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Chest for the Hard Responder

Author: Tad Inoue

Most people who approach me today never guess that my chest development was one of my toughest body parts the first 10 years of bodybuilding. Training chest has always been a challenge for me. Thirty years ago when I started my bodybuilding journey I simply didnʼt get much out of many of the most popular exercises that so many others grew from. The bench press, dumbbell press, and dips seemed to do almost nothing for my chest and only wear my arms out. So early on I started to modify how I trained my chest so that I could make my pectoral muscles respond. While my chest routines have evolved over the years, here is a good example of what I might suggest to someone who is a beginner or intermediate bodybuilder who has a tough time responding to the traditional chest routines.

Basic principles that I apply to my chest workout:

First, I have always liked to pre-exhaust my chest before my main movements. So the first exerciseʼs purpose is to fatigue the pectorals and other supporting muscles so that it will take more effort to perform the movements in the up coming exercises.

Next, I always use as heavy weight as I can, with the caveat that I can perform all the reps in each set. I allow the combination of intensity of the entire workout determine for me whether I have done my job in my workout. I donʼt look at how much weight I do or how many reps I can perform at a given weight determine if I have had a great workout or not. I also make sure that I rest at least 90 seconds between each set. This allows my ATP stores in my muscles to regenerate Finally, I donʼt give up until I can “feel” exhaustion in my muscles. If this means I or 2 more sets per exercise then so be it. This kind of workout forces more volume of training on your chest and you should get a tremendous pump. Those are always my objectives. Focus on getting those muscles tired and pumped! Go have fun!


Sets                               Exercise                          Weight                        Reps                           Rest between sets
Sets 1-2 (warm-up)       Bench press                    Moderate / Heavy       15-20                           90 secs
3-6                                                                            Heavy                          12-15                           90 secs

7-10                                Incline bench press        Heavy                          12-15

11-14                              Dumbbell flat fly             Heavy                          12                                90 secs

15-18                              Pec Deck                          Moderate                   15-18                           90 sec



Tad Inoue is a professional diet coach for figure and bodybuilding. Tad has over 30 years of experience in the fitness industry as a nutritionist, diet coach, trainer, competitive bodybuilder and coach. For more information on diet coaching with Tad Inoue please go to or email at


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