Q: Positions of Flexion is working great for me, but I’m having a problem with chest, specifically flyes. I know how important the stretch position is. You guys talk about the animal study that produced the huge [300 percent] muscle gain in one month with only stretch overload. That’s why I’m using the more focused 3-way POF pec routine in Chapter 5 [of the 3D Muscle Building e-book]. I do bench presses as my first [midrange] exercise, then flyes for stretch, and cable flyes for the contracted position. I just don’t feel the flyes at all, so I know I’m missing important mass stimulation. Any suggestions?
A: For those of us with below-average nerve force in our pectoral muscles—that includes both of us—dumbbell flyes can be difficult to feel. Well, that’s not completely true; they sometimes “feel” like a waste of time. That’s because the front delts and arms tend to take over and get the brunt of the size-building stress.
Luckily, there’s a solution that will make your chest routine shorter, not longer, and you’ll actually feel the stretch overload happening. First, get rid of the flyes. For lower/middle chest you’ll now do your usual bench presses to start—two to three sets. Then go to cable flyes.
Yes, we realize that in 3D MB we say that while cable flyes can act as a stretch move, the pull is more out instead of down. That makes it less stretch oriented than dumbbell flyes, which pull your arms down toward the ground for better pec-stretch overload. But we’ve got a killer technique for cable flyes to emphasize the stretch for more size…
Double-X Overload is one of the X-hybrid mass techniques we describe in the Beyond X-Rep Muscle Building e-book. It’s simply a way to better stress the stretch or semi-stretch position on any exercise. You’ll use it on your first two sets of cable flyes…
Pull up to the contracted position, hands together, lower to full stretch, raise about eight inches, lower to full stretch again, then pull the handles all the way up, hands together. It’s like a one-and-one-quarter rep, with the quarter occurring at the stretch to emphasize that key mass-trigger point.
Once again, you pull all the way up to full contraction, lower, do an X-Rep partial, then pull all the way up to full contraction again. Do two of those DXO sets.
Keep in mind that you’ll still be getting the key contracted-position size effects—tension and occlusion. Nevertheless, you may want to do one final set of cable flyes in standard two-seconds-up/two-seconds-down cadence—so your middle/lower chest program becomes…
Midrange: Bench presses, 3 x 9-12
Stretch: Cable flyes (DXO style), 2 x 8-10
Contracted: Cable flyes, 1 x 9-12
Now that you’re better emphasizing stretch overload, will you suddenly get a 300 percent mass increase in your chest as in the animal study? Probably not, but you’ll get much better size effects in your pecs than if you continue with ineffective dumbbell flyes. Remember, if you can’t feel an exercise, ditch it and try something else to pack on size.
Till next time, train hard—and smart—for BIG results.
—Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson
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