The Best Chest Workouts are the ones that help you accomplish your goals. Strength? Size? Detail? What’s your goal? All of them? Aren’t you a greedy bastard?;) It’s ok, Im a greedy bastard too, thats why I developed a system of training which gives you all the results but is designed around the idea of overtraining.
T4R or Training For Ragnarok is a training system I developed for my army of loyal followers: Operation Ragnarok. The premise is that in the final battle all the Gods perish while protecting Midgard (earth) from Loki, Fenris, The World Serpent and an army of Jotun (frost giants). But they dont know this, they train for Ragnarok with inhuman intensity and endure workouts which would kill a normal mortal. But by spending one week and only one week with each God, a mortal could conceivably survive.
T4R has 4 different weeks, each week is a completely different training system. I modeled each week off of the training theories of different legends in bodybuilding, and then attributed which norse god I thought fit best.
The theory is if you do one style of training all the time, you get over trained in some ways and under trained in others. With this protocol, it alternates Heavy and Light weeks so that your resting one fiber type while you’re training the next.
If your such a berserker warrior you already want to tear people’s heads off and drink from their stump try Nocturnus! You don’t need the stimulants.
Week 1: Thor
Thor is the norse god of strength and for this reason I labeled the 5×5 training week Thor week. 5×5 is a strength training routine that is the brainchild fo Reg Park, who is to my Knowledge Arnold Schwarzenegger’s mentor.
In it, you do 5 sets of 5 reps, but only the Last set is to failure. Lets say the correct amount of weight you use to get exactly 5 reps is 88% of your 1 rep max (1RM). In this case set 1 is 60%, set 2 70%, set 3 80%, set 4 85% ( your 6RM) and set 5 is 90%! If you can get 5 reps with 90% then you’re actually stronger and next week ad 5-10 lbs (2% of 1RM) to your 5th set and try for 5 reps. Each exercise each month you should be 5-10 lbs stronger. This week trains your central nervous system and uses ATP not creatine or carbohydrates for fuel. You may have some bizarre neurological changes (diarrhea, sudden paralysis of limb, dizziness, blurry vision, tingling all over your body, extreme fatigue, euphoria) after these sessions but not normal soreness. Thats because were training your nervous system and tendons more than the muscles.
You may even feel like you didnt even workout. This is OK. This week, although it is very heavy and hard on your mind and nervous system, is very easy on your energy supplies and allows you to recover from the last 3 weeks of traditional body building workouts.
Flat or Incline BB press 5 x 5
I alternate which one I start with each month
Flat or incline BB press 5 x 5
Decline Press 5 x 5
Pec Deck FST-7 x 8 reps
You’re going for max weight and the rest periods are 2-5 minutes on your final sets. For instance, for military press yesterday I did the bar, waited 0 seconds, 95 for 5, 0 seconds, 115 for 5, 60 seconds, 135 for 5 reps, 60 seconds, 155 for 5, 120 seconds, 165 for 5 (this was to failure but I took extra time and tried for more weight), 180 seconds, 170 for 3+2 forced reps and thus since I failed less than 5 reps im done. I clearly did 7 sets but since most were warm ups I only really counted the last 2 sets as work sets one to failure the other beyond failure, and those are the ones I took a rest between. More weight = more rest. Next week I will gauge it right and make my 5th set 170 and actually get 5 reps.
Reps are explosive and fast but controlled. Tempo and range of motion are not that important this week, 90% with form is ok when it’s this heavy, just don’t get hurt. I don’t advise anyone who isnt a professional athlete or trained by a professional to lift this heavy. I don’t want to hear whining about your lower back or shoulder; if you get hurt lifting you don’t lift correctly.
Week 2: Freya
Freya was Queen of Asgard and leader of the Valkyries (Odin’s battle maidens). I modeled this week off of Kai Green’s training and it’s great for men, but exceptional for women! Women could in theory do Thor, Freya, Freya, Freya each month, skipping the 3rd and 4th workouts and just working strength and endurance/conditioning and not focus on size if they are bikini models not women’s physique competitors.
For men, once a month is plenty as endurance isn’t our main goal, size is and this wont make you bigger. It will help you recover from the three other heavier weeks (like a deload week). Unlike a deload week you’re going to do way more volume, working your Type 1 fibers and giving you the most insane pump in your life. Rest should be 30-60 seconds for these sets; 30 seconds for maximum pump, 60 for maximum growth hormone release. If you have a partner you do part A he does Part B then you switch for 4 iterations then go to the next station. Weight does not matter, pump and contract the reps through ideal range of motion and perfect form and tempo squeezing every contraction.
Dumbbell Pullover for 4 x 15 with intention method
Use the intention method by squeezing the dumbbell between your hands and let that force drag the weight up. Your not lifting the dumbbell, you’re squeezing the dumbbell so hard it floats up. You will have to use way less weight than you would normally. I might use 40 lbs for 15 this way when I could do 80 lbs for 14 on Loki week.
Incline BB Press with intention method
Super Set (SS)
Ladder Push Ups 4 x 15
This is the same. You try to force the hands together without them moving closer. This makes the chest initiate the movement. I might do 45-95 lbs for this instead of 185 for 15 reps using this method. Ladder pushups are done in a smith. Put the bar at the bottom, use your intention method and go to failure. Then raise the bar 2 pegs and repeat. Then again. Then again if you haven’t hit 15 reps yet.
4 x 15
Every set lower the bench a peg from 5 to 1
This starts at 75 degrees and goes to 0. This will target different fibers and get easier every set as you fatigue. You do 15 flys, then with the same dumbbells, do the presses to failure and have the spotter help you get all 30 total reps. You should never have to change dumbbells.
Cable Cross Over high to low 4 x 15
This works the lower pecs in a compound then isolation routine to finish them off. Use intention method on the dips to use the chest.
Under Hand Vertical DB Presses
Cable Crossover low to high
4 x 15
The underhand vertical dumbbells are awesome for getting the upper inner chest. I learned this trick from Justin Fargo: make like you’re going to do an arnold press, push the pinky ends of the dumbbells together until you feel your chest fire (intention) then press them straight up. Your arm will only move a little bit, it’s to hard to hold the dumbbells together at the very top, just pump the weight through this very small range of motion while squeezing those dbs together. On the low to high crossovers come above eye level.
Week 3: Fenris
Fenris was the Werewolf child of Loki and his main warrior. I modeled this week after Dorian Yates. Main difference is the use of multiple sets, 4 in fact. Dorian only did 2 sets the majority of his career because he felt that to many sets and reps would wear you down after continuous weeks. But, since we only do 1 week of this, I want you doing 4 sets. This is the main mass week, your handling high weight for high volume, and your Type 2B fibers are severely taxed doing this, thats why we have 2 weeks to “rest” those fibers going into this week. You may be able to use your old 6RM from week 1 for the full 6-9 reps this week! Thats how fast you change with this alternating rest/work format.
Use a 60-90 second rest and a comfortable controlled tempo, focus on moving as much weight as possible and form and tempo are there for safety, 80% Ideal form is all you need this week. Use whatever range of motion lets you handle the most weight. Again, this is for professional weight trainers not someone who wants to “get fit”. This is a triple black diamond workout with a trail of dead bodies so do at your own risk. As A medical doctor I don’t condone any human being doing this. I do however, and it works great!
Fly’s 3 x 20 not to failure
This is to get a pump not pre-exhaust the chest
Incline BB Press 4 x 6-9 reps
Last set is a drop set, Forced reps on all sets.
This means you get 6-7 clean reps that are perfect form and tempo and your partner helps you squeeze out 2. Then on the last set, after primary failure, you cut the weight by 30-50% and do as many reps as you can to failure + 2 forced reps.
Incline Hammer Strength 4 x 6-9 reps
Last set is a drop set. Forced negatives
Forced negatives are the last 3 reps of each set, your partner PUSHES DOWN on the weight making it HEAVIER. You almost always need machines for this, as it’s not safe to push down on a barbell over someone throat. The force applied should be just enough that the person can’t keep the weight from descending but the descent takes a smooth 6 seconds. You usually have to help them get the weight up, to then press down on it.
Flat DB Press 4 x 6-9 reps
Spotter spots on the first rep because getting it up is trying at times, and spots on the last 3 reps. Thus 6 reps to failure and 3 forced reps every set.
Dip Machine or Weighted Dips 4 sets of 6-9 reps, with drop set on last set
On the last set drop the chains around your neck or the weight dangling from your waist and crank out some more reps.
Pec Deck 4 x 6-9 reps with 3 forced negatives and stripping.
You close the arms, your partner tries to force them open on the last 3 reps. Last set you drop the weight after your primary failure by 30-50%
Week 4: Loki
The god of deception has a trick up his sleeve! Loki week is much harder than it looks. I used a Hany Rambod approach with a front loaded FST-7 pre exhaust. Thus the goal of this week is a pump with medium weight and medium volume. Or is it? Like the god of trickery would do, I made these workouts much harder than they look. Minor factors add up to make this week FEEL harder than the previous week, despite it being more reps and in theory less weight. Truth is that despite the pre-exhaust and the supersetting agonist and antagonist muscles you’re using almost as much weight as Fenris week since your using all machines and machines are easier. Therefore is just as anabolic as week 3 just completely different in its approach.
Rest periods are 45-60 seconds this week. All reps picture perfect with lots of contractions and perfect 0-1-2-1 tempo. Stretch between sets except the pre load sets, contract your chest in between those.
Cable Cross Over Low to High then High to low 3 and 3 sets of 12 30 second rest
clearly it would be impossible to do this with apartner as the set takes longer than the rest. yous take turns.
Incline DB Press 3 sets of 10-12
nothing fancy just standard west coast training
Incline Hammer Strength
3 sets of 10-12
Flat Flys 3 x 10-12
Dips or Machine Dip
3 x 10-12
It looks easy right? Looks can be deceiving.
Any personal trainer will tell you each one of the first 3 weeks will put you into overtraining in a matter of 3 weeks. Thats why you only do them for 1 week then do something completely different! Week 1,2, and 4 are rest weeks from Week 3 which is the hardest, with weeks 1 being additional strength training and week 2 is every thing that isnt size or strength. The Immortals (Einjerar and Valkyries of Operation Ragnarok) who have made it through one iteration of T4R are vastly stronger and leaner/bigger than last month. Its time you tried a full spectrum of suffering. Adopt this Asgardian training system if you to want a godlike chest!
If you just want ONE WORKOUT like a normal person Click here for my Best Chest Workout!
Nothing in this article or on this site should be considered medical advice or as an endorsement to violate any law of the country in which you reside. The information given is for fun and entertainment purposes only. All claims are 100% dependent upon proper diet and exercise. Please consult a medical practitioner prior to any diet and exercise program.