Workout Routines

Wesley Vissers's Chest Workout for Old-School Muscle

This Golden Age throwback talks about his quest for the ultimate classic physique—and shares a chest workout fit for any era.

Man Barbell Bench Press
Chris Nicoll / M+F Magazine
Chris Nicoll / M+F Magazine
Exercises 5
Equipment Yes

Nothing motivates me more than seeing the bodybuilders from the old days,” says IFBB Pro League classic physique competitor Wesley Vissers. “The way they thought, trained, posed, and conducted themselves was unique."

That love for the Golden Era—especially the icon himself, Arnold Schwarzenegger—is a preeminent part of Vissers’ life and approach to competitive bodybuilding. “When the classic physique division came to Europe in 2018, I immediately took my chance to jump in,” he says. “It’s also why a lot of the poses I use onstage are based on Arnold’s style.”

Vissers inherited his love of training from his father, who first prodded his 140-pound, 13-year-old son to try weight training. “I always looked up to him as someone big and strong, so the moment I was allowed to use weights, I went with him and he taught me the right way,” Vissers recalls. The youngster made gains relatively quickly, and they intensified once he nailed down his diet. By the time he was 20, Vissers tipped the scales at 185 pounds and was ready for his first show, a local amateur event in 2013, where he won the overall junior division title.

He also found instant success in the professional ranks, winning his IFBB Pro League debut, the 2018 Chicago Pro Classic Physique in July. “Going in, I was very confident and expected to win,” he says. “But when I got there and saw the athletes backstage in person for the first time, it dawned on me that they were a breed apart from everyone I had competed against before.” The victory earned Vissers a spot at the Olympia, where he tied for 14th on the scorecards. 

While striving for that classic look onstage, the 25-year-old Netherlands native is also doing his part offstage to bring the tenets of the Golden Era back with his clothing line, Vintage Genetics. “I started it with my brother, Kane, who I’ve trained with for years,” he says. “I want it to be a globally known brand that stands for true classic bodybuilding.”

Vissers approaches his body-part workouts, like the chest workout he shares here, with basic bread-and-butter barbell and dumbbell exercises. This involves Arnold faves like pullovers and dumbbell flyes, while pyramiding up the weight set to set and working through a full range of motion. 

Pro Tips for Each Move

  • Incline Dumbbell Press: “Sometimes I’ll alternate one arm at a time during my last set. It provides for a bit more rest in between reps for each pec, so I’ve found that I can actually push myself a bit longer before reaching muscle failure.”
  • Dumbbell Flye: “Flyes are an isolation movement for the chest, but they put strain on the shoulders, too. So I do a bit more volume, at 12 to 15 reps per set, and less weight, striving for the maximum range of motion possible without overextending.” 
  • Dumbbell Pullover: “This is the old-school exercise Arnold used to do. It engages the chest and the back, so to emphasize more of the chest, you need to squeeze your elbows together to ensure proper pec contraction. It’s OK to go heavy on this one, as long as you are fully controlling the weight.” 
  • Dip: “I do this as a finisher with each set taken to failure. Because it’s last, I don’t get a lot of reps, and I keep rest in between to a minimum of less than 30 seconds. If every consecutive set yields less reps than the previous one, you know you’re doing it right.” 

Athlete Snapshot: Wesley Vissers

  • Birth Date: May 6, 1993
  • Height: 6'2¼"
  • Contest Weight: 240 to 245 lbs
  • Residence: Eindhoven, North Brabant, Netherlands
  • Career Highlights: 2016 Arnold Amateur Europe, Junior, 5th; 2018 Royal London Pro Qualifier,Classic Physique D, 1st (earned pro card); 2018 Chicago Pro Classic Physique Championships, 1st
  • Website: vintagegenetics.com
  • Instagram: @WesleyVissers
  • Social Media: Facebook & YouTube

Vissers’ Chest Workout

Exercise 1

Barbell Bench Press You'll need: Barbell, Bench How to
Barbell Bench Press thumbnail
5 sets
15, 10–12, 10–12, 10–12, 6–8* reps
-- rest
*Vissers pyramids up each set and goes to failure on the final set.

Exercise 2

Incline Dumbbell Bench Press You'll need: Bench How to
Incline Dumbbell Bench Press thumbnail
4 sets
10–12, 10–12, 10–12, 6–8* reps
-- rest
*Vissers pyramids up each set and goes to failure on the final set.

Exercise 3

Dumbbell Flye You'll need: Bench, Dumbbells How to
Dumbbell Flye thumbnail
4 sets
12–15 reps
-- rest

Exercise 4

Dumbbell Pullover You'll need: Bench, Dumbbells How to
Dumbbell Pullover thumbnail
3 sets
15 reps
-- rest

Exercise 5

Dip You'll need: Dip Station How to
Dips thumbnail
3 sets
to failure reps
-- rest
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