Developing Raw Pressing Power with Dynamic Chest Finishers

The Importance of Varying Your Training

For so many of us, it can be easy to simply coast through a gym workout without adding real intensity and challenge.

However, while having the right mentality in the gym is important, training should also be enjoyable. It can be fun to experiment with training on occasion to see what works for you and what doesn’t.

If you are simply going through the motions and completing the same exercises relentlessly, training can quickly become mundane which may cause motivation levels to drop substantially (1).

Experimenting with new exercises can help to freshen up training and motivate. Maintaining motivation levels will increase the chances that you attend the gym regularly.

It goes without saying that attending the gym regularly will keep you on the right track and allow you to make great progress towards your goals.

Hitting a Strength Plateau

For those who are at an advanced stage with strength training, you will be familiar with training plateaus.

When an individual begins strength training, their body adapts at a rapid rate. This is because the body is not accustomed to the training stimulus that the body is being exposed to.

However, over time, as the body becomes more highly conditioned, improvements begin to slow. This is because the body can now deal with the training stimulus more effectively.

Training plateaus can be extremely frustrating and may lead to a decrease in motivation levels and impede progress.

One of the best ways to start building strength once again is to change up your training by bringing in new exercises and / or training methods (2).

Doing this will introduce a brand new stimulus to the body and therefore cause it to start adapting once again.

With this in mind, the following chest finishers can effectively allow you to move beyond any strength plateau that you may currently be experiencing.

3 Power Building Chest Finishers

For those looking to improve chest size and develop their pressing abilities, or for those simply looking to try something new, the following chest finishers are a great option.

The 3 chest finishers have been designed by trainer and athlete Ron “Boss” Everline and have been designed using a range of different equipment and movement patterns.

Regularly performing these finishers will specifically target the pectorals and force them to increase in strength thus enhancing overall pressing capability.

1) The Bodyweight Finisher

The first finisher focuses on the classic chest-building bodyweight exercise – the push up.

There is absolutely no doubt that the push up is one of the best bodyweight exercises for chest development and pressing power, providing that the movement is performed correctly.

Unfortunately, the push up is often performed incorrectly. For the perfect push up, hands should be placed slightly wider than the shoulders with fingers pointed forwards.

From there, as the body drops toward the floor, elbows should be kept tight to the body and should not flair out to the sides.

One of the best things about the push up is the simplicity of the exercise and the vast number of push up variations that can be performed.

Everline has recognized the many benefits of exercise variations and as a result, this particular finisher uses 4 push up variations – sliding, traveling and single arm isolating push ups.

Everline’s favourite push up variation is the sliding push up. There is no doubt that the slider push up is highly demanding and will present a real challenge even for those at an advanced level.

The dynamic movements involved in the slider push up not only places a great deal of stress on the pecs but challenges an array of other musculature outside the chest as you move through a specific range.

Another push up variation that Everline has incorporated into the finisher is the push up on dumbbells. Placing the body in an unstable environment puts a great demand on core strength and stability (3).

Working both the abdominals and the pecs at the same time will maximize time while making significant progress with both muscle groups simultaneously.

Not only is the push up very simple in terms of practicality and execution, the finisher is very straightforward as it follows a basic sets and reps scheme, as seen below.

Finisher 1:

Exercise Sets x Reps
Push Up on Sliders 3 x 20 – 25
Push Up Climber on Dumbbells 3 x 20
Sliding Single Arm Push Up 3 x 10 (per arm)
Explosive Traveling Push Up 3 x 20 – 25

 

2) The Foam Roller Finisher

As with the basic slider, another training tool which is often underutilized is the foam roller.

Ultimately, the foam roller has been designed as a tool for advancing recovery. Correct application of the roller on the muscles can help break down scar tissue and enhance blood flow.

However, in this case, the foam roller is used in a slightly more unconventional manner as a resistance tool.

Adding in a simple object, like the foam roller, can add both a mental and physical challenge to any workout.

The foam roller is particularly effective considering the fact that it rolls. As a result, many of the exercises require a great deal of core strength and stability to prevent excessive movement from the roller.

There are 4 exercises that are to be completed with this finisher all which are designed to challenge the core and shoulders as well as the chest.

If you are an athlete, it is important that you build and maintain explosiveness. Therefore, the explosive traveling push up is a superb addition to this circuit.

When performing this particular exercise, look to try and generate as much height as you possibly can with each and every repetition to really develop your explosiveness.

Instead of following sets and reps, this finisher is a 20 minute AMRAP (As Many Reps As Possible) circuit. The goal is to complete as many reps as possible in a given time period.

Each exercise is to be performed for 45 seconds and is to be followed up with a 15 second rest before moving onto the next exercise. If 45 seconds is too demanding, reduce each interval to 30 seconds.

This format is to be repeated until all 4 exercises have been completed. Look to take a one minute rest between sets and complete 4 sets in total.

Finisher 2: 20 Minute AMRAP

Exercise Work : Rest (seconds)
Slider Pike to Push Up 45 : 15
Body Saw on Roller 45 : 15
Sliding Single Arm Push Up on Roller 45 : 15
Explosive Traveling Push Up 45 : 15

 

3) The Classic Strength Finisher

For the final finisher, Everline reverts to traditional bodybuilding training tools and movements.

This finisher focuses on classic chest building resistance exercises – the floor press, chest fly and push up – to place stress on the pectorals.

The first exercise, the floor press, is a superb variation of the barbell bench press which will allow a great amount of stress to be placed on the pec muscles.

In order to increase the intensity of the exercise and really pump up the pecs, think about adding resistance bands to the floor press.

Doing so will maintain tension on the pecs throughout the duration of the exercise and force the pecs to work extremely hard.

Resistance bands are a highly effective training tool for power development (4) and can totally change the dynamic of an exercise when applied correctly.

One of the best things about resistance bands is that they are portable and therefore can be taken on the road to allow you to continue strength training while away from the gym.

In addition to this, there are a variety of resistance band grades to cater for every individual’s strength level and level of experience.

The banded chest fly and banded push up are both very simple to set up and perform. Most importantly, they effectively train pressing power in two different planes.

The banded chest fly is a particularly effective exercise as it fully isolates the pectoral muscle and places a maximal amount of stress on the muscle.

Finisher 3:

Exercise Sets x Reps
Barbell Floor Press 3 x 10
Banded Chest Flyes 3 x 20 – 25
Banded Push Ups 3 x 20 – 25

 

Final Word

Each chest finisher is highly demanding however, Everline emphasizes that no matter how difficult you find each finisher, you must approach it with the right mentality.

Feeling tired or sore is not an excuse to stop. No matter what, you need to ensure that every single rep is completed. Often, it will be your own willpower that determines whether or not you successfully complete the finisher.

Incorporating these finishers into your program will undoubtedly have a positive impact on your pressing power and athleticism, as long as you are willing to put in the hard work.

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References:

1-Teixeira, Pedro J; Carraça, Eliana V; Markland, David; Silva, Marlene N; Ryan, Richard M (June 22, 2012). “Exercise, physical activity, and self-determination theory: A systematic review”. The International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity. 9: 78. doi:10.1186/1479-5868-9-78. ISSN 1479-5868. PMC 3441783. PMID 22726453.

2-Fonseca, Rodrigo M.; Roschel, Hamilton; Tricoli, Valmor; de Souza, Eduardo O.; Wilson, Jacob M.; Laurentino, Gilberto C.; Aihara, André Y.; de Souza Leão, Alberto R.; Ugrinowitsch, Carlos (2014-11). “Changes in exercises are more effective than in loading schemes to improve muscle strength”. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 28 (11): 3085–3092. doi:10.1519/JSC.0000000000000539. ISSN 1533-4287. PMID 24832974.

3-Granacher, Urs; Schellbach, Jörg; Klein, Katja; Prieske, Olaf; Baeyens, Jean-Pierre; Muehlbauer, Thomas (December 15, 2014). “Effects of core strength training using stable versus unstable surfaces on physical fitness in adolescents: a randomized controlled trial”. BMC Sports Science, Medicine and Rehabilitation. 6. doi:10.1186/2052-1847-6-40. ISSN 2052-1847. PMC 4290805. PMID 25584193.

4-Andersen, Vidar; Fimland, Marius Steiro; Cumming, Kristoffer Toldnes; Vraalsen, Øyvind; Saeterbakken, Atle Hole (November 15, 2018). “Explosive Resistance Training Using Elastic Bands in Young Female Team Handball Players”. Sports Medicine International Open. 2 (6): E171–E178. doi:10.1055/a-0755-7398. ISSN 2367-1890. PMC 6280676. PMID 30539135.

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Jacob Ladon
Jacob Ladon is a staff writer and former amateur bodybuilder. He has been passionate about bodybuilding since he was 15 years old and discovered the joys of training in the gym. He reports and comments on all bodybuilding related matters.