At the 1994 USA Craig Titus took second to Dennis Newman. Then he was runner-up 4 months later at the 1994 Nationals to Paul Quadzilla DeMayo. At the 1995 USA, Titus the tough, was edged by Phil Hernon. Craig came back in 1996, won the USA and signed with Met-Rx. Then, boom, a dark storm cloud rolled in. Craig was arrested on a "drug" offense and effectively, lost two years. Oh boy.
Behind every cloud though is that silver lining and in this case it was Kelly Ryan! Craig married this bounding fitness beauty and since then he has made the top 5 in several pro shows, competed in two Olympia's and contracted with Weider, Pinnacle and Cytodyne. At 36, Craig's coming into his prime. These days, Craig competes at 250 granite-hard pounds and while temperamental, Craig Titus embodies get-tough persistence.
Some of you who have been reading inside magazines know that I have written hundreds of training articles. I often write about a bodybuilder's best body part training and often they do nothing special at all, being genetically gifted. But -- my favorite training articles are about bodybuilders who overcame real weaknesses. This is the case with Craig Titus's chest. Craig says, "Early on, my arms overpowered my chest. My pecs stubbornly refused to get with the program." Craig knew he had to do something as his flat chest would sink him lower than the dwarf from Lithuania with the green Mohawk!
Going For The Blood Workout: Not Just For Vampires
Craig explains, "The one thing I really noticed all those years training my chest was that I rarely felt my pecs working and I never got much of a pump there like most guys do," I had been doing the standard 6-10 reps and since I had nothing to lose, I wanted to see what would happen if I tried increasing the reps to 10-20 per set, and not resting more than a minute or so between sets. I was on to something. For once I felt that deep burn and pump in my chest. My chest started growing. I call my method 'blood volume training' because I force loads of blood into my pectorals. I use heavy weights, but not ridiculous loads. I've added 20-pounds of muscle!"
Incline Smith Machine Press:
Today most bodybuilders start chest with some type of incline press as the upper pecs can't be over-developed. Conversely, the middle and lower chest fibers can give one a droopy look to the chest with too much flat bench work.
"I've been doing inclines first for a long time, because a thick and high upper chest really looks impressive," Craig says. Craig has used Hammer and now uses an Apex Smith Machine because it has a smooth counterweight and tracks straight up and down without a slant. After warming up Craig does 3 sets of 10-15 reps with 365 to 405 pounds.
Craig notes "I never go over 405, because I can't 'get the feel' or the reps I need." Craig trains alone, so those reps are all done on his own with no spotting. Craig notes, "Even with a spotter, get all the reps on your own most of the time. Guys who go too heavy and need a spot from rep one are cheating themselves."
Flat Bench Press Machine:
Craig's next exercise is a machine flat bench press. Craig likes a plate load machine (Torque Athletic) and he stacks four to five 45's on each a side for 4 sets of 12-20 reps or the Hammer.
Incline Dumbbell Presses:
There's still one more press to go and amazingly, Craig still can handle huge heavy dumbbells. He powers 3 sets with 130's, 140's and finally 150's for 10-15 reps!
Pectoral Flye On The Rear Deltoid Machine: View Exercise
Now Craig moves on to more isolation movements. My goodness, Craig uses up to 240 pounds on this exercise, 4 sets, 15-20 reps. Craig modifies his grip on machine flyes for better pectoral isolation. "What I do is angle my hands so that my palms face about halfway up toward the ceiling instead of toward each other to take my front delts more out of the equation and this makes my pecs do the work."
Craig wraps up his chest attack with 3-4 sets of 15-20 reps on a pec-deck machine. With this exercise he amplifies even more blood into his pumped pecs, ending the workout with a skintight congestion. That's what it's all about!
If your chest hasn't been responding, give Craig's exercises, methods, sets and reps a try. Remember, when it comes to mass and individual responses, there are no rigid rules so never be afraid to try something new! I started this article with a saying, and here's another, "If you want to keep getting what you've always got, keep doing what you've always been doing." If your chest sucks you really have nobody to blame but yourself. Keep your mind open, get tough and do what Craig Titus does and move up a couple suit jacket sizes.
4 Keys To Craig's Improved Chest
1: Ditching The Bench Press
"I know the flat barbell bench press is considered the Holy Grail of chest training by many people, but I could bench press 535-pounds and my chest was not where I wanted it. I never felt my pecs working to their max. In 1995, I tore my pec benching heavy. Once that happened, I haven't done a single set of barbell bench presses. My chest looks much bigger and fuller and I haven't had any more injuries. So if benches don't work for you, don't mindlessly keep doing them!"
2: Leave Your Ego At The Door
"When I was younger it was all about lifting big weights, not really completely developing muscle. But, total growth requires weight, form and maximum "mind-muscle connection". Use reasonable weights, but if you can't feel your pecs working, use less weight. When I got my ego out of the way, I really improved."
3: Incorporate Machines And Dumbbells More
"I used to be barbell dependent, but since I emphasized dumbbells and machines with independent movement arms like Hammer Strength and Torque, I was able to work my pecs harder. The mantra that machines don't build size is bullshit. If you train hard and heavy on a machine and work the muscle right, it will grow just the same as if you did the free weight counterpart to it. Your muscles respond to resistance!"
4: Higher Reps
"Low reps work well for many, but they didn't for me after I'd reached a certain level. The standard 8-10 reps just didn't force all the blood I wanted to into my chest and give me a deep cramp and burn. Since I began blood volume training three years ago and upped my reps to 10-20, my chest has really grown! Everyone should experiment with various reps, as the best reps are the ones that give you the best results, and that could be anywhere from 5-25 reps a set."
Day 1 - Chest, biceps, abs, triceps
Day 2 - Back, traps, calves
Day 3 - Off
Day 4 - Shoulders, triceps, abs, biceps
Day 5 - Quads, hamstrings, calves
Day 6 - Off
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