Workout Finisher: Descending Ladders for a Bigger Chest


You’ve done your foam rolling. Actually spent time warming up with movement prep. Banged out heavy sets of deadlifts. Crushed the bench press, pullup bar, and leg press machine. You even managed to fit in a few rounds of high-intensity intervals on the rowing machine. All that’s left is for you to shower, grab your protein shake, and head on home. But wait, if you haven’t included a “finisher”—usually a brutal one- or two-set single-exercise or circuit protocol—you aren’t really finished with your workout.

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Finishers are great because they don’t only add volume to your training sessions (rep ranges are usually quite high in finishers) they also test your mental toughness, challenging you when you’re already fatigued. Add them to your program to drive up your results and test your limits.

Descending Ladder Chest Finisher

Who doesn’t want a set of big pecs filling out the front of their T-shirt? This finisher will have your chest so pumped that it’ll enter a room a good four seconds before the rest of you steps through the door. And, as an added bonus, your triceps will also be on fire. You’re welcome.

This chest finisher is set up as a descending ladder utilizing dips and pushups.

> Start with 7 reps of dips. Rest as little as possible.

> Perform 7 reps of pushups. Rest as little as possible.

> Perform 6 reps of dips, followed by 6 reps of pushups.

Continue this descending rep pattern (5 reps of dips, 5 reps of pushups, 4 reps of dips, etc.) all the way down until you’re getting one rep of each movement.

The goal is to complete all the reps under control and with good form but rest as little as possible between sets. The dip should be performed with a slightly forward lean as to place more emphasis on the chest as opposed to the triceps. And you can think of the 7 reps as a benchmark starting point. If the finisher was too easy, try starting at 10 and work your way down to one next time. Or, if it was too difficult, start at 5 reps.


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