Tip: Break This Rule to Build Your Chest

To build your pecs, sometimes you have to break the rules. Here are two ways to do it.

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Tension = Muscle Growth

"Always use a full range of motion. And always lock out every rep when you bench press." – Small guys

Sure, working your muscles through a full range of motion is usually a good idea. But to build size, it's important to keep tension on the working muscles and increase the time under tension for each and every set. One way to do this is to use continuous tension sets, which is a technique that defies the time-honored tradition of locking out every rep.

Continuous Tension Sets

Just stop right before the weights are locked out at the top and proceed directly into the next rep.

Continuous Tension with Slow Negatives

To further increase muscular tension and metabolic stress, use a slow negative, lowering the weight for a count of 3-5 seconds. This method takes advantage of the continuous tension sets, keeping the muscle loaded and increasing the time under tension.

You also get the benefit of exposing the muscle to eccentric training, which leads to greater rates of protein synthesis post-workout.

Michael Warren won the UK Personal Trainer of the Year award (2014). He is the owner of Michael Warren Performance Education, and has trained a number of professional athletes and teams. Follow Michael Warren on Twitter