Issue #4


by HardFitness

2005 Canadian Fitness/Figure Nationals Contest Coverage

2005 Emerald Cup Contest Coverage

2005 Canadian Fitness/Figure Nationals Review
by HardFitness

2005 Emerald Cup Review
by HardFitness

Canada's New IFBB Figure Pro Tammy Strome Video Interview

Cover Model Search Results by HardFitness

Breast Implants Before and After
by Shelly Pinkerton

Chest Training by Sandra Wickham

Back Training Video
by Jamie Senuk

Gina Aliotti's Prep for the San Diego World Gym Classic
by Gina Aliotti

3 weeks and counting for the Pittsburgh NPC Fitness
by Kristi Wills

Video Interview with our Cover Model Search Winner Antonia Grady

Brittany Thorsch, Mindi O'Brien, Mavis Tozzi, Antonia Grady, Christine Roth and Melissa Dettwiller

Self Tanning an Alternative includes Video Footage
by Troy Landerville on Shelly Leversage

From Powerlifting to Figure
by Traci Saba

What National Level Judges are looking for a Video with CBBF Judge Chris Yakimchuk (Model: Nina Luchka)

Carb Cycling
by Shelly Pinkerton

20 questions with our Cover Model Antonia Grady

Max Muscle at Bellevue posing seminar with Pete Grubbs, Tanji Johnson and Jason Troll

Chest Training by Sandra Wickham

There is always an extra spring in my step when I head to the gym on heavy chest training days. I became hooked by the lure of the bench press when I first began training many years ago. The bench press was the king of all exercises. Everyone wanted to know how much you could bench press. As a female I loved the challenge of bench pressing and vowed to be as relatively strong as the men at it. I sought every crazy training theory and program trying to find the answer of how to increase the strength of my bench press. Over the years I have learned that success in chest training comes not from a crazy set and rep scheme, but from consistency and perseverance. In my experience as a female in the weight room I believe you have to be consistent and patient, that it is best to attack the chest from all angles with strict form, you have to not be afraid to lift heavy and if you include mental training as part of your program will increase your levels of success.

Just like many other aspects of life, consistency in your training is the key to success. You must plan out your workouts and then work that plan! I prefer to periodize my workouts into five or six week blocks, beginning by easing into the program, then slowly increasing the amount of weight that I lift until the last week. I then follow that up with a rest week, starting over again so that after a few weeks I surpass the heaviest weights I was lifting before, and then at the peak of strength take a rest again. That way you can continue to make progress while avoiding injuries and burn out. I also prefer using pyramid sets, especially for the bench press. For me, the pyramid method is the best and safest way to be able to get to the heavier lifts. I always begin all my weight training workouts with a warm up and stretch, then a typical bench press work for me would look like this:

Warm up with just the bar for 12-15 reps
Set #1: 95lbs x 12 reps
Set #2: 105lbs x 10 reps
Set #3: 115lbs x 8 reps
Set #4: 135lbs x 4 to 6 reps

It’s also important to hit your chest from all different angles including flat, incline and decline using both presses and flyes. For fitness competitors, a great way to also work on your fitness routine is to include different variations of pushups right into your chest workout. A chest workout for me might look like this:
Flat Bench Press 4 sets
Incline db flyes 3 sets
Decline Pushups 3 sets

I have worked with many women in the weight room who are simply afraid to lift heavy weights, either because they think they are going to get “huge” or because they don't believe that they can lift heavy. You are not going to get huge overnight, trust me! Building muscle is a long and slow business! Most of the women are shocked by how much they can actually lift when you just put the weight on the bar and go for it. You are stronger than you think! Always find someone reliable who can spot you. I usually look around the gym and find someone who I either know, recognize, or who looks like they know what they are doing. What you don't want is someone who does not pay attention, doesn't know what to do, who yells weird motivation things at you or on the other extreme, lifts the bar and does all the work for you “because you're a girl”. A good idea is to get them to spot you on a weight that you know you can handle yourself first to see if you like their spotting technique. Then if you feel comfortable doing your heavier set with them great, if not, don't be afraid to ask someone else.

Mental training gives you that edge that you can easily implement with just a little bit of extra time and focus. Research with athletes has repeatedly shown that mental training can boost practical performance. Mental training as it relates to your chest workouts may include some time out of the gym visualizing being strong and lifting your heavy goal weights. Picture it in as much detail as possible, visualize the bench and the weights, the sounds in the gym, the smells (though you might want to skip that one!) and see yourself successfully lifting your goal weight. When I was really focused on improving my bench press, I would visualize myself lifting my goal weight with ease during the time in between my chest workouts. I am positive that those mental sessions helped me to reach my lifting goals. Inside the gym you may want to have certain rituals before you lift to give your mind the proper cue that it is time to perform at your best. I like to stand and hit a “flexed front pose” before I lay down on the bench, just to cue my brain that I am strong and that this lift will be easy. Find whatever mental training methods work for you and you will find yourself reaching your goals in no time.

Training your chest and improving your strength and muscle mass takes patience and time. Set realistic goals and focus on training both your body and your mind for accelerated results. All the best in your training pursuits!

Sandra Wickham, IFBB Pro

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About the Author..

Sandra Wickham

Sandra is an IFBB Pro from British Columbia, Canada. She trains several girls in B.C. and also promotes the Sandra Wickham Fall Classic. She recently competed at the Emerald Cup Pro Fitness. This was her first pro show and she brought an impressive physique and solid routine.

For more information about Sandra please check her website and also

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