Stretchers, Activators, and Pumpers For Chest Training

The concept of stretchers, activators, and pumpers has been popularized by @bretcontreras1 for glute training, but not for other body parts. However, that’s now changed. Here’s the first application of stretchers, activators, and pumpers to chest training! 
__
The exercises shown in the picture are a few examples for each category. There are many other exercises for each category that aren’t listed above. Really it’s just up to your imagination to apply this concept to other exercises.
__
Stretchers: Maximum tension is when the muscle is at full stretch. Examples of this are the bench press, dips, and incline bench. These can be done every 3-4 days.
__
Activators: Maximum tension happens when the muscle is fully shortened/contracted. Examples of this are cable chest flyes or a Svend press. These should be done every 2-3 days.
__
Pumpers: Low levels of metabolic stress which leads to a relatively low amount of muscle damage. Examples are push up variations or even dumbbell flyes. These exercises are best performed for higher reps (15+). These can be done up to 5-6 days per week.
__
A word on the floor press; I categorized the floor press as an activator even though peak tension is right when your elbows leave the floor, not at the top, because of the way most people perform it. Most of the time, floor presses are done for 5-12 reps, which means fairly heavy loads are used, excluding it from being a pumper exercise. Also, it wouldn’t be considered a stretcher because there isn’t a real stretch placed on the pecs during the exercise.
__
A dumbell fly could be categorized as a stretcher based on the large stretch placed on the muscle during the movement, but it’s not performed usually for low reps. Thus, I placed it in the pumper category because it’s best suited for higher reps. Even though I consider it a pumper, I wouldn’t do it 5-6 days per week. Instead, I’d do it maybe 2-3 days per week.
__
Graphic on left is from bretcontreras.com and is not mine.


Leave a comment