How to Build a Bigger Chest

When Chest Is a Weak Body Part

The Shed

By James Hollingshead

Q: My chest is genetically a weak body part. Any training advice, please?

A: I remember Flex Lewis talking years ago about how his chest was a very stubborn body part, and how he revamped his training to improve it. I recall him doing exercises like dumbbell floor presses and cable flyes. I noticed all the movements he does for chest are those that ďconverge.Ē That is, his arms arenít simply moving back and forth, they also come together as he does a press or flye, so the movement is happening in two planes simultaneously. I would suggest you try the same, really focusing on lengthening and contracting the pecs on every rep. You can use dumbbells or any type of machine, such as Hammer Strength, where you not only press out from the body but also toward the centerline.

I would also recommend trying many movements until you find a couple that feel fantastic and give you amazing contractions and smash the shit out of those. Instead of doing two sets of 10 different chest exercises, do five sets of two that give you that intense stretch and contraction. You may very well be one of those people for whom there are only two or three chest exercises you can really feel.

Taking One Set to Failure

Q: Do you think one set to failure with four to five exercises per body part is enough, or is more needed?

A: For some people it will be enough. I like to incorporate a second set with a slightly different rep range from the initial set. Itís similar to what Jordan Peters does, a ďloading setĒ followed by a ďback-offĒ set. I think thatís your best bet because youíre covering two rep ranges, and youíre more likely to get at least something out of one of those sets. If youíre one of those people who can truly take a set to total failure, it would be enough for you. In my observation, very few people can get to that point.

Best Way to Create a Deficit

Q: Is it better to create a deficit by decreasing calories or by increasing cardio?

A: Personally, I prefer doing it by increasing cardio, but there will come a time when you canít keep upping the cardio. In an ideal world when you are prepping for a show, you would want your metabolism to be in such a state that you would be digesting and processing your food without doing too much other than weight training, so youíre resting and recovering a lot. Cardio absolutely detracts from some energy reserves that could have gone to training. But then again, you canít just keep training more either. There will come a time when you have to pull some calories out. Just be smart about it. The last thing you want to do is pull calories, in particular, those from carbohydrates, away from your heavy training sessions when they are needed most. Take carbs out at some other time of the day.

Squats Are a Pain in the Knee

Q: I canít squat because I have pain in my left knee. What can I do to fix it?

A: Even if I was a doctor, I wouldnít be able to diagnose your problem without an exam and probably an MRI, so please see a specialist to find out what the issue is. I too have patellar pain at times, especially if I donít use knee wraps or sleeves on very heavy sets. Wear and tear is inevitable. I can offer some sound advice. Always warm up thoroughly. Before you start a leg session, get on a stationary bike for a good six to eight minutes. I also advise doing at least one hamstring exercise and leg extensions before any type of pressing movement like squats, leg presses or hack squats. You want to make sure thereís plenty of blood flowing in the quads and hams. Itís not a bad idea to do some abductor and adductor work first as well, and then take it from there. If youíre doing all that and still experiencing knee pain, definitely see a specialist and find out what the situation is with your knee.

Is Less Gear More?

Q: Regarding gear, is it true that less is more? Also, how much are those guys over in Kuwait taking? Iíve heard some alleged doses, and itís frightening!

A: There are so many fairy tales and old wivesí tales in bodybuilding. People love to gossip and talk shit, especially when someone or a group of people is successful. I know some guys over in Kuwait and I can assure you they arenít using the astronomical amounts you might be hearing. Is less gear more? Not necessarily, but itís also true that more isnít always better either. There will always be a threshold amount with anything. Take the supplement creatine, for example. Your body can only use 5 grams a day. You can take 20 grams a day, but 15 of those would be wasted. The same concept applies to gear. There is an amount that varies from person to person and even will vary over time for the same person, where going any higher would deliver no better results but would negatively impact your health. This is why bodybuilders need to stay on top of their blood work and things like heart scans. You want to find a dosage level that will give you results but will not damage your health. Thatís easier said than done. You will need to keep records of what you use and how much, the changes in your body composition, and of course, all your medical/health tests.

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YouTube: IFBB Pro James Hollingshead

Redcon1 Pre-contest ĎShedí Stack

Upon Waking:

1 scoop Grunt

1 scoop BTS BCAA

1 serving BTS Glutamine

3 caps Double Tap

4 caps Yohimbine HCL

With Breakfast:

1 serving Med+Kit

1 serving Foxtrot

1 serving GI Juice

1 serving BTS Fish Oils


1 serving Total War

1 serving Big Noise

1 serving BTS Creatine Monohydrate

1 serving MOAB


2 servings Grunt


1 serving Isotope

1 serving Cluster Bomb

1 serving MOAB

Last Meal of Day:

Includes 2 servings of Isotope


1 serving Med+Kit

1 serving Fade Out

1 serving BTS Glutamine

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