The pec deck is a fairly unremarkable finishing exercise, and it would never make the grade for the "Finishing Moves" column ... except that we've given it an absolutely diabolical twist that takes the pump in your pecs to new heights. Or depths, as the case may be.
You probably already do pec-deck flyes because they're simple and easy to perform. They zero in on your chest because your triceps and front delts don't do any work. Pec decks lock your arms in the slightly bent position throughout the range of motion, unlike dumbbell or cable flyes—again, simple. About the only things you need to watch for are keeping your elbows up and adjusting the seatback to ensure your shoulders, elbows and hands are in the same horizontal plane.
With your hands out wide, the pec deck hits the outer pecs, and when you draw your hands together the inner pecs get a more thorough shellacking. The inner portion is where our focus will be in this four-set sequence to finish off your chest routine.
Prepare for the most intense chest pump of your life.
EACH SET IS DIFFERENT
- Your first set of pec decks is done like a normal set. On set 2, hold the peak-contracted position for a long second; on set 3, alternate full-range reps with quarter reps (at the top of the range of motion); and on set 4, do 10 reps like the first set, then smash out as many quarter reps as you can.
- As you extend your arms on the eccentric half of the rep, allow your shoulder blades to retract as your chest expands to get a full stretch.
One of the features of this finishing move is that each of your four sets will be constructed differently than the others. This allows you to bombard those inner-pec fibers in slightly different ways on each set. In addition, you will be making use of a partial-rep technique that takes each set past the point of muscle failure.
Use the right weight! Select a resistance you can barely do 12 reps with (and no more than 12; this is called your 12RM). You'll be able to determine whether you've got the right weight on your very first set. To wit:
- The first set is a bit of a trial run, so do a full-range pec deck for 11 reps. (If you used your 12RM, you should be very close to muscle failure by 11.) On this set, ensure the seat is at the right height, keep your elbows up, and use a smooth but controlled motion. Adjust the weight on your next set if it's too light or too heavy.
- On the second set, use your 12RM weight again, but hold the peak contraction for a full second (not just a quick count). You'll have to use a controlled motion to be able to stop and hold the peak contraction for a count of one. Everything else about the set is the same. Do 10 reps here.
- On the third set, instead of doing full-range sets, alternate full and quarter reps. Do a full rep, but instead of going all the way back, let the weight pull your hands only about 18 inches apart—no wider!—and complete a quarter rep. One full and one quarter rep equals one rep, so you're alternating 10 full plus 10 quarter, and that counts as 10 reps. The last ones should be tough.
- On your last set, start the same as the first set, doing 10 reps in normal fashion, but once you hit 10, go right into quarter reps. In fact, you're going to do as many quarter reps as you can: 10, 15, 20, 25, just keep going until you can't do any more. You're going to take your inner pecs to total failure. Get help from your partner, use a faster rep speed and a little momentum. Just keep going. By this point, you literally can't do any more, and your chest workout is completed.