Memorable workouts are sometimes hard to achieve. There are many monotonous days in the gym putting in grueling work, so what really burns a workout into your memory? For me, it happens when German precision meets Texas size over the most prestigious weekend of the year for bodybuilders—Olympia weekend. Roman “Rex” Fritz and I are known for the intensity of our training, and traveling does not change that one bit. We had our target in sight, The Lift Factory in Las Vegas, Nevada, and chest and biceps were on the menu. This workout is not for the faint of heart, so follow along if you dare.
We both agreed that it was essential to start off the session with an upper chest movement because upper chest lags for most people. We chose a plate loaded incline press machine. Starting with a machine allows for greater control and focus to activate the chest. We were relentless with this exercise. Our goal was to work up to a max out set of 20 reps. We did that, but it wasn’t enough. On the second and third set, if we didn’t hit 20 reps we would rest pause until we got to 20 reps. So, rest 20 seconds and then continue the lift. But was this enough? Definitely not. On the fourth and fifth set, we rest paused to 20 reps then performed a double drop set attempting to get as many reps as possible on the drops. By now our pecs were scorching and pumped solid and we had only begun.
Our next decision was to train the mid/lower pec with a flat pressing movement. Rex made the call for dumbbell floor presses. Although pressing off the floor limits the range of motion, this movement does emphasize peak contraction. This is also a safer movement for the shoulder joint compared to full range of motion pressing. We grabbed a weight and aimed to hit failure between 6-10 reps. There was no going lighter for us, so we stuck with this same weight for 4 total sets. The repetitions were dropping with each set from cumulative fatigue. I could only muster 6 reps on my last set.
We now needed something to bring about the most metabolic stress possible; something that would leave nothing in the tank. We chose to superset standing cable flyes and a pin loaded chest press machine. The cable flyes would pre-fatigue the chest prior to moving to the pressing movement, which would make pressing more challenging. We performed 5 rounds of this super set. We aimed to hit 12-15 reps on each set, but the main point was taking each set to all out failure.
At this point our chests were fried and we were ready to move on to biceps. Knowing that biceps already get loaded with heavy weight during back workouts, we went for high repetition work instead. Our first choice was a pin loaded seated preacher curl machine. This wasn’t going to prevent us from swinging and cheating on the lift. The protocol was 5 sets, and on each set we would get 15 full range of motion reps then immediately perform 10 partials from the bottom position. The partials increase muscle fatigue and induce greater metabolic stress. After the first set the pump was ridiculous, but we still pushed on for 4 more sets.
Rex had the bicep finisher in mind. It might have well been called the German torture wheel. He grabbed a 45lb plate and set it on a flat bench. We stood across from each other and passed the 45lb plate back and forth to each other after repping out the plate with a hammer curl to failure. We passed the plate for 5 rounds, totaling 5 sets each. Grabbing the lip of the 45lb plate put our grip brachioradialis, biceps, and mental capacity to the test.
Chest and Bicep Recap
*all sets taken to absolute failure
|1. Plate Loaded Incline Press: 5 sets
|• Set 1 perform 20 reps.
• Set 2 and 3 perform 20 reps and rest pause (20 second rest period) until reaching 20 reps.
• Set 3 and 4 perform 20 reps and rest pause until reaching 20 reps, then perform a double drop set getting as many reps as possible.
|2. Dumbbell Floor Press: 4 sets @ 6-10 reps
|3. Super Set Standing Cable Flyes into Seated Pin Loaded Chest Press: 5 sets @ 12-15 reps
|4. Pin Loaded Preacher Curl: 5 sets @ 25 reps total (15 full range of motion, 10 partials)
|5. 45lb Plate Hammer Curl: 5 sets @ as many reps as possible