IFBB Pro Melissa Brodsky is working on the physique of her dreams with this chest & shoulder workout.
► 10 Best Shoulder Exercises for Building Muscle:
1. Incline Bench Press: 10/8/6/12 reps (pyramid up in weight for first 3 sets, then use same weight for the 4th set of 12 as you did for the first 10)
2. Flat Bench Press: 3 sets, 15 reps (slight pause at the bottom of each rep)
3. Dips: 2 sets to failure at least 15 reps
4. Bent Over Rear Delt Cable Fly: 3 sets, 25 reps (keep the weight moving)
5. Machine Shoulder Press: 3 sets, 8 reps (flex at the top of each rep)
6. Seated Plate Front Raise: 3 sets, 15 reps
| Incline Bench Press |
Not only is the incline bench press a classic way to build the upper chest, many lifters find them to be a more comfortable “main lift” for the shoulders than flat benching. It’s great with a barbell or multi-grip bar, but maybe be even better with dumbbells, since you can customize your grip to increase focus on the upper pecs.
Many benches are fixed at a very steep angle, which EMG results have shown works the front delts as much as the chest. If possible, go for a lower incline, such as 30 degrees, to focus squarely on the upper pecs.
Want to dial it in further? The same study suggests that bringing your grip in a bit closer helps to hammer the upper chest fibers significantly more.
| Barbell Bench Press |
It’s popular to hate on the bench press these days, but it’s one of the most popular lifts in the gym for a reason. For one, the standard barbell bench allows you to move the most weight. It’s also an easier lift to control than pressing with heavy dumbbells. The exercise is also relatively easy to spot—so don’t be afraid to ask for one!
The bench press also responds well to classic protocols like 5×5 for muscle and strength, or even 10×10, aka German Volume Training, for pure mass. If you want to get serious, there are systematic bench press programs like Bench 300 to help you chase a big number.
| Dips |
Dips were a staple in the training programs of the golden-age greats for good reason: Nothing stretches the chest and makes it work quite like this bodyweight movement. You can add extra weight with a dip belt if you’re seriously strong, or use band or machine assistance if you struggle with bodyweight reps. Plus, they are a great spotter-free alternative to the decline press.
All types of dips hit the chest heavily, but on chest day, it’s worth making sure you’re doing dips that emphasize the pecs. Put your feet up behind you, lean forward as far as possible, and allow your elbows to flare out slightly as you dip.
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