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I Am Not a Weight Lifter

Kai Greene’s chest is in for a galactic pec pounding
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THE WORKOUT

Greene is known for doing some exotic exercises in the gym: Have you ever seen another pro do Jefferson lifts, Zercher deadlifts, or Zottman curls? Still, there are movements Greene favors and returns to regularly, and his chest is no exception.

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EXERCISE 1: BENCH PRESS

4-5 sets, 4-12 reps

Greene will tell you emphatically that he is not and will “never be a weightlifter;” that he’s not concerned with the amount of weight he’s pushing and only wants to feel the muscle work and connect with it in his head, heart, and soul. And then you’ll see him regularly bench-pressing four plates with a perfect range of motion. His hands are spaced kind of wide actually. If he narrowed them he’d incorporate more triceps, thereby pushing more weight or getting more reps.

The bar is bending under those four 45-pounders on either side, and Greene is getting 8 reps a set, sometimes more. He’s been known to throw on five plates and, with the same perfect form, get 4 or more reps. Sometimes he doesn’t get his due, and Greene himself plays it down, but he’s one of the strongest IFBB pros on the circuit.

EXERCISE 2: INCLINE PRESS

3-5 sets, 3-12 reps

Again, whether it’s his first exercise in that day’s chest routine or the last, whether he performs this movement with a barbell or dumbbells, Greene’s form is impeccable. He lowers the bar to his chest. Think about that: He doesn’t stop when his upper arms are parallel to the ground or when the bar is three inches from his chest. He’ll handle four plates regularly on this exercise for 6 or more reps and we’ve probably all seen him doing five plates for a triple in his FLEXonline.com video.

Greene’s nostrils fare as he pushes out these reps, his face the only visible feature amid the red hoodie and sweats. Sweats that are starting to live up to their name now and cling to his enormous upper body as he perspires like some 300-pound sprinkler system. Work written on his features as he methodically—nearly robotically—presses out rep after rep.

Greene is no stranger to incorporating dropsets on his barbell inclines or fat bench presses: There’s enough rest between sets to strip one plate from either side of the bar and then he’s back at it; then another plate gets removed and he’s pumping out reps; then another. Remember, the weight might be getting lighter, but if anything it’s feeling heavier to his taxed muscles. Yet Greene presses on, knowing he’s stimulating growth. Muscle hypertrophy is the name of this game.

EXERCISE 3: DUMBBELL FLYE

3-5 sets, 8-15 reps

These will be performed on an incline or a fat bench. Sometimes Greene does them after pressing movements; other times between pressing exercises; still other workouts he’ll open with flyes to pre-exhaust his chest. He’ll go for greater reps as he stretches and squeezes his pectorals with this exercise, or maybe he won’t. Maybe he’ll grab a big-ass pair of dumbbells, toss them up into position as he throws himself back onto the padding, and crank out a set of relatively-low reps for him, which will be around 8.

EXERCISE 4: CABLE CROSSOVER

3-5 sets, 12-20 reps

Greene knows he can torture his chest with this exercise—the stretch when the handles are out away from the body, the contraction when they’re brought down in front. He’ll vary the positions of the cable from workout to workout or even from set to set: high, bringing the handles out in front of his face; low, bringing them up to his forehead or higher.

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