Body Beast: Bulk Chest

Sagi Kalev
Year Released: 2012

Categories: Lower Body Strength

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The Bulk workouts are the second block of the Body Beast set. While the Build set combines body parts in workouts - there's a chest/triceps workout as well as back/biceps - Bulk does one body part per workout. In the introduction to Bulk chest, Sagi says that we were in high school with Build and now it's time to go to college. After doing this workout, I see what he means.

The format and set are the familiar ones: stripped-down gym setting, Sagi and two very muscular male backgrounders, unobtrusive music as background filler. There is a countdown clock that shows total workout time as well as the time left in the current segment (warmup, lifting or resting). There is also a readout with the name of the upcoming exercise and the rep count, and a countdown clock on the reps while you're lifting. This workout is 30 minutes long, with 4 minutes total of warmup and stretch and 26 minutes of weights work.

You'll need a weights bench and dumbbells for this workout. If you don't have a bench you can use an aerobic step with multiple risers, as you'll need to set it at incline for some exercises and flat for others. One backgrounder uses a stability ball in place of the bench/step.

Sagi leads a two-minute warmup that's almost the same as Build: run in place, arm circles, pushup variations and more running in place.

First exercise is a super set of incline flyes and incline bench press. You alternate exercises, doing 15 reps of each at a lighter weight, 12 reps heavier and 8 reps heaviest. The bench press also has a final drop set of 8 reps, in which you lighten your weights from your heaviest and crank out another 8 reps.

Next up is a new type of training, a force set. In a force set, you do five sets of five reps each, at a fast rep pace and with less than 10 seconds rest between sets. The exercise is flat-bench chest press with rotation (start by holding dumbbells with palms facing your ears; extend the weights and rotate them so at the top of the press the weights are next to each other and your palms face away from your face; lower and rotate palms back in; that's one rep).

The next exercise, incline press, is done as a progressive set: 15 reps light weight, 12 reps heavier, 8 reps heaviest, pause; then 8 reps heaviest, 12 reps less heavy, and 15 reps light. These are also done at a fast pace.

Next is a combo set of flat-bench close-grip press into flye: start with weights at chest level, palms facing each other and dumbbells touching; lift overhead, lower each arm into a fly, lift back up and touch, then lower (that's one rep). This is a standard rep count of 15-12-8, increasing the weights as the rep count lowers. Mercifully there is a longer-than-normal break (about 1 minute 30 seconds instead of the standard 30-50 seconds) between the 12-rep set and 8-rep set; you will need it.

The final exercises are grouped as a multi-set that works chest as well as back/shoulders and abs. You do 15 decline pushups, 10 reps of cobra into airplane to work the lower back and open the chest and shoulders; 12 more decline pushups followed by 30 seconds of Russian twists for abs (sit on floor, legs extended and slightly bent; make fists in front of your sternum, lift elbows to the side, and twist side to side, trying to touch the elbow to the floor). Final exercise is 8 more decline pushups. There is no rest time between exercises in this multi-set.

Sagi ends with a 2-minute stretch.

This workout is not for beginners. The pace is very fast for some exercises and Sagi uses explosive lifting on a few sets of bench press (you push the weight up fast). There are differing opinions in the bodybuilding world on whether fast-paced reps and/or explosive reps are more effective for mass-building than slower-paced lifting. If you do explosive reps you MUST have impeccable form, which can be hard to maintain at Sagi's pace. For that reason, this workout is really geared towards exercisers who have a grounding in basic bodybuilding exercises and form and can judge for themselves if they want to do explosive reps and/or very fast reps.

This workout also needs a much more thorough stretch than the less-than-two-minute segment at the end. I added on a longer stretch for neck and shoulders since both seemed tight after the intensity and pace of this workout.

Instructor Comments:
Sagi cues clearly and sets up the exercises well. His form is excellent. I do wish he had warned of the fast pace and explosive reps on some of the exercises and given extra form pointers beforehand.