He may be known for his impressive lats and massive shoulders, but Sadik Hadzovic knows a well-built chest is key to achieving a high-caliber classic physique.
Hadzovic is one of the top bodybuilders in the world and a repeat competitor on the Olympia stage. And as a GAT-sponsored athlete and classic physique champion, Hadzovic knows a thing or two about building his upper body.
"The whole goal is to fill out that T-shirt," says Hadzovic. "Everyone wants an awesome top shelf—and I'm going to show you exactly how to do it."
Hadzovic begins his chest workout with the cable fly, a great exercise for warming up the muscles and pumping blood into your pecs.
"Every time I train chest, I love starting with flyes," he explains. "This is going to prime the muscle, it's going to stretch it out and allow you to get the maximum pump."
This exercise is unique because it allows you to stretch your muscles and maximize your range of motion, engaging more muscle fibers and pumping more blood into the tissues.
"I see a lot of guys stop halfway because they're not using that full range of motion," says Hadzovic. "You really want to stretch out the pecs on this exercise."
Incline Dumbbell Press
Raising the bench to an incline helps target the upper chest, an area that poses a challenge even for a champion like Hadzovic.
"The incline dumbbell press is the most important exercise of my entire chest day," he explains. "My upper chest seems to lag a little bit, and I want to hit it while it's fresh."
Position the bench at medium incline, high enough to target the right muscles but not so high your traps and shoulders take over. Choose a heavier load so you fail after 10-12 reps. Keep your shoulders pulled down and back and your chest up as you squeeze the weights together over your chest. Lower the weights slowly, stretching your pecs at the bottom and pausing for a beat before beginning your next rep.
Now that you've warmed up, go straight into the machine press. Machines are a great way to target different areas in the same muscle group. You have the leverage of the machine and strict path of motion, so you can add more weight than you would with free weights. You can also vary your hand position to target different areas of the pecs for better muscle-building results.
"You'll notice I vary my hand position on the machine press," says Hadzovic. "I start off with the horizontal, then I go quickly to the vertical to burn myself out and draw blood into the center of my pecs."
As with the incline fly, keep your shoulders pulled down and back and your chest up. Focus on squeezing your chest with every rep as you complete 3-4 sets of 10 reps.
Pec Deck Fly
The pec deck is a favorite chest-day machine found in virtually every single gym across the world. Everybody loves the pec deck—and so does Hadzovic. He adds his own unique variation, though.
"You'll notice I stand when I use the pec deck," says Hadzovic. "If you like to sit, there's nothing wrong with that. Just make sure you're isolating the chest and squeezing and flexing while you're performing the movement."
Find your comfortable position in the pec deck, ideally with your hands at shoulder height or slightly lower. Keep your back straight and chest up as you squeeze your arms together.
Decline Barbell Bench Press
What does Hadzovic save for the end of his chest workout? The decline barbell press, of course!
"The great thing about the decline press is it hits all parts of the pectoral muscle," says Hadzovic.
This makes the decline press the perfect chest-workout finisher. At a decline angle, your chest is much stronger, but since it's the end of the workout, your chest must recruit more muscle fibers to push the heavier weight of the barbell.
As with any barbell bench press, keep a spotter on hand if possible. Lower the bar to the bottom edge of your pecs, keeping your shoulders pulled back the entire time. Pause briefly at the bottom before pressing the bar back up for 3-4 sets of 10 reps.