Menacing Chest

Dennis James' intensive battle plans for stronger and thicker pecs


I still believe

in going heavy, really heavy, down to eight or even four reps for every set, depending on the exercise. In fact, it’s difficult for me to not train heavy. I simply have to do it. It’s automatic. I don’t know where that comes from; it’s always been like that, and I still put everything I can into every set.

I’m obviously still training as heavy as I can, in order to have done what I did to my vocal cords: I strained them by grunting and groaning so much that they swelled, and a polyp developed. The doctor told me I now have to avoid straining my throat when I breathe, but when I’m benching 500, I’m not thinking about breathing. I don’t care where it comes from — just give me some air.

Every year, though, I tell myself I’m not going to go crazy with poundage, but once I’m in the gym, as soon as I feel my strength, I’m going to use it. I do not feel light weights. People say, “Just go light, and work detail, detail, detail,” but you can work detail with 10 reps.

I’m so strong that I can easily do incline presses with 405 for 10-12 reps. Believe me, that’s going to give me detail, but detail is worthless without the mass to showcase it. Everyone knows what I mean. Just about anybody can look at someone’s muscularity and tell you whether he trains heavy or moderate.

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