First, they’ll tell you you’re crazy -- then they’ll have to argue with the results. This chest day, try moving compound pressing movements like the bench press to the end of your workout. Instead, start with heavier-than-you-ever-thought-possible, high rep flyes and get ready for your chest to explode.
Watch the gym on a Monday. Ninety-nine percent of chest workouts follow the same pattern: Bench press --> Incline Press --> Dips/Decline Press, and dead last, --> Flyes (with cables, dumbbells, or the “Pec-Deck” flye machine).
Gains get left on the table when chest-isolating exercises like flyes are consistently treated as an afterthought. Always saving them until you’re exhausted could be costing you more than you realize.
Flyes work the pecs directly and exclusively, without assistance from the delts, triceps, or lats. Doing chest isolating lifts first can unlock new growth and shatter plateaus.
You’ll be shocked at how much weight you can flye when it’s treated as a priority. It’s not uncommon for athletes to find they can use 50 to 100% more weight when they try flyes fresh. No one may care about any “pec-deck PR’s” you set, but the gains will be real.
Saving pressing until your pecs are already exhausted and pumped with nutrient-rich blood from flyes may seem crazy, but it’s highly effective for increasing size. Forcing a pumped muscle into a weighted stretch stimulates muscle cells to release high levels of local growth factors. In fact, experiments have produced significant pectoral muscle growth simply through prolonged, weighted stretching.
There’s also good research demonstrating that the muscle group you train first in a workout grows the most – direct 100% of this effect towards the pecs with heavy, high quality sets of Flyes.
With the typical “Bench First” chest workout, the pecs aren’t really the prime movers anyway – the load is shared by the triceps, the deltoids, the lats, and the pecs. In fact, according to the most in-depth study on bench press mechanics and muscle activity, the chest muscles work the least out of all the major muscles that fire during a bench press rep. While the bench press is the king of upper body strength, it’s overrated as a chest builder.
Give flyes their due and try hitting them first with heavy weights and high reps. You’ll be glad you did.