When Abel Albonetti tells you it's going to be a mean chest workout, you know you're in for some serious pec punishment. That's because this MuscleTech-sponsored athlete and Bodybuilding.com team member is known for his long exercise lists, high pain threshold, and lifting as much weight as it takes to build his cover-worthy physique.
True to his high-rep, heavy-volume style, Abel Albonetti packs this workout full of dropsets, supersets, and sets to failure This workout will annihilate your chest and leave your muscles primed for growth. Give yourself 60-90 minutes to complete this session. You'll need it.
Incline Barbell Bench Press
This compound movement allows you to pack on a lot of weight while keeping the focus squarely on the upper chest.
"I love starting off with incline bench press," says Albonetti, "because a lot of guys are lacking in their upper-chest development, and this move targets the upper chest."
The last two sets are double dropsets. A regular dropset involves going to failure, dropping the weight by 20 percent, and continuing to failure a second time. With a double dropset, you'll repeat this pattern twice.
"I love incorporating dropsets because you're further depleting that muscle," says Albonetti.
Simply put, these double dropsets will annihilate your chest.
Incline Dumbbell Press
The dumbbells give way to a barbell, but you're still on an incline bench. And there's another twist: On the second set, you'll do a dropset. On the third set, you'll do a double dropset, and on the fourth set you're going to do a triple dropset. Yep, you read that right—a triple dropset.
But he's not done there. On the last set, after you get done with the triple dropset, Albonetti wants you to set the weights down and rest for 20-30 seconds, then go back to the heaviest weight and try to squeeze out another 2 reps.
"The pace on those 2 reps is going to be very slow because your muscles are fatigued," he explains. "But that's OK. Just give yourself a two-count as you lower the weights, and a two-count as you push it back up."
Work those pecs until they can't lift anymore.
Flat Dumbbell Press
For the first 3 sets, the goal is to get 10-12 reps.
"Be sure to pick a weight that will allow you to hit failure within that rep range on each set," says Albonetti.
On the fourth set, drop the weight by 50 percent, then do single-arm presses with one arm while you hold the weight in the other arm. Once you do 8 reps with the first arm, hold that weight as you do 8 reps with the other arm. Switch back to the first arm and do 7 reps while you hold the other arm, then 7 reps on the other side.
Keep going back and forth as you work your way down in reps. If you can't do them all in a row, sit up and set the weights on your knees and rest for 10-15 seconds, then go at it again until you get all the way down to 1 rep.
Superset: Close-Grip Landmine Press and Incline Bench Cable Fly
You're not quite done working your upper chest. The landmine close-grip press is all about the squeeze, so you don't have to go too heavy. Hold the end of the landmine and lower the weight down to your chest, stretching at the bottom. Press straight back up, squeezing the entire time.
For the incline flyes, Albonetti prefers using cables, but you could certainly use dumbbells if your gym is packed and the cross-over apparatus is unavailable.
"I like using the cables because I feel it keeps tension throughout the whole range of motion," he explains.
Triset: Cable Fly, Push-Up, and Isometric Push-Up Hold
This next exercise pairing targets the middle of your chest. It's a triset, so you'll start with cable flyes, then move straight into push-ups, and finish with isometric push-up holds. No rest between exercises.
For the cable flyes, set the pulley at shoulder height.
"When I do the flyes, I like to position one foot in front of the other," says Albonetti. "This stance stabilizes my body when I'm trying to squeeze those cables together as hard as I can, keeping tension in my chest the entire time."
When you get down to do the push-ups, take it to failure with those 15 reps. After that, get down in the bottom position of the push-up, where your chest muscles are in a full stretch, and hold for 60 seconds. It's a tough position to hold and those muscles are going to burn. Just push through it and focus on the stretch. If you can't hold the full 60 seconds on your feet, drop to your knees and use whatever time remains.
Superset: High-to-Low Cable Fly and Cable Press
We're sticking with the cable machine on this last superset, raising the cables up for high-to-low flyes followed immediately by cable presses to failure.
"When you're doing the high-to-low cable fly, I want you squeezing that lower chest the entire time," says Albonetti.
Transition immediately from the flyes to a cable press.
"Doing the press is going to be extremely difficult," explains Albonetti. "You just got done with the flyes and your chest is already fatigued."
The key to annihilating the chest muscles is to finish strong, so grind through the reps and squeeze those pecs as best you can on each exercise
This is one of Albonetti's meanest chest workouts ever, so if you complete it, congrats. This is definitely not an every-week kind of workout. In fact, Albonetti himself recommends only doing this workout about once a month.
If you liked this workout, be sure to check out Albonetti's super-pump arm workout. It's a killer, too!