Today was nothing special – just a standard chest session at Immortals Gym in Sheffield. It is taking me a while to recover my chest strength, but this is nothing unusual – I tend to overcompensate using my arms and shoulders, which are disproportionately strong compared to my chest.
The big lift today was the bench press, naturally. Having managed three sets of ten at 70kg the week before (not exactly impressive, but I’m working my way back here), I decided to pump the weight up a little bit. I racked up 80kg…and changed my mind.
Taking it back down to 75kg, I started out. It was just as well, too – because I barely managed my sets at that weight! In fact, I failed on the third set and had to rest for a few seconds before the final couple of reps. I tried for a fourth set, but only got 6 reps out – so moved on.
After the close-grip bench press, which went fairly well, the incline was a real struggle. After failing on my third set to the extent that I had to rest the bar on myself and roll it down my body, I took the weight down to just 50kg to finish – and even that was a struggle.
Strangely, I was then oddly strong (for me) on the dumbbell shoulder press. Having only managed 3 sets of 6 at 20kg the week before, I managed 2 easy sets of 10, followed by another of 8 and another of 6. Perhaps by taking the weight down and really focusing on using my chest, I am shifting emphasis off my shoulders – leaving them fresher for the shoulder press later. This would be great news if it is true!
After triceps work, for my final chest exercise I used a bench press machine. This way, I could safely use just one arm – the right – to try and help level out my uneven distribution of size and strength across my chest. This is actually quite a common problem:
Right-handed people have stronger right arms because they have greater coordination on that side. As a result, the muscles in the right side of their chest don’t to work as hard as those on the left side to perform the same exercises. As a result, the left is always training harder and, over time, develops further than the right size in terms of size and specific muscular strength.
In short, this means that the right hand side of my chest is noticeably smaller – and weaker – than the left side. Strange, eh? In an effort to rectify this, I have started including extra one-armed sets into my chest routines. I should also use dumbbell variations of exercises rather than barbells, to ensure both sides are putting in the same amount of force.
Anyway, today’s routine was as follows:
Bench Press: 75kg x 10, 10, 8+2, 6
Close Grip Bench Press: 60kg x 10, 9, 8+2
Incline Press: 60kg x 7, 7, 6; 50kg x 8
Dumbbell Shoulder Press: 20 x 10, 10, 8, 6
Skull crushers: 20kg x 7, 8, 4
Pull downs: 10 plates x 9 x 2
One arm pull-across: 4 plates x 10, 12
Pen Dec: 12 plates x 10 x 3
Bench Press Machine: Right Arm Only, 3 plates for 3 sets
Hanging leg raises and twisting raises