Who doesn’t love a bit of chest day to kick off the week?
Enter a gym on a Monday and you’ll be struggling to find a bench or chest orientated machine that’s not got someone maxing out on it.
Whether or not you take part in international chest day, chances are you’ll be doing it at some point in the week so it’s best to be prepared.
The chest is one of the most overtrained muscles as gym lovers race to impress the man in the mirror (At least MJ would approve).
When training chest, you’re going to have to utilise the shoulder joint, and an over emphasis on the anterior muscles of the body will put this joint at risk.
The best thing you can do to reduce your chances of injury and boost your performance, is complete a dynamic warmup prior.
And no, I don’t mean a few arms swings and generic pec stretches that make you feel like you’ve ticked warmup off your to do list.
Whether you’re a seasoned lifter in your 30’s or a gym newbie; here’s a chest day dynamic warmup that will prepare you for pain free lifting and all the chest gains you can shake your pecs at.
SMR stands for self-myofascial release and is a self massage technique that aims to reduce apprehension in overactive tissues, providing temporary enhancements in mobility that can then be taken advantage of through specific mobility drills.
For our dynamic chest warm-up, we will be using two short SMR techniques on the chest to encourage optimal chest and shoulder positioning.
The first SMR technique is a neurological trigger point technique which focuses on leaning your weight onto your tool of choice and moving the tool around an area of discomfort.
In this video I’m using the accumobility trigger point ball, which doesn’t allow for movement as it’s a flat surface. If you do use a standard ball or foam roller, than you can move the tool 1-2 inches over the area.
The second tactic is the oscillatory technique, where you introduce movement into the muscle whilst you hold the SMR tool in a static position.
Aim for 20-30s for each technique, for each side of the chest.
Progressive Chest Stretch
As mentioned above, after any SMR it’s best to use a mobility drill for the same area to take advantage of this reduction in muscle apprehension.
Here we’re doing a basic progressive chest stretch, which works by going a little deeper each time. Start by leaning into the stretch by 2 inches, coming back by 1 inch and back in 2 inches. Keep doing this until you reach your end range and hold for 10 seconds.
Stabilise The Shoulders
No chest day warmup is complete without stabilising and warming this shoulder complex.
The source of most injuries during pushing movements, the shoulder complex needs some love and attention if you want to make sure you perform pain free.
Here we’re doing the 3 way Ruisin band complex, coined by Dr Joh Ruisin. This is a fantastic way to introduce stability into the shoulder complex and prepare for the heavy lifting ahead.
Complete 3 sets in a Tri-set, 10-15 reps of each exercise.
Groove The Pattern
Next up is “Grooving the pattern”.
Grooving the pattern is a way to etch the movement pattern into your nervous system, switching on all the right muscles in preparation the days lift.
Think of this as ensuring the train is safely on the track, heading in the right direction.
The key here is form and control. Make a light weight heavy, so heavy weights feel light.
Emphasise the eccentric portion of the movement, pulling yourself into position before briefly holding a 1-2 second isometric and completing the concentric part of the movement.
Aim for 2 sets of at 20-30s of movement each.
Excite The Nervous System
Last but by no means least it’s time to excite the nervous system and get the juices flowing in preparation for some effortful movement.
If grooving the movement pattern is making sure the train is on the right rack, then exciting the nervous system is stoking the engine and gathering some speed.
Complete 2-3 sets of 2-5 reps. We’re not trying to induce fatigue here, just get the engine firing.
If you don’t want to do a plyo-pushup, then you can do an alternative exercise such as horizontal MB power press or explosive seal jacks.