

Abiad trains chest once a week. In Weeks 1 and 2, he starts with barbell exercises and finishes with machines. Week 3 is anything but typical, with only six total working sets—two each of dumbbell flat bench press, incline Smith machine bench press, and decline barbell bench. Abiad believes the upper, middle, and lower portions of the chest deserve separate attention.

The Workout

In the “light” phase of Weeks 1 and 2, Abiad uses only 405 for incline barbell bench.


EXERCISE                          SETS         REPS      

Incline Barbell Press            3*           6–15**

Incline Dumbbell Press       4             8-10

Cable Crossover                  4            15-20

Machine Unilateral              4            15-30***
Bench Press (example: Atlantis or Hammer Strength)

*Abiad warms up with three pyramid sets first.
**Abiad’s final set is a dropset with chains.
***Abiad’s final set is a dropset with two drops.


EXERCISE                          SETS         REPS

Dumbbell Bench Press       2*           8–12

Incline Smith Machine
Bench Press                         2            10–15**

Decline Barbell
Bench Press                         2            10–15***

*Abiad uses five pyramid warmup sets first.
**Final set uses rest-pause (rack the bar after each rep for about 10 seconds) and forced reps.
***Final set uses two drops and forced reps. 

PRO TIPS: “I see the decline bench getting phased out, and that’s a mistake,” Abiad says. “Full development requires work from all angles.”