Tom Venuto's

Build A Bigger Chest In 3-4 Workouts Or Less

Tom Venuto

If your pecs are a weak body part, or, if you’ve simply hit a progress plateau in your chest development, then this high intensity chest training program will packs slabs of muscle mass on your chest after just 3-4 workouts and I guarantee it. This is a high intensity bodybuilding workout for advanced bodybuilders only. (Beginners don’t even think about it)….

Tom_Venuto_Most_Muscular_crab.jpg I’m currently on workout 3 of 4 in this pec routine and the results have been so impressive that I decide to write it up for you before I even finish the final workout next week.

Considering I’m on a calorie deficit in a cutting phase, I’m especially impressed with the increase in my chest size and development after 3 workouts. You’re not going to gain much if any muscular body weight if you are in a caloric deficit, but NO DOUBT, you can improve the development of a muscle group even while cutting up. This is a perfect example. I’m going to return to this program again for sure on my next mass phase. This program is called…

Multi-Angular Rest Pause With Pump Finisher

Here’s how it works. You select two exercises. For exercise one ( the main course), I chose a basic pec mass exercise that can be done at any angle from steep incline to flat bench. Thats the primary exercise you stick with for all 4 workouts. Incline Dumbbell Press was the natural choice. I set up on a fully adjustable bench that allows multiple angles of incline.

For exercise two (dessert), I chose an isolation exercise for a pump finisher, and it changes with every workout.

here’s the sequence:

A1 Incline Dumbbell Press - steep incline - about 65-70 degrees
6 reps
rest 10 seconds

A2 Incline Dumbbell Press - medium (regular) incline - about 45 degress
6 reps
10 seconds

A3 Incline Dummbell Press - low incline - about 20-25 degrees
6 reps
10 seconds rest

A4 Dumbbell Press - flat bench
6 reps

Now rest 2 - 3 minutes.

That’s one “set”. Technically of course, that is FOUR SETS, done in rest pause fashion, so lets call it one “round” for clarity’s sake.

Yes… that was round ONE. Now do it two more times.

Note: It helps a lot if you have a training partner change the bench angle so you can stay seated and keep the dumbbells in your hands. Doing it alone is slow and cumbersome.

For poundage, youre going to have to go MUCH lighter than usual. Although I dont train heavy pecs anymore, last time I did, I was doing 6 reps with 125s on the incline. So for this program I took about 50-60% of that; 70 lbs on workout 1, 75 lbs on workout 2,and 80 lbs on workout 3. On the last one, I had to drop to the 75s to finish all 3 rounds and even then I needed some forced reps towards the end.

You may need to decrease the weight on the 2nd or 3rd round, but if at all humanly possible, Do NOT reduce the weight during each round. Doing all four angles at the same poundage is the whole idea.

What may happen, especially if you even slightly overestimated your starting poundage, is that reps may drop with each angle change within a round. First angle - 6 reps is easy. second angle, a little harder, but still no problem. Third angle, you might only squeeze out 5 reps or hit honest failure on the 6th rep. 4th angle (flat), you might hit total failure on the 4th or 5th rep.

Now this is also where a training partner comes in. this routine should not be attempted without a spotter. Sorry, but you are a dork if you try to do this without a spotter. This program causes HONEST muscle failure (I’ll explain that in more detail shortly), so you need the spotter for safety, but moreover, you will need a spotter’s assistance to complete forced reps, at least on the final round or two, if not the first round. In general, forced reps should not be overused, but they play an important part of this program.

Ok where were we? Oh yeah, you just finished your 3rd round. You might be finished! Yeah. some people will be DONE, KAPUT, ZONKED, BONKED, NUKED, GAME OVER, after 3 rounds of that (think about it - that was 12 sets, disguised as 3 sets!) However, for those who want the full course…. come with me and lets finish off those pecs with the pump (oh, you thought were already pumped… heh.. just wait…you’ll see what a pump is!)

The second exercise (exercise B) is going to be an isolation exercise.. ie., DB flye, cable crossover, machine flye (pec deck), etc., and you will perform 20-25 reps, non stop in piston-like fashion. use a steady quick tempo, but not so fast that you use momentum.

This isolation /pump exercise will change with every workout:

B1 Workout 1: standing cable crossover
2-3 sets, 20-25 reps

B1 Workout 2: machine flye or pec deck
2-3 sets, 20-25 reps

B1 Workout 3: decline dumbbell Flye
2-3 sets 20-25 reps

B1 Workout 4: flat bench cable flyes in cable crossover machine
2-3 sets, 20-25 reps

That’s it! That’s the whole program. Three rounds of multi angular rest pause, then finish your workout with 2-3 sets of 25 reps on a pumping, isolation movement.

This routine is performed within a standard bodybuilding type of split, so it should be done once in 5-7 days, no more. You would probably do another body part after chest,such as biceps or triceps, depending on how you organize your split routine.

I would recommend advanced bodybuilders use this program a couple times a year if and when they need a boost in chest development. This is not the type of program you would use all the time. You would burn out and overtrain.

There’s one more very important part of this routine - progression.

On the Incline Dumbbell Presses, you will increase the poundage with every workout. Keep in mind, you will not be able to complete all 3 rounds at all 4 angles for 6 unassisted reps. Its going to get harder each time, even as you get stronger. You may have to use a spotter more with each progressing workout. You may also find that on workout 1 or workout 2, you can complete all 3 rounds with the same dumbbells, but on workout 3, by the 2nd or 3rd round, you have to drop the weight or you’ll barely be getting 2 or 3 reps.

Now let me re-emphasize the importance of a spotter. Theres something thats going to happen when you do this routine that does not happen often. You will hit what my training partner and I call “HONEST FAILURE.” This means that your muscles literally fail, or give out right underneath you. Mind you, this is not something you would usually aim for, but that’s just the nature of this program and this is only a 4-workout high intensity “shock” type of routine.

When I say your muscles will give out, I mean that literally. On the last rep or two of 3rd or 4th angle, of the 2nd or 3rd round, your arms may literally buckle underneath you. That’s honest failure.

You see, there are several types of failure… First there is “sissy failure”.. that’s when there is a lactic acid burn or a fatigue in the muscle (you’re tired) and because it hurts or youre tired, that causes you to stop. Thats sissy failure (sarcasm).

Then you have positive failure. This is where you can no longer push the weight up in a concentric motion, but you are still able to lower the weight and exert an upward force against the weight. For example, you’re bench pressing and you hit the “sticking point,” but you are holding that bar at the sticking point (its not coming back down), and you’re still exerting force to push the bar upward, but the bar simply isnt moving up!

Then you have honest failure. This is where the muscle simply gives out.. it buckles. you have reached concentric and eccentric failure. This type of failiure is rarely discussed. In fact I don’t recall anyone ever writing about it except for Arthur Jones and Ellington darden and the rest of the High Intensity Training (HIT) camp.

Rarely does any body builder tread in this territory, and for good reason, as it is really not necessary and can be dangerous for anyone but a veteran who knows what the heck he is doing - and all the kidding aside for a moment, Im serious about this. Its no joke if your chest and arms give out from underneath you and you dump a 70 or 80 pound dumbbell on your face. (you do like your teeth, don’t you?)

However, as a technique you use on rare occasion for a shock routine that breaks through progress plateaus, that untrodden territory is there… for those who dare. There is something about this particular program (multi angular rest pause) that takes you there. Youve been warned! train hard, but be safe!

One last thing gang… For YEARS, I’ve been “threatening” to write a book or manual about about all my bodybuilding techniques…routines and methods like this one… high intensity techniques and programs for serious hard core bodybuilders. Yeah, I will get around to it one of these days. In the meantime, I consider this website to be my fun hobby more than anything else and a place where I can really be myself - the bodybuilder - and share some of these techniques and workouts with like-minded bodybuilders who crave the “old school ways” and are sick of the mainstream “fluffy” workouts that litter the mags these days.

So, until I eventually compile a book of my techniques and workouts, I’ll keep posting some of them here if you will do me a favor. if you try these programs, would you post comments letting me know how they work out for you… what you feel during and after, and what kind of results you get in the end. Also post any questions you have about anything that is unclear. This will help me a lot when i finally compile all this stuff into a book someday.

I can see the traffic stats here on my blog, so theres lots of people READING this who are “lurking”, but if you’d be willing to USE the methods and workouts and you’d post your feedback for me, I’ll keep more coming. Otherwise, I might have to just vanish into cyberspace and leave the bodybuilding blogosphere. Sound like a deal?

Now, go out and get jacked!

Published on 14 April, 2007


alberto castillo said:

hi again tom!!!
i see this routine i cant wait to try it
this its hardcore stuff ,i recently discover this website and thank GOD, this is now my favorite blog to see this amazing techniques that you haved and i really enjoyed !
thanks tom! you are the master.

Posted on Apr 14, 2007 11:04 PM

Brett said:

tom, you wrote

I can see the traffic stats here on my blog, so theres lots of people READING this who are “lurking”, but if you’d be willing to USE the methods and workouts and you’d post your feedback for me, I’ll keep more coming. Otherwise, I might have to just vanish into cyberspace and leave the bodybuilding blogosphere. Sound like a deal?

Yep - i'll be using this plan on my chest session tomorrow morning, and I'll be more than happy to comment again with the results.

It looks like we're similar in strength: I tend to max out around 125 pounds for an incline press, so I'll be keen to see if the weights you used will be right for me.

Posted on Apr 14, 2007 11:33 PM


No problem Tom,..I have recently been getting your letters and really enjoy the site. Lately the "What's in the box" story was a real eye opener. I have always thought about a piece of gear like that. Wish I had one,..;)

This chest blasting routine looks great. I have been planning to do a rest pause type of routine for a while. Maybe just one muscle group, to get a feel for it, is the ticket. Will have to give it a try, and report back,...


Posted on Apr 15, 2007 09:05 AM

Bernie Jacob said:

Hi Tom, Thanks for this great info. I will definitely be trying this one.
I wonder if the same theroy can be applied to my legs or biceps. For that matter any body part. HMMM.
Sounds like it has it all.
Prolonged tension, changes in angle of flexation, stretch positions, concentration moves and to cap it off, high reps to hit those slow twitchers.

Thanks again Tom

Posted on Apr 15, 2007 09:18 AM

Former Fat Guy said:

I can see already the pain this is going to cause... and in pain... growth... and in the growth, the final achievement personal success.

Glad to see you blogging again

Posted on Apr 15, 2007 11:48 AM

Lee said:

I, a female, once experienced "honest failure" while doing decline DB bench presses. My spotter at that exact moment happened not to be paying attention, probably assuming I'd get the weight back up - and POW! came the weight, crashing down on my breast. Yowee!

Posted on Apr 15, 2007 12:05 PM

Tom Venuto said:

Lee wrote:

I, a female, once experienced "honest failure" while doing decline DB bench presses. My spotter at that exact moment happened not to be paying attention, probably assuming I'd get the weight back up - and POW! came the weight, crashing down on my breast. Yowee!

Yup... like i said, use a spotter.... But did I mention, use a GOOD spotter!


Posted on Apr 15, 2007 12:09 PM

Brett said:

Thanks Tom,

That was a damn hard session. My comments are here. I changed the session slightly and made each "set" 10 reps, with the final "round" being 8 reps. I managed the 80's but that really, really hurt.

A great session! Looking forward to more entries like this :)

Posted on Apr 15, 2007 08:37 PM

Carlos said:


I just read with riveted interest your Blog on “Build A Bigger Chest”. You know that you are speaking the language of Champions.

You were talking about the main course and the desert, and I gotta tell you it’s been a long time since I have heard anything that sounded so delicious!

There’s nothing mamby-pamby about hardcore drug-free bodybuilding training.

I remember sounding totally insane to the guys I was training back in the eighties and nineties. It took them a while to wrap their brains around Super High Intensity Training. “It’s not for the faint-hearted” I would tell them. No sir, leave baby brother at home when you do this workout ‘cause it’s gonna be scary!

Well Tom, if you don't mind me saying one way or the other treat your readers to the High Way. If you don't write a book (and I think that would be great) Then cock your double-barreled shotgun and pull both triggers and let them have it on the blog.

Treat them to the work, the sweat, the pain oops did I say pain. Oh that’s right I only wrote an essay about it back in the day. It was so that my team (I called them The HIT Squad) could understand that it takes just a teensy bit more than rolling the weights around the gym floor to win contests.

Its nasty, its brutal, its intense, its quite defining, (what does that mean?) by our words and actions we define ourselves to those who have eyes to see. Are we willing to endure muscular discomfort (putting it delicately)

to achieve excellence? It’s required in every other discipline.

The other thing is you have a way with words, after reading your blog I felt MOTIVATED, (And it’s not like I haven't been around the iron for thirty years, this really isn't new to me) for me- you were speaking a familiar language. I language I had used myself.

By the time I finished reading your blog, I was jacked!

You and I both know the importance of motivation.

To your readers, I think you are the Real Deal, this is not Jake the Fake, pay attention you don't want to be so broke that you don't pay attention!

Carlos De Jesus

Natural-For-Life Pro World Bodybuilding Champion

Posted on Apr 16, 2007 07:56 AM

Tom Venuto said:


thanks for all your support (and for the quad blaster!), my friend...

It is YOU who are the champion and the REAL DEAL!

Tom V.
- Natural and "hardcore"

Posted on Apr 16, 2007 08:15 AM

Chris said:

I cant wait to try this on chest day!! Thanks again Tom for some killer new workout ideas. It's nice to see someone who still values hard work and kicking ass over a mountain of hormones and mystery supplements.:)

Posted on Apr 16, 2007 10:40 AM

Dominic said:


I really appreciate you sharing this training information. I will definitely be trying it in my next chest workout! BTW- The picture of you must be your most recent because you are looking "bigger than ever"! It is very motivating to see a picture of someone as big and ripped as you (naturally) giving training tips to us "natural" lifters. For some strange reason when I see a picture of a "scrawney guy" giving training tips it is just not quite as motivating. Maybe it is because of my former college football linebacker "musclehead" mentality. Please keep them coming. Thanks

Posted on Apr 16, 2007 01:10 PM

Bob Zius said:

Hi Tom:

Training at a Gold's Gym in Orlando, Fl. Moved here in Sept. as the investment business grows. Looking forward to hitting the chest with this program. My friend and occassional parnter Euphrasio will love this one. By the way, awesome most muscular pose! Come down to Florida some time and we can grab a workout for old time's sake.

Bob Zius

Posted on Apr 17, 2007 01:22 AM

Tom said:

Hey bob

thanks for your note. Coincidentally, i will almost definitely be in Orlando this fall... oct i think... Whenever I travel the FIRST thing i do is open up a yellow pages and look for GOLDS GYM! Maybe we shall catch a workout, who knows...


Posted on Apr 17, 2007 01:30 AM

Dan said:

I just used this workout last night, and you weren't kidding about the pump! I love these intensity workouts that you put on here from time to time. Keep 'em coming!

Posted on Apr 17, 2007 09:59 AM

Jesse Martin said:


Sounds like a good chest workout. Been doing DC for about 5 weeks, I really like it, but I could use some chest specialization.

Trying to get ready for a masters natural show and I don't want my "Chest to dissapear when I do a front double bicep pose". Short arms so I've been using the old Mike McDonald bar thats conceved in the middle to allow for a deeper stretch although must be careful of shoulders.

Again good workout ideas Tom- thanks


Posted on Apr 22, 2007 04:25 PM

Will said:

I agree with the previous comment, talk about a pump! High Intensity Training for the WIN!

Posted on Apr 24, 2007 12:54 PM

jawad said:

this workout was awesome i can feel my pecs pumped up as never before

Posted on Apr 25, 2007 04:45 AM

alberto castillo said:

hi tom

today, i wanted to refresh my workouts, and 30 minutes ago i finished this routine,

Man!! right now im really pumped , my chest feel like a ballons with lots of water they gonna explode, this sensation its incredible i never felt this before

a 5 star workout you can bet on it

Posted on Apr 28, 2007 02:12 AM

chris said:

Dear Tom
Doing the pec workout with a buddy, its fun challenging and satisfying.
Hope you send similar links to other body part workouts soon or are they they all in Bodybuilding secrets.
Cheers from a pec lover

Posted on May 03, 2007 08:40 AM

ben said:

I loved this workout. The most important thing is in this entire thing was "now let me re-emphasize the importance of a spotter." That should be the title of this article, because by round 3 I was more fatigued than Rosie O'Donnell after she stands up.

First, I want to tell everyone not to overestimate their abilities. I was like "hell, if Tom does around 80 I have to do around 80." Obviously my first mistake. I made it through round one and you would not believe how quickly I hit failure in the second set (around rep #16). So by the third round I had so much lactate acid built up I had to find my happy place.

But as always, Tom didn't lie to me...I grew...and grew fast. I used a Keiser cable fly as my dessert and within about 10 days could tell my Incline DB increase. So thanks Tom.

Oh, and sorry I've been lurking. Good luck with training.

Posted on May 08, 2007 06:08 PM

Scott Tousignant said:

I absolutely love this workout!

I did it yesterday and I experienced a totally unique pump than I've ever felt before.

My left shoulder had been bothering me recently and I usually feel it when I do chest. Not with this workout!

This was all chest baby and it totally rocked!

I combined it with a triceps workout

Reverse Grip
Rope Press down
Triangle bar Press down
and straight bar press downs

10 seconds rest between each one... same weight and 3 sets.

Then I burned them out with standing dumbbell kickbacks.

Killer man!

Thanks Tom

Scott Tousignant

Posted on May 09, 2007 11:46 AM

Gerser said:

Tom, that's an amazing routine! You can really feel it. I'm feeling it particularly in my upper chest, just where it meets my shoulders.

Like somebody metioned in an earlier comment, I'm doing about 10 reps rather than 6. I'm feeling it more that way.

By the way I'm curious as to why you suggest this routine for 4 workouts only.

I've already tried it 4 times and I'm tempted to do a 5th. You see I never felt my chest working this good with just doing an average gym session of the normal bench press, incline dumbell and pec fly.

Posted on May 13, 2007 07:37 PM

Randall said:

This routine kicked my butt.

I especially like it because I need more growth at the top of my pecs, and three of the four sets are on the incline.

And oh yeah ... I'm cooked -- I'll sleep like a baby tonight!

Posted on May 13, 2007 11:45 PM

andres jimenez said:


I have gone through your BFFM book and I have to honestly say that this is the best book about fat loss and muscle gain i have ever read. I have been like a yo yo all my life and now i see things different. I wish i could have more discipline than i do now but i am doing my best to follow it. I know it works and that is a great motivation. You are a star man!

Your program DOES work and all the info I have found in this blog I will be definately using it during my workouts.


el g0rd0

Posted on Aug 03, 2007 03:08 AM

Sasha James said:

This is one of the best articles I read this month. You inspired me to go back and review my routines.
How can I use / publish your articles for my web site ?


Posted on Feb 22, 2008 03:02 PM

Steve said:

I tried out the first workout just this week and man, I have to say that my chest was totally trashed after the pump finisher. Great workout, I'm going to finish it out and see how it works out for me. I really enjoy reading your workouts that you post, keep em coming!


Posted on Oct 25, 2009 03:09 PM

Steve said:

Awesome workout man. Ive plataued for a bit but I think that just kick started me off the edge!

Posted on Sep 29, 2010 05:30 PM

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