The typical chest workout goes something like this….
- Warm up for a few sets on flat bench
- Perform 3 to 5 sets of really heavy presses
- Move onto dumbbell incline presses for moderately heavy reps
- Do some light weight cable crossovers for 12-15 reps
- Finish with 20-25 reps of the pec dec
Notice anything about this mundane workout?
You start out hard and heavy, then as the workout progresses, your intensity (and probably your focus) falls off dramatically. Sure, you can bring it in the beginning, but if you’re meandering your way through the last third of the workout, you’re missing out on some major gains!
We’ve come up with the perfect prescription for your push day problems with the three pecalicious finishers for your chest workouts.
After giving any one of these sadistic little beauties a go at the end of your next workout, you’ll understand what it means to end your workout with as much intensity as you began it.
Pump up the volume!
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What are “Finishers”?
“Finishers” are exercises performed as the last movement in your training program to “finish” off the muscle, i.e. wring every last ounce of energy, power, and strength from it. These finishers are novel techniques designed to help you get spark new growth from any workout yielding maximum gains!
Finishers are added insurance that you’ve gotten the most out of a given muscle group and leave nothing on the table. These will help up crank of the intensity of any workout, even those “average” ones you seem to have more often than not.
Be forewarned though, these are a form of intensification techniques that are for intermediate to advanced lifters. If you’re still struggling to bench 135 pounds for reps, skip these finishers and focus on getting stronger on your core lifts before proceeding to these more advanced training techniques.
Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get onto three of our favorite ways to finish off your next chest day at the gym!
3 Exercises to Finish Your Chest Workouts
Push Up Mechanical Drop Set
Yes, the humble push up. It’s built many a top physique over the eons, and it’s just as effective now as it was the first time Grok pushed himself up from the ground back in the caveman days.
While many will scoff at notion of using push ups to spark new gains, the simple fact of the matter is that doing these at the end of your workout will pump up the volume on your workout, resulting in more work accomplished, yielding bigger better pec gains!
To perform a mechanical drop set, you’ll perform 3 variations of pushups done back to back to back with about 15 seconds rest in between each variation. You’ll begin with the hardest of the 3 variations and proceed to easier versions as you fatigue.
But, don’t make the mistake of thinking the final variation will be a breeze. Due to the increased time under tension and short rest periods, even doing push-ups on your knees will seem like a physical impossibility.
Mechanical drop sets are an ingenious way to bang out additional reps even when you’re gassed, and will lead to significant gains in size over time.
To start, find a bench, plyo box, or step and place your feet on it, with your hands on the ground. From here, perform 10 decline pushups using a slow and controlled eccentric and concentric motion (no half-reps or flopping allowed!).
After those 10 reps are done, rest 15 seconds while getting into position for standard push ups with your feet and hands on the floor. Bang out another 10 reps, and then rest for 15 seconds while transitioning to the final variation. This time, keep your feet on the floor and elevate your hands on the bench, step, or plyo box and go until failure.
Try performing 10 reps of each variation for 3 sets, and if you can do that, your chest will be swole like you’ve never seen and sore for an entire week!
1,1,2 Dumbbell Press
You’re probably wondering what the hell a 1,1,2 press is -- here’s a hint...it’s your next great chest day finisher! The 1,1,2 press works all of your pushing muscles and your obliques using increased time under tension and volume for maximum muscle breakdown.
Here’s how to perform the 1,1,2 Dumbbell Press:
Begin by laying on a flat or incline bench (your choice), holding two dumbbells over your chest as if you were performing a regular press. Keep your right arm extended, as you lower the left dumbbell to your chest and then press it back up. Then, keep your left are extending, while performing a single-arm press with your right arm. Now, lower both dumbbells to your chest and press them both to the top. That’s one rep!
As you can see, this creates a ton of stress in the muscles and taxes them for a length of time far longer than a typical set of chest presses. More muscle breakdown leads to more growth!
3 sets of 12 reps at the end of a workout will obliterate your chest, shoulders, triceps, and obliques!
Close Grip DB Press to Fly
The final chest finisher is another one designed to involve compound movements and increased time under tension to eek every last drop of energy from your muscles.
To perform the Close Grip Press to Fly, begin by laying on a flat or incline bench, and position the dumbbells above your chest as you would if you had just completed a close neutral grip “squeeze” press.
Now, to begin the repetition, lower the dumbbells while still squeezing them together to your chest and press back up to the top.
From there, lower the dumbbells to your side as if doing a dumbbell fly then squeeze your pecs to bring the dumbbells back to the top where they come together and you squeeze the dumbbells together as hard as you can.
That entire motion is one repetition. It’s important to focus on pushing the dumbbells together constantly through the entire lowering and raising portion of the close grip press for maximum muscle activation. This finisher torches your inner and outer chest creating a massive pump that’ll have you trembling at the end.
3 sets of 8 - 10 reps is all it will take to drop the hammer on your chesticles and finish them off for good!
The Bottom Line on Chest Workout Finishers
Finishers are a great way to crank up the intensity of a stale workout or help break through a plateau and spark new muscle growth for bigger, badder gains.
Give one of these a shot next time you’re at the gym, and you’ll see what it means to really bring it at the end of your workouts!