Laura Williams

NO matter that the beach season is drawing to a close – give your chest some TLC this autumn. Here’s how.

TRAIN CONSISTENTLY: Your chest muscles are a big muscle group that need to be trained regularly and effectively in order for you to see results. You must adhere to your routine come rain or shine if you’re going to get buff quick.

PICK YOUR EXERCISES CAREFULLY: You can’t afford to have favourites when it comes to training the chest – mix up a flat bench press with an incline bench press, and include cable crossovers, flies and pullovers for a really comprehensive routine.

EAT WELL: You need to ensure that your diet has the right balance of protein, carbs and fats so that you supply your muscles with the very best fuel. Eating well also helps to keep body fat levels down so that the fruits of your labour become visible. Make sure your carbs are the good quality sort – that is, anything brown goes (brown bread, brown rice, wholewheat pasta, and so on). Make sure you always train with sufficient fuel in the tank and refuel as soon as you’ve finished your workout.

GO LOW REP, HIGH WEIGHT: If you’re starting out, you don’t want to be pulling a muscle lifting the heaviest weight you can – think about sets of 8-12 reps, and make sure you’re failing by the end of the set. As you progress, though, up the weight and reduce the number of reps you’re doing (think 6-12 reps: 6 min; 12 max).

PERFORM MOVEMENTS SLOWLY: Using speed for momentum is cheating if you’re doing straight sets (i.e. if you’re not deliberately doing sets where you’re using speed as an added stimulus). Maintaining a smooth, controlled movement especially during the eccentric phase (the “easy” part of the exercise when the muscle’s lengthening) ensures that your muscles are being loaded in the correct way.