The Definitive Chest Overload—3s, 6s & 9s

By Josh Bryant

Two of the bests chest in bodybuilding (Johnnie Jackson and Branch Warren) have directly used this method under Josh’s tutelage.  

A well-developed chest makes a man’s phsyique ooze with power and drip with masculine virility.  This can be the difference between making it from the day show to the night show, be it the bodybuilding stage or the Chippendales stage. I am going to share with you an advanced overload technique that will help you build a more robust, chiseled chest.

Strength and Pump

Man cannot live off bread alone, just how the hypertrophy enthusiast wanting maximal chest development cannot live off heavy weight alone. Think about it. Bodybuilders do not lift as heavy as powerlifters, yet display superior degrees of muscularity. How can this be? Shrewd bodybuilders train an assortment of rep ranges and sometimes, to the dismay of the functional crowd, train for a “pump”. The pump has an important role in building maximally-developed muscles because it is caused by a build-up of metabolic byproducts that cause the cell to swell; cell swelling has been shown, by science, to help increase muscle growth. The pump should not be worshipped as sole catalyzing factor of muscle hypertrophy, but it can’t be ignored as feel good bro science, either.

3s, 6s & 9s

There is no better physical feeling, at least that’s appropriate to expand on in this article, than a chest pump! I am going to share a method I formulated and have used with the pros and every-day clients that desire to take their chest development to the chiseled, barrel level. This method is for intermediate and advanced lifters and if your pain tolerance is low, realize that dog won’t hunt and you can always sweat to the oldies. Otherwise, be ready for some swollen chesticles!

Branch Warren doing 3s, 6s and 9s. Keep your volume up for the voice over explanation   

Exercise Guidelines 

1) Have a one to four board press available, for a refresher on boards please see the previous piece I covered (includes how to make boards)  

2) Load the barbell on the bench press with 50% of your one-repetition max and load the chains to a weight you are capable of doing 15 flys with.

3) Now you are ready to go.  With the prescribed weight, perform a bench press for three repetitions, and then rack the weight. Immediately grab the carabiners with chains attached and perform six flys.  Upon completion of flys, do not drop the weight, immediately do nine presses.  Now drop the weight and rest 20 seconds.

4) For set two, everything is exactly the same; however, the bench press will be performed with one board on your chest.  After resting 20 seconds, do the same thing for set three but for the bench press you will do it with two boards on your chest.  Rest 20 seconds and begin set four doing the same thing with the exception of bench press you will place three boards on your chest.  Rest 20 seconds and for the final set do the same thing but place four boards on your chest.

5) If you are unable to complete the flys or chain presses, do not stop!  Continue with partial reps!  

The Workout I recommend do this generally as a finisher, here is an example of a real-life hypertrophy session with 3s,6s, and 9s as a finisher.

Exercise Rest Interval Sets Reps
Incline Dumbbell Presses 180 seconds 4 6,8,8,20
Weighted Dips ( 90 Seconds 3 5,8,15
Decline Press 120 sec 3 6,6,6
Incline Cable Fly 60 seconds 3 15
3’s,6’s & 9’s 20 sec 5 3,6,9

Final Thoughts Arnold Schwarzenegger says, “Not many people understand what a pump is. It must be experienced to be understood. It is the greatest feeling that I get. I search for this pump because it means that that my muscles will grow when I get it. I get a pump when the blood is running into my muscles. They become really tight with blood. Like the skin is going to explode any minute. It’s like someone putting air in my muscles. It blows up. It feels fantastic.” 3s, 6s and 9s will provide the path to growth and the wonderful experience Arnold describes.