Cellucor-sponsored athlete Craig Capurso knows how to challenge your strength, your endurance, even your neurological output, all in the name of building serious muscle.
It may seem simple and straightforward, but if we know Capurso, we know this chest workout is going to be one hell of a ride.
Seated Machine Fly
This first exercise should be done Tabata-style, a fast-paced modality where you get 20 seconds to perform each set, yet only half that much, 10 seconds, to rest in between them.
"We're trying to warm you up dynamically with this exercise," explains Capurso. The nearly non-stop pace of Tabata helps warm you up by bringing blood and oxygen to the muscle bellies. The clock runs continuously, so 8 rounds of Tabata should take only 4 minutes to complete.
Incline Dumbbell Press
For this exercise, adjust the rep ranges based off the percentage of your one rep max (1RM) that you lift for each set. The first set is 15 reps at 65 percent of 1RM, then 75 percent for 10 reps, and 85 percent for 5 reps. Rest 2 minutes between each set.
Make sure your elbows are locked in at your sides by your lats. The lift's pace should be three counts to lower the weight, followed by a 2-second press back up.
Barbell Bench Press
Per Capurso, this workout is about building volume through stress and intensity. Strength is also a factor of neurological output, so he adds cluster sets to challenge both your muscular strength and your central nervous system.
"A cluster set is typically 85 percent of your 1RM, performing 4-6 reps at a time, resting 10-20 seconds in between," explains Capurso.
Go for as many reps as you can each time until your form fails. Rest for 10-20 seconds before going for another few reps. Complete 12 reps in this fashion, lifting at 85 percent of your 1RM. Rest 2 minutes before starting the next cluster set.
The next set follows the same cluster set approach, only this time with a 4-minute time cap. Keep the same 85-percent weight over the course of the 4 minutes and see how many reps you can get. It's basically an extended AMRAP interval.
"Using cluster-set protocol, you'll probably get about 3 reps on your first try," explains Capurso. "After 20 seconds, you might drop down to 2 reps, then 1. Make sure your form is good. Complete each rep as you can, resting 10-20 seconds, and repeat until you reach your goal, whether it's 12 reps or 4 minutes."
Dumbbell Svend Press to Pull-over
This exercise is two exercises in one. It starts with a horizontal Svend chest press from the bench, then Capurso takes the dumbbell behind his head for a pull-over.
"Only lift about 50 percent of your 1RM here," says Capurso, "because you're going to give yourself 4 minutes to do as many reps as you can. It's going to get a bit heavy."
Perform an isometric contraction on the Svend press, squeezing your arms together as you bring the weight up. Take a small break as you bring the weight over your head for the pull-over. Resume the isometric contraction as you bring the weight back down.
Unilateral Seated Machine Fly
Now, back to the machine fly, this time for unilateral ascending reps. Unilateral means using one side at a time. For this exercise, you'll lift about 75 percent of your 1RM.
As Capurso explains, ascending reps work like this: Do 1 rep with the right, 1 with the left, then 2 reps with the right, 2 with the left, all the way up to 6 with the right and 6 with the left. This gives you 21 reps per side. Rest 2 minutes. Repeat this ascending rep scheme again, working your way up to 6 reps on each side.
The final exercise is Tabata push-ups, but of course Capurso finds a way to add more intensity.
"Instead of doing normal push-ups, you'll do explosive push-ups," says Capurso. "I'm really trying to get you to explode off the ground."
For explosive push-ups, lower your body until your chest touches the floor. Lift your hands at the bottom and immediately press your hands back down against the ground, pushing up explosively with each rep. Repeat the same Tabata-style modality of 20 seconds of work, 10 seconds of rest, for 8 total rounds.
"This workout is designed to build your strength and endurance," says Capurso. "The neurological output goes through the roof!"
Capurso recommends doing this workout every other week. If you like it, make sure you try one of Capurso's other ultimate workouts.