💪 Build Bigger Pecs With This Bench Press Workout

Today’s newsletter is presented by WHOOP. If you need a wearable that accurately tracks your weight training progress, WHOOP’s new Strength Trainer feature offers a deep dive into your workouts. And since you’re a BarBend reader, head here for a free WHOOP 4.0 strap, one free month of the service, and a $0 signup fee.

Here’s what we’ve got for you today:

  • A bench press workout to build strength and hypertrophy

  • The 10 bodybuilders who stood out the most at their Olympia debut

  • A breakdown of the best times to fast

TRAINING 

Grow Your Chest

Credit: YAKOBCHUK VIACHESLAV / Shutterstock

Monday will forever be known as “Chest Day,” meaning your local gym is probably full of bros flocking to the bench press — and rightfully so. The bench press is one of the “big three” powerlifting moves, alongside deadlifts and squats. It effectively targets the pecs while engaging the triceps and shoulders significantly.

Compared to other chest exercises, the barbell bench press enables you to effectively target and strengthen your pectoralis muscles by exerting substantial loads. This leads to enhanced strength and muscle growth, ultimately improving your physique. In addition to the classic bench press, there are various variations, such as the close-grip press and unilateral presses. You can also add advanced training techniques like cluster sets to maximize the benefits of this compound movement

If you need a straightforward — but no less effective — bench press workout to increase strength and muscle, check out the article below. 

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BODYBUILDING 

Beginner’s Luck

Credit: @Lee_Haney_Official / Instagram

Each of the 11 IFBB divisions crowns its own champion every Olympia weekend, and for numerous winners, the pursuit of a title can span nearly a decade. For proof, look no further than Men's Open bodybuilder Brandon Curry, who started with an eighth-place finish in 2011 and didn’t claim victory at the Mr. Olympia until 2019. Moreover, Ronnie Coleman finished dead last in his Olympia debut in 1992 but dominated the competition from 1998 to 2005. 

On the other hand, a select few bodybuilders — like Lee Haney, Dorian Yates, and Derek Lunsford — instantly rose to the top (or came incredibly close) during their very first Olympia. Join us as we count down the top 10 athletes with the most remarkable Olympia debuts.

NUTRITION 

Fast Times

Credit: @Max / Giphy

Intermittent fasting protocols, like the popular 16:8 method — fasting for 16 hours with an eight-hour eating window — have gained widespread attention for their potential benefits in weight loss and overall health. Notably, nutritional scientist Dr. Layne Norton recently delved into the effects of fasting on metabolic markers. Recently, he investigated whether fasting in the morning (8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.) or in the evening (noon to 8:00 p.m.) influences HbA1c, HOMA-IR, insulin levels, and blood glucose.

According to the study he analyzed, morning fasts may be more effective than evening fasts in reducing blood glucose and insulin levels. However, Norton advises adhering to a time-restricted feeding (TRF) window that aligns with your lifestyle and preferences to uncover the optimal fasting window for maximum results. Find out why finding the right TRF window is crucial for achieving your goals.

THE DROPSET

Build Your Home Gym

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  • The Smith machine bench press removes your stabilizers to further emphasize your chest muscles. Learn variations and alternatives to this move to explode your pecs. 

  • Are you looking to build a home gym this year? See our review of the best budget-friendly gym buys of 2023, tested by our expert team. 

  • Many powerlifters hit insane PRs in 2023, but some stood out above the rest. See who the best 10 powerlifters of 2023 were.